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Ergon 2017 – New DH hardware – grips and saddle

Developed with Fabien Barel and Tahnée Seagrave

New downhill specific grips and saddles from Ergon – masters of ergonomically designed bike components. We check out what they have to offer.

Words: Sean White  Photos: Ben Winder and Ergon

First, a bit of history…

Ergon have been pioneering ergonomically designed hardware for the bike for years and in a typically Germanic manner have a very thorough approach to everything they develop. However, it was only with the introduction of the GE1 series grips, designed with input from Fabien Barel that sparked an interest in this brand.

Ergon say that their GE1 was the first ergonomic rider-oriented grip designed specifically for use with wide handlebars – 750mm or more, the widths most of us are now running. By rotating the grip 8% on the handlebar axis, the rider automatically bends the elbow outwards for technical riding and the GE1’s unique shape reduces pressure on the sensitive ulna nerve and arm pump is effectively reduced.

Maximum hand grip is from the use of silicone-based rubber compounds – a texture orientation which is opposite the rotation of the hand, and a damping inner core construction.

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With a saddle to match this type of riding and bike set-up, Ergon’s SME3 range shows a similar attention to design detail. Ergon factory rider Richie Schley got involved with the testing of Ergon’s ‘all-mountain’ saddle, the SMA3. Worth checking out if you’re looking for a saddle upgrade.

For 2017 (and first spotted by us at Dirt on the race circuit here in Europe) is a range of grips and saddles with a focus on the DH and gravity rider.

SMD2 – The Downhill saddle

During an intensive development period the requirements of the SMD2 were based around feedback from downhill riders Tahnée Seagrave and Fabien Barel. This is the first saddle from Ergon that is barely used for sitting, more for steering the bike. The entire surface design follows a tilted orientation of the saddle and offers the rider complete freedom of movement. Ergon feel the guidance of the bike with the inner leg is potentially improved by specific padding around the whole edge of the saddle. The SMD2 is small in size – measuring 26cm in length – a good 2cm shorter than most. It’s narrower too, with a low profile. Strong shock-resistant rails and a textured upper for added grip in the wet (on all but the cheapest model) shows that Ergon have thought through all aspects of this very specific saddle design.

“My first impression of the SMD2 prototype concerned the dimension. Exactly the right length, especially at the saddle nose for better control plus the grip and stability of the rear surface” Fabien Barel

Three models are available with a nylon composite or carbon composite shell, a tough microfibre upper fabric and either cro-mo or solid titanium rails. Weights are light, at 205-220g, depending on spec.

UK PRICE: To be confirmed

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GD1 FACTORY GRIPS

It seems that we’ve had a flood of new grips onto the market this year with new thinking in design, compound and shape all claiming to improve comfort and control. Renthal and DMR are good examples and have stiff competition from our Dirt 100 favourites from Specialized, ODI and RaceFace.

The new GD1 Factory grips from Ergon follow on from the success of their GE1 grips. The GD1 is a tapered design with a broader diameter for better shock absorption at the outer end of the grip slimming to a narrower diameter on the inboard section. The soft rubber compound is manufactured in Germany and has adhesive and rebound qualities that suit hard riding on DH tracks in all conditions. A small inner flange is unobtrusive and the overall length of these grips is spot on for us.

“I consider grips to be an important part of a downhill bike. Your hands get so many hits within four to six minutes – I mean countless number of hits” Tahnée Seagrave

This new GD1 grip is available in two diameters, standard and slim giving options for all hand sizes. Colours are ‘Frozen orange’ or ‘Frozen black’.

UK PRICE: To be confirmed.

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