Like all bike things, grips are no exception, when it comes to range. Price, diameter, length, grip surface, ease of installation, ergonomic shape, type of riding, time on the bike, colour can all influence your decision on what to use. A standard run of the mill grip will do a fine job for most types of riders. It’s when you add in ergonomics, preventing any type of hand, wrist, shoulder discomfort, or time on the bike that things become a bit more technical.
We really encourage using your bike to go more places, more often. So with increased time on the bike the importance of comfort also increases. Grips are one of the 3 points of contact that you make with the bike and they share the load of your body weight down through the bike. For some types of riders (fast descending) a secure grip surface gives a real sense of control over the steering of your bike.
Not only are grips important for comfort and control put also to simply protect your handlebar ends from damage. Handlebars can be exposed to knocks and impacts. It is also really important that the ends of your handlebars are plugged to avoid a nasty injury in any type of crash/fall.
Slip on, 125mm length, good grip surface – Oxford Dual Density kids/youth grip
Adult grips are usually 130 to 140mm long with a diameter range between 27 – 35mm.
Getting the right size grip is usually about matching up your hand size to a length and diameter so that the grip will fit the natural shape of your hand. So it’s better for people with smaller hands – women – to get a shorter length and small diameter.
There are other things that influence this fit. The most obvious is whether you wear gloves or not and how well padded the gloves are. Also some people have a preference for feel through their hands so will sacrifice a padded feel – bigger diameter – for a slim grip.
What are Grips made from?
The surface your hand comes into contact with on grips is generally made out of some type of rubber, foam, gel or leather. A popular choice is Kraton which is a type of rubber silicon. The problem that grip manufacturers have is that they need to make a lightweight, comfortable surface for you to grip but they can’t use materials with hard compounds (durable) otherwise the grip will have no vibration dampening. This will quickly lead to hand fatigue. So grips are made from softer compounds. The advantages of Silicon, for example, is that it makes a great non slip surface which is perfect for a grip.
Be aware that having a large diameter soft grip surface made from foam, that may initially feel really comfortable for your hands, can lead to fatigue problems. If you have to grip your handlebars tightly to feel like you’ve got a proper hold on them your grips are not working how they should. This also applies to a surface that you feel like your hands are slipping off – which can happen as grips wear down or get wet.
Ergon bike grips lead the market in ergonomically designed bike grips that distribute pressure more evenly
Most of the design that goes into making a grip is concentrated around ergonomics and what promotes the best possible position for your hand. Changing diameters down the length of the grip ending with a wing is a popular way to help alleviate any problems with compression of nerves. Grips can be shaped in a way that will help you to maintain a relaxed but firm hold. For more on this important subject see How to Grip your Handlebars
The other most noticeable design feature is the surface pattern of the grip. Raised, ridged, waffle designs are used over the grip surface to help with a secure hold where different parts of your hand come into contact with the grip. So it can be really important when attaching your grip to your handlebar to have it positioned left or right and with the patterns in the correct place.
Lock On vs Slip On Grips
Beneath the rubber outer of Lock On grips is an inner alloy or plastic liner that is screwed onto the handlebar. Locking your grips on in this manner is a really easy way to get grips on and off. Lock on grips provide a secure surface to hold that is unlikely to move when force is applied. This makes these grips a really popular choice for mountain biking. See How to Attach a Lock On Grip
Slide on grips will have a smaller diameter so are often what teenagers and kids have on their bikes.
get Ready and goRide – Features of a Handlebar Grip
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