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Get a Grip on Your Bike Comfort

 By Sheila Ascroft

Specialized Body Geometry Comfort Grip

Many cyclists complain of aching hands or numb fingers when biking. There are a number of possible causes for this problem:

– Are you gripping the handlebar so tightly that your knuckles turn white? (Relax!)

– Is your position dialled in so that your weight is properly distributed between your butt, feet and hands? (No? Then arrange for a professional bike fit.)

– Do you wear padded cycling gloves to cushion the jarring of rough roads? (Buy a pair—it’s a cheap fix.)

– Do you use bar ends to alter your hand position while riding? (Buy a pair—it’s a cheap fix.)

– Do you have good tires with a high TPI or threads per inch? (33 TPI tires do not offer much cushioning, consider 66 TPI or even higher tires.)

– Are your handlebar grips helping or hindering you? (Read on!)

If you think your grips are, well, a pain in the hand, then you are in luck. Several companies have come out with “comfort grips” designed for hybrids, mountain bikes and other flat-bar type bikes. Rather than being completely circular, these grips have a flared-out platform where the outside of your palm rests naturally. This ergonomic design acts like a shock absorber and disperses pressure, which helps relieve hand pain and tingly fingers. They are also comfortable, easily to install, and still allow for bar ends to be added.  

Like many of Specialized’s bike products, these distinctly shaped Body Geometry “comfort grips” were designed by Dr. Roger Minkow. He uses different cushioning so that the softest density where the ulnar nerve contacts the grip; a medium density body for secure hand grip; and a firm inner core for secure handlebar attachment.  

Ergon Grip Diagram

Other companies making a similar grip include: Avenir also makes a women’s specific grip called Devine Design Comfy Soft Bike Grips; WTB (Comfort Zone grips); Trek’s Bontrager line has Satellite Plus grips; and Ergon offers a variety of styles (GR2 and GX Leichtbau Series).  

My new hybrid has a pair of Body Geometry comfort grips and, after years or riding regular ones, I wonder why it took so long for this design to appear. The extra palm space is great; it rubber platform feels natural and supportive. I don’t know how durable these grips will be, but so far I’m impressed. Mine also came with some short, ergonomically shaped bar ends that are simply fantastic. Changing hand positions goes a long way to avoiding the hand tinglies!

2 comments to Get a Grip on Your Bike Comfort

  • lisa

    really the intense pain began when these were installed on my bike my index finger is hurting so much i cannot work these felt ok but were doing damage actually

  • Scott Boye

    I’ve switched over to this style of grip on both the mountain bike and the flat-bar tandem. I messed around with a few different brands and found that for me, the least expensive worked the best. I’ll guess that it’s like saddles – everybody is shaped a little differently, so shape matters. The places I’ve noticed the biggest reduction in pain is the heel of my hands and in my shoulders.

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