Call it pandemic-induced boredom buying. A couple months ago we found ourselves looking for any and all available bike parts, and came across several sets of incredibly inexpensive lock-on mountain bike grips on Amazon. Were they any good? There was only one way to find out.
We’ve included a few details about each set of grips below, and have ordered them from worst to best. The tldr; version is that most work well as basic grips, and the more expensive ones generally perform better. All prices listed reflect the price at the time of purchase and may not reflect the current value.
|Lycaon (alloy plugs)||141.2||$8.99|
LERMX grips ($9.99)
Despite being one of the most expensive sets of grips tested, these are real stinkers. I’m not sure what’s going on with the end caps; perhaps their design is supposed to evoke moto-style? In practice the LERMX grips are heavy, they are a tight fit to get on and off, the end caps are impossible to reattach if you accidentally unscrew the attachment bolt all the way (guilty), and the caps themselves are dubiously functional. Without gloves, the grips feel sharp and pokey. The one thing I like about these is the fact that they are single-sided lock-ons. Overall, I say skip this pair.
Lycaon grips ($7.99)
Aside from the LERMX grips, this is the only pair that actually fell apart during testing. Fortunately, it was just one of the bar-end plugs that broke. The grip surface on the Lycaons is also spikey which is fine with gloves, but a little harsh without. The Lycaon decal started fading almost immediately, and the coating inside the grips appeared to be peeling off right out of the box. On the plus side, there are options for colorful clamps like the blue ones I chose, and they cost less than $8.
Lycaon (alloy plugs) grips ($8.99)
These Lycaon grips come with a unique and fancy-looking alloy bar-end plug. It’s blingy for sure, but ultimately it just adds unnecessary weight. I wonder if this is meant to be a sturdier upgrade since the bar end plug on the other Lycaons we tested ripped apart? These grips feel good gloveless, but don’t offer the best grip of the bunch when it’s glove time.
HFS CQQ grips ($4.98)
I don’t know what HFS CQQ stands for but I’ll take a stab at it: Highly Functional Stuff Creates Quality Quivers. These are certainly among the most functional of the bunch, in a no-frills, under-$5 sort of way. All black with no logo, the HFS CQQs feature a seemingly identical pattern to the Lycaons that’s just as prickly. I also found the clamp bolts stick out a bit and are sharp around the edges. Overall, these are probably the least comfortable but everything else about them seems pretty solid given the low price. Sadly for our readers, that price has increased by $2 to about $7 since I purchased them. In this bike market you snooze, you lose.
Hapleby grips ($4.79)
I’m not sure how you pronounce Hapleby, but for some reason, the name has me craving some honey BBQ boneless wings. At this point in the list, we’re getting into the territory of “grips you likely won’t hate.” As you can see in the photo the bar-end caps are a little wonky and cheap, but then again all of the included plugs we tested are generally of the stiff plastic variety. I like that these are single-clamp grips, and the pattern is actually effective both gloved and gloveless. When I purchased this pair they were the cheapest and priced under $5. At last check they cost $6.50, which should still please penny pinchers looking for a decent grip.
corki grips ($11.99)
$11.99. Now we’re getting up there. I ordered these to match my Orange P7 hardtail, which is actually a blue bike. But I’m into orange accents, and figured what the heck, these cost just a few bucks extra. The corki grips are available in at least 10 different colors, including some mix-and-match sets in case for some reason you want one red grip and one blue grip. The gripping surface works well and feels nice; my only complaint is these are dual-clamp grips. Oh, and the “high” price. First-world problems for sure.
Marque camo grips ($14.99)
Camo grips, how cool is that! At $14.99, the Marque grips are a splurge, but they offer some really unique colors and patterns like this one. My friend Chris even ordered a pair and he’s been rocking them hard. Single-sided clamp: 👍. Camo pattern: 👍. Grip surface: not bad. That weird, partially flanged inside grip: 👎. A lot of riders like flanged grips, though I don’t count myself among that group. This is the only pair with anything resembling a flange, so if you’re into that, this is the set for you.
GPMTER grips ($6.98)
Available in either red or black for the same low price of $6.98, I decided to go with the red ones. I probably kept these on my bike the longest out of any in the test which in hindsight, must mean I liked ’em the best. They are single-sided, colorful, lightweight, comfortable, inexpensive, and grippy. I slightly stripped one of the clamp bolts, though I mostly chalk that up to ham-fisted wrenching. All things considered, these seem to offer the best value. GPMTER: Greased Pigs Make Terrible Enduro Racers.
It’s possible to find decent, inexpensive mountain bike grips online. However, most sets will be somewhat lacking compared to more costly, name-brand grips. Everyone has their own Goldilocks definition of what a good set of bike grips looks like, so plan on using a little trial and error to find the best set in the absence of a known quantity.