How to Choose a Mountain Bike Grip for Sweaty Hands – Tips and Tricks

Having sweaty hands is one of the most common problems mountain bikers face. Not only is it irritating, but it is also dangerous. Sweaty hands can cause your grip on the handlebars to slack which may cause you to lose control of your bike. Using a bike grip that is designed for sweaty hands is an important safety measure that riders need to follow. In this article, we provide you with a guide on how to choose a mountain bike grip for sweaty hands. 

Buy tacky mountain bike grips for sweaty hands because of their moisture-wicking material. Alternatively, ribbed mountain bike grips reduce sweating because of increased airflow, and lock-on mountain bike grips can also reduce sweating by increasing grip stability.

Selecting the correct grip for your mountain bike is essential for safety and comfort. Read our guide to choosing a mountain bike grip for tips and tricks on how to select the right type of grip. Bike grips will ensure your hands are relaxed and not sweaty so that you can ride for longer and more often. Before we dive into some specific grip options, we will look at some causes of sweaty hands and potential solutions.  

Reasons For Clammy Hands When Mountain Biking

Sweat is the body’s natural response to cool itself down, to regulate its temperature, and prevent overheating.

Reasons for clammy hands when mountain biking include increased exertion, participating in stressful activities, or low blood sugar due to not eating for too long before physical exertion.

Reason 1. Sweat Buildup Due to Exercise

One of the main reasons why riders may have clammy hands while mountain biking is simply because they are exerting themselves. Exercise causes your body temperature to rise and for your sweat glands to excrete more sweat. However, some people sweat less than others even with exercise. The amount of hand sweat could also vary because of hydration levels. Make sure to always drink enough water while riding.

Reason 2. Stress

Mountain biking can be a stressful activity. It is quite dangerous and requires your full attention. It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between stress and sweating. For more info on the cause of sweat when stressed, read this article from the Journal Analytica Chimica Acta written by Kamei, et. al. 

Reason 3. Low Blood Sugar

One of the main symptoms of low blood sugar is sweating. Low blood sugar can result from skipping or delaying a main meal before going mountain biking. This can be one of the reasons why some riders sweat more profusely than others. Make sure to have your main meal a few hours before doing any activity that requires a lot of effort. For more information on the correlation between low blood sugar and hand sweat, check out these two studies by, M. Kunimoto 

You might find that switching out your handles might help too. Be sure to read our related article that explains what mountain bike drop bars are and why you might need them.

Mountain Bike Grips for Sweaty Hands

Installing the correct mountain bike grips can alleviate many types of discomfort when riding, including better grip for sweaty hands and numbness. Read our article on mountain bike grips to reduce numbness. Preventing excess sweat from affecting your control of the mountain bike comes down to choosing hand grips that are made from material that is ideal for you. 

Types of mountain bike grips for sweaty hands include tacky mountain bike grips, ribbed mountain bike grips, lock-on mountain bike grips, and mushroom mountain bike grips.

These four types of mountain bike grips are the most helpful in reducing or controlling hand sweat. The following section covers each type in detail. 

Tacky Mountain Bike Grips

Tacky Mountain bike grips are one of the best types of grips for sweaty hands. Tacky grips are made from material that has the ability to counteract slippery hands because they increase friction between the hand and the grip, making the rider’s grasp more secure. Additionally, they are comfortable due to their soft plain style. 

The moisture-wicking material of tacky mountain bike grips provide better grip for sweaty hands.
Tacky mountain bike grips help to reduce slipping while riding because they are stickier. Image from Amazon
The surface of tacky material causes increased friction allowing for better grip between the material and the surface connected to it.
Tacky materials infiltrate small pores within our hands and the increase in contact surface area increases friction. Image from the American chemical society.

Ribbed Mountain Bike Grips 

Ribbed mountain bike grips can also relieve sweaty hands.With ribbed grips, sweat travels away from your hands along channels in between the ridges. Air can also enter the ridges and cool your hands. Along with wicking sweat, the grooves will repel the accumulation of other types of moisture and dirt.  

Ribbed mountain bike grips allow for movement of air between the grip and your palm providing better grip for sweaty hands.
Ribbed mountain bike grips allow air to circulate around your hands while riding. Image from Amazon

Lock-on Mountain Bike Grips

Lock-on mountain bike grips are also recommended for sweaty hands because they provide a solid, steady handhold. The lock ring allows the grips to be secured to the handlebars, increasing the control you will have over your handlebars even with sweaty hands. Lastly, lock-on grips often feature topographic patterns that function like channels for moving sweat away, similar to the ribs on the ribbed mountain bike grips. 

The rings on lock-on mountain bike grips are secured to your handlebars and sweat is also displaced from your hands by the ridges on the grips.
Lock-on mountain bike grips have rings that secure themselves to your handlebars and ridges that divert sweat away from your hands when riding. Image from Amazon

Mushroom Mountain Bike Grips

Mushroom mountain bike grips are also highly recommended because they provide a better grip for sweaty hands. This style has the ability to relieve sweaty palms due to the grooves that displace moisture. The gradual bulge in the middle of the grip also helps with comfort and increased control of the mountain bike while riding. 

