For the past few years, I’ve outfitted most of my bikes with cork grips. I like their shape, I like the fact that they can be modified to work with bar-end shifters, and mostly I like how they look. In their natural state they’re fragile and get grimey in short order, so I typically give them a couple coats of shellac. This adds to their reliability and good looks, but it makes them a little slippery, particularly in the heat of summer.
I recently swapped the cork grips on one of my bikes for a pair of ODI mountain bike grips. I have to admit, I had forgotten how comfortable and secure a nice set of low-profile mountain grips can be. Their small diameter and grippy surface provide a much more direct connection to the bars than shellaced cork grips. I can’t say that I’d outfit all of my bikes with mountain grips, but for dodging traffic while carrying heavy front loads, the added control that comes with this type of grip can be a real benefit.