You have five points of contact with your bike - don't you think you should pay more attention to them?
Stop and listen at any trail head and you're likely to here other riders discussing all sorts of parts on their bikes - quite often really expensive items that they're lusting over or have just purchased. And that's fine - it's nice to have nice things.
But if you want to be more comfortable and confident on your bike, small things can make a difference. The easiest change is finding your right tyre pressure for your trails, but just as important is paying attention to your contact points with your bike. You've got five: two feet, two hands and your bum.
German brand Ergon pay a lot of attention to all five of them, and we're currently testing some of their saddles after using their online saddle selection tool. Grips play a big part in how you handle your bike and comfort. Some people prefer a slim grip, others something thicker. Some are suited to smaller hands, others for people with larger mitts.
Ergon take all that into account, and have a range of grips for touring, all-mountain use, enduro, marathon use, comfort and even downhill. So we've got 4 sets to play with to find the differences for trail to gravity use.
The Ergon GA2 has a soft and tactile rubber, and has a subtley narrower diameter closer to the controls, with more comfort further out. Much of this is done with a change to the diameter of the inner core, so there is more cushioning without more bulk.
The GA2 Fat is probably what you expect (or maybe not, actually). It's the same idea as the GA2 but thicker. So it suits people with larger hands, or people who want a little more vibration damping.
Both models have a smooth clamp which really helps with hand positions. The allen key is at the front (as is the guide to give you an idea on angles and positioning) and it makes the whole grip useable, without a chunky section to butt up against.
Ergon's GE1 Factory is interesting, and we've taken a look at these in the past. They've been developed with Enduro racing in mind, and Ergon say the angles on the grip are designed to optimise contact for 'elbows out' riding. What's really noticeable is the pronounced front section for your forefinger to grasp, and the angled edges to help your bars to stop from catching on strking a tree (or anything else).
The rubber is a bit softer to the touch and should be tacky, and you can see how the angle of the grip on the bars really promotes a more natural fit when riding in an attack position.
Lastly,we have some GD1 Factory Slim grips. There's a collar next to the clamp, and the grips are longer for more hand positions. The grips are also concave, narrower in the middle than the outer, and the rubber is very soft to the touch - even picking them up it's clear they're going to be super tacky even with sweaty palms.
And now? Now we fit them up and ride.
We'll see if they meet the claims and whether moving from a fairly standard grip to something with a little more ergonomic input makes a difference on the trail.
Need more details? Head to the Ergon website to find out more.