Ergon GE1 Grips – Review
Ergon are a company known for taking a different approach to bike components, and with pro riders like Tahnee Seagrave, Remy Absalon and Greg Minnaar onboard they have to do be doing something right. As the name suggests their products are all designed to be ergonomic, to fit better and reduce rider discomfort. Ergon’s GE1 Grips are a good example of their innovative approach to bike design.
After years of riding I have recently become concerned with the growing discomfort in my hands and arms when riding for long periods of times on gnarly trails. I find that my hands are increasingly sore, and after up to a week’s riding in the Alps last summer they would start to go numb in places. Now I know there is something to be said for loosening the death grip, and this is something i’ve consciously tried to do, but if there is a product out there designed to assist with my hand pains then i’m keen to give it a go.
I’ve been running Ergon’s GE1 grips on my Commencal Meta V4 RS for around 4 months now, the stock Commencal grips that came with the bike just weren’t doing it for me and I thought it was time to try out Ergon’s claims. The GE1 is aimed, surprise surprise, at the burgeoning ‘enduro’ market. It is specifically designed for the typical wide handlebars found on the 6” full suspension bikes you’ll see shredding the red trails at your local riding spot. Through the GE1’s unique design, pressure on the ulnar nerve is reduced, which I am reliably informed is a good thing, and in doing so helps reduce arm pump. I’ve ridden with the GE1’s pretty regularly over the past few months and whilst it’s hard to readily identify specific changes, I have definitely noticed a reduction in arm pump and numbness after longer rides.
The first noticeable thing about the GE1’s is the unusual shape of the grips. The outer part of the bars is angled outwards which is designed to promote good riding technique, with your elbows out wide, taking the force of impacts more efficiently through the rider’s body. Given the unique design of the grips, it is definitely important to try out different angles as it can make a big impact to the feel of the grips. The grips encourage your hands towards the end of the bars, something which I personally prefer, but if you like riding in close to the brakes and shifters then you may not always get on with these grips.
Given the shape of the grips I definitely found myself holding the bars less tightly, and whilst I have yet to test them out on prolonged and continuous riding of over a week or so, so far my fingers haven’t felt numb and my grip on the bars feels a lot looser than with previous grips.
When I first fitted the grips to my bars I did question whether the texture or compound would be as grippy as some of the ‘sticky compound’ grips from ODI or other manufacturers, but i’ve ridden the bike in rain as well as on hot sweaty days and so far I have never felt like my grip on the bars was ever compromised. Thanks to the big 3mm bolts you don’t have to worry about over tightening the grips (something to watch out for if you’re running carbon handlebars) so there is no risk of any ‘slippage’. The aesthetics of the grips should not be overlooked either, they look great and come in a wide variety of colours. I chickened out from getting the ‘Laser Lemon’ version and went instead for the ‘safe’ grey option, but they look great and the Ergon logo on the ends of the grips is a nice and ‘blingy’ finishing touch for what is a relatively expensive option.
One thing I would have liked to have seen were flanges (wouldn’t we all!), but given that the grips encourage the rider to move their hands to the end of the bars, they may do little more than look cool. I understand that Ergon will soon release the GD1 which will be aimed at Downhill riders, and might well address the flange issue, we will aim to get our hands on a pair of the new GD1’s as soon as possible. The ‘soft’ bar ends are anything but that, I’ve lazily dropped my bike on to grit and rock on many occasions and the great looking bar ends have hardly been scratched at all, I get the impression that they will last longer than the plastic caps on the end of ODI grips I have used in the past.
So should you give the Ergon GE1’s a go? If you regularly suffer from numbness or arm pain when riding descents for a long period of time then it is definitely worth seeing if these grips will make a difference. Don’t be put off by the look, the GE1’s will offer similar levels of grip to your common or garden ODI lock-ons and feel pretty similar, but should encourage you into a better body position on the bike. Yes they are going to be a few quid more expensive than some other grips, but if like me you feel that eventually the discomfort you feel might limit your ability to ride then what are you waiting for?
July 3, 2016