Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (1)

Years ago when Ergon grips started showing up on the rigs of all the local endurance racers, I must admit, I wasn’t all that interested. Sure, they looked like they were quality grips with good design, but I never really liked the feel of the big ergonomic grips on my bike. Eventually I was convinced to buy one of the first pairs of the GA1s. Their rounded shape promised better feel for technical riding, but truthfully they didn’t stay on my bike for long.

Thankfully, the GE1 is worlds apart from that first GA1 (which is also now much improved with the new GA1 Evo). Hailed as the company’s first “enduro” specific grip, the round but still very ergonomic grip looked great on paper and turns out to be just as good in real life. As a company that focuses on your body’s points of contact with the bike, Ergon also offers a full range of saddles which could redefine your perception of comfort….

Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (8)

Ergon Grip GE1 Review (2)

Just what makes an “enduro” grip? For starters, it’s all in the hand positioning. Enduro bikes in this case should probably include most trail and all mountain bikes – anything running a shorter stem and wider bars. This usually corresponds to riders in an aggressive position with their elbows bent, hands on the very end of the grips, and likely single finger braking.

While the GE1 may not look like a super ergonomic grip, it is shaped to perfectly fit the hands in that position. Because of that it’s important to follow the instructions when installing the grip – there is a left and right. Once the basic positioning is achieved, you can adjust how they feel by rotating the grips fore or aft using the tick marks as indicators. It’s hard to make out in photos, but one of my favorite features of the grip is a small ridge where each index finger would rest. When really charging climbs I found myself pulling on the ridge with my fingers. How much it actually helps is debatable, but it feels great.

Ergon Grip GE1 Review (3)

Ergon Grip GE1 Review (4)

All of my used grips usually have the same wear pattern which is a worn out grip at the very end while the rest of the grip looks fairly new. How little the GE1s are worn out at the end of a season, to me, is a testament to the design. Even though the grips use a real, natural rubber, they seem like they will outlast most other grips by far.

One of the drawbacks to lock on grips has always been the inner structure needed to keep them from twisting on the bar. This usually means a hard plastic sleeve which the rubber grip is molded on top of. The GE1s also have a hard inner core, but there are generous windows where your hand will make the most contact. This results in the feel of a slip on grip, with the security of a lock on.

While we’re talking about lock on grips, Ergon gets credit for using a 3mm allen screw which is much less prone to stripping out than a 2.5mm.

Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (6) Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (5)

Wide bars and closed end grips usually result in a lot of contact with trees and the ground when crashing, which was certainly the case with the Ergon GE1s. Fortunately, the hard plastic ends and rubber seem to be holding up admirably well. With other grips recently I’ve lost end caps/clamps or ripped them completely, so high marks here for Ergon.

Ergon Grip GE1 Review (1)

The only spot you could really find a fault with the GE1 would be their weight at 120g per pair. However, you probably won’t find the same performance and durability from any grip much lighter. At 60g a piece I am more than happy to run them on my bike. Of course, Ergon recently announced the GE1 Slim as well which will probably be a bit lighter thanks to the slimmer profile. I should note that I’m usually a fan of very thin grips, but I have no problems with the diameter of the current GE1s.

At $34.95 they are on the more expensive end of grips, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re worth every penny. Now I just need more for my other bikes…

Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (7)

While I had some idea what to expect when going into the GE1 review, Ergon’s saddle line was another story. Historically, I haven’t been that picky when it comes to saddles but after riding the SME3 Pro Carbon, that may change. Again billed as an Enduro specific product, the SME3 line is designed shorter, with more padding on the nose, and is fairly flat. All good things for moving around on the bike without catching your baggies.

Whether it’s the design of the saddle with the center relief, or the construction Ergon uses with high end orthopedic foam that is CNC’d for a precise fit and better long term durability, this is probably the most comfortable mountain bike saddle I have ridden. It just feels right.

Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (10) Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (9)

This is the top of the line Enduro saddle from Ergon, but the good news for anyone on a budget is that the comfort should be the same down the line to the base model SME3, just a bit heavier. All SME3 saddles are available in two widths, small and medium, with the medium tested here. I think at 5’8″ I’m probably right on the edge for the sizes, but the medium seems to fit great.

Ergon GE1 SME3 PRo carbon saddle review weight (2)

The SME3 Pro saddle will gain you a light weight carbon shell and full carbon rails which will result in a weight under 200g. The saddle above was a preproduction sample, and the production model checks out at 195g.

For the gram counters out there who aren’t hard on their saddles, the $199.95 SME3 Pro Carbon saddle makes an awesome addition to your mountain bike. With that said, based on our experience with the saddle shape and comfort in general, any of the SME3 models come highly recommended.

ergon-bike.com

12 COMMENTS

  1. Can anyone tell me why MTB no longer have bar ends? I always found them useful for climbing so was wondering why they disappeared? FYI Ergon makes grips with bar ends also but I rarely ever see them.

