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  1. #1
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    Bar Ends -or- No Bar Ends

    ive heard mixed things about bar ends. do they really make a difference climbing? if so, are they really worth the 50 bucks for the good ones? I'd like to hear other peoples opinions and what kind of bar ends you use. thanks
    Kevin
    "If it weren't for electricity we'd all be watching television by candlelight."
    George Gobol.

  2. #2
    The Gnarchitect Sketch.
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    Quote Originally Posted by htims_nivek
    ive heard mixed things about bar ends. do they really make a difference climbing? if so, are they really worth the 50 bucks for the good ones? I'd like to hear other peoples opinions and what kind of bar ends you use. thanks
    Kevin
    They're really nice for climbing and they add more options for how you physically hold the bar, which can help cut down hand numbness, etc. They do make it easier to be assaulted by wandering trees and foliage. They are also a burden if you spend a lot of time in the air (I've heard. I'm a prisoner of gravity myself). I'd never pay $50 for a pair, and wonder where you got the idea that the "good" ones have to be $50. I see decent bar ends priced regularly in the $20-$30 area and have seen perfectly serviceable bar ends priced in the single digits when its clearance time. I have been using a pair of short avenirs that I bought on sale at the LBS last summer for $15. Love 'em.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archdukeferdinand
    They're really nice for climbing and they add more options for how you physically hold the bar, which can help cut down hand numbness, etc. They do make it easier to be assaulted by wandering trees and foliage. They are also a burden if you spend a lot of time in the air (I've heard. I'm a prisoner of gravity myself). I'd never pay $50 for a pair, and wonder where you got the idea that the "good" ones have to be $50. I see decent bar ends priced regularly in the $20-$30 area and have seen perfectly serviceable bar ends priced in the single digits when its clearance time. I have been using a pair of short avenirs that I bought on sale at the LBS last summer for $15. Love 'em.
    some carbon fiber bar ends can be up to 50 bucks canadian ( i probably should have mentioned that before) depending on the company.
    "If it weren't for electricity we'd all be watching television by candlelight."
    George Gobol.

  4. #4
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    Yes!

    They make a hugh difference for me! I got my for like $20 or $25. I also like having the option of different hand positions.

  5. #5
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    I've loved these

    I've loved these.

    link

    Lightweight, short (so they don't snag trees as easily), and they'll send you new ones when they break (I shattered mine on a rock).

    I'll always use bar ends for the climbing feel and the variety of hand positions.

  6. #6
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    I think bar ends are best used on XC bikes intended for lots...

    Quote Originally Posted by htims_nivek
    ive heard mixed things about bar ends. do they really make a difference climbing? if so, are they really worth the 50 bucks for the good ones? I'd like to hear other peoples opinions and what kind of bar ends you use. thanks
    Kevin
    ...of aggressive climbing on steep terrain. They offer a more forward reach to keep the front end down, and alternate hand positons, which can help you to utilize different muscles and relax more in doing so. If you want your saddle-to-bar reach to be short enough to easily drop your butt off the back of the saddle on steep descents, they actually blend in to still allow for good climbing, without sacrificing descending capabilities.

    One of the best things about bar ends, which is quite often mistakenly refuted by non barend, riser bar users, is the wide, relaxed hand position, which also helps open your rib cage for more relaxed breathing. When a person stands relaxed, their arms hang to their sides, palms inward. This is the same hand and arm position used with barends. While some 24" riser bar users argue that their doing the same (wide, relaxed hand position) with a riser setup, the middle of the hands are only about 20-21" apart on a 24" riser, 23" on a 23" flat, with bar ends. Even on a 25" riser, the middle of your hands fall somewhere between 21-22" apart.

    Of course the above statement only accounts for climbing, descending is quite another story. I've seen bar ends used on everything from 22" flat bars, to 25" riser bars, but you definately will be vulnerable to catastrophic encounters with trees, and brush, if you push the limits too wide.

    I think a good rule of thumb, on bar compatability, is staying within 24" and 7 degree sweep, as well as using a bar with reinforcing of some kind. Also limiting the rise to 1", and the stem rise to 5 degree. You should also narrrow your choice of bar ends to ones with at least 15 mm of clamp width, and a reasonable amount of inward cant, so they don't stick out too wide. A good rule of thumb within this rule, at the risk of sounding all thumbs, is if the manufacturer says the bar shouldn't be cut down, don't use bar ends on it.

    Bottom line for me personally though, is going with no more than a 23" width bar, if using bar ends, as well as a flat 5 degree configuration. Gripping a bar at it's very end via bar ends puts a lot of leverage on it, the wider the bar, the more chance of over steer. Even on my 22.5" bar that had bar ends, I found myself using a grip involving both bar and bar end, to minimize this on switchback climbs. Too much height at the front end (ie: riser bar) can also make the front end feel light when using bar ends.

  7. #7
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    I ditched mine

    I guess it's all a matter of personal preference...

    Unlike the others who have posted thus far, I got sick of my bar ends and ditched 'em this past winter.

    Over the past 10 years, I've ridden with various bar ends. My original hardtail from 1992 had those monster bar ends that stuck out like 6". I don't remember using them all that much.