The increased bulge in the middle of a mushroom mountain bike grip provides a more comfortable grip while riding. 
Mushroom-style mountain bike grips displace moisture because of their design. Image from Amazon

Below is a summary of different types of mountain bike grips for sweaty hands:

Type of Mountain Bike Grips for Sweaty Hands How do they reduce sweat? Amazon Product Example with Price Price
Tacky Mountain Bike Grips They are resistant to moisture, so they reduce sweat.  Wolf Tooth Silicone Mountain Bike Grips ~$20
Ribbed Mountain Bike Grips The ribbed style allows for air to move beneath your palms, and allows for your sweat to move away from your hands.  BW Chainline Grips – Dual Lock-On MTB Bike Handlebar Grips  ~$15
Lock-on Mountain Bike Grips Lock-on mountain bike grips have the ability to provide a more steady grip and the snap-on end plugs keep moisture, mud, and sweat off your handlebars. GE1 Evo Ergonomic Lock-on Bicycle Handlebar Grips ~$35
Mushroom Mountain Bike Grips Grooves in the mushroom mountain bike grips have the ability to channel moisture away from your hands, and the gradual bulge in the middle of the grip allows for more comfort and control. ODI Mushroom Single Ply Grips, Purple, 120mm ~$20

You might also be interested in learning how to choose mountain bike grips for large hands or a guide to mountain bike grips for small hands, and where to hold mountain bike grips to maintain proper posture. So make sure to check out those articles too.

What to Look For in Mountain Bike Grips If You’re Riding Gloveless and Have Sweaty Hands

Although gloves are useful for reducing shock and absorbing sweat, some riders prefer to ride gloveless. In this case, it is crucial to look for an alternative that can reduce shock and function well with sweaty hands. This is where the style of grip you choose becomes paramount. Your mountain bike grips play an important role in ensuring your safety and comfort during your ride. Here is how to choose the best grips if you want to ride gloveless. 

When planning to ride gloveless, buy mountain bike grips that have groove patterns to channel sweat away from hands, grips that are made of tacky materials, or grips that are topographic.

Grips with Groove Patterns That Channel Sweat Away

If you decide to ride gloveless, choose a mountain bike grip that features groove patterns. As previously mentioned, grooves have the ability to displace sweat and moisture away from your hands. 

Mountain Bike Grips Made of Tacky Materials

Bike grips that are made of tacky materials are the practical choice when riding gloveless. Firstly, tacky materials have the ability to absorb sweat and moisture. That's why they are effective as an alternative to gloves. Additionally, they will be comfortable since they can reduce shock and improve comfort. 

Grips with A Topographic Style

Topographic mountain bike grips are very effective for sweaty hands. The topographic pattern has moisture channels that prevent slipping while riding, and relieves hand fatigue when riding for long periods. Read our guide to installing mountain bike grips, to properly fit your chosen grips onto the handlebars. Relatedly, you might find our guide on how to remove mountain bike grips helpful when it's time to change yours out. Be sure to take a look our step-by-step guide when you're ready.

Other Solutions for Sweaty Hands when Mountain Biking

If you’ve tried these types of grips, and are still looking for more solutions for sweaty hands when mountain biking, consider the following ideas. 

Other solutions to alleviate sweaty hands when mountain biking include wearing gloves, using wrist sweatbands, or applying a dusting of baby powder or chalk to hands.  

Mountain Bike Gloves

A primary solution for sweaty hands while mountain biking is wearing mountain bike gloves. Gloves are useful when it comes to sweat absorption. The materials that gloves are made of, are designed to absorb as much sweat as possible. Choose mountain bike gloves like these, to reduce hand sweat and protect your hands on long rides. 

Mountain bike gloves provide a more comfortable grip with less friction and less sweat.
Mountain bike gloves reduce sweat accumulation on hands and also minimize chafing on the hands during long rides. Image Source: Amazon

Be sure to also read our guide to choosing mountain bike gloves with grip for more information.

Wrist Sweatbands

Wrist sweatbands are also effective with sweaty hands as they do absorb sweat to some extent. They are not as effective as gloves because they don't cover the hand, but they will help absorb the sweat that runs down the forearms. These wrist sweatbands are made from cotton, so they are durable and washable. 

Use wrist sweatbands to stop excess sweat from running down your forearms onto your hands. 
Wrist sweatbands help absorb sweat that might run down the forearms. Image Source: Amazon

Baby Powder or Chalk

Using baby powder or chalk can be very useful for sweaty hands. Both have the ability to absorb sweat. However, it's not advisable to use baby powder as an alternative to chalk when riding. Baby powder is made of talc which is a lubricant. Therefore, baby powder can be used if no other option is available but should not be relied on consistently. Chalk is far more effective to reduce sweat and increase grip while riding. 

Below is a summary of different solutions for sweaty hands while biking:

Solution for Sweaty Hands While Biking Pros Cons Example from Amazon with Price Price
Mountain Bike Gloves Effective in absorbing sweat. Can be too hot during warm weather. Giro Dnd Men's Mountain Cycling Gloves ~$15
Wrist Sweatbands Help in absorbing sweat. Their ability to absorb sweat is limited and they can be uncomfortable in hotter weather. Sports Sweatbands ~$5
Baby Powder Can absorb sweat and moisture to some extent.
Easy to find.
Talc is a lubricant. So, it can actually cause the grips to be even more slippery after extended use. Medicated Protecting Powder  ~$10
Chalk Can absorb sweat very well.
Easy to find. 
Messy to use. Ader Gym Chalk ~$15

Even with the best of intentions, sometimes grips fall off. Luckily, our related article shows you exactly how to fix a mountain bike grip that has fallen off. So be sure to check that out too.

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