Get a Grip: A Review of 11 Lock-on Mountain Bike Grips

Many of these grips have closed ends, which is important to note if you like to store things in your handlebar.

A few weeks back we published a review of inexpensive grips that our Editor in Chief found on the internet. To compliment that collection we have a variety of hand-platforms here that are made by mountain bike brands for mountain bikers. If you’re in the market for a fresh set, there’s likely a grip here that will make your fingers and palms happy.

All Mountain Style Berm

All Mountain Style recently came out with two new grips, and this Berm shape is available in eight different colors. The grip covers 135mm of a handlebar, and clamps firmly in place with a single lock ring. The overall surface is conically tapered, with a 33.8mm outer palm platform and a 29.5mm inner measurement. Like most of the grips in this collection, the palm-surface has a relatively smooth diamond pattern, while the finger side of the grip gives 15 soft rubber boxes for your digits to slot into.

Riders who grab onto the outer-most edge of their bars are often particular about the shape of that edge, and the Berm grips will best suit folks who want a larger surface beneath their fourth and fifth-fingers. The rubber on these grips is soft enough to hold tightly, with no distracting edges or funky features. I didn’t find the material soft enough for confident descending without gloves, as a bit of sweat makes the tiny diamonds rather slippery. If you like the gentle cone-shape of these grips, and you want to ride without gloves, remember to grab a handful of dirt to rub between your palms before the descent. Like climbing chalk, it will increase hand traction.

Recommended for: Riders who prefer a grip with a thicker outer edge. Price: $28. Weight: 104g. Available at Backcountry.

All Mountain Style Cero

The Cero grips from All Mountain Style cover the same amount of handlebar and use the same clamp as the Berm. The important differences between the two pairs is that the Cero maintains the same 30mm diameter throughout, and it uses a dual-density rubber with different grip patterns under the thumb and fingers.

The black material under the rider’s fingers is the same as that of the Berm, providing ample grip with gloves, and requiring a little dust for bare-handed descents. The white rubber beneath the thumb is harder, and I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe the harder rubber and wider diamonds allow your thumb a tad more grip while using less grip strength? I haven’t noticed anything special about the differing rubber compounds, but I do find the shape and tread of these grips comfortable. The soft blocks under the fingers are fewer and closer together compared to the Berm, and they allow for a super solid connection to the handlebar on gnarly tracks.

Recommended for: Dual density comfort. Price: $33. Weight: 94g. Available at Performance Bike.

Deity Knucklebuster

A single Deity Knucklebuster grip spans 130mm in length and is 32mm thick. The soft-finned surface is available in 12 colors, with a single black lock ring to clamp it down. The finger side offers thirteen excavated windows for those fingertips, and the palm half of the grip is made up of closely spaced rubber fins that bend and compress with the movement of your hand. The outer third of the fins are aligned in a chevron pattern, while the inner chunk faces the direction of travel.

This raised rubber-fin style of grip surface is my personal favorite. It allows the grip to conform to your hand shape and the amount of power you’re putting into the squeeze, while the spaces between the fins promote some moisture moisture movement away from your skin. Thanks to the chevron direction of the outer fins, this grip works well without gloves, remaining a little less slippery as your hands perspire. It also helps a little on muddy rides, giving the slimy dirt somewhere to go. A few twists of your palm across the surface will often clear enough of the mud to allow for a positive connection.

Recommended for: Going gloveless. Weight: 108g. Price: $24.

DMR Deathgrip

Developed by the likes of Brendan Fairclough, the iconic DMR Deathgrip set likely needs no introduction. These 135mm-long grips come in either a 29.8 or 31.3mm outer diameter, with a super soft 20a rubber compound in every color but the Gum which has notches a 25A on the durometer. The single lock-on clamp can be purchased in a variety of colors to match your ride, and the grips themselves come in eight solid colors, and four marbled patterns. The install is a little different with these, as the far end of the grip tapers slightly inside to give them a firm fit on the bar. Simply slide them on by hand, then smack them the rest of the way with a shoe or soft hammer until they bottom-out, and tighten the clamp as usual.

