The 10 Best Mountain Bike Grips
The Dangers Of A Bad Grip
Mountain biking has the potential to provide an incredible amount of benefits to its practitioners, both in their bodies and minds.
Mountain biking has the potential to provide an incredible amount of benefits to its practitioners, both in their bodies and minds. It’s an incredible cardiovascular workout that also helps strengthen the muscles of the legs and core, providing the kind of exercise that can prolong your life and keep you looking good as those years go on. It also drops you right in the middle of a wide variety of natural environments, from sand dunes to verdant forests, where the stunning scenery and escape from all things technological can give you a sense of peace we rarely enjoy nowadays.
Of course, mountain biking is not without its dangers. The most obvious of these is that you're on a mountain, and mountains tend to be tall and steep, so a tumble off your mountain bike at a high elevation on unforgiving terrain could lead to some pretty grave injuries. There are other dangers associated with mountain biking that are perhaps less obvious, however, and it’s one of these that we’re concerned with here today.
With each passing mile you spend riding along the rugged trails, energy travels up from your tires’ contact with the ground and enters your body through your seat, your pedals, and your handlebars. Your feet are pretty well-structured to handle these kinds of vibrations, as is your rear end, but your wrists and forearms are far more vulnerable to injuries associated with a constant state of vibration.
In one study, 92 percent of riders reported some level of discomfort at the wrists, where chronic exposure to vibrations can result in nerve compression, hypothenar hammer syndrome, and other debilitations. None of this is to say that you should stop riding, but iy should give you pause to consider your options for reducing your risk of injury.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of injury when mountain biking is to make sure all of the components of your bike are up to snuff. This includes everything from the chain and sprockets to the comfort of your seat, and it should also include the amount of vibration reduction offered by your handlebar grips.
What To Look For In A Set Of Grips
Upgrading the grips on your mountain bike is one of the fastest, easiest ways to help ensure a safer ride. Not only can a good pair of grips help reduce the risk of injury from chronic exposure to vibrations, it can also help keep your hands in place while you move over particularly challenging terrain, potentially preventing a dangerous fall.
If one were to break on a ride, it could result in slippage that could seriously hinder your steering.
When evaluating new grips for your mountain bike, there are few simple things to look out for. Most of these products are pretty similar in design, and installation of any model should be relatively straightforward. A new grip will slide into place over your handlebars, and a pair of sturdy clasps will secure it right where you want it. The integrity of these clasps is vital. If one were to break on a ride, it could result in slippage that could seriously hinder your steering.
Some models will also come with end caps designed to cover the openings at the outside of your handlebars. These are important for keeping dirt and debris out of the metal tubing, which could otherwise lead to premature weakening of the metal over a long stretch of time. Some of these caps are on the decorative side, as well, so if style is important to you, you can look for a set with a particular fashion to it.
Above all else, however, you should look for a given grip’s ability to reduce the vibrations you experience on the trail. Less vibration means reduced risk of injury, but it also means a more comfortable ride in the moment, and more control over your ability to pick a safe and efficient line. The thickness of a grip will have a lot to do with its ability to prevent vibrations, but so will the specifics of its material construction. In some cases, manufacturers will go so far as to redesign the shape of the grip to provide a more ergonomic riding experience, and these are especially good options for anyone who is already experiencing pains or other problems when they ride.
Other Essential Mountain Biking Accessories
Now that you’ve ensured you won’t encounter any dangers specifically because of your handlebars, there are a few other items you can grab to make sure you stay as safe as possible on the trails. None of these are absolutely required, but having them is significantly smarter than not having them.
Many LED models are very small and very effective, and a lot of them charge via USB, so you can juice up before you hit the trail and have plenty of power.
For starters, you’re going to want to wear a helmet. Even if you think you look lame in one, it’s the only thing standing between your fragile skull and a litany of rocks, logs, and other debris determined to end you. The good news is that there are more style options out there than ever before, so you’re bound to find something that suits you aesthetically. If you tend to take the trails at high speeds, it might not be a bad idea to go so far as to invest in a motocross helmet. A majority of head injuries on bikes and motorcycles alike involve the jaw, and very few bike helmets protect this area. So, if you don’t want to spend the next couple of months drinking all of your meals, a helmet with full coverage might be a wise idea.
A thick canopy of trees can really take away a lot of natural light, even at the height of the day, so whether or not you do any riding after dark, it’s a good idea to have a headlight handy. Many LED models are very small and very effective, and a lot of them charge via USB, so you can juice up before you hit the trail and have plenty of power.
Finally, consider protective armor of some kind. This can be knee pads or elbow pads, or even wrist braces. These are the parts of the body that, in addition to the head, endure the most trauma in the event of a crash, and protecting them is an inexpensive venture.