Words by Jared Erickson
Ergon has been putting out some of the best grips in the MTB world for some time now and it should be no surprise that they are one of our best selling brands. With what feels like an endless selection of grips and grip variants, you might be wondering why another new grip? And to that I say, why not? At first glance, the new Ergon GFR1 grips might look similar to their GD1 model. However, upon closer inspection the ribs and grooves make it very clear that this is something unique. Developed with pro racer Tahnee Seagrave, the GFR1 is made for freeride, pump track, bmx, and dh riding. After recently spending time on the Ergon GD1, I was excited to try their newest addition to the lineup.
With an overall slim shape, it allows me to have a solid grip on the bar for maximum control, which is one thing I really like about the GD1 as well, and slim grips in general. Another thing I like about the grip dimensions is how long the grip is compared to other grips, which is awesome to have when I am sending massive jumps and throwing suicide no handers (in my dreams) so it makes finding the grip back on the bar super easy, plus my hands and cockpit setup never feel cramped.
Probably the first thing I noticed that was different on the GFR1 from other Ergon grips is the ribbed section under the palm which is somewhat similar in concept to the ODI Elite Pro, however it extends the full length of the grip with a gradual cut out section where your thumb wraps around the grip. This ribbed section gives the grip extra dampening as you would imagine which is nice to have, and adds another level of comfort to the grip, with or without gloves. In addition to the ribbed section under the palm, the grip also has a raised horizontal lower gripping zone underneath your fingers for extra grip which I found is useful when pulling up on the bars for sweet bunny hops and manuals (which I also cannot do, yet).
One of the features that both the Ergon GFR1 and GD1 utilize that seems to be less common on grips these days is the removable bar end plugs. I have found that this part of the grip has been somewhat polarizing among some people, and I will admit I was skeptical at first, however it is one feature that I have found to love for multiple reasons. The first being that if you happen to take a spill and ruin the bar ends, these are easily replaceable and are cheap to replace as well, versus living with a crummy looking grip for the rest of the life of the grip, or having to replace the whole thing. The other reason why I love the removable bar ends is that it works perfectly with my Wolf Tooth EnCase system where I store my tools on my bike, and is so far it is my favorite tool storage solution that I have used.
Overall, I would say the GFR1 grip is another hit from Ergon - they offer tons of control over the bike, a nice amount of dampening, and they have some sweet features that I really enjoy. They have taken some of the best bits and pieces from their most popular grips in addition to creating some even more awesome features and combined them into one supergrip to rule them all - and yes I just made that word up. These grips are like an Italian pizza, once you have tried them, you salivate at the thought of them. Wait is that right? Yes actually it is. You will salivate at the thought of the GFR1 once you ride them, with or without gloves.