Are Mountain Bike Handlebar Grips Universal? All The Facts


Just about every single mountain bike comes with handlebar grips for people to get out there and ride right away. Some people might want an upgrade, or they wear out their first set of grips pretty quickly.

It is a question that not a lot of people think about at first, but are mountain bike handlebar grips universal? A simple search online usually does not show the exact measurements of replacement grips, which confuses people a lot on what they should order.

The good news is that many mountain bike grips are universal, so getting an exact measurement is not necessary. There are exceptions to the rule, but most riders will not have any issues with that.

Why Are Most Mountain Bike Grips Universal?

Think of the handlebars of a bike as a general starting point for most people. No one is riding a mountain bike for a long time without any additional grip on the bar.

That means the bar can get away with being pretty thin when completely stripped down, and that is by design. To change the way a grip feels, the solution is to add additional material.

That means the inside of the grip will fit the same type of bar, but they can be thick or thin material on the outside, depending on need.

This solves the problem of having to make a bunch of different bikes for different people all around the world. There is generally one specific size for handlebars on adult bikes and a different size for kid bikes.

This eliminates one more thing for people to think about when they are shopping for a replacement.

What Is The Best Way To Choose a Mountain Bike Grip?

The best way to initially choose a mountain bike grip is to go off of what is currently on the bike right now. Think back to when it was brand new, and how it felt.

Some people were very satisfied with their previous grip, and they just want something that is brand new to provide that same feeling.

Others might want to go a little bit thicker, or a little bit thinner depending on circumstances. Thicker grips will allow for a bit more comfort, but it starts to get harder and harder to have an outstanding feel when out there riding.

A thinner grip is going to allow for more feel, but it does not do nearly as good of job controlling shock. The last thing a person wants to do, especially when riding on certain mountain bike trails, is a constantly sharp pain shooting through their hands with a subpar grip.

What Is The Most Common Type Of Mountain Bike Grip?

Since the beginning, the most common type of mountain bike grip people use as a replacement is a traditional slip-on option.

They are pretty simple rubber sleeves that go onto the end of the bar. They are usually left there until they wear out. It seems like a pretty easy way to add grip to a mountain bike, but they are a hassle to get on and off. What seems like an easy task can end up being a frustrating battle with the handlebars.

Why do most people continue to stick with these traditional grips that can sometimes cause headaches? The biggest selling point is that they are extremely cheap.

They also come in so many different colors and designs, and they do the job for the vast majority of people. Finally, once they are on, people forget about it.

Only those who really take mountain biking seriously and want to have something a little bit different might go in a different direction.

How Do You Slide Bike grips On And Off Properly?

The technique of sliding on a brand new grip can be a little tricky for some, but a lot of it comes down to patience. The tougher it is a slide-on, the better it will stay on because of the fit.

A person just needs to make sure they spend an extra bit of time, in the beginning, to get everything lined up correctly. If a person is not lined up correctly, it could possibly need removed before trying to do it again.

Make sure that the grip slides all the way onto the bar, or it is not going to work properly. There is usually something that helps to keep it locked in place a little, even if it is not a lock-on design.

A flange is one example of a piece that goes on the inside of the grip. Some people even use things like spray paint, wires, or even hairspray to seal the new grip as much as possible.

What Are Flangeless Grips? Does It Matter In The End?

If a person has a flange grip (Amazon), that means that they have a small rubber flange that is located on the inside end. It really does not make that much of a difference, but it is more a matter of personal preference.

Some people like flangeless grips, as it is more of a classic style. Some claim that it helps with functionality, but mountain bike riders will not actually notice a difference.

What Are Lock On Grips?

The early days of any type of bike grip only included slip-on grips for people to utilize. It slipped on the end, and they could slip off if they were not the right fit.

It was a very frustrating experience for some people, and mountain bike riders, in particular, became impacted. The longer the rides are and the more the hands move around on the grip, the more likely it is for a grip to slip off.

Lock on grips (Amazon) let people have a bit more security overall. It allows for a more customized fit, and not having a fear of ripping off a grip at the worst time is also an added bonus.

Not everyone will find locked on grips necessary, but they definitely have their fans. A lot of huge mountain bike companies are offering locked on grip options these days, even if they are a bit more expensive for the consumer. It is a great alternative option to have and rely on.

What Are The Benefits Of Lock On Grips?

The first benefit people figure out with lock on grips is that they do not need to be particularly tight when coming on and off.

Since they are bolted, they stay in place just fine without having to be super tight. This comes in handy for people who are constantly switching out grips, as some people like to use different grips depending on the weather conditions when riding their bike.

A traditional grip slips and rotates a lot more than a lock on, as the newer options clamp the grip to the bar very securely. The more inconsistent the terrain is, the more critical it is to go this route.

A locked-in feel is the only way people will have the confidence to go everywhere without any issues.

Finally, they are usually just made at a higher quality. Some look at mountain bike grips as a throwaway purchase, but cheap grips wear out easily. If they are moving around a lot, they will wear out even quicker.

Any Drawbacks To Lock-On Grips?

It might seem like lock-on grips are the perfect solution all the time for mountain bike riders, but they do have some drawbacks. The added weight is something that not everyone is a huge fan of, and there is the extra money a person needs to pay.

There are even some people who believe that lock-on grips are a little uncomfortable for certain types of riders. Anyone who prefers to rest their hands on the end of each bar will feel the difference right away.

Some people do this when they are climbing, while others just look at it as a way to rest. The truth is, there isn’t a perfect solution, as the lock-on grip options still have their drawbacks.

A lot of people overlook these drawbacks, because it is nice to ride with confidence.

Are There Any Other Handlebar Grip Options For Mountain Bikes?

Falling somewhere in between traditional and lock on grips are ergonomic grips. Shaped in a way meant to provide a little more hand comfort, some people can’t ride a mountain bike without them.

It is a personal preference, as some people don’t like the feel at all. It does take some getting used to, and there is a chance that a person forms blisters the very first time. Mess around with the different types of grips and see what works best.

Final Thoughts On Mountain Bike Grips

Since most people looking for handlebar grips figure out that they have a mountain bike with a universal size, the possibilities are endless. There are more handlebar grip options than ever before, and they are very affordable online and in stores.

It’s impossible to try them all out, especially when shopping online. The best way to get an idea on whether or not they might work comes down to reading reviews.

If a grip is receiving some positive reviews for everything, there is no reason not to go with them as an option.

Most people have no problem spending a little bit of money and possibly buying multiple pairs of mountain bike grips before settling on the one that works.

There’s always a chance of returning a set of grips if they don’t seem like what people talked about online. As long as they are not used, just about every company will take a return.

It might seem enticing to have the ability to change grips frequently, but most people are not going to want to do that step every single time.

Try to go for the most versatile, all-around option to have a great experience overall. As long as the company uses some quality material that holds up in different types of weather, the grip should last a very long time.

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