Friday, July 29, 2005

Ergon Grips Review: Update

Ergon Grips as mounted on my Karate Monkey single speed
Guitar Ted Productions

I know I have posted on Ergon grips before, but I wanted to give an update on the performance of these grips over the last three months. To re-cap the salient features, Ergon grips are a performance enhancing grip designed to give you more comfort and control when mounted to your flat, or riser bars. The anatomic shape fits nicely in your hands, but as I have found, that's not the only posistion for you to operate with. (More on that in a minute) Ergon grips feature a soft flatish insert on top, along with a lock on collar, and a hard plastic interface with your handle bar. The grips slip on snugly, and then lock into the desired posistion using a 4mm allen bolt located on the outside end of the grip. The bolt is nicely recessed into the aluminum collar. The collar itself flowing nicely into the grip area, making a nice transistion, which feels good to the hand. Currently there are two models. One meant for larger hands, dubbed the "men's model", and one for smaller hands dubbed the "women's model". I have recommended the smaller model to men with smaller hands and the large to women with larger hands, so don't let the labels deter you. A grip shift compatible model is in the works, but not currently available.

These grips have so reduced my hand pain and numbness, that I will not ride a flat bar without them again! It was evident on my very first ride. It's that dramatic a change from traditional grips. I found that with the wider, flattish profile of the grip that I could rest my hands, thumbs and all, on the top of the grip for a little change while riding non-technical stretches of trail. Not only that, but subtle twists and reposistioning of your hands on different areas of the grips yeilded even more ways to relax the hands. You'll have to experiment for yourselves to fully get a grasp on what I mean, but trust me, it's nice! I found that I could really relax my grip, and in turn my forearms, and still maintain a great level of control. The grips lock on feature really kept them from twisting, which could have been a real problem in light of their shape.
The posistioning of the attitude of the grips on your bars is the key to their performance benefits, so you may have to tweak the grip slightly over time to fine tune it to your needs. For instance, I found that by pointing the tail of the grip,(the portion of the grip that tapers to the rear of your bike as you look at it from a sideveiw) slightly upwards from level was the best for me. Ergon representative, Peter Swap confirmed my suspicions that the tail section pointing upwards is key to making the grip work it's best. You may be able to dicern this from my photo, above.
I used these grips for three solid months on rides in cold, snow, light rain, and searing heat. My rides consisted of my short commute to work, which is about 20 minutes, all the way up to an epic five hour gravel grinder. I found them to remain cosistent in their feel, which is pleasingly soft, yet firm. Not mushy! They held up well, showing very little signs of wear and tear for me. The material that they are made of seems to remain stable and un-affected by temperature changes. I recommend them to you, and any of my clients at the bicycle shop I work at. Especially if you have problems with numbness or pain in the hands. They are expensive, at about $30.00 retail, but are well worth the dollars for the benefits to the rider. No pain is way better than riding cheap grips with numb hands any day!

Hope you enjoyed that review. Get some Ergon grips! You won't be sorry. I am having a little regret, however, because I am going to be testing a new handlebar/ grip combo starting today. Why, you ask? Well, I have to be satisfied that I have fully explored (within reason!) my options for a very long ride I have planned to do, that's why! I may very well come back to the Ergon/ Ti bar set-up I have now, but we'll see! Stay tuned for pics of the new set-up soon!

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