Ainsley Reviews Ergon GP1 Grips!
Posted on 10 September 2019
Written by Ainsley Munro
My bike and I go way back - I bought her at a police auction in university for $110 and over the years have done a lot of upgrades to make her my ideal bike. Recently, I had an issue with my handlebar grips and needed to find a replacement. Eric at Curbside Cycle recommended the Ergon GP1 grips, and I'm singing their praises from here on out. Here's why I love them!
ANATOMY OF THE GRIP:
My bike is an aluminum frame hybrid. I originally bought it to replace a heavy steel cruiser and was really excited about the weight savings, but over time I found that I would get sore elbows and shoulders from long rides in Toronto where potholes are more frequent than hipster coffee shops. Aluminum is less shock-absorbing than a steel frame, and my slightly-overbent posture means I put a good amount of weight on my hands when I ride, resulting in every pothole going right up the frame and into my upper body. When I put the Ergon grips on my bike, my ride downtown felt so much smoother and the pain in my elbows and wrists dissipated, meaning I wanted to ride my bike for longer distances and was able to enjoy my commute even more.
I love the nature of the ergonomic grip! Before riding with these I had a standard straight-cylinder-style grip without any support under my palms. Having the thicker portion of the grip under my wrist just feels so much better - the grips fill my hand entirely and I found that my strength of hand-grip could be loosened because I didn't have to rely on my fingers wrapping around the handlebar to keep my hands firmly attached. Being able to rest the cushy part of my hand on my upright bars during climbs protects my wrists from hyperextension. I also appreciate Ergon's attention to detail - they have designed different textures of rubber on different parts of the grip to avoid friction in the crux of the thumb while maintaining a strong hold for my fingertips and palm.
IMPROPER WRIST POSITION (OUCH!)
PROPER WRIST POSITION
(Wrist position images sourced from: https://ergonbike.com/en/fe-ergonomics.html
When you want an innovation that's been designed and re-designed to create the best product on the market, look no further than Germany. Ergon has done its country proud by winning multiple awards for their bike grips, including a RedDot Design Award that distinguishes exceptional international products.
They're not content with perfection, but seek constant improvement: over the last few years, Ergon has tested over 50 individual rubber compounds to find the perfect ones for their grips. (I don't think I've tested over 50 of anything in my life! The medical-grade ones they use are manufactured in Germany and have extremely high resistance to UV rays - good news for my bike, which spends the months of March to November outdoors in raging summer heat waves.
Besides the product themselves, I can tell that Ergon has thought through everything related to their manufacturing process. As a pretty fervent environmentalist, I really appreciated that the grips are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard. The fact that they won a VSF Award for sustainability and product quality for manufacturing their grips under "exceptionally sustainable and fair conditions" means they value their workers at every stage of the production chain, all the way down to the rubber farmers providing raw materials.
Some grips on the market today are not in it for the long haul: they get dirty, slippery, melty or gummy with extended use and need replacement within a year if one does a lot of riding. Ergon tells a different story. When the rubber is molded into shape, it's infused with white mineral oil, which allows the grips to be durable enough to last years and yet flexible enough to give just a smidge in your hand and feel cushy and comfortable despite their firmness. As someone who works in a bike shop, I'm always eyeing up potential new rides, and the bolt-on feature of these grips is a game-changer. When I took the old grips off my handlebars, I had to cut them off with a knife because they Would Not Budge. However, Ergon grips have a slick locking collar that allows me to easily remove them and put them onto any new, shiny bike of my choosing with minimal effort. This means that I won't have to re-invest in new Ergons when I upgrade my bike because they remove really easily.
Come on in to Curbside and check these grips out for yourself and your bike! I can promise you'll never regret picking up a pair.