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Dedicated road rats may want to zone out now, since the ergonomically designed range of grips made by Ergon, including these Biokork ones, are only suitable for tourers, hybrids, urban warriors and off road. There’s no drop handlebar appropriate version available, funnily enough. But, for anyone else, the experience of trying an Ergon grip can be an enlightening one.
Designed to encourage the hand to rest properly on the grip, and to be angled correctly for maximum comfort and minimal nerve pressure, Ergon grips are definitely a far cry from pared down rubber sleeves you grapple to fit with the aid of hairspray. They look completely different and they behave differently too.
Weight wise, you’re paying a penalty of somewhere in the region of upwards of 30g for most Ergon grips, as compared with other lock-on style grips. For the Biokork ones as tested, weighing 182g for the pair, the additional weight is somewhere around 50-60g. However, this is a situation in which it’s all too easy to get caught up in the idea of a weight penalty. It’s probably better to look at it as acquiring a comfort bonus. For tourists, leisure riders and commuters, Ergon grips mark a significant improvement in hand and wrist comfort for most riders.
The GP1 Biokork Grips mark a development in Ergon’s move towards more environmentally responsible packaging and products. Made from a combination of plant material (the black pad on the ball of your hand), cork from sustainable forests in Portugal (the main grip), grass fibre compound (grip core) and recyclable aluminium (clamp) these grips even come with mostly recycled packaging. Not everyone is going to like the looks. A little bit retro whilst at the same time being a little bit avant garde, they actually suit quite a variety of bikes, from pared down flat bar urban bikes to more traditional sit up and begs, and definitely look good on a tourer.
They are straightforward to fit, although some care needs to be taken to get the angle right, so they are comfortable and match each side. In use they are comfortable and allow the hands to rest at an agreeable angle, whilst the cork gives good grip, even in the wet and a very pleasing feel- almost cushioned. Cork is also hypoallergenic and antibacterial. There’s no adverse effects in handling at all, and the overall feeling is of a more relaxing ride, given the reduction in discomfort of palms, nerves and wrists.
The large size tested is much better suited to larger and male hands, but the small size would be perfect for women’s hands or smaller men’s hands.
The Biokork grips are around the same price as Ergon’s other grips, and it’s a matter of personal choice whether to try the ‘greener’ and quirkily styled Biokorks or stick with the more futuristic looking ordinary ones. One thing though, chances are you’ll want to put them on as many of your bikes as you can.
Well made, stylish and incredibly comfortable. And just a little greener.
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Make and model: Ergon GP1 Biokork Grips
Size tested: Cork finish
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed at tourists and mountain bikers primarily. Designed to be a more environmentally conscious option.
Works on tourers, hybrids, commuter bikes and mountain bikes.
Nice green ethics. Supporting cork forest management is a good thing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
30% Plant Material Palm Area
40% Biowert Grass Fibre Grip Core
100% Recyclable Aluminium Clamp
40% Cork from Sustainable Forests
Very well made and nicely finished.
Extremely comfortable and performed well.
Should last well.
There's quite a weight penalty over other lock-on grips, but there's more material in the grip due to its greater surface area, so hard not to be a weight gain. Comfort gain outweighs extra grammes.
Very comfortable in use.
Good value, especially for a more ethical and environmentally conscious product.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Styling, ethics, comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Comfortable and stylish well designed grips with a nice green element.
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.