30 March 2011

Brompton Ergon GC2 grips and bar ends

Note: Since writing this post I have fitted some GR2 grips and bar-ends which overall I prefer to the GC2s.

The thing I probably missed most when moving over from my larger bike were bar ends. I find them really helpful for going up hills, and also more comfortable than holding the main handle bars in general.

Looking at how the Brompton folds it seems that bar-end choice is limited by the clearance between the folded handlebar and the front wheel. So I started researching what other people had managed to fit onto their Bromptons. The most popular choice seemed to be the Ergon GC2 grips with integrated stubby bar ends, so decided to try them out. They come in three different lengths; normal, short for use with grip shifters, and one short one long for use with a Rohlhoff shifter. The grip shift version would have been too short so I went for the normal length knowing that I’d have to cut them down a little.

Fitting them was fairly easy, firstly I removed the original grips. These are made of foam and a glued on to the handle bar so I had to cut them to get them off. The glue used to stick them in place wasn’t too hard to scrape off using an old plastic store card.

I then moved the gear shifters and brake levers as far inboard as I could (as I have an M type Brompton that wasn’t very far) and used a pen knife to cut the grips around the brake levers. (Note, if you plan to change your brake levers you should do so before cutting up your new grips. The replacement brake levers I got [that’s another post] require far less cutting of the grips so I now need to get a second pair!)

The grips and bar ends are both secured by a 4mm allan bolt in the underside of the bar end. I recommend tightening it so that you can just about move the grips and then sitting on the bike to adjust the grip and bar end positions. Even then I’d also recommend carrying an allan key with you for a week or two to tweak the positions as you ride.

I pushed my handlebars as far forward as the fold allows and the bar ends don’t interfere with the fold, although the lefthand one does scrape on the ground sometimes when the bike is folded.

The new grips are nice, and definitely better than the Brompton ones. Although, for me at least, they are not the revelation that they are for some. The bar ends are just about long enough to provide a second hand position when combined with the hand grip. As far as providing extra leverage goes, the bar ends are usable over short distances but I wouldn’t want to use them on a long hill. Also being combined with the grips, the bar ends take up minimal space on the handlebar, which is useful given the very limited space on the M-type handlebars.

So, overall I’m happy with them, and as I indicated above I’m planning to get a replacement pair. Although I’ve now pushed the handlebars back a bit so I’m going to try some longer bar ends next time.

[The links to Amazon on this page won’t cost you anything, but will make me some money if you buy through them]