How To Replace MTB Grips: Achieve The Best Riding Experience

Often time when designing a mountain bike the manufacturer mounts on the handlebars the cheapest grips.

Unfortunately, the grips are one of the most important points of contact between your body and the bike, so replacing the stock grips or the old beat-up grips on your mountain bike is a very important step in achieving a good riding experience.

The best part about MTB grips is that they aren’t expensive.

So the only thing that you need to do is to replace the old ones and in this article, I will tell you how. So keep reading!

How To Remove MTB Grips

The first step in replacing your grips is to remove the old ones.

If your old MTB grips are lock-on then you have an easy job ahead of you:

  • remove the end caps, you can use a flat-head screwdriver for this
  • just unscrew the screws on the locking collars
  • slide the grips from the handlebars
  • clean the handlebars and the job is done

Follow the steps below if your old grips are slide-on:

  • remove the end caps
  • slide a small flat-head screwdriver between the grip and the handlebars
  • lubrification: use a spray that evaporates not a greaser and spray between the grip and handlebar, where you put the screwdriver in
  • try to rotate the grip and slide the screwdriver again, it should get further in this time and again spray for lubrification
  • rotate and pull the grip until you get it off the handlebar
  • clean the handlebars and the job is done

If you are a more visual person, you can watch the short video below, it will show you how to get the old slide-on grips off your handlebars.

Are MTB Grips Easy To Install?

There are two major grips types on the market, slide-on, and lock-on grips.

Slide-on grips are compatible with all handlebars on the market, and they are lighter than lock-on grips but harder to install. Often you need good lubrication to be able to slide them on the handlebars.

The big problems whit slide-on grips are that they are more difficult to adjust and can slide around if not properly secured, but if budget and weight are your main concerns then slide-on grips are the way to go.

Lock-on grips are more secure and easier to install than slide-on grips. They secure on handlebars with a locking collar, on one or both ends of the handlebars.

The inner diameter of the lock-on grips is a bit wider than the diameter of the handlebar, this makes them easier to install. After you slide them on, tighten the screw on the locking collars and that is all you need to do. When you ride on more technical terrain, you will not regret getting the lock-on version of the grips as they don’t roll, and that makes them more secure.

The downsides of lock-on grips are that they are heavier and more costly than slide-on grips, but if this does not bother you then the fact that they are more secure makes them the better choice.

What Size MTB Grips Shod I Use?

The size for the mountain bike grips varies from 90 mm to 150 mm in length, if you have your MTB equipped with grip shifters then you need 90 mm grips.

For those who have big hands, it is recommended to get 150 mm grips, be aware that many riders like to slide their hands right or left on the grips to better control the steering of the bike, in this case, the 150 mm are the way to go.

Choosing the grips with the right outer diameter for the size of your hands is a decisive factor that will determine how comfortable the grips will feel. If you can’t fully wrap your hand around the grip, then the outer diameter of the grip is too large, but if the grip outer diameter is too small then you will have too little contact whit the grips and you will need to compensate by squeezing tighter.

Riders with bigger hands should look for grips that have an outer diameter between 32 mm and 34 mm, on the other hand, riders with smaller hands should opt for grips in the 29 mm to 30 mm range.

How Often Do You Need To Replace The MTB Grips?

Mountain bike grips last an average of two or three years, but if you haven’t used your bike much, then your grips may last longer. If you have foam grips you may have to change them more often, rubber grips last longer but are not as comfortable as foam grips.

Are MTB Grips End Caps Important

Are the grip’s end caps important? The answer is a big YES, they protect the end of handlebars on big crashes. But the most important thing is that they protect your body if you are unfortunate enough and you got hit with the end of the handlebars.

If you what to see what kind of damage the end of handlebars can do to your body, remove the grips from the handlebars and hit a potato with them. The end of the handlebars will perforate the potato, now imagine that instead of the potato is your torso. OMG right?

Now repeat the experiment with the end caps on, the end of the handlebars will not penetrate the potato. If instead of the potato the handlebars with end caps will hit your torso or other parts of your body, the damage is high, but without end caps, it will be a disaster.

Are Foam Grips good?

The majority of grips on the market are made out of rubber with different padding options for more grip and durability, but for cross-country and long rides comfort is king, so foam grips are the better option here.

The biggest disadvantage of foam grips over rubber grips is that they tend to break down too easily, there really aren’t many foam grips out there, and they’re mostly made up of cheap foam.

Foam grips are designed for comfort and not for durability, but they are not slippery and hold up well under most riding conditions, they don’t even feel slippery when you sweat. No wonder that foam grips developed such a big fun basis.

For the cons of using foam grips, I can mention the fact that they can rub off on your hands leaving black marks, and they are easily destroyed after scrapes across the ground in a crush.

The main advantage of foam grips is that they tend to be softer and wider in diameter so might be more comfortable to hold, but I must not forget that foam grips are usually lighter and that is a big plus.

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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.