The squishy material on these grips feels fantastic with or without gloves, compressing nicely with the shape of a hand. Grip squares along the underside are softer than any other in this collection, providing a surface that’s easy to hold onto without a massive amount of hand fatigue. The directional inner fins that line the thumb position feel purposely designed for gloveless shredding, and they’re soft enough that one would have to work hard to earn a blister. The downside of all that soft hand-traction is that these grips do show wear somewhat quickly. If you’re hunting for a super cozy hand-platform, these are worth a long look, but if you need grips to last for three seasons the Deathgrip might not be the pair for you.

Recommended for: Limiting hand fatigue. Weight: 92g. Price: $25. Available at Amazon.

Fabric Magic

The Fabric Magic grips stretch across 135mm of handlebar real estate, with a 32mm thickness at their two fatter points. They have an open end, with two lightweight plastic plugs included in the package. The single lock ring will keep them plenty tight for most riders’ needs. The grips come in four different colors, with a single size to fit most hands.

The open end of the grip allows me to store this Stealth Tubeless Puncture Plug tool from Muc-Off and a few zip ties in the bar end.

These are my favorite grips that I tested for a few reasons. The squishy rubber fins feel great on rough trails when I need to hold on tightly, and the shape of the grip works well with my hands. Due to some nerve injuries, I mostly grip with my fourth and fifth fingers, and the thinner outer edge of these grips allows for a lot of finger-wrap. The central chunk where my hand rests has taller fins to absorb a little more vibration where it counts, and the thumb position relaxes back into the thin profile for a good amount of overall hand wrap around the grip. While finned grips can work well gloveless, the forward facing fins here feel pretty slippery with sweat, requiring a bit of soil to make them sticky against your skin.

Recommended for: In-bar storage. Price: $21. Weight: 100g. Available at Amazon.

Nukeproof Sam Hill Series

Tested by Gerow.

Sam Hill’s signature Nukeproof grips work well even if you don’t ride flat pedals, and they’re the usual 135mm in length with a 32mm girth. They have a tiny diamond pattern with Sam’s signature raised on either end of the palm patch, and the finger gripping blocks underneath fade away toward the final quarter of the grip for a shallower thumb bed. These are the only dual lock-ring set I tested, and when you’re as fast as Sam a single ring doesn’t cut it. They come in this black color or a rainbow option that’s oddly called oil-slick.

These grips feel very similar to the All Mountain Style Cero above, with medium squishiness on the palm side and some large blocks for your fingertips to lock into. The blocks fade away under the thumb to allow it to lay in a flatter and more natural position under the bar. They feel great with gloves, and with some dust they’re good gloveless, and the slightly fatter size should work well for folks with large hands.

Since I didn’t manage to slip a single pair of the grips in this test, I really don’t understand the need for the second lock ring. I suppose if one comes loose your grip will still stay put, which is good, but if tightened properly there shouldn’t be any issue. Early lock-on grips would sometimes slip, and made noise occasionally, but the modern versions seem to have solved those issues, negating the need for that second set of hardware.

Recommended for: A nice, secure lock. Price: $30. Weight: 116g. Available at Wiggle.

Oury V2 Single Clamp Lock-on

Tested by Jeff Barber.

This is Oury’s first single-clamp offering and naturally it features the brand’s signature blocky gripping surface. Compared to previous versions, the V2 grips are a bit longer at 135mm. The ends are closed so there’s no need for plugs, though that does limit storage possibilities if you’re so inclined.

With a 33mm outer diameter, these are the thickest grips I tested. I like riding gloveless with larger grips, and the Oury V2s do not disappoint. In fact, this is one of the few sets of grips I can ride sans-glove on hot summer days. The wide channels shunt moisture away, and the rubber is some of the stickiest I’ve ever experienced. That stickiness seems to be enhanced when things get wet, and with bare hands it feels like the grips have been dipped in maple syrup.

The Oury V2 grips are quite solid and firm, and tend to transmit trail feedback more directly than others I’ve tested. Overall these are my favorite grips for riding in the summer, and for going gloveless whenever possible. Available in five colors, including the poppin’ Blaze Orange shown here.

Recommended for: Summer gloveless riding. Price: $29.99. Weight: 122.1g. Available at Amazon.

Oury also has dual-clamp V2 grips on offer (not tested) that weigh 140.9g with plugs.


