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Review

Ergon GD1 vs GE1 Grips - Mano a Mano

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Nov 21, 2018

Who remembers the early Ergon products and their wildly ergonomic beauty? The early grips were seldom seen on the trails around B.C. but they’ve been spotted on occasion. The GE1 really got the attention of the masses and Ergon says it was developed specifically for mountain bikers who opt for wide riser bars.

Ergon has since updated the GE1, which now features more surface texture thanks to additional ribbing and a softer rubber compound. These two updates focus on increased grip and damped feedback felt through the bars. They’ve since also developed a gravity focused grip; the GD1. It features a different profile to the GE1 but Ergon claims they still offer ergonomic support.

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The Ergon GE1 Evo grip offers the same general shape as the original, but updated texture and rubber are said to provide more grip.

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The Ergon GE1 Evo Factory looks the same but the sales pitch says it provides more comfort thanks to softer rubber.

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The Ergon GD1 grip in the Factory Slim guise. This is the newest grip from Ergon and features a different shape to the GE1.


Years ago I spent some time testing the Canyon Strive which came fitted with the original GE1 grips. There was no slim version or rubber compound choices but my initial experience was positive. Ergon has since updated the blocks on the GE1. Orientation is unchanged but with more ridges, or ribbing if you like...  The additional edges are said to increase surface area.

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Do additional ribs mean additional pleasure?


Ergon added a slim version of the original GE1 shortly after my first experience. In addition to the new GE1 Evo, there is also a Factory version used by Ergon team riders. They look the same but feature a softer rubber compound that Ergon claims wears more evenly. 

With so many options and so much marketing speak, riding these grips to see how they work on the trail seemed like the way forward. 

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Ergon GE1 Evo

Having spent time on the regular size GE1, I opted for the slim version of the new grip. In recent years I went through a phase where I believed my hands preferred thinner grips and I seem to recall the original better suited this preference. I also spent a couple of seasons on the GA2, which features a similar texture and block pattern to the original GE1. 

Highlights:

  • Regular and Slim (32mm and 30mm diameter)
  • Single CNC clamp (with 3mm hex key!)
  • Integrated grip end and inner core
  • Optimized Inner Core helps dampen feedback
  • “Gravity Control Rubber”
  • 135mm length
  • Weight: 110g (Evo)
  • MSRP: Evo–34.95 USD

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The ridges on the underside of the grip provide a comfortable, grippy feel for your fingers. 

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The rubber runs to the ends of the grip, providing a comfy feel for riders that hang hands on the end of the handlebar.


Right away the texture added to the GE1 was noticeable. It’s possibly a matter of time before a GA2 grip is updated with a similar treatment. It feels excellent in the hand and there were no problems with the sometimes rough, new grip feeling. More grip is available than I remember and these offered much better traction than the GA2. Toward the end of testing I spent time on the regular diameter GE1 Evo. The extra padding was noticeable and while also comfortable, I preferred the more direct input of the Evo Slim.

The ergonomic profile of the GE1 Evo is unchanged and feels great. Positioning hands at the end of the bar worked well and support at the outer ends is great. There’s also an adequate amount of rubber to the very end, preventing hard plastic from pressing into your hand. This can change after a solid spill, but some light work with a razor and a file easily removes any burrs.

After weeks of riding the GE1 Evo, I was really pleased but with the GE1 Evo Factory claiming softer rubber, it seemed things were set to improve.

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Ergon GE1 Evo Factory (Slim)

After the experience with the GE1 Evo, I thought the softer rubber Evo Factory would feel like pillows. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so simple. A couple of weeks into riding the Factory GE1 and I couldn’t shake the harsher feel through the bars. It felt like I was on an even thinner grip and the hard metal of the handlebar felt more prominent. Aside from the grips, nothing had changed. All grips spent time on the same bike, with the same tires and the same settings.

Highlights:

  • Regular and Slim (32mm and 30mm diameter)
  • Single CNC clamp (with 3mm hex key!)
  • Integrated grip end and inner core
  • Optimized Inner Core helps dampen feedback
  • “Unique in-house produced rubber compound”
  • 135mm length
  • Weight: 105g (Evo Factory)
  • MSRP: Evo Factory–39.95 USD


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The semi-transparent rubber of the factory grips looks cool. I found the soft compound worked better when going for a thicker option than usual. 

