The Bike List

Ergon GC3 grips & bar ends £50

Tested by Jon Adams, tester for The Bike List

Ergon offers a range of neat handlebar grips that are cleverly sculpted to place and support a rider’s hands in the most comfortable position. Anyone suffering from wrist pain, numb fingers or other irritating hand problems would be wise to investigate these, as they offer a tremendous level of comfort without sacrificing too much in the control department. The grips come in two hand sizes – Small and Large, and are offered in a range of different styles, weights and materials, so you can choose how ‘fat’ you want them, whether you want bar ends, and if you do, how long you want them to be.

We tested the GC3 model, which offers a long, ski-style bar end that offers 3 main hand positions for comfort when you’re touring or munching miles on your commute to the office. Overall, it’s the biggest and bulkiest model in the range, but like all Ergon grips, the GC3 fits on standard bars measuring 22.2mm at the business end, and it requires 140mm of straight bar to fit. This is obviously fine with flat bars, but it doesn’t give a problem with risers either – unless you’ve cut them down too dramatically and haven’t left enough room before the bend. The grips are only for metal bars though – carbon isn’t an option as the grips lock in place with a clamp, and the 8 Newton-metre (Nm) force needed is too high for a carbon tube.

The clamp itself is tightened with a 5mm hex key, and as a result the grips are super-quick to fit and remove. Adjusting and fine-tuning the position of the grip and bar end section takes a little longer, and it makes sense to keep your hex key handy while you get it just right over a few rides. Once you’ve got it sorted, it’s worth noting the position with a couple of small marks on the bars, grip and bar end – if you do this, it’s really quick and easy to swap them back and forth with other grips or between bikes.

The reason you might want to do this is because the GC3 is very much a comfort-based grip that’s perfect for eating big miles on non-technical terrain. It’s primarily a touring, commuting and leisure-cycling component, so most riders will want something smaller and lighter when more precision in handling is required. The long, curly bar ends and shaped grips aren’t designed for gnarly, rocky stuff, and the 375-405g of weight (depending on size S or L) won’t be attractive if you’re racing or heaving the front end around. You can still run drop offs with the grips on, of course, but a smaller grip feels easier to manage on difficult terrain, and large, protruding bar ends add a layer of complication if you’re likely to catch tree branches or take a few falls.

Part of the issue is that on tricky, off-road descents, you’re often braking with fingers 1 and 2, and hanging on with fingers 3 and 4, so if the grip is too wide under 3 and 4, it doesn’t feel as secure. Ergon offer the near-circular GA and GE series for downhill and freeride use, and for mixed techie stuff like XC racing, there’s the GX and GS series, with a thinner profile for better control.

For their intended use though, the GC3s really are superb. The sides of the bar ends are nicely contoured and give real leverage if you want to power down or honk out the saddle, and the front section gives an alternative flat position to stretch out and get some comfort. Once the grips themselves are positioned correctly, the GC3s really do ease the pressure on the hand and the wrist. There’s some ‘give’ in the wide section under the heel of your palm, and this helps to soak up road buzz as well as taking the sting out of lumpy dirt tracks.

The only eyebrow-raiser here is the price. £50 sounds a lot for a pair of grips, but decent bar ends of the length offered would be £20-30, and some basic, bar-end-less Ergon GP1 grips would be around £25, so the cost isn’t as bad as it looks. If you’re not keen on bar ends (or are happy with the ones you’ve got), then the GP1 grips mentioned will give all the same ergo benefits as the GC3 for half the price. A halfway house with a stubby bar end is the GC2 for around £33, but if you’re doing some major miles on a flat bar and like to vary your hand positions – the GC3 grips really are the business, and come highly recommended.

Buy from

Ergon says:

Ergon grips: 
Innovative solutions for traditional problems

Numb fingers, aching hands and forearms - problems all too familiar to bikers. Caused by too much pressure on the highly sensitive areas of the inner palm and potential malpositioning of the hand. Ergon grips provide 100% contact of hand and grip by an anatomically optimised grip-shape. Thus the pressure is relieved, especially near the nervus ulnaris, preventing the hand from getting numb. Additionally overstraining of the median nerve (often resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome) as well as aching wrists are prevented.

In some situations people simply need more hand positions. Employing the much proven ergonomic grip body of the GC2, the GC3 introduces a hollow formed glass fiber reinforced ergonomically shaped bar end. Featuring rubberized inserts for positive grip, like all of Ergon’s bar ends it can be independently positioned relative to the grip and acts as the clamp preventing accidental rotation. The grip itself is available in two sizes: Large and Small

Weight of GC3 size L: 405g

Weight of GC3 size S: 371g

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At a glance

Verdict Pricey but amazingly comfortable, sculpted grip for MTBs with a built-in ski-style bar end for multiple hand positions.