Do your hands go numb or do you have unusual cramps while cycling? That can all change if you find the right handlebar grip that makes your ride comfortable. Besides comfort, your grip also affects your ability to steer or brake.
Here are the top 14 types of bike handlebar grips in one list:
- Ergonomic Grips
- Plain Gauge Grips
- Grips With Integrated Bar Ends
- Dual Compound Grips
- Flanged Grips
- Lock-On Grips
- Rubber Grips
- Cork Grips
- Gel Grips
- Leather Grips
- Aluminum Grips
- Wood Or Bamboo Grips
- Silicone Grips
- Foam Grips
I’ve personally experienced a huge change in comfort and handling by just changing the handlebar grip, and I urge you to try it yourself!
So, dive deeper into this article as I give you a complete insight into every grip’s strengths and weaknesses!
Top 14 Handlebar Grips In One List
One of the most important factors to consider for a handlebar grip is its design and material. There is a wide range of grips with various shapes and thicknesses.
It is pertinent that you make the right choice for your bike. Hence, we have compiled a list of all the handlebar grips, and you can choose whichever one works best for you.
#1 Ergonomic Grips
The prominent feature of ergonomic grips is their wing shape at the end. This flat and rounded part of this grip offers additional support to your wrist and increases the strength of your grip.
Usually, in other types of grips, you tend to numb or wear out your wrist by constantly moving it whenever steering.
However, with ergonomic grips, your wrists stay in their natural and healthy position. This reduces any chances of discomfort because of back or neck pain.
Moreover, even when you get tired and want to relax your wrists, you can rest them on the wing of the grip in an ergonomic position.
» This could also be something for you: How To Remove Grips From Handlebars?
#2 Plain Gauge Grips
Plain gauge grips are the most common and simple type of grip. These cylinder-shaped grips have the same length throughout and are easily slipped on the handlebars.
The plain gauge grips are usually made up of rubber, silicone, or foam.
These grips also have some ridges or bulges that facilitate you in solidifying your grip.
The plain gauge grips provide a very strong wrist action and grip. They are able to support your neck and back well and put you in an ideal position for high-speed cycling.
However, prolonged cycling in this grip can cause numbness in the wrist or put some strain on the wrist joint.
#3 Grips With Integrated Bar Ends
Bar ends are basically short bars that point forward from the flat portion of the ends of the bar. These short bars are integrated well into the design and give an overall stylish outlook to the bike.
The purpose of the grips with integrated bar ends is to give you more room to adjust a comfortable wrist position and allow you to have a second-hand grip on the flat bar.
These bars can make your rides comfortable and prevent your wrists from fatiguing, thus proving as the perfect partners for long tours.
#4 Dual Compound Grips
Dual compound grips are exactly what they sound like. They are made up of two different types of rubbers.
A harder material forms the base of the grip so that it can support your hand and wrist movement whereas the top material is formed of a relatively softer material where your hands are in contact with the grip.
The harder material on the lower surface prevents the bar from slipping or twisting whereas the softer material makes the bar comfortable to hold.
Overall, the dual compound grips are usually pretty thick and some riders may not prefer this grip based on that.
However, the dual compound grips allow you to hold the bar quite comfortably while simultaneously maintaining the strength and integrity of the grip itself.
#5 Flanged Grips
Do you want to give your bike a subtle yet classy look? Flanged grips are probably the best way to do that. Flanges are the rubber grips present near the opening or inside of the handle grips.
Flanges are very effective in preventing your hand from slipping while riding.
They are able to accomplish that because of the hardness and strength of the rubber fibers that they are made up of.
Even though flanges are a great addition to your bike handlebar grips, they are not common and are usually only present on certain types of bikes.
You would most likely find the flanges to be present on BMX and mountain bikes.
#6 Lock-On Grips
There are certain lock-on grips that have metal collars present on the ends. These metal collars lock onto the handlebar with Allen bolts.
These Allen bolts bolt in place and keep the grips from sliding or throttling on the bar. Whenever you tighten the Allen bolt, a small gap in the collar closes, resulting in the collar clamping down around the handlebars.
The lock-on grips provide a very effective yet simple gripping system. With a strong grip in place, your bike rides are now easy and comfortable.
The lock-on grips have only recently started gaining popularity but can be still found in mountain or commuter bikes.
#7 Rubber Grips
Do you know what’s the grip that literally requires zero maintenance? Rubber grips. Rubber grips have been used for a long time and are probably one of the most common grips out there.
Not only are these rubber grips durable and lasting but also do not degrade on any exposure to UV light.
Moreover, rubber grips work extremely well in absorbing shocks that may result from an uneven trail or obstacle-laden pathway.
The rubber grips also provide insulation to your hands, meaning that they will keep your hands warmer during the winter. This would allow you to have a better grip, control, and steering ability even when the temperature is cold.
» I have covered more on this subject in this blog post: How to Install Rubber Handlebar Grips?
One disadvantage of these grips is that they do not absorb any sweat or moisture. That means that the fluid is not able to escape and may eventually cause blisters on your hands.
#8 Cork Grips
Even though cork doesn’t directly absorb sweat or moisture, it dries up pretty quickly. This means that the sweat doesn’t stick around for long and minimizes the chances of you getting any blisters.
The cork grips are the best-performing grips in the market. They are light, durable, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly.
Since the cork is made up of completely natural materials, it degrades easily and thus makes for a very eco-friendly grip option,
One prominent con of the cork grips is that it is costly. In fact, it is probably the most expensive grip out there.
However, investing in cork grips is worth it, especially because they last long, make your biking comfortable, and minimize health risks.
#9 Gel Grips
Have you ever heard of gel combined with rubber? This combination works extremely well when it comes to bicycle grips.
