Best Mountain Bike Grips for Numbness

Searching for the best mountain bike grips for numbness but yet to reach a conclusion? You are not alone. As someone who has recently started mountain biking, I was in a similar spot not too long ago. While there are hundreds of online stores selling a wide range of bike grips, it took several days’ worth of research before I was ready to make the purchase.

Now that I have been through the process, I believe I can save you from all the trouble and confusion. In this post, I’ll share my learnings and experience to make the whole process of purchasing mountain bike grips straightforward and quick. I’ll also share some of my favorite picks that you can check out if you are interested.

Why Hand Numbness While Mountain Biking?

First things first, why do the hands get numb when mountain biking?

The off-road fun of mountain biking is what sets it apart from cycling on roads. Whether you like technical obstacles, trail-shredding, flowy and fast tracks, or a combination of everything, nothing matches the thrill of mountain biking.

But for all the thrill and adrenaline rush, mountain biking is also very tough on your body. When you are riding on uneven and rough terrain, the bike forks, and your arms absorb the shock. Internally, our hands have a complex network of tissues, muscles, tendons, and bones.

When it comes to cycling, the Median and Ulnar nerves in your hand play a very critical role.

Median Nerve

You might have heard about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It occurs when the Median nerve suffers from hyperextension or excessive compression, leading to numbness and pain in the middle and index finger, which could also extend to the thumb.

Cyclists who prefer the death grip when riding down a trail are highly susceptible to damaging their Median nerve as it distributes a lot of weight inside the hand.

Ulnar nerve

Many professional cyclists suffer from a condition known as Handlebar Palsy, which is caused due to problems related to the Ulnar nerves. While cycling, these nerves could hyper-extend or go through excessive compression, leading to numbness and pain in the ring finger and pinkie.

How to Prevent Hand Numbness When Mountain Biking?

While replacing the mountain bike grips is definitely a great solution, there are a few other ways in which you can prevent hand numbness when riding. Here are a few things that have made my biking experience more comfortable and pain-free.

Riding Position

Your weight on the bike and riding position has a lot to do with the hand and wrist-related problems. Here is a simple 3-step process to ensure whether your riding position is safe for your hands and wrists-

  1. Make the bike stand up against a wall and climb onto the bike
  2. Ensure that the saddle is properly adjusted as per your height before you sit down with your feet laying flat on the pedals
  3. Grip the handlebar as you generally do while riding

When getting into the riding position, ensure that you keep your arms straight, with the bones correctly aligned through the hand and wrist.

If your wrists are unnaturally bent, it is a sign that your weight is on your wrists, and this could lead to Median and Ulnar nerve problems. You can avoid this by relaxing the shoulders slightly to the back and bending the elbows a little for improved weight distribution.

Wrong Cockpit Setup

Another very common cause of hand numbness when riding is the wrong cockpit setup. When you are comfortably sitting on your bike as before, check whether the brake levers are tilted a little too back or forward. How about the dropper post remote? Can you reach it easily?

By making small adjustments to the brake lever and remote, you can protect your hand against unnatural movements when riding.

Not Stretching Before Riding

I have been guilty of this myself in the past. While I love trailing mountains on my bike for hours, just a few minutes of stretching before getting on the bike used to feel very tiring and boring. But not anymore! Not stretching before mountain biking is one of the worst things you could do to your body, especially to your hands.

It is necessary to get your body ready for the shock it is about to receive when you are riding in the mountains. It helps in improving blood flow and minimizes the risk of ligament and tendon damage. And not only before riding, but you should also get into the habit of stretching after riding.

How Do Mountain Bike Grips Help?

The handlebar grips that are exclusively designed for mountain bikes are generally thicker and softer as compared to ones created for road bikes. They are designed in a way to release the pressure points when you are riding on challenging terrains.

Good quality mountain bike grips will ensure that you are not required to hold on to them as hard, and this makes riding more comfortable for you, your hands, and your wrists. In fact, there are now many different types of mountain bike grips to choose from.

What are the Different Types of Mountain Bike Grips?

Here are some of the top options-

Traditional Grips

These are generally rubber sleeves that you can simply slide on and off the handlebars of your bike. Most traditional grips are one-ended to eliminate the need for using bar end plugs. They are highly affordable, light, easy to use, and available in many different sizes.