Pro Lock On Sport Grips

Tested by Jeff Barber.

The Pro Lock On Sport grips feature a unique “pressure optimized core” that provides a squishy channel toward the middle of the grip and on one side. In practice it’s only noticeable off the bars; once installed, the handlebar limits any noticeable inward flex or squish. With a 32mm outer diameter, these grips are on the wide side of mountain bike grips.

With a single lock-on clamp, the grips go on easy enough but I really struggled with the provided bar end plugs. The instructions suggest trimming the ends of the plugs for an easier fit with narrow inner diameter bars, which I tried. Even with a few taps of a rubber mallet, I still wasn’t able to get the plugs flush with the ends of the grips and bar. I finally opted to use a set of plugs from another pair of grips. Unfortunately in my frustration I threw away the plugs before I had a chance to include them in the weight of the grips.

Gloveless and sweaty, the Pro Lock On Sport don’t provide enough grip. With gloves they work great and have a soft, vibration-damping feel to them. These grips are best for riders with big hands and for those looking for maximum comfort and grip with gloves.

Recommended for: Big-handed riders looking for extra comfort. Price: $29.99. Weight: 120.9g (without plugs).

SDG Thrice 33 Grip

Tested by Matt Miller.

The SDG Thrice 33s are a squishy departure from the Velo Attune and if you prefer a softer feel, with a design you can really grab on to, these are a great option. They are a single-side clamp, come in a multitude of colors, weigh 48g each, and are 136mm in length. The Thrice uses a mushroom profile for ergonomics, and they have lots of protruding patterns for added hand traction.

The Thrice feels like a handlebar end for “gripping and ripping.” They are soft and comfortable, and the pattern feels like it keeps your hands from slipping both fore and aft and laterally. It’s nice that they come in several different color options for those who like to color match with other components. Overall, the SDG Thrice 33s make for a really comfortable grip and are ideal for people who want some seizable meat on their handlebars, and they also come in a thinner 31mm diameter.

Recommended for: Riders who want a meaty grip. Price: $20. Weight: 96g. Available online from multiple sellers.

Velo Attune Firm

Tested by Matt Miller.

Velo makes some outstanding saddles, and they’ve recently brought more mountain bike grips to light. The Attunes are a simple, unshapely grip, with a distinct pattern between the two edges. The middle cube-pattern is a little more soft and forgiving, while the outer knurled patterns are firmer. The Attune Firms are made to adapt to the rider’s hands over time. They weigh 59g per grip, are 132mm in length, and cost $22 a set.

It’s hard to say the Attunes morphed into my hand shape over time, but I haven’t logged a complaint on them yet. They are far from the gushiest grip out there, so if you like something with a bit of cushion, then we’d recommend trying something else. But, the middle section, softer and more tacky, feels very useful gathering a grip. They have been a perfect fit for my size medium hands. Overall, these are a nice and firm grip with some sticky rubber in the middle to keep your hands planted. They come in black only.

Recommended for: Riders who like a squishy grip. Price: $22. Weight: 118g. Available from Velo.

Velo Attune Steady

Tested by Jeff Barber

These Velo grips are a solid set, though riders may find them a bit milquetoast. Priced at just $18 for a pair, they’re among the most affordable, and offer a few upgrades over the inexpensive and basic Amazon grips we tested earlier this summer.

For starters, the Attune Steady grips feature a bit of an hourglass shape, with the outer diameter ranging from about 31mm at the ends to 29mm in the center. A gridded back side of the grip makes for a tactile finger rest I like to use on uphill grunts.

With just a single clamp and sealed outer ends, this is one of the lightest sets of grips we tested, weighing 93.8g. The micro-diamond pattern is a familiar one from our Amazon grip test, and it tends to feel a little spiky with bare hands. Overall these feel responsive and comfortable, even if they aren’t the sexiest on the trail.

Recommended for: Getting a great value and blending in. Price: $18. Weight: 93.8g. Available from Velo.

AMS Berm
AMS Cero
Diety Knucklebuster
DMR Death Grip Soft
Fabric Magic
Nuke Proof Sam Hill
Oury V2 Single Clamp
Pro Lock On Sport
SDG Thrice
Velo Attune Firm
Velo Attune Steady

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