The manufacturers of the gel grip mainly combine the gel with rubber to improve its durability. However, it overall adds up to an extremely light and comfortable grip that makes riding your bike easy for you.
In addition to that, the price of the gel grips is pretty much affordable.
However, like rubber grips, the gel grips also do not work well in absorbing any moisture and thus, may increase your chances to procure blisters.
#10 Leather Grips
You have surely seen leather jackets and leather shoes, and we can all agree that leather basically looks amazing on everything.
Leather grips are another great option to look out for when it comes to stylish yet comfortable grips. Leather grips have more of an aesthetical advantage rather than a functional one.
Thus, the grip made from leather is relatively more expensive than any other grip material. Another disadvantage of leather grips is that they get slippery when they get wet.
This has a negative effect on your bike handling and control. However, if you don’t plan to cycle for long hours and want your bike to look really cool, you should definitely opt for a leather grip.
#11 Aluminum Grips
Aluminum alloys are excellent compounds for making any material that requires strength and flexibility in its usage.
Aluminum grips are mainly made up of aluminum alloys, however, they are wrapped in leather or rubber, since they oxidize fast on exposure to air.
» I have also written this post, about: Steel vs. Aluminum Bike Frames
Aluminum alloys make up for strong aluminum grips because they are lightweight and durable in nature. However, one drawback of using this grip is that they are made up of metal which tends to get slippery and may affect the overall wrist grip on the handlebar.
The aluminum grips also get cold in the winter and may make riding your bike difficult for you.
#12 Wood Or Bamboo Grips
Since we’re talking about stylish grips, we have another contestant lined up. Wood or bamboo grips are another example of aesthetically pleasing yet less functional grips.
These grips are made up of materials like bamboo and are only made for classy looks.
Bamboo has been long used for artistic purposes and this is just another example of the versatility of this material when it comes to adding style to anything.
One advantage of bamboo stick grips is that they give the bike a pleasant and natural look.
Moreover, they are not very costly and degrade easily too, thus they are environmentally friendly. However, it should be noted that these grips do not provide any shock absorption or durability.
#13 Silicone Grips
Silicone has wide and versatile use and silicone grips are another manifestation of this amazing material. Silicone grips are easy to grasp in all weather conditions and are long-lasting and durable.
The silicone grip has great vibration and shock absorption properties.
The most potent feature of silicone grips is the comfort that they provide. These grips are extremely comfortable and due to solely that reason, they are getting increasingly popular among bikers these days.
Unlike other grips, silicone grips do not degrade or harden on any exposure to UV rays from the sunlight.
However, they are pretty fragile and may break even on minor exposure to any abrasive surface or a minor accident. Even though bar caps can prevent this from happening, they are rarely very effective.
#14 Foam Grips
Foam grips are another great option for you if you are looking for a cheap and moisture-absorbing grip. The foam grip is pretty affordable and lightweight.
These grips easily absorb moisture and prevent the formation of any blisters on your hands.
When it comes to durability, these grips are certainly not the best option. Simply because they break down on slight exposure to UV rays.
The foam grips even get damaged when your bike leans against something abrasive. Thus, you will have to replace these grips more than usual and that may seem like a hassle.
The usage of foam grips has decreased significantly because the bikers have leaned more towards silicone grips and think it is the better investment.
What Else Matters When It Comes to Handlebar Grips?
Now we have discussed in length all the types of grips you can avail.
However, the comfort of your ride doesn’t just depend on the grip type, but also on other factors such as the grip thickness and grip texture.
Let’s discuss both these factors below and find out more about this!
#1 Grip Thickness
Certain grips have increased thickness while others don’t. The thickness of your grip entirely depends on your comfort level with it.
For example, if you have thick and wide hands, you would prefer a thicker grip since it would be more accommodated according to your hand size. The opposite may be true for someone who has smaller and thinner hands.
Before just buying a grip, you should try out some of them and figure out which works best according to your hand anatomy.
Generally, thicker grips are preferred amongst the bikers because they have a greater effect in dampening the vibrations and absorbing shock.
This is especially true for mountain bikes where the movement is usually uphill or downhill and rarely smooth.
However, some people believe that the thicker grips take away from the biking experience and you won’t be able to get out much from it.
#2 Grip Texture
The grip patterns also vary across different types of grips. While some have uneven ridges that make the grip stronger, some are smooth to allow more free movement and an overall smooth surface to hold on to.
Generally, a grip that has more ridges and patterns on its surface work really well in rainy conditions because they rarely let your hands or wrist slip.
However, these patterns may bug you sometimes when you will find the friction between your hand and the grip surface to be increased.
Again, before buying a new grip, you should check out grips with various patterns and designs and see if they feel comfortable yet strong enough for your biking activities. You should choose the grip pattern based on your biking activities too.
For example, if you usually enjoy mountain biking, you will need a stronger grip pattern and texture.
But if you just want to go on exploratory cycling around towns, you don’t need to have a strong grip on the cycle, rather the comfort and easy navigation should take precedence over that.
Do All Grips Fit All Bikes?
No, all grips do not fit all bikes. There is a variety of grips you can now choose from and they are now made very specific to the bike types. Moreover, the diameters and thickness of the grips differ for different bikes and you should take your time to experiment and find the one that best fits your circumstances.
» Read my blog post about: Carbon vs. Aluminum Road Bikes
I’m finally done listing and discussing all types of handlebar grips for your bike.
Even though handlebar grips are pretty easily affordable and available, they make a huge difference when it comes to your biking experience.
They play an important role in providing comfort to your wrist, hands, neck, and back, and facilitate your cycling activities in a productive way.
Though I have discussed all the types of grips, it is time for you to make the right decision now.
Just remember to experiment more before you directly buy the grips, and hopefully, you will land a comfortable and well-suited grip for your bike!