Friday, March 16, 2012

Review: The Ergon handlebar grip

After a few weeks riding with the Ergon Biokork grips my opinion remains the same as it was one minute after putting them on my bike: I'll never go back to ordinary, round grips.

Click above for animation.

In its raw form the bicycle is one of the least ergonomic devices imaginable. We bend ourselves to its needs, folding our body into pretzel shapes for the sake of speed or style. We convince ourselves that the human wrist can somehow manage to support continual jackhammer blows from the whole upper body. We batter away at our perineal arteries and nerves as though they were encased in concrete. We lock our feet in place and torque out our knees. We ignore, tingling, numbness and pain. Something's got to give and when it does it sometimes remains a guilty secret between the rider and his orthopedic surgeon. Until the next time...

If your hands get numb during a ride the problem could be the grips you are using. On an ordinary round grip the heel of your hand gets no support. It's expected to float in air while you hang on to the grip with your fingers. Ergon provides a significant ergonomic advantage: a textured, rubberized support platform for the heel of the hand.

You'll probably find several "contoured" handlebar grips at your LBS. I haven't tried them all but my sense is that Ergon did the necessary research and offers a superior product.

If you're riding a bike for pleasure you may already have switched to upright, seat level handlebars (Ergons don't work with drop bars). Better yet you've added a long wheelbase recumbent or trike, either one of which will be kinder to your body than any upright bicycle. But even if the concept of an ergonomic ride is completely new to you, for the sake of your wrists, add a set of Ergon grips to the handlebars of every bike you own. Then donate your old round grips to The Museum of Archaic Bicycle Junk.

Ergon Grips with twist shifters and bar end mirror

Choose a model to fit your shift mechanisms and specify your hand size (large or small). The whole grip, including the Portuguese cork insert, is recyclable.

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