These extra thick grips from Ergon are aimed at riders with large hands or want high damping. The tapered design aims to make it easier to grip the bars, and coupled with a super soft, UV-stable rubber, they are a comfy pair of all-mountain trail grips.
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Mounting them on the bars was simple, as manufactured as one part, so no clamps dropping off, or making sure everything is seated correctly, just slide on and clamp. They are left and right side specific and also have ‘up’ markings to ensure they sit at the right angle to work as intended.
The clamp is easy to access and on the front, so access to it isn’t restricted by controls like brakes or shifters.
The aluminium, carbon bar friendly clamp is also pretty slimline, and it sits flush with the grip area, with no edge - this allows the full area of the grip to hold onto - the area is nearly all the size of the grip. There is around 115mm of effective grip area, so not super long but still plenty room enough to put (big) hands, and not especially bigger than most other grips. They weigh in at around 135g.
Initially, the grips looked and even felt too big. They are tapered from approx 37mm diameter on the outer end of the bars down to 32mm, so where your forefinger and thumb wrap the bar is the narrower point - it's still wider in diameter than a lot of grips. Despite having XXL hands, I prefer a thinner grip. I wasn't sure that I’d get on with the GA02s, but after my first few runs, what made these work well was the rubber compound feel - it's soft but not squishy, supportive but not too firm - quite the Goldilocks feel to it. They've shown little sign of wear in the test period, and appear to be holding up well.
Out riding I stopped noticing the grip size almost immediately, they don’t ride ‘bulky’ and make the handling feel awkward or clumsy. I did notice the reduction in buzz on stony or rutted trails as the rubber compound was definitely helping to reduce the buzz. The downside to this is that the grips are a little less immediate in trail feedback - it's an inevitable compromise by having the bulky dimension - they are called Fat for a good reason. So whilst not feeling too big for my hands, there is a sacrifice in trail feedback to your hands, with an upshot of more comfort.
For longer rides, the extra bulk is going to help keep hands feeling less pummelled. The shaping of the grips also allows the compound to have some flex or squish in varying amounts - some areas under the grip are small squares and the palm areas are larger - offering support and feel.
I feel that the could be useful for riders wanting a little more cushioning, but would think they could feel too bulky if you have smaller hands, the compound is very comfy, including gloveless riding. They are well made and my slight criticism is the lack of colours - black, blue and red.
Otherwise, a good functional grip for larger handed riders.