Ergon grips for DH riding?

Would you ever recommend using Ergon grips for DH riding? I’ve been toying with the idea since my two end fingers get sooooo worn out after 8 runs down anything. I’m getting a softer spring for my Domain on Monday, and heading up for a last hoorah at WinterPark on Wednesday. Do you foresee the Ergon grips helping/hurting any part of “pinky/ring” finger muscle strain???

Thanks for all your help and all your help previously. You’re the best.

I would not recommend Ergon ergonimic grips for DH riding.

Why: They force you to maintain one hand position.

Your hand position should be dynamic. Basically, you always want to push and pull through a straight wrist. Roll your hands forward when you’re sprinting. Roll them back when you’re braking. That sort of thing.

Ergon grips force you to bend your wrist any time you do anything fun. How ergonomic is that?

World-class BMXer Bubba Harris with the straight wrists.

World-class nerd Lee McCormack with the straight wrists.

I used to have similar problems with my ring and pinkie fingers. Chances are your problems stem from some combo of:

Riding with two fingers on the brake levers. If you have decent brakes (and we all do these days), you only need your index finger on the lever. Hold on with the other three fingers. The middle finger is very strong, and it’ll take a lot of strain off your ring and pinkie fingers.

Related: Run your levers inward so your index finger is at the end of your lever. This gives you more leverage, and lets you pull the lever to the bar without hitting your knuckle. Yeah, I think of everything.

Riding stiff, gripping too often and gripping too tight. This will be carved into my headstone, which will be set into a public pump track:

Heavy feet, light hands!

When it’s time to brake, brake hard. Otherwise you should be a fairy princess on her way to a tea party.

Ergon GP1 – Made for comfort riding, and very nice for tooling around town.

Ergon GE1 – “Developed for riders who prefer technically demanding terrain … The slim cylindical form allows optimal rotation of the hand on the grip – for pulling up on jumps, or moving your weight back when riding drop-offs.” Much like a normal grip!

Sounds like you live in the Front Range. Take a clinic with me, and Feel the Force!

PS: Have fun Wednesday.

— Lee

7 replies
  1. leelikesbikes says:

    Cool! My lil’ ponder made it on your site? Thanks!
    I do indeed live on the front range. Fort Collins to be exact. I tried my best to float on my bars and ride on my pedals, but I seemed to just hang on when the braking bumps came.
    I did use your analogy about using your brakes like a light switch, (on and OFF) and that helped tons. And I do always only use one finger to pull the lever of my 8″ Hayes so I think I’m good there.
    I’ll just see how the new spring feels and make an even more conscious effort to loosen up on the bars.
    You saved me about $35.00. Thanks a ton.
    Clinic sounds like a good time when my schedule frees up.
    Thanks a zillion.
    That’s why you’re the best!!!!!!!!!
    PS, you can post this if you want. I can’t seem to log onto your site anymore. Thanks again.

    Right on. I just made a change, so you should be able to post more easily.

  2. Bas says:

    I own and have ridden both of the above grips. The GP1 spreads out a LOT of the load on your hands (nice), but kept giving me the feeling on steep descents or roll-over that my hands were about to slip over the front of my handlebars (not so nice).

    Then I switched to the GE1 (size large, they also come in a small), moved my shifters outboard of my brakes and put the entire shifter/brake assembly waaaaay futher inside, so only my indexfingers are on the brakes. Now it’s an amazing set-up and I don’t have tingly hands anymore.

    On a side note: I have the feeling that combining GE1s with a Spesh BG glove is a little too much spreading-out of forces though!

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Awesome feedback.

    Yeah, IMO, you can have too much padding. I find the A-1 key to my comfort is feeling confident and loose. When I feel good like that, everything is perfect. When I feel tense, no amount of padding will save me.

  4. Scott says:

    FWIW, I’ve been using small GP-1s for a couple of years for technical trail riding around Austin, TX (i.e., no downhills). So not the same terrain, but they’ve been great for all kinds of manuevers and I don’t find it difficult to rotate my hands as needed.

    And, they distribute weight very, very well, so I guess they compensate for less-than-ideal form, and so much so that I’ve switched to pad-less gloves.

    On a sizing note, the smalls fit most people — only huge hands fit the large.

  5. Tjaard says:

    The Ergon grip[s and Spesh BG gloves are designed to reduce pressure on the Ulnar nerve.The ‘worn out’ sensation sounds like fatigue/lactic acid build up. As a (rock)climber this is a major focus of technique and training for me. The technique part focuses on two things: 1 using less muscle effort(holding on as loosely as possible and using a 3 finger grip) and on getting blood back in the muscles(relaxing in between moments of force. The training part is perhaps easiest to do with a roll bar:
    tie a string to a 20″ wide piece of tube or wood about 1.5″ diameter and attach a weight to the string. then roll up the string and roll it back down again. Be sure to do both under- and overhand grips. Feel the burn!

  6. Tjaard says:

    I just got a pair of Ergon GP1’s and rode with them on some technical trail riding (lots of ledges). I confirmed 3 things that have been partially discussed above:
    1 they are super comfy for ‘non-extreme’ postions
    2 you can ride technical trail features just fine
    3 But it’s not very comfy, and more tiring to do so

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