As the primary points of contact between your hands and the motorcycle, good dirt bike grips are an important part of your riding experience. Grips must provide a balance of comfort, vibration absorption, and durability while ensuring you maintain a secure hold on your bike’s controls.
When shopping for new dirt bike grips, you need to consider several factors, such as the tensity of the materials and the pattern of the grip.
Dirt bike grips typically come in soft or medium density compounds, or multi-density compounds that combine different materials to take advantage of their strengths. Soft materials provide better vibration damping and grip, while medium compounds are more durable.
Manufacturers also offer dual or even triple density compounds. These usually consist of a harder inner compound for a secure fit to the handlebar, and a softer exterior where they come in contact with your hands.
Off-road grips usually come in either waffle or non-waffle style patterns. These raised surfaces help to ensure good traction between your hands and the grip.
The waffle pattern is a raised grid-like surface resembling the breakfast dish. Waffle patterns provide good grip, especially in wet or muddy conditions, but the raised texture does increase the overall circumference which may make it harder for riders with smaller hands to hold. As a compromise, some manufacturers produce a half- or even a third-waffle pattern, with the raised surfaces beneath where your fingers would go.
Grip makers also offer non-waffle surfaces, usually with a textured knurling, which tend to be thinner and thus easier for smaller hands, but with poorer grip in messy conditions.
Other manufacturers make grips with raised pads or “pillow tops”, which make them look a bit like tire treads. These offer good grip and vibration damping, but also raise the overall diameter of the grip.
Glue On or Clamp On?
Most grips on the market require grip glue to maintain a firm hold on the handlebars, with safety wire to ensure a more secure fit. These kinds of grips come in different sizes to match handlebar diameters, but are otherwise universal.
The other alternative is a clamp-on or lock-on grip. These types of grips are easier and faster to install because you don’t have to wait for the glue to dry, but they tend to be more expensive. They’re also model specific because the right grips come with throttle tubes and cams that attach to your throttle cables.
ODI Emig Pro V2 Lock On Grips
Designed with the help of multiple-time AMA Champion Jeff Emig, the ODI Emig Pro V2 grips use a soft compound and a lock-on system. The grips use a diamond knurled pattern with raised ribs instead of a waffle pattern. The grip ends are reinforced with aluminum end caps which protect against the handlebar tearing through them in a crash.
ODI Rogue MX Grips
The Rogue MX grips from ODI are made of a harder inner layer and a softer outer compound with large raised pads to dampen vibrations. The ends are also reinforced for added durability.
Pro Taper 788 Triple-Density Grips
Pro Taper’s 788 grips combine three different compounds: a hard inner compound, and a mix of medium and soft density gels in the palm area to dampen vibrations.
Pro Taper Clamp-On Half Waffle Grips
These Pro Taper grips use a dual-compound construction with a half-waffle pattern to ensure a thinner diameter. The “windowed core” design promises more cushioning in the palm and finger areas for a more comfortable feel.
Pro Taper Pillow Top Grips
Pro Taper’s Pillow Top design uses raised pads to help reduce vibrations, while claiming to be self-cleaning. A tacky gel-like surface provides grip, while the inner core, donut and end and made from a harder compound to provide increased durability.
Renthal Full Waffle Grips
Renthal’s Full Waffle grip is available in a choice of soft, medium or firm single compounds. The waffle grip design provides good traction, especially when it gets muddy.
Renthal Ultra Tacky Dual Compound Tapered Grips
As its name implies, these half-waffle grips use two compounds, including a soft outer compound treated with a sticky coating. Renthal claims the tacky treatment will last the life of the grip. If the surface feels like it’s loosing its stickiness, Renthal says a simple wash in clean water and air drying will restore the tacky feeling.
Renthal Kevlar Dual Compound Grips
Renthal added Kevlar Aramid resin particles into the soft thermoplastic outer layer of these grips, claiming they help the grips last up to three time slonger than regular soft compound grips. As the soft material wears away, more Aramid resin is exposed, helping to resist further wear while still providing a tacky feel. These half-waffle grips are available in a standard grip as well as a tapered design diamond pattern getting increasingly larger as you move closer to the donut.
Scott Diamond Grips
The Scott Diamond Grips use a modified full waffle designs, with the raised portion forming angled shapes instead of a rectangular grid. The raised waffle is made from a medium-density compound while the diamond pattern uses a softer material for increased comfort. The end cap is made from a firmer density material to resist tearing.
This post was originally published Oct. 7, 2019, and updated March 31, 2020 with up-to-date products
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