ERGON GP1 GRIPS
by Robb Sutton from Mountain Biking by 198
The GP1 series of grips offer maximum comfort and the best possible pressure distribution. They are specially cut for a small to middle sized hand (Size S: 6.5 / 8.5 – particularly good for female hands), as well as for middle to larger sized hands (Size L: 8.5 – 10.5). They feature a forged aluminum clamp for fast and secure installation. The support platform is individually incrementally adjustable for the correct hand angle by simply turning the grip.
Test Subjects – Pictured Below
Size Tested: Small 6.5/8.5
Installation is as easy as any other lock-on, slide on the grip and tighten the bolt. The only issue that takes any time is figuring out the most comfortable angle for your riding and making sure that both grips are even. With normal grips, this is not an issue because they are circular.
These grips are heavy due to the extra material (170g per pair according to JensonUSA on the smalls and over 200g for the larges). If you are a weight weenie looking to shed those precious grams, these are probably not the grips for you. I have heard from endurance racers that they find the added benefits during longer riding a big enough trade off for the weight.
Averaging around 35.00 per pair (25.00 if you look hard), these are some of the most expensive grips you can put on a bike from a mainstream retailer.
At first, it really took some time to get used to the Ergon GP1’s. For such a long time, riders have gotten used to regular grips for all of their riding needs. The Ergon’s are much different than anything else on the market. Finding that “sweet spot” on the bikes was a little bit more difficult than I had planned on, but once they were set…they felt great.
My hands are relatively large and I found even the smalls to be a little big. I like to be able to grip all the way around the bars with my index and middle finger in technical riding situations. The large sized grips really hindered my ability to do this. So for me, the “better for women” size worked out the best. I have found this to be true for almost all of the men with any experience with Ergon’s. (For reference: My hands have a 9” spread)
On The Bike
According to Ergon, these grips are supposed to prevent soreness and numbness in the hands and fingers by providing optimal pressure distribution on the palm. I do not have chronic problems in these areas but I did find the grips to be very comfortable on long climbs. I was able to rest my upper body weight on the bulk of the grips and this helped in loosening my grip on the bars. I found that my hands were not as tired at the end of long climbs as compared to regular grips.
On the descents, I have two opinions. On the Moots Mooto-X 29er, the grips felt great when gravity takes over. I still had complete control over the front end and I felt more stable on the bars. When I switched the the Mojo, things changed a little bit. In more downhill/freeride situations, I really missed being able to grip all the way around the bars in multiple positions. This left me feeling uneasy on drops and jumps that I normally feel at home on.
One other critique…The one bolt clamping mechanism makes installation a breeze, but I did find that the bolt can loosen easily causing the grips to move on the bar. A simple tightening of the bolt with the multi-tool rectified the issue quickly, so it was more of a little annoyance than a deal breaker.
Even through all of the testing, the grips still look brand new (with some added dirt). This makes me believe that the grips are going to last a pretty long time. Some other brands soft compounds tend to wear out pretty quickly, but the Ergon’s look like they are going to be around for a long time. This helps with the price of the grips if you know you aren’t going to have to buy another set for a long time.
I can see exactly why endurance racers love these grips. They work out great on the long haul. It is my opinion that these grips are best suited for rigids, hard tails and short travel full suspension bikes. They will relieve your hands in long mileage rides and help with numbness and soreness in the palm area. If you are looking for a set of grips that are going to be comfortable over long rides and you aren’t worried about weight, look no farther than the GP1’s. I would try out a set before you purchase to make sure you are ok with the size, but it is my guess that the smalls are going to work for most riders.
If you are an all mountain/freeride/downhill rider, you are probably going to want to stick with a conventional grip. A personal favorite of mine is the Oury lock-ons, but Ergon also has a new GE1 that may work out better for more aggressive, technical riding situations.
Ergon is also the only grip company, that I can think of, that is truly involved with their riders. There have been multiple test sessions held at our local trail heads by Ergon employees. They install the grips on your bike for testing and answer questions as you go along. As the bike industry becomes more competitive, this is a huge plus in my book. I really like “hands on” manufacturers.