If you think that grips are not the most crucial part of a bicycle, we would agree with you.
They don’t directly affect the speed of movement, they can be changed every day, or, conversely, you can ride with basic grips all your life and genuinely not understand why they need to be changed at all.
However, if you want not just to move from point A to point B, but do it with comfort, have high requirements for the bicycle's weight or variety of weather conditions for riding, then you cannot do without exploring the question of grips.
Besides, if you ride actively, sooner or later even the most durable grips will become unusable.
Why Grips are Needed
Grips are the very bicycle handles, attachments on the bicycle handlebar, which you hold with your hands. They were invented to provide the best fixation of hands on the handlebar and generally the cyclist's contact with the bicycle.
The right grips provide good traction in the rain, as well as act as shock absorbers, which is especially important if your bike's suspension parameters do not meet your off-road ambitions.
If the grips are chosen correctly, you may not notice them at all: they are just there. But, if you buy an unsuitable pair, the apocalypse comes: hands slide off the handlebar, the grips themselves slide and fall off or tear from every awkward movement. It’s not a ride, it's a complete misunderstanding.
Types of Grips
All grips of the world can be conditionally divided into several categories depending on their material and shape. Each has its own pros and cons, it all depends on your riding style, goals, and budget.
1) Rubber Grips
- Durable and resilient, especially if made of good rubber;
- Thick models provide excellent shock absorption.
- Have significant weight, if this parameter is important to you.
2) Foam Grips
- The lightest of all - weigh literally a few grams (for comparison: 20-30 grams against 70-80 grams of rubber grips);
- If the weight of the bicycle is important to you, we recommend paying attention. For road or cross-country, this is the best solution.
- Variety of shapes and colors;
- Perform well in bad weather: do not slip in the rain, pleasant to the touch in the off-season.
- Very low shock absorption, if compared with all other types;
- Do not fix on the handlebar and can rotate;
- Extremely sensitive to mechanical impact: fell a couple of times, dropped the bike three times, and it's time to buy a new pair.
3) Leather Grips
- The most stylish of all, they transform the entire bicycle. We recommend getting a pair for mood uplift and hedonistic city rides.
- These grips are not so lucky: they have poor shock absorption, leather easily gets scratched and requires maintenance. Do not think of installing them on a stunt bike, or if you plan on off-road riding: you'll damage the beautiful grips and will be upset.
4) Cork Grips
- Pleasant to the touch;
- Work excellently during the shoulder season, provide good grip and keep the warmth of hands;
- Beautiful and suitable for both sports models and city bikes.
- The cork will darken from use, and dirt will embed into the porous material. If you're an aesthete, take this into account.
Apart from the material, grips can vary in shape and the type of attachment to the handlebar:
1) Straight Grips without Lock-ons
Essentially, this is just a tube that is mounted on the handlebar, having no elements of mechanical fixation and held in place by friction force.
Classic grips are the most basic option, which you are probably familiar with; most manufacturers install them by default if the model belongs to the economy segment.
- sold everywhere;
- good choice of colors and sizes: can be changed weekly to match your mood;
- resistant to wear and tear;
- decent shock absorption for their price.
- become slippery when riding in the rain;
- cheap rubber grips start rotating and sliding off the handlebar quickly, making it utterly impossible to ride on them.
2) Straight Grips with Lock-on
These are the same straight grips as classic ones, but with a hard fixation – lock-on. Rubber tubes are not just stretched onto the handlebar, but also have elements for attaching to it. Such a grip won’t go anywhere, so grips with lock-ons are much more convenient than the aforementioned classic rubber ones.
- securely fixed on the handlebar;
- also, a wide choice of colors and materials.
- be careful not to overtighten the fixator during installation and damage the handlebar;
- shock absorption will be worse than that of the classic grip;
- if every gram is important to you, better pass: grips with lock-ons will weigh about 100g.
3) Ergonomic Grips
These grips have a refined shape that provides a very solid grip on the handlebar.