Foam Grips

Foam or silicone grips are very much similar to the traditional grips in their design. However, they have much better vibration damping properties which makes them very popular among mountain and long-distance riders.

Lock-on Grips

Lock-on grips are mostly made from rubber but feature a metal ring on one or both ends for locking in the grips on the handlebar through an Allen key bolt. Apart from rubber, you can also find lock-on grips made from multiple compounds.

5 Best Mountain Bike Grips for Numbness

Here are some of my top picks that I’d like to recommend to anyone looking for quality grips for their mountain bikes.

Ergon GA3

Ergon GA3’s design has been inspired by the brand’s award-winning GP1 grips. The signature enlarged wing design effectively distributes pressure from the palm for protecting the Ulnar nerve. It also keeps the wrist in a more natural position so that it aligns with the Median nerve. Also, unlike GP1, which has a rigid wing, GP3’s wing is flexible to allow a fuller range of motion.

As the grips are made from a rubber compound, they build a strong connection with your gloves while riding so that you don’t have to put a lot of force to hold on to the bars.

Top Features

  • Improved enlarged wing design with enhanced flexibility for riding comfort
  • Dedicated grip zones to better match with hand contours
  • Aluminum clamp to adjust the grip handle
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SQlab Griffe 710

SQlab, a German brand, has gained widespread popularity in the American markets for its innovative product design and longevity. For instance, the Griffe 710 series of MTB grips feature a deep downward and a wide outer wing design for a secure grip when you are riding on tough mountainous terrain. Even the handle end is slightly raised to improve the contact between your hands and the grip.

The unique higher inside design also ensures a more neutral riding position, effectively protecting against Ulnar and Median nerve damage.

Top Features

  • Revolutionary deep downward and wide outer design highly compatible with the shape of the hand
  • Thicker block on the inner sleeve to improve diameter and holding comfort
  • Wavy elevation at the front and bottom for improved finger grip
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Wolf Tooth Silicone Mountain Bike Grips: Fat Paw

If you are looking for functional and affordable mountain bike grips, check out the Wolf Tooth Fat Paw Bike Grips. Made from silicone foam, the grips are light in weight and easy to use. With a thickness of 9.5mm, the grips are aptly named. While your hand size determines the right grip size for you, a lot of riders prefer larger grips for effective protection against numbness and pain.

But if you have small hands, these might not be the best choice for you. Difficulty in reaching the brake levers and inability to comfortably hold on to the grip with a clenched fist are some of the problems you might encounter. But if you have average-sized hands, these Fat Paw grips are worth trying.

Top Features

  • Solid silicone foam build for improved vibration damping
  • Large 9.5mm diameter for effective protection against hand numbness
  • Tacky texture for providing excellent grip even without gloves
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GPMTER Bike Handlebar Grips

With an additional gel layer and single lock-on system, the GPMTER Bike Handlebar Grips are a dynamic blend of functionality and comfort. Made from non-slip rubber, the grips easily slide onto the handlebars and can be locked in place with the aluminum alloy lock system. The outer build of the grip features a unique high-friction pattern for improved grip and comfort.

Ideal for any bike with a 22.2mm handlebar, the GPMTER Grips is highly recommended for anyone looking for a solid performer without a lot of bells and whistles.

Top Features

  • Aluminum alloy lock-on system on one end to keep the grip in place
  • Non-slip rubber build for improved grip in every weather
  • Extra layer of gel for maximum comfort while riding
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SAPLIZE Bike Handlebar Grips

If you want your mountain bike grips to come with the lock-on functionality without spending more than $10, the SAPLIKE Bike Handlebar Grips are an excellent contender. The grips feature a soft TPE wrap on the outside with a solid plastic core for enhanced durability. Both the sides of the grip feature aluminum alloy rings for locking the grip in place.

For improved grip and comfort, the grips have a slightly wider outer wing, enabling it to correctly match with the hand contours.

Top Features

  • Dual lock-on system for both ends
  • Anti-slip pattern on the outer TPE wrap for solid grip and improved comfort
  • 12 month warranty

Now that you know a lot more about mountain bike grips and their importance in preventing hand numbness, you are ready to decide. Browse through the best mountain bike grips for numbness that I’ve listed above, or use your newly acquired knowledge to check out some of the top options on popular online stores.

Click below to compare prices and check availability

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