Types of MTB Grips and How to Choose

Out of the three points of contact between the rider and the bike, grips are the most important for control. Here, we take a look at the different types of MTB grips and how to choose the most suitable.

Types of MTB Grips and How to Choose

Grips influence the feel and sensitivity , they provide comfort, especially on long rides, and even affect your safety, if the grip is not firm. Other factors such as weight, durability and price, are also important although, as always, we advise against skimping on quality, especially as this is one of the most economical bike components.

There is a wide variety of MTB grips to choose from and so, we will start by categorising them according to the different materials and their pros and cons.

Types of MTB Grips

There are 3 types of grip materials: rubber, foam and silicone. They are attached to the handlebars either by sliding on or by locking on with an Allen screw. They also feature different thicknesses, densities and ergonomic designs, which provide greater comfort than the round grips.

Rubber Grips

Made with rubber or elastomers, these grips have the greatest variety of prices and qualities and are the most commonly used as standard grips by bike brands.

  • They can feature any combination of colours and shapes, adapting to any need.
  • They are the most resistant and durable, but also the hardest on your hands.
  • They are heavier than the foam and silicone models.
  • They end up moving over time, if they do not have a locking system.
  • The cheapest have just one opening, which prevents mounting accessories, unless you cut off the end of the grip.
  • Race Face Grippler Race Face Grippler
  • XLC GR-S05 Ringo XLC GR-S05 Ringo

Foam Grips

Made of foam or neoprene , until the arrival of silicone, foam was the only alternative to rubber grips.

  • This is the lightest of the three materials and has a nice feel and good cushioning.
  • Like the rubber grips, foam ends up moving, unless the base is made of firmer materials that allow them to be locked on. Although this makes them almost as heavy as the silicone grips, which do not need to be locked on.
  • Foam grips are the least durable. Exposure to humidity, sun and changes in temperature make them deteriorate more quickly than the other grips and they tear more easily in the event of impact or friction. However, the higher quality foam grips are more resilient.

The most well-known brand for this type of grip is Ritchey, but today there are a number of other grips by excellent brands such as the Sram Locking Grip Foam, the CrankBrothers Cobalt or the Syncros Foam.

  • Sram Locking Grip Sram Locking Grip
  • Contour Crankbrothers Cobalt Contour Crankbrothers Cobalt

Silicone Grips

Made popular by the brand Esigrips, silicone grips are now the preferred choice for mountain bikers.

  • Very lightweight, they are not much heavier than foam grips and give better performance than the best quality foam, lock on grips
  • They have a nice feel and excellent cushioning.
  • They give extraordinary grip on the handlebars and do not need the lock-on system.
  • They are the most difficult to mount, precisely because of the high adherence of the silicone and the diameter, which is smaller than the handlebars. Once on, they adapt, thanks to their elasticity.
  • They are immune to humidity, but, like foam, they can scratch and tear quite easily in the event of impact.
  • Depending on the brand, they are also considerably more expensive than rubber or foam grips, although there is currently a wide range of economical silicone grips that compete with the cheapest rubber grips, such as those from El Gallo or XLC.
  • Esigrips Fit CR Esigrips Fit CR
  • OnOff Silicone OnOff Silicone

Ergonomic Grips

Manufacturers have developed grip designs other than the usual cylinder, to improve hand support and comfort.

  • The simplest ergonomic grip designs vary the thickness of the cylinder to adapt to the shape of the hand. This is most common in foam models. Ergonomic grips distribute the pressure evenly over the hand, to achieve a good grip with all the fingers and enhance control of the handlebars.

    • Ossby Curve Electric Ritchey True WCS
    • Ossby Curve Electric Specialized Neutralizer
  • The most advanced models increase the surface of the grip to fit the palm. This achieves even greater pressure distribution and relieves compressing the ulnar nerve. These grips are particularly suitable for long rides or for cyclists who have problems with numb hands. If you suffer from numb hands while cycling, we recommend you watch this video on our Youtube channel about the causes and solutions for numb hands.

    The pioneers in this type of ergonomic grip were Ergon and Specialized, but there is now a huge range available from almost every cycling brand.

    • Ergon GC1 Ergon GC1
    • Sram Comfort Sram Comfort

The Final Choice

Now that we have looked into the different types of MTB grips available and their pros and cons, we will give you some final tips to consider.

  • The thickness of the grip should be suitable for the size of your hand. Brands such as Esigrip, for example, offer different thicknesses and it is useful to test the size to see which feels best.

  • The durability of a grip and its secure attachment are a priority for demanding disciplines which require maximum handlebar control. You can't risk the grip turning as you pull on the handlebars. For this kind of use a lock-on rubber grip or higher quality silicone grip is recommended .

  • Weight is a determining factor for the most speed conscious riders who can opt for the lighter foam grips or the higher end silicone grips.

  • Comfort is the most important aspect for long rides or cycle touring, and here, any type of grip is good, providing it has larger diameters for greater cushioning and a pleasant feel.

  • The larger surface of Ergonomic grips enhances comfort, especially for cyclists with hand problems, as mentioned above. But they also cause a slight loss of control of the handlebars, as they do not allow you to squeeze equally with all fingers, which can be uncomfortable for the more sporty or technical cyclists.

  • Gloves are an essential accessory and, if you don't choose well, they can ruin the performance of the best MTB grips. Check out the full range in our Mammoth gloves section.

Mounting grips can be difficult, especially in the case of the silicone models and we recommend following the tips in this video:

We finish by reminding you that all the grips mentioned in this article and many more from the best brands can be found at our Mammoth stores and online at

You can find more information in these related articles and videos:

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