Ergon GDH Team grip review – ergonomic gravity-specific grips

Ergon has packed its GDH Team grip with loads of downhill-specific features but do they add up to enhanced control on the trail?

Ergon GDH Team grip fitted to a mountain bike handlebar with a Bike Perfect recommends badge
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Ergon has put a lot of development into its GDH Team grip and it shows, delivering comfortable and precise performance that boosts downhill control.

Pros

  • +

    Soft but supportive section under palm

  • +

    Mini flanges add tactile hand guidance

  • +

    Waffle section boosts finger grip

  • +

    Long wear life

Cons

  • -

    Pricey but worth it

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The GDH Team was specifically for gravity riding and Ergon has worked with two-time Downhill World Champion Vali Höll, and pro riders Troy Brosnan and Fabien Barel to create what it describes as the pinnacle of downhill-specific grip. To produce its best MTB grip possible, Ergon says that no detail has been ignored with a specific focus on shape, texture, and rubber compound. 

Ergon GDH Team grip cushioned texture pattern detail on the top of the grip

Multi-directional texture block pattern adds reduces vibrations coming through the handlebar while maintaining control (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and specifications

If you’re privy to the Ergon range you will recognize several designs and features of the GDH Team grips borrowed from other grips in the Ergon range and used to reduce pressure, hand fatigue, and arm pump when riding.

The grip uses an extra soft version of Ergon’s GravityControl Rubber which is free from harmful substances like lead, mercury, and Cadmium and meets SGS certification. On top is a multi-level, multi-directional texture block pattern for cushioning the hand, and underneath is a grid/waffle section with four individual finger zones. These are angled to optimize their shape based on hand and arm positions when riding in the attack position. The areas between the multi-directional texture block and grid section are filled out with a knurled pattern for extra grip.

Ergon GDH Team grip fitted to a handlebar and showing the collar graphic details

Ergon GDH Team uses a single alloy collar and adds mini flanges for extra support  (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

There is a mini inner flange on the top of the grip similar to that used on the GD1 and a slightly thicker outer edge has been added to give the hand tactile feedback to how your hand is positioned on the handlebar.

The grips are left and right-specific and held in place with a single inner alloy collar that has markers to help dial in grip rotation. The outer end of the grip is open and Ergon includes a set of replaceable branded plastic bar ends. 

Ergon GDH Team grip waffle texture pattern detail on the bottom of the grip

Waffle/grid texture pattern boosts finger grip (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance

Grips are one of those components that are truly performing at their best when you stop thinking about them when riding. The GDH Team’s texture blocks offer a good level of dampening, support, and control and have a slight curve to spread the load over the palm. It's a noticeable boost in hand relief compared to thinner grips, and doesn’t have the squish and squirm that I find makes textured siping or mushroom-style patterns feel a bit vague on the trail. The grid/waffle section underneath helps position the fingers and gives an edge to boost grip when yanking on the handlebars. The small flange sections are just enough to give a tactile signal that your hand is in the right position without infringing on any controls.

I have used these in the type of wet rides where dirt gets smeared everywhere and still found the GravityControl compound grip and pattern were top-notch whether gloved or bare-handed. The soft compound has also resisted wearing well and still has plenty of life left.

I generally prefer rubberized built-in bar ends as they mean I can lean bikes without fear that they will slide or scratch on the surface I'm leaning the bike against. That said, replaceable bar ends can be replaced should they get damaged and also offer the option to use the handlebar as storage for multi-tools like Topeak’s Plug ‘n Tool

Ergon GDH Team grip fitted to a MTB handlebar

Ergon GDH Team grip offers excellent control when descending (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

Ergon’s GDH Team is a great grip for gravity-led riders, combined levels of traction, shape, and features tick all the boxes if you’re looking for a grip that will aid handling and comfort without distorting trail feedback. The rubber GravityControl Rubber is soft but has still managed to resist wear so far too.

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The lowdown: Renthal Lock-On Grip Ultratacky
AttributesNotesRating
GripSoft compound combined with grid/waffle section★★★★★
WearThe soft compound has resisted wear well★★★★★
ComfortSuper comfortable without sacrificing percision★★★★★
Value for moneyA little pricey★★★★

Tech specs: Ergon GDH Team

  • Price: $39.95 / £34.99 / €39.95
  • Length: 135mm
  • Grip section: 120mm
  • Weight: 116g 
  • Rival products: Renthal Lock-On Grip, ODI Ruffian, Hope Tech Lock-on grips
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg