PROD­UCT RE­VIEWS

Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: MIKE BLEWITT

We’ve said it so many times – if you want to ride more con­fi­dently and com­fort­ably you have to pay at­ten­tion to your con­tact points! Whether that is good qual­ity shorts, new shoes and ped­als, the right tyres and pres­sure, or grips that aren’t flogged out, it all counts. Er­gon are quintessen­tially Ger­man. All of their prod­ucts are based on ex­ten­sive re­search, de­vel­op­ment, lab tests and real-world test­ing. Across their prod­uct range of sad­dles, grips, seat­posts and ac­ces­sories they have won over 15 de­sign awards, amongst ac­co­lades from other ind­sutry plat­forms.

SIT­TING PRETTY

With a broad range of prod­ucts, I used an on­line sad­dle se­lec­tor tool to nar­row down what might suit my trail bike. The stock sad­dle didn’t re­ally cut it and I ended up look­ing at the SMA3 Comp in small, and the SME3 Comp medium. Visu­ally there isn’t a huge dif­fer­ence save for a slight dif­fer­ence in the pres­sure re­lief chan­nel. But on the bike it was quite no­tice­able. The SMA3 Comp has de­signed to be a flat sad­dle, so one you can move along eas­ily to find the right po­si­tion. Push­ing back, or slid­ing for­ward, so I’m sit­ting in the right spot is the norm for me, and com­pared to the stock sad­dle I re­placed the SMA3 de­liv­ered on shape. The pad­ding feels firm un­til you’re sit­ting on it, the depth is re­ally good in the back and a long day in the sad­dle was com­fort­able. The rounded shoul­ders re­ally helped for get­ting off the back of the seat and the nose was free from snag­ging. Some flat sad­dles have a pro­nounced nose that can snag your shorts way too eas­ily when rid­ing of­froad, and that’s never good. The SME3 Comp is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. It’s been de­signed for en­duro rac­ing, and shares many sim­i­lar­i­ties with the SMA3 Comp. But on the sad­dle the sub­tle dif­fer­ences are no­tice­able. While it still has a flat shape and the same AirCell foam pad­ding (mean­ing both sad­dles are un­der 250g), the shell is a slightly dif­fer­ent pro­file. The de­sign is there so it flexes a lit­tle when ped­alling, but I think the best way to trans­late this is at it lets you push back into the sad­dle if ped­alling hard when seated, and you have more sup­port. So there’s no part of the sad­dle that kicks up in the back to catch when slid­ing off the back, but if you’re seated on a climb work­ing against a time cut off, you can re­ally find a sta­ble po­si­tion. In­ter­est­ingly, that po­si­tion is a lit­tle more for­ward than it looks for the sad­dle place­ment, which works with slacker bikes where seat an­gles are be­ing in­creased to keep you over the front when climb­ing. It’s savvy de­sign that would be easy to miss, but it works. Both sad­dles look sim­ple, and that’s in­tel­li­gent de­sign. Er­gon state that the SMA3 suits trail and all-moun­tain rid­ing while the SME3 suits en­duro rac­ing – and I would agree. The SME3 is a re­ally good shape but how it pro­motes a for­ward po­si­tion when seated might throw out your fit on a fast trail bike or for a bike you ex­pect to spend a long time in the sad­dle on. But I had zero com­plaints on com­fort or qual­ity on both.

HITS

- Cat­e­gory spe­cific sad­dle de­sign,

that works - Avail­able to suit dif­fer­ent rider sizes - Ba­sic black – or colours!

MISSES

- It can still be hard to judge a sad­dle with­out test­ing it your­self.

RRP: $139.95 FROM: BikeBox Aus­tralia

GET A GRIP

You might think that Er­gon only do big, flared grips. They sure have a good range of them, even in cork, but their high­per­for­mance moun­tain bike grips are the favourites of down­hill, freeride, en­duro and XC rid­ers glob­ally. Er­gon sent out four grips to play with. The su­per-thin GD1 Slim, the ag­gres­sive GE1 Fac­tory, and the pop­u­lar GA2 and GA2 Fat. All four grips hav­ing lock­ing col­lars on­board, with a guide to get them set up cor­rectly and evenly. Er­gon have cre­ated grips that are built from the core up. So the core for the grav­ity in­spired GD1 is com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the GA2 Fat, for ex­am­ple. And that’s the point, match the grips for how and what you ride, and the fit and com­fort you need. The GA2 in reg­u­lar and fat are a de­signed for grav­ity rid­ing, with a lit­tle softer rub­ber, a su­per-tac­tile feel and two di­am­e­ters avail­able. The soft rub­ber feels great and has good char­ac­ter­is­tics for vi­bra­tion re­duc­tion. For me the stan­dard felt great – but my hands didn’t like the Fat size. Siz­ing down to the GD1 Slim, you have a longer grip with less rub­ber and still with a su­per soft rub­ber. With an in­ner stop be­fore the clamp, you do end up with a lot of grip to still use, and if you tend to move in­wards or out de­pend­ing on the ter­rain you could love this grip. I re­ally rated it even on my trail bike. My ab­so­lute favourite was the GE1. It pro­motes and ‘el­bows out’ ap­proach via the cant of the grip both in the core and rub­ber. With the an­gled ends it also means you’re more likely to glance off a tree than snag. Also, there is spe­cific shap­ing for your fore­fin­ger to lock around the grip. This grip re­ally stood out as the one that re­quired the most time get­ting the set up just right – but I felt it was the most re­ward­ing. This is just a taste of Er­gon’s lock on grips for grav­ity rid­ing. But I would hap­pily throw them on any bike you like to ride fast. The GE1 would be a whole lot of fun on your fast trail bike or XC bike that you like to ride hard and throw around. I highly rec­om­mend tak­ing a look at their range at a dealer or on­line – as their grips are rock solid with their lock­ing, dialled with their com­pounds and you can find the shape, and colour, to suit. Jump­ing back on a bike with sil­i­cone grips made me re­alise just how good the Er­gon grips are – the sense of con­trol is way more pre­cise. And that’s ex­actly what I want with a key con­tact point.

HITS

- A wide range of ver­sa­tile de­signs - Great rub­ber com­pounds - Op­tions for small and big hands

MISSES

- A lit­tle more than a cheap pair of rub­ber grips RRP: GA2/GA2 Fat $44.95 GD1 Slim/GE1 $54.95 FROM: BikeBox Aus­tralia

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