Handlebar grips are one of the main points of contact between bicycle and rider, so it is important that they be comfortable and secure. Since grips wear out every so often, buying the right replacement grips is a simple way for a cyclist to improve performance. However, riders should consider several features before making a purchase.
Handlebar Grips Texture
Handlebar grips for bicycles come in several different materials, including multiple types of foam as well as multiple grades of rubber and silicone. Generally, foam is more comfortable than rubber because it cushions more, but foam grips wear out more quickly. Silicone grips are quite comfortable and they do not squish down with use the way foam does. The issue with silicone is it tends to tear. Some grips have a moulded surface texture as well, to reduce slippage. Most cyclists appreciate firm but well-cushioned grips but dislike grips that become sticky or hard and brittle over time. What grips have the best compromise amongst other with their competing features is a matter of personal preference.
Handlebar Grip Ergonomics
Most grips are simple tubes that fit over the handlebars and these are fine for many riders. However, for people who spend a lot of time in the saddle, ergonomic grips are a better choice and can help reduce problems like numbness in the hands. One popular ergonomic design has broad wings on the outside edges to help support the wrists and keep tired cyclists from lapsing into poor form.
Grips for Different Kinds of Riding
Most grips can fit on any kind of bike, but different riding styles sometimes require different grip styles. For example, mountain bike grips have to protect the rider from the many hard bumps from going over rough ground. They need a lot of cushioning, but they also need good control. Road cyclists need firmer, more durable foam and better ergonomics because of their typically longer rides.
Lock-on and Slip-on Grips
Slip-on grips are simply tight sleeves. They are affordable, but the tight fit that keeps them in place makes them hard to put on, and they still sometimes slip off. Lock-on grips have a metal core that grabs on to the handlebar for more security. They are more expensive, but many have replaceable foam sleeves so they last much longer. Lock-ons are also thicker, which is good for some riders and not for others, depending on the size of their hands.
Tricks to Improve Handlebar Grips
Some riders use tape to customise the texture and thickness of their grips as well as to make the grips last longer. Using bar ends or bar plugs protects the grips from ripping and keeps slip-ons from slipping off. With these tricks, riders can get better performance out of their grips.