Ergo? What is this, Shakespeare?

Bars go on your bike, grips go on your bars, and your hands go on the grips; simple, right? So what’s up with those “weird-shaped palm pads” you’ve been seeing around, and what the heck is “ergo” anyway?

Let’s do some learnin’! 

 “Ergo”, short for ergonomics, is the science and study of the way humans interact with their stuff. From product design, to anatomy and physiology, to psychology, ergonomics is more than turning normal products into funky shapes, it’s all about making sure that the things we touch are as comfortable, intuitive, and easy-to-use as possible.

And these suckers are comfy! The expanded palm support disperses contact over a wider area, reducing hot-spots and pressure-points, so you can ride longer. And it’s not just packed with padding, the grips are shaped to provide a more natural grasping position, reducing finger fatigue as well.

If you’re curious about why such a weird shape works better, try this: curl your fingers toward your palm, making a half-circle out of your fingers (imagine you’re holding a pair of handlebars). Now check out where your fingertips are relative to the rest of your hand. For me, it’s just above the base of my thumb, midway down my palm. But if we look at our hands we see that most of the padding is at the base, in that meaty area between the base of the thumb and the wrist. A meaty area that’s shaped suspiciously similarly to a pair of ergo grips. That’s no accident! With ergo grips, your whole palm is supported when you’re holding the bars, so it’s easier to rest your hands and you benefit from body’s natural palm padding to make bumps in the road less jarring.

Another target of ergonomics is repetitive stress injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome. We’ve all seen the diagrams illustrating how terrible our computer-posture is and the recommended steps to align eyes-and-screens, wrists-and-keyboards, etc… but fit and position is just as important on the bike. While round grips encourage your hand to wrap all the way around the bars, that sharpens the angle between your wrist and hand, which can lead to pain and numbness on longer rides. Ergo grips straighten out the wrist-hand relationship, resulting in more comfort and reducing the likelihood of carpal tunnel and other longer-onset ailments caused by imperfect alignment and repeat stress. So, not only are ergo grips easier to ride, they’ll keep you riding longer too!

Image from Ergon -

The difference a little design can make is truly amazing. When the time comes to upgrade your cockpit, the choice is clear. You want something more comfortable, easier to use, and better for you; ergo, Ergo.