Ergon GX-1 Grips – Product Review

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You know those “reviews” on MTBR.com that are written by somebody who says, “just bought it, haven’t ridden it yet, but it looks great hanging in my garage?”

This isn’t one of those reviews.

On a lark at the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, in February, i bought a pair of Ergon GX-1 grips at a ~50% discount. They were a sponsor of the event. I had seen their grips around, and figured i’d try some out, while supporting a sponsor of the event.

After the race (never change a part the day before you’re going to ride for 20+ hrs), I slapped them on, and they’ve been on ever since. Here’s my impression.

I never really thought about grips much. They were round, rubber, had a silly design on them, and that was about it. But really, there are 3 places where the body touches the bike: The saddle, the shoes, and the grips. I had always taken my shoes seriously. My saddles are the the first thing i check after a crash. But grips? Nah.

Wrong. Listen up. Good grips matter. And these are good grips. Like any lock-on grip, they go on and off nicely. Need to slide off your brake lever? No need to fire up the air compressor. These things just go straight on and straight off.

The wing shape is really cool. It’s a large platform for your hands. And they’re kind of like having bar ends. I know. Bar ends are tree hooks. Bar ends are lame. I’ve never used them. But it is really nice to be able to put your hands wide, get some leverage, and throw the bike side to side up some nasty climb. These grips give you that leverage off the sides of the bars without bar ends. That’s pretty nifty.

However, i’ve never had a problem with numb hands until i started using these grips. After hours and hours of riding, occasionally my fingers get tingly. Not a big problem, as a quick shake of the hands and some stretching and everything’s cool again. But considering these grips are supposed to prevent that, i was surprised. Who knows – i’ve put in a lot of hours this season – i may have had numbness if i was using regular grips, too. I think that the wide platform allows for more pressure on the median nerve, in the heel of the palm, than a round grip. But it also allows me to rest my body more, move my hands around more, and even rest my forearms on the grips on paved roads or long climbs, like the dreaded one out of Skull Valley at the W50.

Summary: 8 out of 10. Like saddles or shoes, grips are a contact point and are a matter of personal preference. However, i think the folks at Ergon are really trying to do something special here – putting real thought into how our hands hit the bike. I really like the options the grip shape provides. i worry that they caused the occasional numbness in my fingers, but that goes away fast. They’re kind of pricey at full retail (more than $12 rubber round things, that’s for sure) but they are holding up REALLY well after a long season of abuse. I bet they have at least one more full season left, and by season, i’m talking thousands of miles of riding. Oh, and for weight weenies (are there any left on this site? were there any to begin with?) they aren’t too heavy, considering the bennies.

Up next – you tell me: would you rather hear a breakdown of bar sizes, or the new disc mtb powertap system? Also, if anybody has a compact double crank system for mtb, i’d really like to try it out and report about it here.

peace,

-b

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About the sullied cycologist

"measures, daily, just how quickly we are destroying our atmosphere. thinks riding bikes might just help this problem. tapes his middle finger to the handlebar (unsuccessfully represses rage). mountainbikes in lycra. Tomac did it. he does it. he's not Tomac." Missoula, Montana, USA

13 thoughts on “Ergon GX-1 Grips – Product Review

  1. I’ve been using the older GP1′s for a year or so. They really helped out with the numbness and hot spots. My biggest obstacle when I started with them was getting my pinky fingers to relax, because they can’t wrap. I’ve found that on fast semi-smooth stuff I get away from gripping the bar entirely and just rest my palms on the paddle part of the grips – they soak up some shock too.

    I also found that the small diameter worked better for me – even though I have monkey-sized hands. Might have something to do with using thumbies and where my hands sit. Or maybe I’m not comfortable grasping a large, black rubbery rod. At least they’re labeling the small size “Small” instead of “Ladies” now.

  2. I have a pair on my Karate Monkey, and once I got them into the right position, they have been awesome. I never had numbness or pain or anything, but these are pretty sweet. They spread the contact point across the ‘meat’ of your knife-edge of your palm instead of all of it being where your under-knuckles are.

    I think they are A-OK.

  3. I started using them when I was still working in a shop. We all mocked them for being ugly when we first got them, but I was having problems with my hands going numb even on a short 5 mile commute into work, so I broke down and got them. They are now on all of my flat bar bikes, and many of the guys at the shop are running them. They rotate a little, and I’m a bit nervous to really torque them down on my carbon bars, but that’s the only negative I can come up with. Get them. Your hands will be glad you did.

  4. Haven’t tried ‘em, but lock-on grips are generally uncomfortable imo. It’s because half the rubber is now a plastic sheath for the lock-on mech.

    Rubber is the cushion so loosing half of it sucks.

    Anyhow, someone had to play devils advocate right?

    And skip the compressor, mist a little isopropyl alchohol in there, slide ‘em on, wait a few minutes for it to evaporate.

  5. The ODI lock-on grips were uncomfortable I thought, although a lot of people swear by them. I tried them, and never could get used to them. The thing about the ergons is that the inner plastic sleeve is thinner, and the flat spot spreads any pressure out away from the ulnar nerve. Also, it keeps you from rocking your wrist back, forcing you to keep your hands in a good position. To each their own.

  6. When I tell people the oldest part on my bike is the grips, they are amazed. I have gone through 10 rear wheels, 5 rear derailleurs, etc… and I pulled these killer foam grips of a 25 year old Specialized Hard Rock and they’ve been on my Landshark daily runner since last year. Before that, I was replacing grips every 8 months or less.

    When they make something that is built to last, they stop making it.
    I’m talking about my GRIPS! They should be fine in 10 years hence!

  7. …the concept seems intelligent so i can imagine they work well…

    …same but different…i haven’t ridden a road or cross bike w/out an “ovalized cross section” handle bar in years…damn good reason…they’re just more comfortable & i ride w/out gloves a lot…road or dirt…

  8. Might be good grips, hell I dunno but I look at these and all I can think of is “Oakley III’s”

    Fuck, I’m old.

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