When it comes to mountain biking, there are small details that beginners tend to overlook. However, when you speak to the more advanced riders they will tell you how important mountain bike grips really are.
MTB grips are largely universal in terms of inner diameter, designed to fit the standard handlebar end diameter of 22.2mm. However, variations exist in grip length, locking mechanisms (lock-on vs. slide-on), and material. While most grips will fit most handlebars, personal preferences, and specific features can influence compatibility and comfort
Look, I understand that getting a new set of handlebar grips might not be easy for some, especially with the wealth of options that are available on the market. However, our goal in this article is to walk you through everything you need to know about handlebar grips and mountain bikes in general. So, for everything that you need to know, keep reading.
Are All Mountain Bike Handlebars The Same Diameter?
No, all mountain bike handlebars are not the same diameter. While the grip area is typically 22.2mm across most handlebars, the clamp diameter, where the handlebar attaches to the stem, can vary. Common clamp diameters include 25.4mm, 31.8mm (often referred to as “oversized”), and 35mm. It’s crucial to ensure the handlebar clamp diameter matches the stem clamp diameter for compatibility and safety.
If you have a newer model of a mountain bike, you can be sure that the diameter of the handlebars is d 22.2 millimeters.
If you have an older model mountain bike, say, for example, one that was bought before 2010, you might want to check the exact diameter before you go out and buy a grip.
Standard MTB Handlebar Grip Diameter
Mountain bike (MTB) handlebar grips are engineered to adhere to the specifications of MTB handlebars. The universally accepted diameter for the terminal end of the handlebar, which corresponds to the inner diameter of the grip, is 22.2mm, a standard prevalent in the majority of mountain bikes.
Conversely, the external diameter of the grip, which is the section a rider interacts with, may differ due to design considerations, cushioning, and specific applications. Certain grips are designed with a more substantial girth to cater to riders seeking a more robust hold, while others are more slender. It is imperative for riders to select grips that align with their hand dimensions and cycling preferences.
Are All Mountain Bike Handlebars The Same Length?
No, all mountain bike handlebars are not the same length. The length (or width) of a mountain bike handlebar can vary based on the type of riding, rider preference, and specific bike design. Here’s a breakdown of some common handlebar widths based on different mountain biking disciplines:
- Cross-Country (XC): Handlebars for XC riding are typically narrower than those for other MTB disciplines. They usually range from 680mm to 760mm in width. A narrower bar can be more efficient for climbing and navigating tight singletrack.
- Trail: Trail bike handlebars are a bit wider than XC bars, typically ranging from 740mm to 800mm. The wider stance offers more control and stability, especially on descents.
- Enduro/All-Mountain: Handlebars for enduro or all-mountain riding are often in the 760mm to 820mm range. The added width provides more leverage and control in technical terrains and high-speed descents.
- Downhill (DH): Designed for the steepest and most technical descents, often comes with the widest handlebars, ranging from 780mm to 840mm or even wider. The width offers maximum control and stability at high speeds.
- Dirt Jump/Street: Bikes designed for dirt jumping or street riding might have narrower handlebars for better maneuverability in the air or during tricks. These can range from 680mm to 760mm.
Are Mountain Bike Grips Interchangeable?
Yes, mountain bike grips are generally interchangeable, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Inner Diameter: The standard inner diameter for mountain bike grips is 22.2mm, as this is the standard outer diameter for the ends of most mountain bike handlebars. As long as both the handlebar and grip adhere to this standard, they should be compatible.
- Lock-on vs. Slide-on:
- Lock-on Grips: These grips have metal collars that lock the grip in place on the handlebar, ensuring they don’t rotate or slide off. They are easy to install and remove, making them a popular choice for many riders.
- Slide-on Grips: These grips rely on friction (and sometimes adhesive) to stay in place. They can be a bit trickier to install and remove, often requiring some form of lubrication (like soapy water or hairspray) to slide them on or off. Over time, they can also become loose, especially if exposed to water or mud frequently.
- Length and Style: While the inner diameter is standardized, the length and style of grips can vary. Some grips are longer, some have ergonomic shapes, and others have integrated bar ends. Ensure the grip’s length and style are suitable for your riding style and hand size.
- Material and Padding: Grips come in various materials, from dense rubber to foam, and some have gel or other cushioning. While this doesn’t affect interchangeability, it does affect comfort and durability. Choose a material and padding level that suits your preferences.
- End Plugs: Some grips come with end plugs to protect the handlebar and grip end. If you’re switching from a grip without an end plug to one with, or vice versa, ensure you have the necessary components.
In summary, while most mountain bike grips are interchangeable in terms of fitting onto the handlebar, there are v
I know, that was quite a lengthy article especially when you consider the fact that we were just talking about mountain bike handlebar grips. See, I always like to say and as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is the small things that get overlooked. Just because something is small does not mean that it isn’t important.
That is why we decided that we wanted to cover everything that you needed to know and not just brush over the topic. Hopefully, we have answered all of your questions and perhaps answered a few questions that you didn’t even know that you needed to ask.
I started mountain biking many years ago to improve my overall health state. After my first ride, I fell in love with the sport. Now I spend dozens of hours a week researching and training to compete in local XC and Enduro events.