(ed. note: Flippant opinion pieces don’t pay the bills, need to write some reviews.)
I snagged some Ergon grips from my buddy Mark a couple of months ago and I’ve drank the kool-aid, they rule. It seems Ergon makes countless models of these things with mostly minor differences, but the key thing Ergon grips share is a flatter surface for your hand and many models have integrated bar ends.
I now have two sets of Ergon grips, one with small stubby bar ends and one with larger ergonomic bar ends. Bar ends were pretty much required equipment on mountain bikes ten years ago, but disappeared when cross country mountain bikes went out of style and were replaced by long travel trail bikes with wide riser bars. I have always missed them and even dared to run some on my riser bars for awhile. The thumbs up, pistol grip hand hold seems to be much more comfortable for climbing and also opens up my lungs.
On the first ride with the Ergon’s I knew I would be using them from now on. It didn’t take long to get used to the flat top grip, they feel pretty huge at first, but the added support for your palm and wrist is fantastic. The Ergons I have lock on with one bolt which secures the bar end to your bar and also locks down the grip, I haven’t had any issues with slippage.
I briefly put on some thin round grips to compare and the way they changed the bike was very noticeable. The small round grips made me think i had a more secure grip on the bar and seemed to make the steering feel a bit quicker, probably all in my head. Near the end of the ride my palms were going numb, my wrists were sore and my hands were generally tired, oh and I really missed the bar ends. First thing I did when I got home is put the Ergons back on.
I love barends, as I mentioned when climbing they open up my chest and seem to make breathing a bit easier, in steep sections they allow my hands to be farther out and produce more leverage and power when pulling up on the bar. In technical terrain they slow down steering inputs and make them more precise and also give me more leverage to yank up on the bar. The only draw back is no brake. As you can see from the photo earlier in the post I’m all over the bar ends as I ride up a difficult section of trail.
If you put in longer miles on any bike with a flatbar next time you need grips take a look at Ergons, they may not be your thing, but they could be just what your hands have always wanted.