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The rubber of the factory grips isn't as durable as the regular GE1 Evo. Here, the edges already looked dulled after a couple weeks of use.


I kept circling back to the previous grip wondering if I was mistaken. In fact, it seems the softer rubber offers less damping at the same thickness, allowing more feedback to be felt in the hand. If you enjoy really thin grips, the Evo Factory Slim will feel great, but if a slim profile that offers a bit more cushioning is preferred, I’d lean toward the Evo Slim.  

Ergon’s soft rubber compound used in the Factory grips seems to provide more compression when grabbing hold. This translates to the GE1 Factory in the regular size feeling quite good. Once compressed under the hand it felt similar to Evo slim in terms of thickness, but with a more gel feel. The softer rubber of the Factory grip also wears more quickly and despite less saddle time, it shows more wear than the Evo. 

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Ergon GD1 Factory (Slim)

The GD1 grips are the newest design from Ergon. Featuring a tapered profile, they’re used by riders like Tahnée Seagrave on the World Cup. This shape offers more padding at the ends where more contact is made. Unlike most current grips, the GD1 include an inner flange. Most of us aren’t throwing barspins, so why not? Then again, what does it do for us? I never had a problem with it but also haven’t found a need for it either. It’s been designed not to interfere with gear shifters and dropper posts and in my experience, didn't obstruct reach.

Highlights

  • Tapered Design
  • Regular and Slim (30–32mm taper and 29–30.5mm taper diameter)
  • Single CNC clamp (with 3mm hex key)
  • Interchangeable end plugs
  • Optimized Inner Core helps dampen feedback
  • “Custom Rubber Compound”
  • 144mm length
  • Weight: 120g (Factory), 140g (Evo Factory)
  • MSRP: 34.95 USD

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Ergon grips are side specific. It's not always obvious which side is which, so check the grips for clues. 

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The GD1 grip's top texture looks smooth, but when grabbing on there's heaps of traction. The blocks on the underside help lock the fingers in. 


The GD1 grips made the bars feel narrower and it's not hard to see why with the width added from the GE1 series. But swapping them out for the DMR Deathgrip and back, they still felt narrow. Riders who prefer to 'choke' the grip are less likely to notice this but for anyone who hangs onto the end of the bar, it’s quite apparent. It's also worth noting that the 144mm length of the GD1 includes the end plugs and the usable space is closer to 120mm. Both grips include the clamp in the length measurement. 

Feel of the tapered profile is subtle but the lack of support at the ends provides a different sensation to the GE1 series. This is only apparent when grabbing the end of the bar and as a rider that prefers to hang hands off the edge, it wasn’t as comfortable. The outermost portion of my hand would cave around the grip, resulting in hand fatigue and arm pump on longer descents. The subtle rise at the end of a classic ODI Ruffian is enough to keep me pain-free, but that wasn’t the case with the GD1.

Grip feel with the GD1 is excellent and heaps of traction means a less aggressive hold is needed. The ribbing pattern gets the credit and while a little abrasive on the first ride,* there was no problem afterward. While this is a slim factory grip, I didn’t have the same troubles as with the thin feeling GE1 Factory Slim, thanks to the tapered shape.

*Bare hands. Gloved riders shouldn’t have a problem.

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Those ribs made a surprising difference to a grip that already felt good. The additional edges provide more traction than the original, especially for gloveless riders. 

Conclusion

Grips are as personal as seats and underwear and Ergon has a larger range of options than ever. For riders that don’t need added support at the end of the bar and prefer a more traditional look and feel, the GD1 is a great option. They provide an almost locked grip feel with all of the ribs, especially in rough terrain. The GE1 series offers a different feel and felt more natural to me on the trail. Hand support at the end of the bars was excellent and for this reason, I prefer the GE1 Evo Slim. 

Head to the Ergon website for more information on their range of grips. 




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Comments

JCarr13
0
Jordan Carr  - Nov. 26, 2018, 12:22 p.m.

I've been running Ergon's for awhile now and will never go to anything else. Their attention to detail and ergonomics is hard to beat! Great review!

Reply

r1Gel
0
r1Gel  - April 28, 2020, 8:16 a.m.

Hey AJ. Thanks for the comparo/review.

What's your glove size? Interested to know since you prefer the GE1 Evo Slim.

Cheers

Reply

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