Ergon GXR Grips Review: Better than Foam Grips!?
Ergon GXR grips are made in Germany from the brand’s proprietary AirCell-Rubber, a compound that promises sure grip and vibration-damping properties that rival that of traditional foam grips. We’ve been using the impressive GXRs since the beginning of the year. Find our full review here…
Up until now, I really only considered two types of flat-bar grips worthy of bikepacking rides and endurance efforts: traditional slide-on foam grips or one of Ergon’s range of “paddle-style” lock-on grips, such as the GA3 and GP1. Both have their own set of pros and cons but offer features that help prevent hand fatigue and numbness during long rides. Foam grips, such as the ones offered by Wolf Tooth and ESI, offer good vibration damping, but can be slippery when wet and don’t last that long. And the paddle grips from Ergon do a great job spreading out pressure to eliminate hot spots, but they’re a little much for some folks and sometimes have the opposite effect.
Fortunately, a third option recently came along: the new slide-on Ergon GXR grips, which offer padding and damping similar to foam grips with added durability and minimalist ergonomics. We’ve been racking up the miles on three pairs for this review. Read on for some written thoughts, and find the video review toward the bottom of the page.
Ergon GXR grips are made in Germany using a proprietary manufacturing process with the brand’s new AirCell-Rubber, a specialized compound that contains microscopic air bubbles that they claim provide high damping properties, offer a soft and grippy feel, and reduce grip weight. The AirCell-Rubber feels kind of like a cross between foam and rubber.
The GXRs were essentially designed for cross-country mountain biking, and they have a shape that’s reminiscent of the Ergon GA2 with a very minimal ergonomic taper and more padding at the outer palm area. The GA2 grips didn’t work for me, but the GRX have a really nice contour. I think part of this is due to the fact that they seem to conform to your hands and develop a shape based on where you place pressure. It’s almost like a memory foam in that regard.
They also provide a comfortable level of padding and vibration damping, similar to foam grips. Virginia switched to the GXRs at the end of last year and has been using them on both of her bikes ever since. That’s a pretty good case study considering her history of hand issues. After carpal tunnel surgery a few years ago, she worked with a mountain bike physical therapy coach who provided a couple of recommendations specific to fit and components. Two of these recommendations were to use a handlebar with a moderate backsweep and to switch to foam grips. The Ergon GXR seems to be working for her the same way foam grips did.
Better yet, they seem to be far more durable than foam grips. As a testament to that claim, Virginia is super hard on grips. ESI grips are very short-lived for her and usually start tearing at the bar ends after just 100 miles or so. Her size small Ergon GXR grips shown in the three photos above have endured nearly 700 miles, including two big bikepacking trips in Oaxaca and Colorado and dozens of trail rides and overnighters.
I also installed them on my trail bike and am pretty smitten. I found the tenacious grip of the GXR to be one of its most impressive qualities. The rubber compound remains grippy whether it’s wet or dry or your hands are gloved or not. They also seem to be sized really well. They come in two diameters: small (32mm) and large (34mm). I have the size large, and they’re quite comfortable on the hands and don’t feel overly bulky.
Ergon GXR Grips Review Video
Over the past 11 months, Neil has also been testing the Ergon GXR Grips. In our latest video review, he shares some insights on the GXR’s features and why they could potentially surpass foam grips as his go-to choice.
- Model Tested: Ergon GXR Grips, Large and Small
- Weight: 80 grams (S) / 95 grams (L)
- Place of Manufacture: Germany
- Price: $25 at Jenson
- Manufacturer’s Details: Ergon
- Good vibration damping quality that rivals foam grips
- Superb grip in both wet and dry conditions
- Comfortable shape molds to your hands over time
- Fairly easy to install with alcohol
- Like foam grips, they’re very difficult to remove without an air compressor
- Shorter lifespan than firm rubber gips, ultimately resulting in more landfill waste
I’ve had my hands go numb on many bikepacking trips and even lost feeling in several fingers for multiple days. Having a proper bike fit is critical step to avoiding this, but finding the right grips is also important. My usual preference is the GA3, but I’ve been quite impressed with the new Ergon GXR, as has Virginia. They not only provide excellent grip for gloved or un-gloved hands, but they also offer similar vibration-damping properties as traditional foam grips, and they are far more durable. In short, they’re comfy, grippy, and seem to stave off hand numbness by buffering road and gravel noise.
If you’ve had any experience with the Ergon GXR Grips, please let us know your thoughts in the conversation below.
Make sure to dig into these related articles for more info...
Please keep the conversation civil, constructive, and inclusive, or your comment will be removed.