- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 27 August 2010
The GP1 BioKork grip is one of the newest grips from Ergon that is not only good for the rider – it is good for the planet.
Ergon have made a name for themselves with their grips and the simple principle of adding a larger surface area for palm of the hands and improving the angle of the wrist. A lot of knowledge and research, particularly the study of ergonomic is behind the brand and their products, no wonder they are frequently labled “innovative” and regularly win international design awards.
Ergon have a broad range of grips, from comfort grips to suit commuting and touring cyclist to performance orientated mountain biking and Downhill grips. The GP1 is targeted towards the comfort/performance cyclist, so as a fast commuter – it should be the one for me.
The GP1 is an existing model and Ergon have put it through their ‘GreenLab’ initiative and turned it into the GP1 BioKork (Organic Cork). The GreenLab is a step towards more environmentally responsible products and packaging that use less material, sustainable material and are easier to recycle.
The German company uses Portuguese cork from sustainable forests in the Ergon GP1 BioKork. The grip includes 40% cork and Ergon says is brings with it benefits of natural dampening, weight savings and is antibacterial and hypoallergenic. This is not greenwashing – vegetable oil rather than mineral oil was used for the grip section. It is refreshing to know that cycling can become even greener.
So with a good conscience, lets take a closer look at the GP1 BioKork grip in practice.
Installation was a breeze, the grips are easy to slid on and tighten. The hardest part was infact removing the old grips off the commuter bike. For these grips, you will need make sure you have enough space on your handlebars as they require a full 132 mm – straight and free of brake and gear clamps. In mounting the grips, as the handbook states, care should be taken to angle the grips accordingly so that the wrists are at a ‘natural’ angle. The angle can be easily adjusted to suit preferences, though the angle of the wrist should not be over extended.
Riding with GP1 BioKork
The first ride – comfort. I already have a slightly relaxed handle bar for commuting though still have a forward sloping upper body so have a bit of weight on the handlebars. While these grips do feel a little different that standard grips, the feeling of comfort was immediate. The outer palms feel well supported and the reach and grip is good. Over a month of commuting and some longer rides on the city bike with the grips were without any discomfort to the hands, wrists and arms. In fact, it could almost be called luxury, particularly when I swapped over to the road bike or mountain bike (with standard grips).
While the broader platform and wrist angle help the most in providing a comfortable ride, I found that the grips absorbed more shock and vibration compared with standard rubber grips I have used. The grips are certainly no substitute for front suspension, though coupled with the ergnomic benefits, the ride is better.
The actual grip was good, my hands didn’t slip, even when sweaty. In the wet, the grip does feel a bit more slippery than however still didn’t slip when riding. With gloves I noticed that if you have too much padding in the gloves, the handlebars could feel a bit bulky, otherwise riding with summer (fingerless) and winter gloves as well as without gloves was good.
One thing I did notice compared to standard rubber handlebar grips was that the cockpit – my gears and brakes – felt closer though I was able to adjust the positioning and fine tune the reach for all of the levers. The brown cork, while not really vintage, brings with it a nice flair and should suit modern commuting or touring bikes.
I noticed one minor annoyance, the bolt hole in the aluminium clasp at the end of the grips. My natural hand position has the palm sitting slighty outside of the black ‘gel’ area and onto the metal clasp where the sharp edge of the hole can be felt – if the edge was smoother or the hole plugged, the grips would be perfect.
In a Nutshell
The Ergon grips are a smart investment. Like many things in life, quality does come at a price however if you are a regular cycling commuter, tourer or mountain biker, the Ergon grips are well worth looking into. The BioKork version of the GP1 grip is a good performer and brings with it a better conscience.
Riders who have suffered hand or wrist pain while riding or suffer from RSI will appreciate how these grips ease the pressure and give you a better hand position.
Ergon products can be found in bike stores around Australia, for RRP, dealer locations or enquiries please visit the Australian distributer for Ergon, Over the Edge Sports (SA)