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ErgonGA2Fat
FunGuy
_03A0364
SQlab

Contact points like grips and saddles are a little personal for everyone. Mountain bikers come in all shapes and sizes, and everyone has different preferences and riding styles. Whether it’s narrow grips or a fat diameter, it’s all about finding the right ones for you.

For this review roundup, we’ll cover a handful of grips from a few recognizable brands.

Fabric FunGuy

  • 105g per pair
  • Single side, lock-on
  • $19 per pair

The Fabric FunGuy is the grip that blends BMX style with mountain bike functionality. The ribbed pattern is squishy and soft, and the grip itself tapers in toward the center for better ergonomics.

On the underside is a micro-hex pattern that protrudes slightly for added control. While these don’t look like the most ergonomic or functional grips, they’re pretty comfortable, even on long rides, and the underside flattens out so that your fingers can lengthen over the grip. The styling is understated and feels like a bit of a throwback to BMX riding from days gone by.

I rode with these during my week of BC Bike Race and they held up quite well. I think for an entire week of riding bumpy trails, I’d go with something a little wider next time, but my hands still felt surprisingly fresh at the end of the week.

SQlab 70X

  • Single side, lock-on
  • 132g per pair
  • $33 (available on Amazon.com)

With the description for the 70X marked as gravity and E-performance, you get the idea of what this grip is made for — heavy bikes and heavy-handed riders.

The 70X rounds out in the front for a comfortable grip and is mostly made up of a small, textured diamond pattern. It’s much firmer than the 711 Tech and Trail and the rubber doesn’t feel quite as tacky.

SQlab says the material provide a damping effect, but if it does, it’s subtle. Overall, I found that I enjoyed the grip of the 711 much more (see below).

Ergon GE1 Evo

The Ergon GE1s claim to be made for enduro cockpits and wide handlebars and will support the correct arm and hand position. The grips protrude in the middle to fill space in your palm, have wider grooves at the top of the grip, and smaller grooves where the bottom of your fingers extend to.

I’ve run the GE1 on a few different bikes and they have been comfortable on all of them. They’re great for smaller hands, offer plenty of grip if you have active hands on the bars, and do pretty well with mitigating the effects of sweaty hands when you forget your gloves.

Lizard Skins Charger EVO

These light gray / off-white grips have remained surprisingly clean. Charger EVO photos and words by Jeff Barber.

  • Single side, lock-on
  • 103g per pair (actual)
  • $29.99 (find online)
  • 136mm long, 31mm diameter

The Charger EVO grips from Lizard Skins feature a unique 3D diamond pattern broken up with a ribbed fingertip rest on the back side side. The texture feels weird and funky in a way that makes me want to ride without gloves; it’s almost soothing yet electric. The ribbed back / underside provides a great surface for resting fingertips, or digging in on both gritty climbs and hairy descents alike.

I recommend running the grips with the ribbed texture facing forward/down.

At 136mm long, the Charger EVOs are slightly longer than the average mountain bike grip, with a medium diameter, making them a good choice for the average rider. The padding is fairly minimal; that is, not very thick or spongy, offering good feedback and responsiveness. With just a single clamp, the pair weighs right around 100g which is fairly lightweight.

SQlabs 711

  • Single side, lock-on
  • 150g per pair
  • $38 (available at Amazon.com)

The SQ Labs 711 Tech and Trail grips became my favorite set for my own bike. The grips themselves are sized in S, M, and L, which is is pretty unique for a set of grips, but SQlabs takes ergonomics seriously.

Initially, the 711 Tech and Trail is tougher to install than others because only a third of the inside grip is a hard plastic, and then it’s just rubber. So, you may have to use hair spray to get the grips on, but I installed them with just a bit of elbow grease. I have smaller hands, and these grips have been the most ergonomical for me without feeling like I’m trying to get my hands around a fence post. I’ve found them suitable for all riding situations.

Ergon GA2 Fat

Ergon’s GA2 Fat grips have the same pattern and shape as the GE1s, but are — you guessed it – fatter. They are made for larger handed folks or for anyone who wants more damping. I’ve found that even running the larger grips for damping, they become uncomfortable since my hands are smaller. For me, it just makes sense to stick to the right size.

Richey WCS Trail grips

WCS Trail photos and words by Jeff Barber.

  • Dual side, lock-on
  • $27.95 (available at Amazon.com)
  • Weight: 112g (claimed)
  • 135mm long, 32mm diameter

The Ritchey WCS Trail grips are meatier than the average grip, making them a good choice for riders with larger hands. A classic square block pattern is enhanced with a micro texture on the blocks for improved, non-slip performance. The Kraton rubber feels firm and hard, not flexy, for excellent control. Available in six colors.

What are the best mountain bike grips you’ve found? Tell us in the comments.

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# Comments

  • Oldandrolling

    For a comparison, I have the Ergon GA’s and ODI Rouges on my bikes. The ODI has a bit more grip but, the GA feels more contoured to my hand. Both grips have a long life and are comfortable on long rides which is what I look for.

  • Brad Beadles

    Ergon GS1 grips are by far the most comfortable pair of grips I’ve ever owned. Perfect for anyone doing big miles/long days in the saddle or singlespeed where you’ll need more leverage.

    I’d really like to try out those Ergon GA2 grips on my trail bike tho… if they’re anything like the GS1’s, they’d be worth it.

  • vanevanson

    I use Portland Design Works – Speed Metal Grips. They are $36 and the grip inserts can be replaced for $10. They feel great with my bigger hands. They had a Gap between the grip and bar for flex. They have different products in their line as well.

  • INBRDLVR

    I like the Bontrager SSR Grip because they’re comfy and cheap, so I can replace them more often.

  • wareagle4130

    The separate bar end plugs on Ergon grips is a deal breaker for me. Tried some GD1 grips and had to pound the plugs in and pry them out after I decided I didn’t like the grips. Then tried some GE1’s and the plugs were so loose that I lost one when I caught the end of my bars on a tree.
    So I’ll stick with grips with capped ends integrated in the grip.
    FWIW, I have small hands and really like the Deity Knuckledusters, but I’m temped to try the SQlab 711 after reading this.

    • rmap01

      I agree with single side only grips. I use the ODI AG2. If you ride tight singletrack trails chances are you’ll come across sections where your bars will barely be wide enough to fit through. Some may be so narrow it could even require that you maneuver the bars by tilting or turning the wheel. I’ve lost too many bar caps that way. Much better to get a set of single sided grips without caps.

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