When it boils down to it, cycling is all about compromise--choose to buy a road bike and enjoy efficiency and speed, but exile yourself from the joys of root-twisted single track or leisurely bike path strolls. Ride your bike to work and enjoy the outdoors or lock yourself in a car and get there faster (and probably easier). Buy the nicest bike you can find and impress all of your friends, or maximize value in a mid-range model that leaves you with enough cash leftover to buy lunch.
It’s easy to get lost in the vastness of what bike to buy, what accessories you actually need, and what compromises to make for your personal riding style and preferences. Although there are numerous ways to make cycling more enjoyable, we find that an often overlooked aspect that contributes significantly to rider enjoyment is comfort.
It’s tempting to overlook comfort and ergonomics in the face of speed and weight-savings, but with companies like Ergon devoting their entire product collection to “Perfectly Realized Ergonomics for Cyclists”, you don’t have to make this compromise.
Ergon develops high quality and comfort-enhancing products for every type of rider in every discipline of cycling. This means that whether you ride a mountain bike, beach cruiser, touring bike, hybrid bike, or urban commuter and beyond, Ergon’s goal is to provide the best possible ergonomic solution for controlling and enjoying your bike.
Ergon has a wide range of ergo-centric products from saddles and grips to hydration packs, but for the intent of this article, we wanted to point out some of the key features and benefits of Ergon’s line of grips. At the same time, we’ll break down some of the confusion between models and point out some key information to help you decipher which Ergon product is right for your riding discipline and style.
Don’t let Ergon’s model names scare you away, they’re actually pretty simple. We’ll get into this with each grip below. Sizing is straightforward, grips come in either Small or Large (referring to the diameter of the grip); larger hands need a larger diameter to grasp comfortably.
^^^ "Adapted grips for various shifters" graphic showing length of grips. Screenshot is in the media library
GP - Performance Series
The bread and butter ergonomic grip. Ideal for recreational riding, touring, commuting, and mountain biking, the GP series can be used across all disciplines and is aimed to remedy numb fingers, painful hands, or forearm discomfort while riding. The key is in supporting the palm and distributing uncomfortable pressure throughout the hand. Anti-slip rubber dampens vibration and prevents aching and pressure points as well.
Some models in the GP series have bar-ends of various lengths to accommodate different hand positions. Bar-ends also aid in increasing leverage while climbing hills or while pedaling out of the saddle. A GP2 grip has a '2 finger' bar-end, a GP3 has a '3 finger' bar-end, and so forth.
If you're feeling especially environmentally conscious, Ergon offers BioKork versions of the GP series which have all of the same function, just sourced from sustainable forests in Portugal.
GS - Race Series
The GS is aimed towards riders who spend long hours on their bike in demanding terrain. The grip pattern is slightly different than the GP series which makes it lighter weight and more adept at long term pressure distribution for riders who are gripping for long distances. Think of it like a more ‘sporty’ version of the GP series.
GX - XC Race Series
The GX grip is the pared down version of the GS. Specifically made for XC racers, the GX has a slimmer platform and profile than the GS and GP series. If counting grams and eating golden beets for lunch is your thing, these are probably the grip for you.
GC - Comfort Touring Series
The GC line is designed for cyclists who specifically use rearward-swept handlebars. City bikes, beach cruisers, and comfort bikes that typically employ rearward sweep in their handlebars end up kinking the wrist when standard grips are used. The GC is designed to optimize this.
^^^ "corrects your hand position" image. Screenshot uploaded to library. Found on Ergon's site under GC Touring Grip.
GE - Enduro Series
The GE series grip is designed to compliment modern aggressive mountain bike geometry and helps place the rider in the ‘attack’ position when using wide bars and a short stem. The contoured grip body reduces the amount of force it takes to grip the handlebars, thus decreasing arm-pump and fatigue.
The ‘Factory’ version of the GE features a new rubber compound that has a magically soft, yet defined feel and compared to the standard version, it offers more grip at a lighter weight. Don’t let the non-platform look of the GE series fool you, it is still full of Ergon DNA.
With Slim and Regular size options available as well, it’s easy to see why the GE1 can be found on top of podiums all across the Enduro World Series.
GD - Downhill Series
The GD series is geared towards downhill/gravity riders who need an extremely high level of control and damping. Featuring a tapered shape with more damping on the outer end of the grip (due to more pressure being placed in this area from the hand), the GD1 offers comfort and control even at high speeds in the most demanding terrain. Designed and run by Fabien Barel and Tahnee Seagrave, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill grip.
Cycling is an extremely hands-on experience. Comfort and control should be a top priority for any rider, and with companies like Ergon researching and developing a product collection to meet the needs of cyclists in an ergonomic and performance-oriented way, it's easy to see how many benefits a thoughtful handlebar grip selection for your bike can bring to your riding experience. Here at 365 Cycles, we're all about 'low cost, large benefit' upgrades, and Ergon products fit the bill!