I ride single-track trails on a mountain bike in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and during 20 years of riding I was unable to find a handlebar grip that alleviated numbness and pain in my palms — until I tried the Ergon GP1 grip. Ergon grips differ from normal grips in that they have a contoured, rubber-coated platform under the outside portion of your palm. This platform provides support in such a way that pressure on the ulnar nerve is reduced or eliminated entirely. (I learned my hand numbness arose from pressure on the ulnar nerve in my palm while holding the handlebars.)
Installation is simple, requiring the use of a 4mm allen wrench. Fine-tuning the fit involves riding your bike for a few miles and then evaluating any pain or numbness. If necessary, loosen the bolts, slightly rotate the grips up or down, and retighten the bolts — repeat until your pain or numbness disappears. In my case, rotating the rearmost portion of the grip down from horizontal did the trick. I understand people with carpal-tunnel issues typically rotate the grips upwards from horizontal to reduce the flex angle of their wrists.
Ergon grips are mounted on straight handlebars, such as those found on mountain bikes and some touring bikes, but NOT drop bars. They are available in models with or without bar ends and special short models that work with twist shifters, plus slightly smaller and lighter competition models.
Compared with standard rubber slide-on or “lock-on” grips the Ergon grips are more expensive and heavier. However, the price and weight difference for mine (70-100 grams more) pale next to the increased comfort and pleasure while riding. Since installing the grips, I’ve ridden 244 miles of expert mountain trails with a total 26,500′ vertical gain, and experienced no pain and a huge reduction in my chronic numbness — absolutely no numbness in my right hand and only very minor, infrequent numbness in my left. Everyone I have recommended these to has been pleased, including my chiropractor wife.