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Grips are one of the components where we are spoiled for choice. So much so, it makes deciding that ever bit harder. However, amongst the vast array of grips available, there are some that stand out from the crowd.
Outlined below, are some of what we feel are the most popular grips currently available on the market. We also have been keeping our eyes peeled for some alternative grip options available from some new and emerging brands. Let’s dig in!
1- Trail One Components Hell’s Gate Grips Black
Prior to the Deathgrip there were many popular grips, but the Deathgrip felt different when it launched. Their design collaboration with Brendan ‘Brendog’ Fairclough really elevated their profile.
The grips are available in a wide range of colours allowing you to find the match, or pop-of-colour you need. The Deathgrip is available in quite a few options:
- Compounds: ‘Race day’ (super soft), soft or hard compound
- Diameters available: thin (Ø29mm) or thick (Ø31mm)
- Inner flange or flangeless
- Weight: Approx. 100 grams
- Price range: $20-25
All the models feature the same design with the inner section, where your index and thumb wrap the grip, featuring ribs to help dampen vibrations/hits. The outer ¾ section of the grip uses the common diameter cut pattern, with a waffle pattern extruded on the rear of the grip to help minimise any slippage of your hand when fully wrapped.
What do I think?
I think the Deathgrip is a solid, all round grip. Its price point and availability in a range of options makes it an easy grip to suit your needs. I have used this grip for quite some time, and I can only really found one slight downfall. When the trail gets really rough, I often found my hands slipping off the end of the grip due to a lack of end support. The grip diameter feels wider on the inner rings, so it therefore naturally tapers toward the outer edge. Personally, I would like to see more end support on the grip, but for everyday riding it is a real winner.
2- ODI Elite Pro Lock-On Bike Grips
The ODI Elite Pro is a very distinctive grip, but distinctiveness doesn’t always mean performance. However, if you look at what the pro men and women are often choosing to ride from the vast ODI line up, you will find this is most definitely a favourite.
A single lock-on clamp with a range of colours to choose from, the Elite Pro is another grip with options to suit your personal colourways. Where most grips are moulded to be circular, the Elite Pro features an oval shaped body designed to help conform to the riders’ hands. At 130mm in total length, it’s not the widest of grips, however with strong end support and a ¼ inner flange, your hands remain planted in the centre.
Grips can often be applied to the bike in any orientation; however the Elite Pro will require some adjustment to reap the rewards of their design. The variable knurled patterned blocks, sitting on the top of the grip, are designed to sit under your palms. This supportive area reduces vibrations and hits you endure on the trail, all in an effort to reduce hand fatigue. On the opposite side, just like the Deathgrip, is a waffle pattern designed to minimise your hands slipping when fully wrapped on the grip.
What do I think?
ODI have really understood what a rider endures during a race. The features of this grip all point toward the extremes of what we are currently doing on mountain bikes. Is this grip for everyone? Possibly not, the oval shape is different, and it may not be everyone’s preference. However, I can still fully appreciate how well designed this grip is. Small details such as how strong and robust the bar end protection is for when the bike ends up on the ground.
3- Odi, Longneck V2.1, Grips
Rounding out our top 3 most popular grips currently are the ODI Longneck V2.1. A grip design that was originally most synonymous with BMX grips. The ribbed grip design has made its way into the mountain bike world and with good reason.
The ribs provide a large amount of dampening as vibrations and hits are transmitted through to the grips. The ribs provide a means for compression. This compression, or often referred to as the ‘squeeze feel’, reduces the feedback between the hands and grip. The possible downside to this is the added grip strength required to hold this grip as you have to squeeze through the compression to get a firm hold. A grip strength too weak and the ribs allow for lateral movement of your hand along the grip. The importance of strong end support on a grip like this is really important which ODI have done a great job with.
What do I think?
Grips are a component that are hugely dependant on personal preference and personally I really enjoy the added level of comfort these grips provide. Yes, it requires a slightly stronger grip to hold on, however the level cushioning outweighs the cons in this case.
4- PNW Components Loam Grip
PNW, a relatively new brand based out of America have a range of products aimed at those who want a high-quality products with fair prices. With only one grip designing offering in two diameters, the Loam grip is a unique addition that we love.
Available in two diameters, the regular version features a diameter of 30mm, while the XL features a diameter of 34mm. A diameter of 34mm is on the extreme end of diameters of grips available with this size, but for riders with large hands or a preference for a thick grip this could be a great option to have.
The design of this grip is really interesting, the overall form of the grip tapers wider toward the end of the grip which conforms with your hand really nicely. This reduces the desire for your hands to move outward on the trails. The grip has two distinct zones for your hands, the inner section has the horizontal ribs which cleverly twist to reduce their rotational flex.
What do I think?
The feel of these grips is excellent, a very strong contender from PNW. They have a nice tacky feel to the grip, meaning there is a nice level of adhesion between your hands and the grip. A tacky grip will often wear faster, however PNW seem to have struck a really nice balance.
Newest MTB Grips on the Market
While we love to recognise some of the most popular products on the market, it is always worth noting brands that are producing exceptional products.
5- Trail One Components Hells Gate
One of the latest brands to be welcomed into the MTB industry is Trail One Components, a small American based brand doing awesome things for trails across America. For every product they sell, they donate $1 to designated trails across the US. For products as cheap as their grips, this sizeable donation goes a long way.
Aside from their giveback initiatives, they have designed some really interesting grips. The grip market is saturated with designs that fail to standout from the crowd, however this one caught our attention.
Featuring a main body diameter of 30.5mm, this grip is on the thicker end of the scale. A great option for those with larger hands and/or a preference for a thicker grip. Featuring a ribbed design that traverses across the inner section of the grip, rather than along a linear path. This clever design reduces the lateral movement that is often associated with a ribbed design. A deep cut diamond pattern makes up the remainder of the grip with 5 blocks designed to sit under your knuckles. These blocks offer a thicker surface to further reduce feedback.
What do I think?
I think Trail One can be commended for some really innovative thinking with this grip design. It takes clear design inspiration from a range of grips that have shown they perform. Merging these into one grip has produced some really interesting results. I have tested this grip for quite some time and I can say I was pleasantly surprised with the quality that you can expect from this small American brand. Hopefully we see more from these guys in the future.
Frequently Asked – Fitment
The grips that we have reviewed are compatible with all mountain bike handlebars and feature an easy single-lock clamp that requires only an Allen key. As with all grips, the inner core that comes into contact with your handlebar needs to have a snug fit, so when you are fitting the grips you will start to feel some resistance as you are putting it on. It is important to always give the grips a firm impact to ensure the grip is in contact with the end of the bar.
It’s nearly impossible to say ‘this is the best grip’ as it mostly relies mostly on personal preference. Through experience you will understand what you like and dislike about grips. There are various factors that help guide you to which range of grips are best for you to buy. Grip diameter being one of the most important ones. If you have larger hands, a thicker grip could potentially be more sorted to you. For most, a grip with a diameter of approx. 28-30mm will cover most people. As we shown, some grips will offer various compounds i.e soft, medium, hard. A softer grip will obviously feel softer, but it will wear faster. A harder grip will last longer but won’t have the same suppleness and that ‘tacky’ feel that a soft grip offers.