Ergon released their new downhill grips and saddle back
in June, a slight detour for the brand whose roots of focus lay in road and cross country comfort and contact points. In conjunction with Tahnée Seagrave and Fabien Barel, Ergon has produced these downhill specific units and plenty of spiel to go along with them; I spent most of the summer testing these grips to find out if they could back up the bs.
Fitting the grips is as easy as, well, fitting some grips, but with a couple of added features. The grips are side specific and are handily laser etched 'left' and 'right,' as well as having an 'Up' sign and markings for alignment. Another small attention to detail that works well is the tiny ridge at the end of the plastic core, when sliding the grip onto the bar there is a reassuring stop when it's all the way on. A single 3mm Allen wrench is used on the inboard metal locking clamp and the core runs the full length of the grip with two small cutouts at the outer edge. The GD1 has a slightly tight fit on the bar which gives a solid feeling with no twisting.
GD1 Factory Grip Details
• Tapered grip shape
• Anti-slip profile
• Low-profile flange
• Two sizes: Standard and Slim
• Single aluminum CNC machined clamp
• Custom rubber compound
• Interchangeable end plugs
• Weight: Standard 145g / Slim 130g
• Colour: Frozen Black / Frozen Orange
• Price: €34.95 / $34.95 USD
I'm a thin grip kind of guy and chose the 'slim' version to test. The grips are slightly tapered from 29mm to 31mm at the outer edge. Ergon says this is designed for a narrow feeling at the thumb and wider towards the outside to give more padding under the palm of the hand. The main benefit I found from the taper was that after acclimatizing to the grips, I could always feel exactly when my hand was in the correct position.
The overall length of the grip including the end plug is 144mm, the usable area is around 120mm. This could cause problems for riders with small hands who need to position the brake lever close to the grip. I generally run my levers a long way inboard of the grips, but with the Saint levers on my test bike, there were only a few millimeters of leftover space between the two clamps.
As mentioned above, the grip feels stiff and precise, but still absorb vibrations well. Partially due to the numerous shallow cuts and sipes in the rubber which dissipates vibrations but does not allow too much flex or wallow. Ergon say they have formulated the compound to be soft but with a fast rebound, as rubber that is too soft can cause a 'swimming' feeling; either the marketing spiel got to me or it's true. The rubber compound also appears to be durable and has lasted 25-30 days of downhill riding with hardly any visible wear.
The cuts and sipes should also help in muddy conditions, but after plenty of time falling off in the mud this summer, I found they are not really profound enough to make any real difference against a muddy glove.Pinkbike’s Take:
|Ergon's downhill specific GD1 grips really do everything they claimed to do: They are precise, comfortable, dissipate vibration and are durable. My only gripe is the 35 euro price tag, but, you get what you pay for. I think they may have overtaken the classic push-on Renthal grip, as my favorite ever. - Paul Aston|
MENTIONS: @ergonbike / @paulaston