The Ultimate Guide to Bike Grip Materials
Why materials matter?
Handle grips are an essential component of any bicycle, serving as the point of contact between the rider and the handlebars. With so many different material options available, it can be difficult to know which type of grips are right for you. Each material has it's own usecases. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the most common materials used for bicycle grips and the pros and cons of each.
Rubber is the most commonly used material for bicycle grips and for good reason. Rubber grips offer resistance to dirt and good durability, making them suitable for a variety of riding conditions. Additionally, they are relatively inexpensive, making them a popular choice among bicycle manufacturers. Rubber grips are available in a range of textures and styles, from smooth to knobbly, and come in different colors to match your bicycle.
Pros: Inexpensive. Available in a range of textures and styles.
Cons: Can become slippery when wet. May become brittle and crack over time.
Silicone grips are much softer than rubber grips, making them generally more comfortable and providing a better grip in wet conditions. Some manufacturers offer custom silicone grips molded to fit the anatomy of the rider's hands. However, the soft nature of the material also leads to its major drawback of low durability. Constant contact with the hands can cause the silicone to wear down quickly, become sticky, and unappealing. Additionally, silicone is a bit on the heavy side, which might be a concern for some cyclists.
Pros: Good grip in wet conditions, Comfortable.
Cons: Requires frequent replacement.
Foam grips are a popular choice for cyclists who prioritize weight and comfort. They are large, soft, and cushioned, offering a comfortable grip for long rides. Despite their cushioned design, foam grips are relatively lightweight, making them a good option for cyclists looking to reduce the weight of their bicycle.
Their major disadvantage is that they tend to deteriorate quickly and may need to be replaced frequently. Additionally, they may not be securely attached to the handlebars and can sometimes rotate or slip off.
Pros: Comfortable. Lightweight.
Cons: Not durable. May rotate or slip off the handlebars. Can compress over time, reducing their cushioning.
Leather bike grips offer a unique style and often an elegant appearance. They are more expensive than grips made from synthetic materials, as leather is a premium natural resource. Additionally, leather grips are usually handmade.
However, good leather grips offer a level of comfort and durability that is difficult to achieve with other materials.
For cycling enthusiasts who desire a classic look for their bicycle and are willing to spend a little extra for the best available product, they are often the first choice. A less expensive option might be leather bike handle wraps, which come as a set for you to stitch onto your handlebars yourself. They function similarly to bike handle wraps, but offer a luxurious experience with real leather on your handlebars.
We highly recommend purchasing leather grips that are made from thick and durable leather. Thinner leather options are more prone to damage and wear out faster, so investing in a sturdy and robust leather material will provide a longer-lasting and higher quality product.
Pros: Unique style. Comfortable. Durable.
Cons: Expensive. LeatherGrips may require maintenance from time to time if they are not used frequently. However, with regular use, the leather will benefit from the natural oils produced by your hands, keeping it well-conditioned and maintenance-free.
Cork grips are made from compressed cork particles and provide a comfortable and natural grip. They are also lightweight and environmentally friendly, making them a popular choice for eco-conscious cyclists. However, they are limited in terms of color and texture options, which can result in a uniform appearance for the bicycle. Additionally, like Foam Grips, they often have limited options for secure handlebar mounting.
Pros: Comfortable. Lightweight. Environmentally friendly.
Cons: Can compress or deteriorate over time. Limited options for secure handlebar mounting.
Choosing the right bicycle grips will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Consider factors such as the type of riding you do, your hand size, and your comfort level as well as your budget, when making your choice. It's also a good idea to try different materials and styles to find the grips that work best for you. Grips can be easily changed, so there's no need to settle permanently.
It's always cool to pay attention to the color of your bicycle frame and saddle and find a color which matches with those parts well. It doesn't nessecarily need to be the same color, but it needs to look well balanced. It's a bit similar to choosing the perfect shoes for your outfit.