Bikerumor Review – Ergon Grips

A little while back we got two sets of Ergon Grips to review, the GR2 Magnesium integrated bar-end model, and the GP1 standard grips.  A few of our friends had been riding them, notably Eddie and Namrita O’dea (who just joined the Ergon North American Team…congrats!), and they certainly looked comfortable.  Pretty much every Pro rider we interviewed at the MTB NUE Finals was riding them, so there must be something to this.

I’m happy to say that after a couple of months on them, I don’t think I’ll be taking them off.  They’re comfortable and they keep your hand in place, which is basically what you want from a grip.  The bar-end version I rocked had plenty of hand positions and were comfortable on the ends, too.  Overall, we’d recommend them pretty highly, but there were a few issues worth noting.

Read “more” for the full review, pics and tech details…


The bar-end version (below), which also comes in aluminum and carbon fiber bar end options, uses a different mounting bolt position than the GP1 (above).  The bar-end models allow you to adjust the angle of the grip independently from the angle of the bar-end, and the bar-end serves as the clamp to tighten it all down.

They come in Small and Large sizes to accommodate different size hands.  The bar-ends have marks to help you line up the angles with the little bump on the side of the grip…which is great in theory.  In practice, the lines weren’t printed in the same place on each end, so I ended up eyeballing it.

The Magnesium bar ends deflected a few trees for me on my latest ride, and they’re none the worse for wear other than a few cosmetic blemishes.

The large pad area makes for very comfortable riding once the angle is right.  They feel weird, bordering on uncomfortable, until you get the positioning dialed in.  Once it’s right, it’s oh so right.  Perhaps the only downside to big soft grippy pad sticking off the back is when you initially push down before a bunnyhop, the grip mushes down a little, which feels scarily similar to the feeling when your handlebar is loose and rotates backward…which is what sent me flying over the bars at the Fool’s Gold 100 earlier this year.  At first, it’s quite disconcerting, and I pulled over more than once to check that everything was tight.  The feeling doesn’t really go away, but once you realize what it is you tend to stop worrying about it.

Ergon offers a vast array of grips in various sizes, shapes and models, as shown in the pic on the left (click to enlarge).  Most are available in standard width and shorter versions that accomodate SRAM “gripshift” twisters.  Unfortunately, due to the inherent design of the larger pad, they won’t work with the older “half pipe” gripshift.  I say unfortunate, because I’ve rocked those for the past six or seven years and absolutely love them.

The “Leichtbau” models are the lighter versions.  They use carbon clamps and a different rubber compound for about a 40g difference between the GP1 Leichtbau versus the GP1 regular.

The model I used, the GR2 Magnesium weighed in at 280g, which is actually 1g less than the claimed weight.  That’s not exactly feather weight, and since I had to swap my half-pipes for triggers, I ended up adding over 150g to my setup.  The carbon GR2 weighs in around 211g, which would halve the weight penalty.  Given the added comfort, it’s worth it, especially on longer rides.

The model I used was a size small.  The comparison graph on their website shows that there ain’t much difference between the two…and virtually all of the extra size is in grip diameter closer to the shifters/levers, not on the trailing pad.  I’m 6’2″ and I don’t think I’d want to run the Large…these were plenty big enough.

OTHER TESTER COMMENTS:

Our two other testers that tried them were Scott Vines (6’4″) and Rob Morgan (5’10″), both of whom tried the non-bar-end version.  Scott used a Large, Rob a Small:

SCOTT SAID: “My first impression with the Ergon GP1 grips is that they reminded me a lot of the old Oakley 3 grips (see attached photo) from back in the ’80s. I used to race BMX and I recall that the Oakley 3s were the cool thing to slip onto your bars.”

oakley bmx bike grips“The Ergon GP1s , once you have them set to the right angle, did however offer many benefits. On my first ride I found myself thinking about the grips a lot. I was concerned that they would hinder my riding style. I like to stand up a lot and put some body english into the turns and “pump” on the trail when I can. I also like to catch a little air so my concern is that the shape of the GP1s would prevent my hands to move around the grip. On that first ride I actually felt a little discomfort in my forearms so I adjusted the angle of the grips a little. On my next ride and all of the rides after that the benefits of these grips became apparent. The GP1s provided support for the base of my wrist, prevent hyper extension of my lower forearm when I stood to climb. I could also relax my grip a little on the flat sections of trail and still feel comfortable because of the larger contact patch that my hands hand on the grips. So what are the negatives? I really don’t think that there are any. For the type of riding that I do, which is cross country trail riding these grips are the ticket. They are comfortable and they prevent fatigue over long periods of time. I just wish that had them on my Moots when I rode the 215 miles of the San Juan Huts trail this summer. I think that these Ergon grips will really show their benefits on those long, epic days in the woods.”

ROB SAID: “I had the small, the women’s size, because Eddie recommended them…the large size was too big.  The problem I had was even with the smalls, it was hard to reach the controls, I had to roll my hand forward to grab everything and it was rubbing blisters on my hand.  I loved the cushion in the back, it felt great, but they were just too freakin’ big.  I put them on my singlespeed, though, and they’re great!”

CONCLUSION:

Overall, Scott and I are keeping ours on our mountain bikes.  The few issues described above don’t outweigh the benefit of added comfort, and they don’t seem to reduce your ability to maneuver the bike once you’ve got the position dialed in.  Prices range from $35 up to about $110, which is a little more than what a good grip/bar-end combo might cost, but you wouldn’t get the Ergon grip design.  For the comfort and multiple hand positions they provide, they’re a bargain.  The fact that so many endurance XC pros choose to use them is icing on the cake.

We highly recommend the Ergon Grips.

I will say that the bar-end version I ran make my handle bars look ridiculous…more so than normal (I run Serfas or SingleTrack Solutions bar-end nubs on my Easton Monkey Lite SL carbon riser bar.  Yeah, baby).  The pics below show what I’m talking about:

Comments

Mike Chastaine - 12/12/08 - 11:23am

I’ve been using these grips for over a year in multiday adventure races and 24 hour solo races. The first 24 hour solo I did with standard grips left my hands numb for a week. With the Ergon’s I had NO numbness. Once they are dialed in, they are the best on the market and I wouldn’t take them off my bikes.

[...] turns out the guys at Bike Rumor also like them and have had some Ergon grips on trial for the last couple of months – there’s [...]

Ohio guy - 12/16/08 - 5:30pm

I also have had these about a year, Santa got them for me last year.
I used them in several expert MTB races and one 100 mile race I had done the previous year with ‘regular’ grips.
After the race with the regular grips – my left hand had numbness that lasted about two weeks after the race.
in 08 – with Ergon – no numbness – happy hands as I call it’
can’t wait to see if Santa gets me the nice Mag “race” models this year under my tree.

john b - 02/28/09 - 1:35pm

they look like early 80′s cobra bmx grips

ewan nicholson - 06/15/09 - 1:00am

the size small are likely the way to go for anyone smaller than huge. I’m 5’10″ but have biggish hands and the larges are definitely too big for me. I can ride
with them but on hard, fast, bumpy descents the large grip is too difficult to comfortably wrap my fingers around. The smalls, although billed as being for women,
are definitely the better choice for most – asked about this at my local bike shop and they confirmed anyone smaller than a giant is using the small grips. Used them in
the 2008 Trans Rockies and they kicked ass.

Tu D - 09/29/09 - 6:58pm

Great review fellas. I am definately getting a set. My wrist and forearms are starting to feel sore aftre long rides. Hopefully these are the ticket to better rides.

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