Grips need replacing…
Every time you get on your bike your hands will make contact with your grips. Being one of the 3 points of contacts you have with the bike makes them a really well used component on your bike. So, no surprises, they often need replacing. Due to the fact that they have to be comfortable to hold onto they are made from materials that allow a bit of cushioning to occur, rather than being robust like most others parts of your bike.
See our story How to Attach Lock On Grips
Grips should be comfortable…
The primary job of your grips is to provide a comfortable surface for you to hold onto while riding. Along with this comfort you should aim for a feeling of control and protection for the ends of your handlebars. No amount of discomfort, numbness or tingling is OK, especially if you ride a lot. Be wary of really soft, spongy grips as they may feel good but they can make you tend to squeeze the handlebars to get a feeling of control. This squeezing will lead to really tired hands at the end of a ride.
For further information read How to Grip your Handlebars
Slide On vs Lock On
Lock on grips are unlikely to rotate when placed under pressure so that makes them a popular choice for mountain bike riders. The knowledge that your gripping surface is not suddenly going to move on you is important for this type of rider… if you are not a mountain biker, a simple pair of slide on grips may be all you need. All grips should have plugs to put into the end of your handlebar, this prevents serious injury in a crash and protects the end of the bar. Also worth noting is that lock on grips are very easy to get on and off your bike when compared to slide on grips.
See our story How to Attach Lock On Grips
What are they made from?
Lock on grips have an inner alloy or plastic liner beneath the outer rubber. This double layer tends to make lock on grips slightly thicker than a slide on grip. Grips can be made from Silicon which will give you a few notable advantages – they will be lightweight, non slip when wet and absorb vibrations well. However, silicon is not very durable. Harder compounds will provide durability but aren’t as good at dampening vibration so over time you may experience hand fatigue.
Will you be wearing gloves?
Gloves vs bear hands. Grips are made for different things including whether you like to wear gloves or not. A lot of people have a real preference for good ‘feel’ though their hands so will feel strongly about the diameter of their grip and either not wearing gloves or having only a sleek minimal style of glove.
Surface of the grip
Any bumps, ridges or waffling on grips provides a more effective sticky contact surface which can be really important if you ride in wet weather or happen to sweat a lot. These features will provide you with the confidence that your hands aren’t slipping or moving around, giving you a better feeling of control on your bike. Read our story How to Grip your Handlebars.
Long vs Short, Small vs Large
Be aware that people with small hands shouldn’t use long grips as the length of the grip will push the brake and gear levers too far away from where the hands are placed. Most grips are between 130 & 140mm in length. The second variance you will find is in the diameter of grips. Ranging from 27mm to 35mm and generally matching hand size but can be influenced by the type of glove you choose to ride with or the fact you ride without gloves at all – personal preference stuff.
For more information go to Features of a Handlebar Grip
Straight vs Ergonomic
Ergonomic (contoured) grips will give your hands better support in different hand positions. This can have a big effect over time on the bike, especially if you have problems with numbness or pain. So simply speaking ergonomic grips are great for endurance riding, multi day or tour riding. Also for anyone who experiences any hand discomfort.
Make sure you read How to Grip your Handlebars if you have any issues with hand discomfort when you ride.
Make your purchase a success…
Make sure you follow all instructions for correct installation of your grips. Paying particular attention to the correct position for gripping surfaces.
Wear & tear
Your grips will wear out…it’s just a part of riding a bike. To be comfortable they need to be made of silicon or rubber which can be tough but is simply not durable over a lifetime of a bike. Check them regularly for wearing and check the locking mechanism as well.
It is essential for safety to have end plugs in your grips. These can get damaged and fall out (especially if the bike is dropped onto its handlebar ends or is involved in a crash).