Besides the invention of the recumbent bicycle over 100 years ago numerous products have been brought to market claiming to enhance the riding experience or make a bike more comfortable. Most of these claims are dubious at best. (For example the saddle with the funny slot in the center.) When it comes to the traditional diamond frame bike the design is perfect from a bio-mechanical standpoint but for anything other than short trips comfort is the first factor that begins to chip away at the fun that is riding a bike.
Of course it's easiest to forgo all the inherent problems of an upright and just ride a recumbent enjoying the comfortable seat, aerodynamic advantage and great view. However there are times when I prefer to ride a standard bike over the recumbent and commuting is at the top of that list. My commute is a short twenty minute ride one-way comprised of quiet residential streets and busier urban areas. When negotiating busy city streets filled with traffic I like the upright riding position that a diamond frame provides. Starting up from a stop is easier, visibility is good and for any ride under an hour or less I find the wedgie seat to be more or less comfortable.
I'm always open to any ideas that might make my time aboard my standard bicycles more enjoyable. Last Monday I picked up a pair of Ergon grips at the local bike shop. Ergon's have been around a while but I never gave them much thought until I noticed that bike blogger bikesnobnyc uses them on one of his bikes. Bikesnob is very critical when it comes to cycling products and bikes and while he doesn't ride a recumbent he knows enough about bikes in general that he's written a couple of books about them. I figure if the Ergon's pass the bikesnob litmus test they are probably worth the money.
|ODI lock-ons I've been grabbing since I built the Ti general purpose bike.|
|Ergon Grips installed - Recumbents for your palms!|
I have been testing out the new ergonomic rubber handlegrips this week and I am truly amazed at the drastic improvement the Egon's are over my old traditional round grips. After a short period of trial and error rotating the grip on the bar the sweet spot can be found and the collars can be locked down. Before I was always looking for the opportunity to sit up and ride no-handed or constantly shifting my palms around on the old grips in a vain attempt to find a comfortable position. Now I leave my hands on the bars and sit up much less.
It's hard to find words to describe the feel of the Ergons. The grip's shape provides much more surface area to support the palm and I think that is the key. The palm pad that extends rearward is rubber and slightly flexible adding a bit of shock absorbtion. The "sweet spot" I mentioned above locks the wrists into a natural position without uncomfortable bends or kinks. While standing the sticky rubber feels more like a regular grip. The Ergons are not overly spongy so feedback through the bars remains crisp and precise. It's been a while since I've bolted something on a bike that really makes me want to ride it as these new grips have. In closing if you want the ultimate in comfort ride a recumbent but if you have a standard bike with a straight bar and want to improve the ride for little money and effort try a set of Ergons!
As a side note I'm pleased to report five days in a row of bicycle commuting.
Ride safe and Happy upcoming 4th of July to my American readers out there!