According to their website, Ergon is a bicycle accessory company whose aim is to develop products that offer the best ergonomics for cyclists, which combine the best scientific principles with the practicality of real world usage. Ergon has a fairly extensive line of grips, offering different grip materials, and a variety of different bar ends (including the absence of them). For this test, I chose the smaller GR2-Small for my average sized hands, and also for the subtle bar ends.
SPECIAL FEATURES AND DESIGN
- Effective pain prevention for hand and wrist
- Ergonomically correct hand position and optimal pressure distribution
- Independently adjustable bar end and grip angle
- Available in Small and Large
If you’ve been riding bikes long enough, the Ergons may remind you of the Oakley 3 grips from the 1980s BMX days. Like the old Oakleys, the grip gets wider towards the outer edge, and there is a special area for your fingers to grip. Unlike the simple rubber BMX grips though, the Ergons are made up of different materials throughout the grip, bolt on securely to the bars, and include a bar end.
Installing the GR2s was my first experience with lock-on grips. I’m used to muscling on standard grips, using just enough rubbing alcohol to allow the grip to slip onto the handlebars. The GR2s simply slide right on though without any effort. The trick though is to make sure the grip is all the way on before tightening the one bolt that not only locks the grip to the bar, but also sets the angle of the bar end. Getting the angle right on the grip and the bar end took some careful eyeballing and test riding to find the perfect setting. Once set though, they’re locked in. I didn’t have to readjust the grips once in the test period.
FUNCTION AND COMFORT
Immediately after getting the grips mounted, I pedaled a few feet then wheelied up a couple stairs. The grips “moved”, and I had a brief moment of panic that I hadn’t tightened the bolts enough. It turned out only to be the flex of the “wing” of the grip. It didn’t take long to get used to the flex though, and I started appreciating the extra shock absorption that the wing offers. Additionally, there’s a recessed area on the bottom of the grip where your fingers tuck nicely in. The whole grip really feels good in your hand. Almost like it was made just for you.
I’ve really enjoyed riding around the city with the Ergon GR2 grips, even getting a little excited that I would be riding the bike that had these grips installed. You can definitely feel the pressure from the grip evenly distributed across the palm of your hand, and the flex from the grip adds additional shock absorption. Look at the palms of your hands, and you’ll see that a grip of this shape makes a lot of sense. These aspects are further appreciated when carrying a heavy load on your back. I even got the GR2s out on the Bike Polo court for a few games. In Bike Polo, you need to ride most of the game with one hand, since the mallet is in the other hand. This experience really showcased the comfort of the grip, since all my upper body weight was focused on that one point.
I’m a big fan of alternate bend bars, those with a lot more back-sweep than standard, but the bar ends on the GR2s give me the hand position I’m looking for when I need it. The bar ends are also subtle, unlike the big horns from previous decades. The bar ends come in handy when you need some extra sprinting or climbing leverage, or simply want to switch up your hand position.
Running the GR2s made my 27″ wide bars look and feel even wider. It feels like I could take an inch off the bars, especially when out on the bar ends.
Eager for my wife to try them, I mounted the GR2s on her Stumpjumper for an upcoming mountain bike ride up at Lake Tahoe. The right grip went on fine, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get the left grip mounted properly. The bar end seemed to be locked in place, but the grip twisted under pressure. I started over to make sure I hadn’t screwed something up, but the problem still existed. It felt like I was pushing the bolt beyond where I should, but I kept tightening anyway. Finally the bolt snapped, rendering the grip useless. This hadn’t happened on the bars I had been using, and after asking around to other Ergon users, nobody else reported similar problems. Perhaps I just had the wrong grip/bar combo. I’m going to see what I can do about getting a replacement part, because I really feel the grips deserve a 2nd chance. And maybe next time I’ll use a torque wrench.
- As a safety precaution, Ergon says these grips are not suitable for the use with carbon handlebars. While the grips are friendly to the human hand, there is a lot of pressure at this one bolt on the handlebar.
- Due to the bar ends, the GR2 grips are designed for handlebars with little sweep, so if you like radically bent bars, they won’t work.
- While the grips slide on easy, it does take some patience to get them setup just right when compared to a standard rubber grip.
Disclaimer: This product was given to BikeCarson.com at no charge for test and review as part of the Ergon Commuter Team campaign. We were not paid or bribed to do this review, and will provide our honest and personal views throughout the entire process.