  2. @terry there’s really two reasons. First is that modern mountain bikes are designed around wider bars and shorter stems. This makes bar ends less necessary for torquing on the bar when climbing and more likely that you will hit the ends of your bars on stuff. Second is trails have changed a lot since bar ends were popular. More technical descents and climbs means you need to have your hands where you can access shifters/brake levers. Also people will probabaly laugh at you for having bar ends.

  3. Could be something as simple as bar ends are perceived as ‘dorky’, old skool, and look especially uncool on riser bars.

    While I *do* agree that they look uncool on risers (and [big, wide] risers inherently mean you’re not doing fast, slammed XC), on flat bars they are useful and DO help in climbing.

    Who knows where they went and who knows why you don’t see more of them, especially the tiny nub ones, on XC bikes these days.

  4. I use Ergon grips with bar ends on my single speed. 780mm flat bar and bar ends , really gets it done when grinding up big climbs, and offers more hand positions. Though I don’t use bar ends on my full sus rig.

  5. really hate the older ergon grips, (“oh, I don’t need to get my hands over the bars” says the guy who walks down everything instead of learning how to ride technical terrain & actually get off the saddle) but these do to many things right to ignore at this point, I’m going to have to give them a shot.

  6. I’ve been wanting to try out an Ergon saddle for the longest time. The shape of them look like they’d fit my arse well, but I haven’t seen a single person with one. Saddles aren’t cheap, and I’d rather see one up close before buying.

    #sigh

  7. @terry. Bar ends are still used just not as much. I ride SS a lot and rely on my bar ends a lot. I like them on my hardtail race bike too for different hand positions in a long race. They may look funny to most people but if they work who gives a shit. I prefer the Ergon grips with the integrated bar ends.

  8. Why did bar ends go away? All o the reasons mentioned, plus, when Carbon bars came out, they immediately became the bling bling thing to have. Many of them also could not (and most still can’t) be used with bar ends. So, the high end riders all had carbon bars, and no bar ends.

    Very quickly bar ends fell out of fashion. For dense forests, where I ride, people readily admit that they would love to run bar ends, but they don’t want to look “dorky”. In the trees, I regularly bash trees, I mainly use them for that. To help the bars skid past the tree instead of having a bar/grip dig into the three and out me on my head.

  9. I run the Ergon SRX3 saddle on a singlespeed and it has changed my life. The mountain specific saddles looked a bit too extreme so I went for the more normal appearing ‘cross version. Pure comfort even on all day epics.

    Also, I don’t understand comments about the downsides of the flat Ergon grips on technical terrain. Maybe because I have big hands (XL gloves typ), but the flat wings only help me hang on and work the front end on rough and rocky tech. Plus, the flats make for impromptu bar ends for smooth climbs. I’ll never go back to round grips.

  10. This article came almost in time for me…..
    I was putting together a completely new build in mid October. Without ever having tried any Ergon proudct and virtually no reviews, I took the gamble and went for the Ergon SME3 Pro Saddle and the Ergon GE1 grips.

    After almost 6 weeks of trail riding on the new bike, I’m happy to report I am very much enjoying both the saddle and the gloves.

    Sizing / Feel
    being a relatively compact 5′ 9″ / 140lbs … and as someone who has experimented with a lot of saddles and knows the width of my sit bones, I went with the small saddle. Even though I chose the ‘Pro’ model (alloy instead of carbon rails), the 20 gram weight penalty didn’t bother me. 220g is still plenty light. And the size small supplies me with adequate width. I was able to snag the saddle for $100 and its more than worth it.

    The grips feel great. My hands are not tiny, but on the smaller side. Most brand’s medium gloves are snug fit. The ergonomic factor is subtle but effective,….I think. As mentioned, the grips are a tad heavy, but feel significantly more substantial / overbuilt compared to other grips. The rubber compound is pretty damn hard i.e. not gummy feeling at all. For what its worth… (comment Trolls stand back!!!!) my cockpit: bars & stem use the new 35mm diameter standard, specifically: stem – Raceface Turbine 35 (50mm) and bars – RaceFace Next 35 (20mm rise & 760mm wide). At the risk of throwing even more chum to the hungry trolls, I’ll just say it, my front end is borderline over the top stiff and if I had one issue with the grips, it would be a desire for a bit more cush… but, that’s just not what they are designed to be

    All in all, both top of the line products and in my opinion, they are both aesthetically top shelf as well.

  11. I bought a 6″ travel full sus bike this year and went with a 740 mm bar and “winged” Ergon GS3 grips with bar ends. The “winged” grips are comfortable all the time but really shine when doing technical downhill sections because the amount of contact with the grips is so much higher than with regular round grips. The bar ends seem less necessary going up hill than they used to back when bars were under 600 mm wide. But the ability to move your hands around is very nice after 3 or 4 hours pounding the turf. The fashionistas scoff at bar ends, of course, and mt biking is so totally dominated by fashion these days – look at single speeds! But I will go with practicality over fashion any day. The downside to bar ends on wider bars is that they can get caught on brush. This has happened only once so far and I’m not worried about it. I’m more worried about breaking my hands when dumping the bike (which has happened altogether too often) and the bar ends give a bit of extra protection. Beats having to slow down.

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