    When I got my Trek 8000 in 1998 the bike already had Onza bar ends on it. I tried like hell to use them, but I never really got all that comfortable with them. On steep climbs I would pull my hands out to various positions, and to be honest, it never made me a better climber.

    So 2 years ago I ditched the Onza bar ends for the Serfas bar ends. Unlike the Onza's, which mount at the rear and totally stick out front, the Serfas mount on the middle and are short little nubs (like the Cane Creek design). At least the design made more sense as I could keep my hands wider on the bar yet laterally in the same position as having my hands on the bar.

    Again, I rode those for 2 years and tried using them in various terrain. Once more, I never found myself all that comfortable with them. In fact, sometimes I would be halfway through my climb with my hands in the normal position and would then use the bar ends, just because you're "supposed" to use them in the climbs. Again, they never seemed to make me a better climber.

    In fact, I started getting irritated by the fact that my hands felt "cramped" on my bars (flat 24" bars). I also noticed that very few other riders were still using bar ends.

    So when I built up my FS bike, I decided to do so without bar ends. Part of that decision was made because I purchased a carbon bar, and bar ends are not recommended on carbon. And the remaining decision was that I never used them on my old hardtail.

    After riding the FS bike for a few months, I decided that I was happer without the bar ends. So..I decided to ditch them on the hardtail as well. And I could not be happier in my decision. Now instead of feeling cramped, I have even more bar to grab hold of. So instead of reaching for the bar ends on my climb, I downshift and move my hands out to the end of the bar. It feels so much more comfortable.

    My advice to you -- buy some cheap bar ends and try the bike with them and without them. If you decided you hate the bar ends, well then you are not out any money. If you decide you really like the bar ends, then ride the cheapies until they break and buy yourself a nicer pair.

    BTW -- there is no reason to spend any more than $25 on a pair of bar ends. Anything more than that is wasted money IMHO.

    Thx....Doug

  8. #8
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    My $0.02

    I started riding with a riser bar, but then switched to old school flat/bar-end combo and never looked back. I feel bar-ends really helps me on the climb because:

    1) it helps keep the weight over the front-wheel during steep climb

    2) I can pull harder on the bar for torque

    3) your hand position allow your chest to open up and breath better on the long climb

    Just my $0.02 -- it's all personal preference.

    K-Zero
    "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be"

  9. #9
    ballbuster
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    I used them for years...

    ...and then I caught the weight weenie bug. I took mine off and weighed them. I had Profile Breifs (I think) and had them wrapped in bar tape, but got sick of replacing the bar tape. The LBS had some adventure bike grips (the long tubular ones for those crazy double bent bars), I cut them down and used those.

    So when I caught the weight weenie bug, I weighed them, and found they were over 200 grams! That's nearly half a pound for something I don't really remember using much, if at all. I decided to take them off and see how much I would miss them. I didn't.

    Every now and again on long slow fireroad climbs, I find my self putting my hands on the ends of the bars, but I don't wanna give up the bar width or weight savings.

  10. #10
    Demon Cleaner
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    Had 'em

    but don't miss 'em. Hadn't even thought of them in ages till I saw this post. Guess, it was easy to loose them, even after a good 10+ years of using several different types.

    But a person should try them and decide for themselves. It's, obviously, a personal thing.
    Bicycling is politics by other means.

  11. #11
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    Seems to make a bigger difference if you like to get out of the saddle

    If you like to get up, out of the saddle during climbs, the ends can improve comfort, greatly. I spend less and less time out of the saddle on climbs, finding I'm more efficient by tucking my chest down and turning revs. I don't miss the added width of the bar ends on tight singletrack.

  12. #12
    Full of holes
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    Its a personal thing...

    I use them on my hardtail. I have the Cane Creek Ergo bars which I'm a big fan of - gives different hand positions as well as a better fit (for me on my bike with its geometry!). On my FS I don't have them, mainly because I have a riser bar with a sweep. I might switch the bar and get some Ergos this season.

  13. #13
    Jm.
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    I haven't even thought about barends for years.....
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  14. #14
    The former Blue 'Goose
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    ... and if we just ... Humma....

    Quote Originally Posted by htims_nivek
    ive heard mixed things about bar ends. do they really make a difference climbing? if so, are they really worth the 50 bucks for the good ones? I'd like to hear other peoples opinions and what kind of bar ends you use. thanks
    Kevin
    I still have them on my old hardtail which is doing commuter service now,
    but on my dual boinger with riser bars I haven't bothered and don't miss
    them I must say. YMMV.

  15. #15
    beer thief
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    Quote Originally Posted by K-Zero
    .....then switched to old school flat/bar-end combo.....
    Interesting - My original 1986 Schwinn came with riser bars, and I upgraded it a couple years later to "new school" flat bars.

    I loved my narrow bars and bar ends until a few years ago, when I tried out a much wider riser bar. I switched a couple days later and haven't missed my B-ends at all (and we have a lot of very steep climbs). More recently I've gone to even wider bars and like them even more (except in the tight trees, can really notice the difference).

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