- The ideal option for long rides and off-road biking! The connection with the bicycle is significantly better than when using straight grips. Try them – they are fabulously comfortable!
- usually cost more than straight models;
- need to be carefully selected to fit your hand.
4) Soft Grips
This option is more suitable for professional sports or performing bike tricks. But bear in mind: after a few months of active riding, the grips will need to be replaced, and it's good if they last at least that long. But that's life: grips are expendables.
How to Choose Bicycle Grips?
If you are concerned about grips for your bicycle, there could be several reasons, but it's important to recognize them to understand which grips you will need next, and which option to settle on.
1) Your old grips have become unusable
It's simple here: if you have ridden with them and felt comfortable, choose the same shape, you might want to try changing the material, but it's not necessary. As the saying goes, don't fix what isn't broken.
2) You realized that the ones you have do not suit you: they slip, don't cushion, or, God forbid, simply slipped off and got lost
Here it makes sense to switch to grips with lock-ons at the very least if slipping is the issue.
If better cushioning is needed - look for thicker rubber models. Sometimes just changing the grip material for comfortable riding is enough, for instance, choosing cork instead of rubber, then your hands may stop sweating excessively and slipping.
3) You are planning to radically change your riding style
Previously rode in the city, but decided for off-road. Earlier you rode 3 km to work, but now started riding 20 km. That is, you increased the load not only on the legs and heart but also on the wrists. Classic grips won't do here, but ergonomic models are highly desirable.
4) You want to do a little tuning and win a beauty contest among bicycles
And we understand you well, as it's so important to like your bicycle. Choose colorful models, models made of cork or leather, match the color of the frame or saddle. You are fabulous!
How to remove and install grips?
As you may have already understood, a good grip should fit tightly on the handlebar, otherwise, it won't be of any use. But what to do when you need to remove the old grips from the handlebar and, more interestingly, put on new ones? There are several cycling life hacks for this.
How to remove grips:
- Lift the edge of the grip with a screwdriver and drip some alcohol inside. The friction will decrease, and the grip will start to give way. Rotate it back and forth, eventually, it will come off.
- If the grip is made of soft rubber or foam, you can try to inject alcohol into it using a medical syringe.
- Instead of alcohol, you can use a soap solution, glycerin, or furniture polish.
- You can always just cut off the grip with a knife if you no longer need it.
How to put on grips:
- It's better to hold hard rubber grips in boiling water for a few minutes before stretching them on, and then let them cool and dry on the handlebar.
- Grips made of other materials are better put on when the handlebar is wet.
- If the grip has loosened and started to spin, you can try to fix the situation by spraying the inside with hair spray. Craftsmen claim that this method is old as time but works.
We have been selling bicycles and accessories for a long time, and during this time we have managed to study all the manufacturers, communicate with them, test their products and offer only the best ones to you. Here are those we can easily vouch for:
A strong brand of cycling accessories headquartered in Germany. They make bike racks, bike computers, bags, and of course, bicycle grips. The guys have a knack for design and ergonomics, and they make the best leather grips ever!
You probably know this brand for their saddles - the guys are real saddle gurus, having been manufacturing them for over 100 years! The grips here are also good: they subject a new model to multiple tests to find the right color and the right size. The result is non-slip, super ergonomic grips of excellent quality.
Brick Lane Bikes
A wonderful English brand, well known in cycling circles. Renowned for its minimalist design and excellent quality of products. Look how hard they've tried: they made grips in so many colors, choose whichever you like the most.
We hope we helped you navigate the world of bicycle grips, and soon you will be able to give lectures on the topics of gripsology. For now, you can just choose the coolest ones for yourself.
At Movin Mobility, we always experiment with different brands of grips to choose the best combination of price and quality. Currently, we've settled on rubberized ergonomic grips. Come visit us at 654 College Street, schedule a test drive of your future e-bike and see their high quality for yourself.