Although mountain bikers will argue endlessly about the best bike or their favourite tyres, the key contact point seems to be rarely mentioned. Used for turning, pulling uphill, saving lives downhill and occasionally as a corn thresher your average grip has a high expectation placed upon it.Chosen for colour or feel in a shop the expectation is that it will work in all conditions with every glove for every size of hand and that if it should wear out after months of riding, well, just not good enough!grip3.jpg

I have tried most the of the Specialized BG range since 2002 and although their soft rubber is kind to my hands after a while the slip and rotation becomes tiresome and replacements are necessary. The last set of Enduro with a mixed rubber solution looked promising but the picture shows a faster wear rate than previous incarnations.

A set of WTB grips also looked promising but did not provide the ideal mix for me feeling harsh on a longer ride and wearing relatively quickly.

I have been persuaded over to a lock on grip but although the grip is firm on the bars the support on the hand, with light and thick padding, seems less than ideal. Fine on a short blast but after a couple of hours it becomes uncomfortable. Wear rate seems excellent and they never slip but a little hard for my front paws.

The latest change has been to Ergon grips that offer extra support to the heel of the hand at the expense of a full four-finger grip. Initially I was doubtful but the comfort factor is great and the actual moulding deforms under pressure so extra grip is available when grabbing hard under pressure. Careful positioning of brakes and gear levers is needed to allow easy finger control and setting the angle of the flange requires several repositions to find your own ideal fit but overall rating is excellent and they may be the ideal for the long day cross-country ride. For the downhillers and north shore exponents they may compromise the strength of grip in extremis but if you would like a little more comfort on a long day they are worth a try.

The only problem that I find is what to use the funky container they are delivered with as it seems a waste to throw it away. All polite suggestions welcome.dsc00456.jpg



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