The Ergon GXR is a rubber grip aimed at cross-country mountain biking with a focus on racing. It uses a simple design that has neither a clamp nor firm inner core and only a slight curve. It is relatively light with grip levels that impress given the thickness, but how does it stack up against the protagonists in the best MTB grips space?
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Ergon GXR grip - Technical details
The new grip from Ergon takes things back to the basics in many ways, with a single compound rubber that Ergon are proud to state is fully made in Germany.
The GXR is available in two sizes, with the small tested, weighing 90 grams for the pair including end plugs. The large version is claimed to weigh 105g, although no measurements are given to the exact diameters or difference between them. Both sizes are available in four different colours.
There is a slight ergonomic shape but this is minimal when compared to more specialist grips. I measured the small version to have a circumference of 107mm at the narrowest point, and 115mm at the widest point near the outer edge.
The GXR grip has no clamp and there is no firm core and this can make installation a little more involved. The rubber compound feels quite sticky, and the inner diameter will make installation virtually impossible without some form of liquid or specialist product for easing the grip onto the handlebar. I fitted the grips onto an aluminium handlebar and used isopropyl alcohol as a form of lubricant, as once dried it should keep the grips from sliding or moving.
Ergon GXR grip - Performance
Due to the slight curve, getting the shape in the right location and also exactly matching the left and right grips might be tricky. Should there be any doubt, I would suggest marking the bar and grip, and the exact point that you would want them to match up with something like tip-ex that can be removed afterwards.
Installation is helped with recessed markings on the grip. Throughout testing, I had no movement or rotation of the grip, despite purposely putting extra pressure to test the level of adhesion onto the handlebar.
With the grip fitted there is a soft feel. Despite the small size and minimal padding, there is some comfort and crucially good vibration damping through the handlebar. The grip has a textured surface that feels like it works, not being too soft or moving a significant amount. I often choose to ride without gloves and the compound has a tacky feel that is welcomed over rougher terrain, and I found it worked well in both dry and wet conditions. There is a slight ergonomic shape, but I did not feel this was particularly noticeable when riding, and if you prefer more of a curve there are many other grips, including other models within the Ergon range that will offer this.
The grips weigh 90g with bar ends included (which weigh 10g separately). They may be lighter than some lock-on grips, but there are also plenty that are even lighter, or reasonably close. I had two other pairs of grips to compare, with one weighing in at 86g and the other at 115g (with bar end plugs also included). If weight is a real focus, the majority of silicone grips will be lighter with the exception of the thickest options, and foam grips would be the ultimate choice for a weight weenie.
Ergon GXR grip - Verdict
The Ergon GXR grips cost £18, which puts them in the middle of the pack in price. Many lock-on grips are more expensive, often in the £25-£30 range and there are many simpler options available for under £10. As grips provide such a vital connection to the bike, I think an extra £10 is a worthwhile spend if you are specifically after a narrow grip, prefer a rubber-style grip and something that is reasonably light.
The GXR grips offer more comfort than I was expecting and plenty of feel despite the narrow diameter and simple single-compound rubber design. For riders wanting a narrower, more involved feel but still offering a tacky and grippy texture they are worth considering and ideally find a pair to feel the size and compound yourself.