Ergon GA1 Review

by Brian Mullin on June 9, 2011

These ergonomically shaped All Mountain grips are pretty darn sweet and near perfect. They are durable, comfortable, and their natural anatomic shape means decreased hand and upper body fatigue, and better athletic performance. At first glance they really don’t seem any different than other lock-on grips, but looks are deceiving, as their ergonomic design has a plethora of benefits and functions. Ergon takes part of its name from the word Ergonomics, which is the scientific discipline that seeks to understand and improve human interactions with products, equipment, environments and systems.

GA1 and GA1 Leichtbau
The grips come in two models, the GA1 and GA1 Leichtbau, the latter being slightly lighter in weight due to a different rubber compound. Both versions come in two sizes, a small and large, with dimensions of 32mm x 139mm and 35mm x 145mm respectively. I tested only the large size in each model, and they weighed in at 147 grams (GA1 L) and 155.8 grams (GA1). The ergonomically shaped rubber grips, have four different textured areas, and use an aluminum lock-on clamp, and come in three colors, black, white and team green.

The grips on a bike are a pretty important entity, especially a mountain bike, since they are how you hold on and steer, and they comprise two out of the five points of contact with the bike (two grips, two pedals, one saddle). Most grips are simple cylindrical objects, with padding (soft, hard or multi-density), and can have texturing, lock-on’s, colors, etc. If you curl your hand, you’ll notice that your grip has a slight concave shape to itself. When grasping a normal grip with the same diameter along its length, the flat surface causes the hand to push the palm downwards, spreading it out in an unnatural position, which causes stress, weakens holding power and irritates the ulnar nerve. The GA1 uses a multi-dimensional convex shape that cradles the hand’s curve in a natural and ergonomic manner, which increases comfort, support and performance, and reduces hand fatigue. The GA1 grip and your hand form a synergistic matched pair, so less force is required for any activity.

Installation
The grips are left and right specific, and have a default orientation marked on the inner side of the grip, although it can be tweaked as desired for personal requirements. I left them in their default position, since I found it fit my hands the best. They slid onto the handlebars with a snug fit, and a simple tap with the palm of my hand settled them into place. I let the clamp sit out slightly from the bar end to help protect them from damage, and I tightened them down using a 3mm hex.

Impressions
The first thing you notice is how well they fit your hand. They are really comfortable and just have this proper tactile feel, becoming one with the hand. When you start riding you don’t have to grip the bars as tight, and you can use a bit looser grip on the handlebar, which saves a good deal of energy when you’re not battling to hold on. On longer rides this loose grip gives considerably less numbness in the hands, along with decreased hand, arm and upper body fatigue. They have an excellent grippiness, and no matter what the conditions were like, neither rain, snow, mud nor desert heat, kept them from being tacky and grippy. They are not the softest grips on the market, and they don’t have any fancy nor weird tread pattern, but they more than made up for it. Where they shine is the way your hand wraps around the grip, and is held in a proper ergonomic manner, and it just feels right, pleasant and comforting. I found that the shape allowed me to lever off them in a more profound manner since my hand was held properly, sort of like having a mini pry bar, and it was highly useful in technical terrain, on steep climbs and rock gardens. The end of the lock-on clamp has a tear drop shape, and I found that it helped to keep my hand on the grips, and in addition I could use it as a tiny lever arm to make minute changes on the bars. The grips have been very durable with everything I have tossed at them, and the only wear area has been the textured area on the upper outside edge, and the lettering on the clamp. The aluminum clamp has been very beneficial in saving the carbon bars from my regular crashes, fall overs and tree encounters, and they never loosened up on me during my test period.

Bottom Line
The Ergon GA1 is just about a perfect grip, and they provide a highly beneficial synergistic design for All Mountain riders. Their ergonomic design gives less fatigue to the hands and upper body, allowing for longer rides, less cramping and numbness, greater strength and comfort, and performance. The rubber compound provides excellent grip in any conditions, but still provides excellent durability, although they can sometimes feel a bit firm. One of my x-country racer friends swears by these grips, which really says a lot, since these are designed around All Mountain and Freeride type of riding. The tactile feel and proper hand placement allow an immense amount of power to be applied to the front end of the bike when desired, making for excellent climbing, steering and maneuvering.

Strengths

  • Durability
  • Excellent Grip
  • Ergonomically correct
  • Decreased hand and upper body fatigue
  • Increased atheltic performance

Weaknesses

  • Heavy
  • Not the softest padding

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Model GA1 GA1 Leichtbau
Sizes Small, Large Small, Large
Width Small – 139mm
Large – 145mm
Small – 139mm
Large – 145mm
Diameter Small – 32mm
Large – 35mm
Small – 32mm
Large – 35mm
Weight Small – 115 grams
Large – 158 grams
Small – 128 grams
Large – 144 grams
Colors Black, White, Team Edition Gray/Black, White/Black, Team Edition
Material forged aluminum clamp DirectContact rubber,
forged aluminum clamp
MSRP $30 $36

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous June 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Curious if a bar end could fit with these grip or does Ergon have the same grip with integrated bar end?

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet June 10, 2011 at 8:35 am

I would think you could use one, though I have never tried it? They only sell the wing versions with integrated bard ends.

Reply

Anonymous June 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Do you find that the "bump" was too far to the center part of the grip?

In other words does it force you to put your hands further in than desired to get the grips right?

Reply

Jeff K at Ergon USA June 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm

The 2010-2011 GR2, GC3, and GX3 barends will work on the GA1 grip body. You can buy the barends only here: https://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/shop/category/spare-parts

Reply

Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet June 20, 2011 at 6:18 am

I think it forces your hands towards the outside of the grip

Reply

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