THE ALL-NEW GFR1 GRIP
RELEASE & FIRST RIDE
First Ride by Drew Rohde
The new gravity-focused grip series GFR1 has been developed and tailored according to the expectations and wishes of Tahnée Seagrave (UK) and her colleague team riders of the Canyon [CLLCTV] FMD Racing. The Ergon development team always works very closely with athletes and teams, which enables them to design products for the highest demands within their target group and to be used at the very limit.
The grip has a slim overall shape for maximum feedback, yet still provides an extremely high level of damping through the ribbed section under the palm. The lower grip zone (finger) is strongly pronounced to keep gripping forces at a minimum when lifting the front wheel. The slim inner stop further assists in finding the right hand position while still providing free shifter access.
The high-strength alloy clamps on the inside keeps the grip from twisting –even on carbon bars. The Factory version provides incredible grip and rebound properties. The grip feeling sensation is soft but still super defined and precise.
THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS
These grips showed up just before we left for a road trip to three bike parks for our Bike Park Review Tour and we were excited to give them a try. We already replaced our OE grips with some Ergon GD1s, which we had yet to ride. Since we’re hounds for riding the latest, greatest stuff out though, we took them off in the parking lot of Tamarack Resort and started our trip with some these grips.
As the press release states, Ergon GFR1, or Grip Freeride, only comes in one diameter, whereas many of their other grips, including our GD1 (Grip Downhill) come in a slim or regular size. We have the regulars, which have a diameter of just under 32mm. The thinner Ergon GFR1 grips had our calipers reading just over 29mm. We didn’t measure the grips until we got home and spent a solid four days on each grip riding some of the rowdiest bike parks in Idaho.
One may not think, ourselves included, that such a small difference in diameters is noticeable but it actually is. The GFR1 grips offer an incredibly in-tune and scalpel-like precision that was instantly noted. The grips kept my hands in place, the raised ribs on the backside do a really impressive job of keeping the fingers stuck to the grips when yanking up on the bars, pulling up for a manual or getting off the back for steeps.
After our second bike park, which had lots of braking bumps and bomb holes, I switched out to the Spank Spike grips, which are a much fatter grip designed to alleviate arm pump. I did notice that my fingers were getting a bit fatigued by the end of the day. While I found some relief in certain areas, others were getting tired with the fatter grips and I also missed having such a tuned-in feel with my bike. I swapped to the Ergon GD1s, to see if a diameter right in the middle would be just right.
The GD1 grips are a nice blend of cushion, impact absorption and bar feel, but left a little to be desired after riding the GFR1. I absolutely loved having such a precise, instant feel on the bike and if you’re not looking for an endurance grip where you’re riding long days or all day bike park missions, the GFR1 is probably the ideal grip in my opinion. Many riders love big fat grips, and I’ve tried them but just can’t get on board. To be it’s like doing finish carpentry with a rubber mallet. I like the feel of the bike, the bars and having that instant engagement and tight grip.
Ultimately I’d say the GFR1 will be my “race day” grip, or the one I use on shorter days in the park when I really wanna push it. If I’m going on a trip to ride parks, spending long back to back days, I may opt for a slightly bigger option like the GE1 or GD1 or rotate depending on how my hands are feeling.
Visit ergonbike.com to learn more.
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