Getting new grips for the bike every summer is kind of like getting a new backpack and sneakers before going back to school in the fall. It’s nice to feel fresh when you’re back on the trail, and you might as well set the trend. What’s the trend this year? Oil slick of course.
Anything alloy — lock rings on grips, saddle rails, gloves, spokes, and anything that can be anodized or dyed — is into the new rainbow look.
I’ve been riding the new Ergon GE1 Evo grips along with the new SM Enduro saddle for a few months now, and both of them feel as good as they look.
Ergon GE1 Grips
I have tried a few variations of Ergon grips now, but the GE1 Evo Factory grips might be my favorite. The GE1 grips are made for enduro riding. In my mind, that means that they should prevent numbness on long descents and prevent any slipping, or moisture buildup. They have a noticeably improved grip feel, with deeper grooves that seem to reduce slippage.
Ergon says that these are made to accommodate the stance and angle of riders using wider handlebars and they should also reduce the amount of energy it takes to grip the bars. The grips are developed with texturing that is rolled forward, to prevent the hands from slipping backward.
These features all provide a noticeable advantage on the trail. They are comfy, and the shape is optimized to keep the hands and fingers extended to an optimum point. The GE1 Evo Factory grips (available at Amazon and Competitive Cyclist) are $5 more than the the GE1 Evo grips, at $40, and have a different rubber compound. They weigh 105g. The GE1 Evo grips cost $35 and weigh a claimed 110g.
On long and chunky descents, I’ve been happy to have these grips under my palms. I haven’t had any issues with slipping, numbing, or discomfort, and the color is rad. The integrated bar plugs always seem to hold up much longer than plug inserts.
Ergon SM Enduro saddle
I’ve settled into the last Ergon saddle I tested, the SM Pro, and it’s been on my gravel bike since last year. The SM Enduro isn’t all that different and still in line with the Ergon philosophy. The overall profile is still similar to the SM Pro. It’s slim and flat, and as narrow as possible where it can be to keep riders’ knees from knocking into the sides.
The relief channel looks deeper on the SM Enduro. The channel is there to give the perineal nerve room to breathe in order to prevent numbing. At the end, it opens up into a zone for water or mud to drain. The relief channel works just as well as the one did on the SM Pro, and overall I have yet to notice any major differences between the two.
They feel about the same, although the SM Enduro, and the Comp model in particular which costs $100, looks much cooler if that’s important to you.
It’s hard to say that the SM Enduro is actually more “enduro” than the SM Pro, but it is a great choice for rides that take place somewhere between XC and full-on gravity. There is room to move forward on steep pitches for more front end traction, and the microfiber covering doesn’t glue you in one spot either.
The saddle is available in three different options. The SM Enduro sells for $80 (available at JensonUSA), weighs 255g, and has black rails. My SM Enduro Comp sells for $100 (on sale for $79.89 at REI for a limited time), weighs 10g less, and has oil-slick colored rails. The SM Enduro Pro Titanium sells for $180, weighs only 225g, and has titanium rails.
Thanks to Ergon for providing the saddle and grips for testing.