When it comes to mountain biking, they 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. Well, if you are reading this, I am sure that you already know this or have recently found this out.
So, are grips universal and how do you choose the right one for you?
The diameter of mountain bike handlebars has become universal. This means that manufacturers make their grips according to these standards, the diameter of a mountain bike handlebar is 22.2 mm. Grips are made to fit handlebars that are between 20 and 23 mm.
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 handlebars grips and mountain bikes in general. So, for everything that you need to know, keep reading.
Are All Mountain Bike Handlebars The Same Diameter?
The diameter of handlebars for almost all mountain bikes has become standardized. This means that all handlebars on mountain bikes are the same diameter. At least this is true for any reputable mountain bike manufacturer.
If you have a newer model of a mountain bike, you can be sure that the diameter for the handlebars is around 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.
Please note that we are talking specifically about mountain bikes. I feel that this is important to add just in case. If you have a road bike you might have to measure the diameter. It could be the same as a mountain bike but if you have drop bars the diameter will be a little bit bigger going up to 23.8 millimeters.
Are All Mountain Bike Handlebars The Same Length?
No, not all mountain bikes have the same handlebar length. Remember, we are not talking about the length from one handlebar to the other, we were talking about one specific handlebar grip.
The length of a mountain bike handlebar is approximately 130 mm however, you do get shorter ones at about 90 mm.
It is important that you measure the length of your handlebars before buying a grip.
Are Mountain Bike Grips Interchangeable?
For the most part, yes, mountain bike grips are interchangeable. If you have an old mountain bike you might have to check the diameter of the handlebars however, this is not so important if you have a new model.
The one problem that you could run into is in terms of the length of the grip. As we have already discussed, some mountain bike handlebars have a length of 90 mm while others use 130mm handlebars.
The Best Way To Choose The Right Mountain Bike Grips For You
I feel like we have got all the important information out of the way regarding the diameter and the length of the handlebars. Now it is time for us to discuss how you can choose the best handlebar grips for you.
Let’s take a look at a list of things you need to look for on MTB grips and then discuss that list in detail:
- Remember, the diameter is universal.
- Know the length of your handlebars.
- Get the right thickness.
- Make sure they are durable.
- Get grips that suit your style.
The Diameter Is Universal
Remember, you don’t really have to worry about the diameter of the grips. Just make sure that the grip states that it is 22.2 mm or if it doesn’t state that, it should state whether or not it is for mountain bikes.
Know The Length Of Your Handlebars
You need to measure the length of your handlebars. Now, some grips might be slightly longer on purpose but this is rare.
So, once you have measured your handlebars get the grip for that size. You can measure your handlebars with a ruler or measuring tape, it really isn’t difficult.
Get The Right Thickness For Your Hands
Now, this is where you need to pay close attention to detail. If you have small hands you want to get thinner grips. On the flip side, if you have larger hands you can get thick grips.
While it is true that thicker grips may offer more comfort, this is not true if you have small hands. See, your hand should be able to wrap around the grip so that your index finger and your thumb touch each other while holding the handlebars. This means that you have enough length to grip your brakes.
If the handlebars are too thick for your hands this could push your hands slightly back so that your fingers cannot fully grab the brakes. I need to add that this can be quite dangerous because it might prevent you from reacting quickly enough to any situation you find yourself in where you need to pull the brakes quickly.
Get Durable Grips
Look, you don’t want to be spending money unnecessarily and if you get grips that are not durable you might end up buying a set of grips every few months. This can start to become expensive.
So, always try and get durable grips. Later on in this article, I am going to recommend a few of my favorite choices. So, keep reading.
Make Sure They Are Cool
Ok, I know this sounds a little bit silly but trust me, get grips that look cool to you. Something that suits your style. I don’t know, there is just something therapeutic about a mountain bike that looks good.
Seeing as you are going to be using your mountain bike for your recreational pastime, at least try and make it look at least somewhat aesthetically pleasing.
If you have a cross-country bike and most of your rides are on unpaved country roads or you use your bike for city rides ( to the grocery store or commuting to work), then you may want comfortable grips for a smoother ride.
What Is A Lock-On Grip?
There are two types of grips that you can buy for your mountain bike:
- slide on grips
- lock on grips
Lock-on grips are designed to be locked on your handlebars by tightening a bolt at one or both ends of the grips.
Slide-on grips have a smaller diameter than your handlebars, you install them by forcing them on your handlebars. They are harder to install than lock-on grips and have the big disadvantage that they roll when you apply more force on the more technical side of your rides.
If bike weight is not your main concern, there is no reason not to search for lock-on grips, they will be easier to install and will secure better on the handlebars. the only downside is that they are heavier than slide-on grips.
How Do Lock On Grips Work?
The main feature of lock-on grips is that they offer you the possibility to lock them on the handlebars, this will ensure that they won’t roll when you squeeze tight on technical descents.
Lock-on grips are easy to install because they slide very easily on the handlebars and no lubrication is needed. After you slide them on, you need to tighten the bolt on the end of the grips.
At one end or bout end of the grip, you can find a metal collar with a bolt. When you tighten the bolt, the metal collar will be tightened on the handlebars and secure the grip, now you are set to go and can take your mountain bike on an epic ride.
Are Mountain Bike Grips Important?
Yes, the grips on your handlebars are extremely important. It baffles me that sometimes people tend to look past the importance of their grips.
Think about it, you can’t put on a pair of casual sneakers and run 10 miles every day and expect your legs and feet to not take a beating, right? The same can be said when it comes to grips for your hands on a mountain bike.
This is especially true if you do long-distance riding. Anything from 15 to 20 miles is considered long-distance, at least for most people. With cheap grips, your hands will start to become tired. They might also form calluses or even blisters. So, you want to make sure that you get a good quality set of grips for your mountain bike.
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.
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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.