A few months back, some goodies from Ergon landed in my lap so I could put it all through its paces and see how it all performs. Now, like many of you, I’m a hack with little to no grace on a bicycle at all, so any gear I use has to be tough. The biggest deal breaker for me is gear that breaks down after only a few rides, so I was keeping a close eye on the goods from Ergon for signs of wear.
Keep in mind that this is only D2′s review; the other gents at DC also got some gear, so their interpretations may be different than mine.
Here’s how it all went down:
Ergon GS1 Grips:
Like most people, the first time I saw Ergon grips, I thought: boy, those sure are some nice grips for grandmothers and townie cruisers. The shape was immediately off-putting because they looked like your standard townie fare, nothing ready for use off-road.
I can’t begin to tell you how wrong my initial impression was. I love these grips. They even unseated ESI grips as my new favorite. Why? A few reasons: first, as long rides wear on, your wrists tend to sag, which in turn makes your upper body sag. The unique shape of the Ergon grips keeps you in a better, stronger riding position that won’t have your neck and shoulders aching after hour two in the saddle.
What about the downside? Unfortunately there is one. You have to get the grips positioned just right, or your hands can get squirrely on descents. My first ride, my hand slipped right off the front of these bad boys. Once I found the sweet spot, however, they were good to go. Take the time to get the proper position and you’ll fall in love with these grips.
Ergon BX2 Pack:
(apologies for the shitty photos…took them on the quick)
This was the item I was most excited to see land in my mailbox from Ergon. It’s eye catching for sure, and it looks like a stellar pack. It was, in fact, pretty awesome, though there are a few drawbacks to this one as well.
First off, let me say that Ergon nailed the fit system. I have a really long torso, which generally means hydration packs tend to feel like a second grader’s My Little Pony backpack on me. The BX2 is made for guys like me…as well as for guys and girls with short torsos. The harness system adjusts quickly and easily using a velcro strap, and it stays in place once you get it where you want. The waist strap stayed in place too, and I often forgot I was even wearing the pack.
The downside? It’s sort of a big one: NO BLADDER. WHAAAAA??? That’s right, there’s no bladder included. I threw a Camelbak bladder in there, and while it worked, you could tell it wasn’t designed specifically to work with this pack. Further, the bladder sits in the main compartment, leaving it susceptible to punctures.
Otherwise, in terms of comfort and usability, this pack is great. Lots of storage, nice and light, rugged and ready for the trail. Recommended for sure, as long as you don’t mind using a Camelbak bladder.
Ergon SM3 Pro Saddle:
I will admit, I’m not going to be nice to this saddle in this review. It killed my sit bones. It’s a light, solidly built saddle, but I would highly recommend getting your sit bones measured before investing in this bad boy. I tend to use very narrow saddles, and the SM3 just wasn’t narrow enough for me.
Luckily, 40 Hands has sit bones that seem to go well with the SM3, and he really digs this seat. So aside from feeling like I was sitting on knives, the saddle is well built and light, and it is great for anyone with slightly wider sit bones or folks who just generally prefer a wider platform on which to place the ol’ brown eye on long rides.
Ergon HA2 Gloves:
Before these arrived, I was rolling some old Answer gloves that I really loved. They had no velcro straps around the wrists, and while I wasn’t stoked to see Velcro on the HA2 gloves, it turned out to be a non-issue. These gloves are sweet. The velcro strap is small and stays out of the way; it’s on the bottoms of the wrists rather than the tops, so you never feel them when your hands are on the grips.
They were a bit tight at first, but after a few rides they felt just right. There’s an extra pad at the base of the palm meant to work specifically with Ergon grips; I didn’t feel anything especially mindblowing in this regard, but the gloves are comfortable…and durable. I’ve been riding these for a season and a half, and they’re my go-to gloves for sure. Rugged, they’ve held up great and still have enough life in them for another season or two. Padding placement is great, and while the ubiquitous sweat-and-booger-wiper on the thumbs are missing, the material is comfortable enough to wipe away whatever fluids happen to be leaking from you.
Ergon HE2 Gloves:
The HE2 Gloves showed up a bit more recently, and I’ll admit I only have about eight or nine rides on them. Like the HA2 gloves, these are very well built and stylish; I expect to get a lot of use out of them. Padding is just about perfect, and the articulation of the fingers is excellent. Gloves don’t tend to last long in my possession, since I tend to blow through the fingers and the low palms, but these seem to be durable as hell, so I have high expectations.
The downside? They are really, really tight. I’m a dude with small hands, and these were really snug the first few rides. They loosened up a bit after time, but they’re still fairly snug. Think about ordering a size larger than you normally would.
I’m also not a huge fan of the extended velcro cuff. It comes down a bit too far on my wrists, and I occasionally notice this on particularly hot days.
The HA2 gloves will probably remain my go-to gloves, but the HE2 seem just as durable, and they’re great looking. I’ll report back after a few more rides.by