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Tag Archive: ergonomic grips

Review: Ergon HC1 Gloves

As part of my duties as a member of the Ergon USA 2011 Commuter Team, I get to try out some brand-spanking-new products from the Ergon lineup. A few weeks ago, Ergon sent me a pair of their new HC1 gloves from their “Performance Comfort” series of products.

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Here’s a bit about the gloves directly from Ergon USA’s website:

The new Ergon HC1 is a short fingered glove, especially designed for use with the Performance Comfort series of grips. The glove features flexible yet robust mesh material for ventilation of the back of the hand. The thinly padded palm and fingers allows for increased feel and the benefits of Ergon grips not to be restricted. The ball of the hand has a slight increase in cushioning material for better pressure relief of this sensitive area.

The gloves retail for $35.95 and are available from Ergon’s online storefront.

As mentioned, they are made primarily of a lightly-padded mesh material on the top and a leather palm. The thumb area is made of a suede-like microfiber material. The mesh tops are not unlike the material used to make modern running shoes…and the mesh does a pretty good job at ventilating the hands, even in the heat.

Despite Ergon’s description, I can detect no padding whatsoever in the palms. Some portions of the palms have doubled material for durability, but as far as I can tell, that’s it. As they are designed as a system to be used with Ergon’s ergonomic grips (such as the GP1 BioKork grips, reviewed here), padding really isn’t needed. With those grips, the HC1 gloves are supremely comfortable. I often ride drop-bar road bikes for recreational and commuting purposes, though, and although I experienced no hand discomfort on rides up to about 30 miles, some people with more sensitive hands may want a bit more padding to protect delicate nerves.

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Unlike a lot of other gloves on the market, there are no “grippy” parts (silicone strips and the like) on the gloves, save for tiny strips at the tips of the fingers. The gloves are slightly scalloped here, creating little “tabs” at the ends of the fingers. Those tabs and silicone strips are there presumably to aid removal. That’s rather handy, too, as these gloves are a bit snug. Word to the wise: if you look at Ergon’s sizing chart and are right at the cusp between sizes, go for the next larger size. Ergon makes sizes to fit a lot of hands, from extra-small all the way through XXL.

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The gloves stay on with a simple hook-and-loop wrist closure. The strap is slim and unobstrusive, something I greatly prefer in a cycling glove as I move my hands around a lot. I do NOT like to get hung up on bulky straps. You can see in the picture just above how narrow and simple the strap is.

Do you get a runny nose when you ride? I sure do…even when it is super hot out. And I sweat a lot, so I really value gloves that have a decent “wiping surface”. This, perhaps, is where the HC1 lets me down. The thumb is made of a soft, nose-friendly microfiber…very “suedey”. But the area is cut a bit narrow for my tastes, and on either side it is bordered by a woven nylon material that is much rougher to the touch. The seams connecting these two materials are scratchy, too. Wipe with caution, or your nose and lips will be sore. I’d like to see a revised seam layout for this area, a more generous wiping area, or even a different choice of material (terry rather than microfiber). This is a pretty big deal for me; while it doesn’t ruin the overall picture for me, it makes these gloves not be my first choice when I am going out for a serious/strenuous ride. I’d still choose these gloves for shorter rides or for trips not requiring much in the way of sweat or effort…you know, like my commuting trips. Gotta protect those hands on the way to the workplace!

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My overall impression of these gloves is fairly favorable — they are well-made from good materials, simple, and effective for those of us who don’t need a lot of padding (or who are already using Ergon’s excellent grips). But, they’re not for everyone…the lack of padding and the nose-wiping weakness might be a deal-breaker for some. Be careful choosing the size, watch those seams against your noses, and things might just work out.

Be sure to check out Ergon USA’s website for information on their many other products, and stay tuned for further adventures with new goodies I will hopefully get my hands on to test.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Review: Ergon GP1 BioKork Grips

As a member of the 2011 Ergon Commuter Team, I am in a somewhat unique position to be able to test some of Ergon’s products in real-world bike commuting conditions. As you may recall, we have reviewed some of Ergon’s products before, and I’ve been a user of their GP1 grips since the birth of my Xtracycle a couple years ago.

The first product I got my hands on was the GP1 “BioKork” grip set, part of Ergon’s Performance Comfort Series of grips:

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From Ergon USA’s site:

The GP1 BioKork uses 40% cork, sourced from sustainable forests in Portugal which is certified for its ecologically sound production. This ecological theme is continued throughout the rest of the grip.

The inner core is plastic reinforced using natural fibre, which make up 40% of its mass. In place of mineral oil, the gel in the palm section of the grip is vegetable oil based.

The clamp can also be 100% recycled. It is all a result of Ergon’s “GreenLab” initiative.

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The barend plugs are natural-fiber reinforced plastic, too. Nice! Even better, the folks at Ergon have listened to the complaints about their packaging — what used to be an abomination of unrecycleable plastic display packaging is now made from recycled/recycleable cardboard. Bravo, Ergon…that GreenLab initiative is good stuff!

Time to replace my weatherbeaten old GP1s…they served me well, but they were way past their prime. 2+ years in the Florida elements ate them alive:

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Installation is a breeze. The GP1s slip right on and are held in place by a simple aluminum clamp torqued to a max of 5nm. They don’t slip or throttle once the clamps are snugged down, and no additional glue or lube is needed to get them on/keep them on.

The new grips feel the same — same size and shape as the old GP1s, and are supremely comfortable. This is purely a perception, but the cork material “feels” a bit warmer than the old grips. Perhaps that is because it has been cold and rainy in my new home of Dayton, Ohio. Got to say also that the new BioKork grips add a certain elegance to my otherwise mongrel of an Xtra:

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The GP1 grips come in both small and large sizes. I have giant hands and really long fingers, so the large size suits me better. Oh, did I mention how comfortable ergonomic grips are? If you play with the angle until they feel right, they are pretty amazing. Chalk up another win for Ergon!

To check out more of Ergon’s product offerings, take a swing over to their website. And, stay tuned for more product sneak peaks and reviews in the coming months.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.