6 of the best lock-on grips

They're a key contact point, so don't skimp on grip, comfort or security

If you're looking for more comfort on the bars, or your hands need more grip, we've tested six lock-on grips that might be just what you need.

ODI Elite Flow

BikeRadar score4.5/5

ODI Elite Flow
ODI Elite Flow

  • Price: £27 / $29 / AU$53

So good… ODI’s Elite grips combine the knurled pattern of their much-loved Ruffians with a much softer rubber compound. The Flows are the medium-thickness option. An offset design means they’re thicker on top and thinner underneath, which keeps the diameter down but provides some welcome cushioning. The single clamp means you can use the full width of the bar and the chamfered tip stops your hand sliding off the end.

No good… For all-out traction there are better grips, but as a complete package these are hard to beat.

Renthal Traction UltraTacky

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Renthal Traction UltraTacky
Renthal Traction UltraTacky

  • Price: £25 / $33 / AU$55

So good… Ramped ridges that run the full length of the Traction grips give exceptional traction. The super-soft ‘ultra tacky’ compound that we tested sticks to your hands like glue and is amazing in the wet or without gloves. The chamfered ends add security too.

No good… While dual lock-on rings keep the Renthal grips super-secure, they mean you have to run your hands slightly further inboard. The smaller 2.5mm Allen key heads (vs 3mm on the other grips here) are more prone to rounding off too. Without these issues, they’d get five stars, no question.

Ergon GD1 Factory

BikeRadar score4/5

Ergon GD1 Factory
Ergon GD1 Factory

  • Price: £30 / $35 / AU$55

So good… Ergon’s GD1s use a soft rubber compound for excellent bump absorption. Directional ridges on the underside do a good job of stopping your hands twisting. Tapering from 32 to 30mm, the ‘regular’ grips we tested are fairly thick, but there’s a ‘slim’ option too.

No good… While the taper gives extra damping at the outer end, it also angles your hands inward slightly. Opinion was split on this, but it’s something to be aware of. Non-chamfered ends mean it can sometimes feel like your hands are sliding off. They’re also pretty expensive.

Race Face Half Nelson

BikeRadar score4/5

Race Face Half Nelson
Race Face Half Nelson

  • Price: £19 / $24 / AU$35

So good… Measuring 29mm in diameter, we found these low-profile grips from Race Face surprisingly comfortable. This is thanks, in part, to the subtle increase in thickness towards the inboard end, which helps support your palm. The grid pattern on the underside is great at preventing your hand twisting. They’re good value and come in loads of colours.

No good… The single lock-on ring and really thin internal plastic sleeve mean that the outer end can twist on the bar slightly when you pull hard, which is a little disconcerting.

Funn Hilt

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Funn Hilt
Funn Hilt

  • Price: £12 / $25 / AU$25

So good… Taking into account that these are the cheapest grips here by far, we couldn’t find much to fault with the Funn Hilts. The 30mm diameter will suit a range of hands, the single, inboard lock-on ring keeps them secure on the bar and the raised soft-rubber end cap cushions the outer edge of the palm.

No good… While the mushroom pattern on top adds comfort, the rubber isn’t as soft and impact-absorbing as on other grips here. The lower waffle section needs to be more pronounced or widely spaced to add effective fingertip traction.

Sensus Lite

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Sensus Lite
Sensus Lite

  • Price: £27

So good… The fine, wavy mushroom pattern used on the Sensus Lites is very comfy and gives a small amount of ‘float’, which helps to absorb vibrations. They stayed solid on the bar throughout testing despite only having a single lock-on ring. Because there’s no outboard clamp you can use the full width of the bar, and a slight chamfer at the outer end cups your hand a little.

No good… The slightly squidgy feel won’t be to everyone’s taste. They’re pretty skinny too, so those with spade hands may want to look elsewhere.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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