The Best BMX Grips (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Get some air, beat the pack, and show some style with these BMX grips.
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BY Brian Smyth / LAST UPDATED ON January 27, 2021
Every bike rider needs a good, solid grip to maintain control on the street or the trail, but for BMXers, the proper grip has a special purpose. Due to the nature of BMX riding, the right bike must forgo the luxurious shocks found on other types of bikes, and all shock-absorption must be handled by the tires and grips alone. Like the riders who use them, BMX grips endure high levels of shock on virtually every ride, which means that a compromise is never an option.
The perfect BMX grip is both comfortable and extremely shock-absorbent, but requirements do not stop there. Like everything else in the BMX world, grips are a form of art and expressing oneself, so color and patterns are indispensable elements of even the most functional of parts. We've compiled some of the best BMX grips on the market to make your search easier.
These flangeless ODI grips are a collaboration with Vans and Cult, featuring the tread pattern found on classic Vans kicks. They are incredibly comfortable and tacky, and they perform well.
- Soft with an excellent grip
- Come in multiple colors
- Easy to install
- Made in America
- Can be slippery when wet
- May be too soft for some riders
These Kasteco grips come in a pack of four for double the coverage. Their textured rectangular lugs provide good grip, and their price tag is impressive.
- Very affordable and easy to install
- Come in a variety of colors
- Some may find these grips to be a little thin
- Grips are on the short side of the spectrum
This low-profile offering from Race Face features a flangeless, lock-on design and takes full advantage of its VEXY rubber compound to create a soft, durable, and super tacky grip.
- Slim and lightweight
- Easy to install
- Come in a variety of colors
- Bolts can be overtightened by accident
- Run a little thin
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Benefits of BMX Grips
- Comfort. Handlebar grips are home to biker’s hands, and comfortable grips make all the difference between a happy biker and a not-so-happy one. Of course, with all the jarring they encounter, BMX riders need a little something extra. BMX grips provide next-level comfort thanks to their thickness, softness, and shock-absorbing capabilities.
- Control. BMX riding requires a high degree of finesse, and the proper pair of grips provides BMXers with the right amount of grip to maintain perfect control over their bikes both in the air and on the ground.
- Style. All BMX grips should provide comfort and control, but they are also an excellent platform for personal expression. Grips come in a massive variety of grip patterns and colors, so finding the right pair is an intensely personal pursuit.
Types of BMX Grips
Traditionally, BMX bikes have come standard with flanged grips to provide consistent hand placement no matter what the activity. Flanges appear on the inside edge of the grip, creating a backstop for the riders' hand. For young riders, this feature is especially important for creating and reinforcing muscle memory.
Originally, BMX bikes were intended primarily for the race track, but as more people pioneered new stunts and tricks, handlebar spins became common. As such, riders found flanged grips getting in the way of safe landings. Over time, enough BMXers got tired of cutting off their own flanges that the market saw the rise of trick-oriented flangeless grips.
Over the last 40 years, ODI has been dedicated to providing the best grip technology in the world and innovating creative solutions, such as the Lock-on Grip system. As a leader in creating grips and accessories for mountain bikes, motorcycles, ATVs, and watercraft, it is based in Riverside, California.
Since 1993, Race Face has specialized in supporting mountain bikers and more from its home base on the North Shore of Vancouver, British Columbia. This Canadian powerhouse provides bikers with virtually every part they could ever need, including handlebars, pedals, rims, and gear and apparel.
BMX Grip Pricing
- Under $10: These grips are the most basic grips on the market and are almost always slip-ons. Sometimes, they are a little short, and the grip patterns tend to use simple designs.
- $10 to $20: Most grips in this category are slip-ons with a good variety of available grip patterns. A few of the more basic lock-on variants also appear in this price range.
- $20 and up: This group of grips tends to specialize in lock-on grips and a few very unique slip-on designs. Product descriptions for this category frequently use the words “aluminum alloy.”
A soft grip is critical for all riders, especially for professionals and dedicated amateurs. Cushioning is regularly determined by various factors, including a grip’s specific construction material, its thickness, and even its grip pattern (e.g., ribbing, grooves, etc.). How each manufacturer combines these factors will determine how much cushioning the final grip will have.
In the world of bike grips, tackiness refers more to “grippiness” than it does to someone’s odd wardrobe choices or their social faux pas. Due to the dynamic nature of BMX bike riding, stunts, and tricks, riders need a grip with hand traction to allow for fine-tuned movements to achieve consistent, predictable performance at any time and in any position.
- Installation Process. BMX grips come in one of two variants: slip-on and lock-on. As the most common type, slip-on grips are installed by sliding them onto the handlebars and relying on friction to stay in place. Lock-on grips feature a slip-on rubber sleeve held in place by one or two clamps secured with bolts or screws. Slip-ons are less complicated to install and require less precision, while lock-ons tend to be more difficult.
- Accessories. When shopping for BMX grips, be sure to consider which accessories come with the grip and the quality of those accessories. Virtually every set of grips on the market include end caps for a smooth, professional-looking finish, but the quality of those end caps can vary quite a bit. Lock-on grips have several parts, including bolts or screws. After considering the quality of these parts, see if they include installation tools as well.
Best BMX Grip Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- When installing grips, consider the zip tie method. Insert four zip ties into the grip, then slide the zip ties and grip onto the handlebar. Position the grip, then remove the zip ties.
- For those without zip ties, spray hairspray or rubbing alcohol onto the handlebar, then install the grip. Both substances evaporate quickly and will leave the grip with a secure attachment to the handlebar.
Q: How long are BMX grips?
BMX grips can range anywhere between 120 millimeters on the low end to 155 millimeters on the high end, although most usually hover between 130 and 145 millimeters long.
Q: How do I make my BMX grips softer?
The most common method for softening BMX grips requires placing the grips in a pot of water at a rolling boil. After about five minutes, remove them, and let them cool just enough to be touched safely. Then, gently stretch and twist the grips, being careful not to tear them.
Q: What are BMX grips made of?
Most BMX grips consist of an artificial rubber compound specifically engineered to create a surface that is soft, durable, and tacky. One common compound is known as thermoplastic rubber, or TPR.
While nothing is ever truly perfect, ODI Vans X Cult Flangeless Bike Grips may just be the next best thing with their soft, tacky surface and classic styling. On the flip side, Kasteco Mushroom Bicycle Handlebar Grips are an excellent no-nonsense offering with a great price tag.