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  1. #1
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Bar ends - what are you trying to achieve?

    I'm rebuilding my Trek520 ... after she'd given her groupset to build the Jamis Yep, lots of second hand parts going onto her

    She's been given a set of flat bars. I loathe flat bars - they are an instrument of pain and discomfort for me, which is why my other two df bikes feature drop bars, then there's the recumbent. So why is she getting flat bars? Because I use her to tow my tag-along and I need the extra width to gain leverage and hence control. Yes, I do need the extra width, I tried towing the tag-along when she had her drop bars (46cm Noodles) and did not have the leverage I need.

    The 'flat bars' I have feature a bit of pull back which is very nice - dead straight bars should only be used for killing snakes and propping up sagging tables. I'm close to having a decent riding position now so it's time to start looking at the grips and bar ends.

    Note - I really, really suffer from numb hands, probably thanks to a dislocated collarbone from about 15 years ago. My drop bar bikes all have the bars at about saddle height and I can last about 10km on them before the tingling starts. It's not unknown for my hands to go completely numb ie, can't use the controls.

    On the flat bar, I'm right to about 5km before I start having troubles. With the current setup, my hands get pretty numb but no worse.

    On the recumbent, I have no problems at all

    But I need the Trek with her flat bars to tow the tag-along, tow the dog's trailer, tow the shopping, ride to uni, etc, so I've got to get her to work for me. The ride to Uni is the ride that's going to worry me - 25km one way, plenty of time for hand troubles so it's for that ride that I'll be setting up the bars and bar ends (on the bike choice issue, see seperate thread ... which I'll start when I've finished here).

    So let's assume that riding position is now right (it's not but it's close enough for this exercise).

    I'm going to buy the 'ergonomic' shaped hand grips, the ones that have a soft lump that comes back under the heel of your hand. I'm going for these because I currently use Pro bare ends that are shaped so you can rest the heel of your hand on a platform and have the bar end under the palm of your hand, similar to what will happen with these ergo shaped hand grips and they work pretty well. I'm hoping for an improvement in comfort with these grips (hey, it's worth a try).

    These leaves me to choose some new bar ends. I'm not a complete muggins when it comes to bar ends, but for the sake of this exercise, lets assume that I am and get back to basics.

    What are you trying to achieve with bar ends? (reach, height, hand position, anti-jogger weaponry)
    What should you look for in choosing a set?
    How do you set them up?

    Richard
    making cycling more complicated than it has to be but that's more fun than just riding what the manufacturer thinks I 'need'.
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  2. #2
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    I put some on my mountain bike to prevent me from impaling myself on the end of the bars again. They actually worked for this purpose. Not a recommended use, however.

    Honestly, I picked up some similar to these Forte Ergo Carbon Bar Ends and discovered how comfortable than can be for a different hand position and how functional they were for added leverage climbing or ???? I ended up really liking them.

    Have you gone out to Sheldon Brown's (may he rest in peace) web site on bicycle fit and where it hurts? Check it out: Sheldon Brown's Bicycling and Pain
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
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  3. #3
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Did you read through my Flat Bar Alternatives thread? I had some pics of different bar ends in it.

    Flat Bar Alternative Handlebars
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  4. #4
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Visiting that thread and the other places now Tom. Thanks.

    With the hands, my problems go beyond simple bike fit. The solution has been to go to the recumbent.

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  5. #5
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    My aching thumbs love it when I ride my recumbent.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

    There are two types of road bikers: bikers who are faster than me, and me. Bruce Cameron - Denver Post

  6. #6
    Senior Member guybierhaus's Avatar
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    I have the Forte bar ends as well on the road bike, and the Nashbar bar ends on the trail bike. I just added them for another hand position, which I use about 15% of the time at most. The kids got me the Ergon grips for Christmas and they have been better then expected. Although I haven't ridden more then 29 miles with them, darn weather. I like a fatter grip for my hands, seems to keep them from tiring. Something I've come to prefer with driving auto rallyes. There I had a nice leather wrapped Momo Steering wheel, about 1.75 inch diameter. I was using pipe insulation over the bar grips to get the fat grip; but it looks like the Ergon grips will work. Trail bike still has pipe insulation.
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  7. #7
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    First observation. Hand numbness after a certain time sometimes indicates too much weight forward (ie the hands are holding the body up). Having said that, I find that all of my "good fitting" bikes do this to me. For this I use short stubby bar ends that allow me to rotate my hands 90deg for a different fit for a while.

    Second observation. Glove manufacturers are begining (at least it seems new to me) to shape the pads in the gloves so there is a channel in the middle of the palm running parallell to the arm. I believe they are protecting the "ulnar nerve". Specifically Spenco Ironman gloves and several models of Pearl Izumi gloves have the padding arranged this way. This is supposed to assist with the numb hand problem. I'll let you know later this year.

    I believe that bar ends were originally produced for MTB riders who needed something out in front of the handlebar for leverage while standing to climb. This would have made the bike longer when the rider was forward of the saddle and upright. The only time I have used bars like this was to provide a stretched out more aero position for headwinds. (general purpose bike with longish hooked bar ends)

    For your towing situation, you might try bar ends similar to the Cane Creek bars that attach onto the end of the bar and allow for an even wider spread of the hands.

  8. #8
    Proud To Be An American EXCALIBUR's Avatar
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    For flat bars, I like to go with the Cane Creek Ergo Contol II bar ends. They are very comfortable and provide additional ergonomic hand positions. The rubber covering helps prevent my hands from slipping off the bars and bar ends.
    Last edited by EXCALIBUR; 02-14-08 at 03:27 AM.
    EXCALIBUR
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  9. #9
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Those cane creek bar ends look similar to what I've already got, which sort of suits me because I do like them.

    The 'bent tube' bar ends don't seem to offer anything and I was hoping to get some feedback about these. Maybe they don't actually offer any advantages.

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  10. #10
    Violin guitar mandolin
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    Cane Creek ends have been lifesavers for me. Very comfortable.

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Bar ends can provide added leverage for climbing, especially offroad. But for a road application, the main thing they offer is additional hand locations. The more you move your hands around between various locations, the less likely to experience numbness. The potential advantage of the bent type is even more hand location options. Go with what feels good to you and keep those hands moving around instead of resting in one place constantly.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  12. #12
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    That's the name of the bar ends that I've tried out on test rides and really liked! Those Cane Creek jobbies. I will have to go and insert some info and pics on them into my flat bar thread. I find them to be wonderfully comfortable.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by europa View Post
    Those cane creek bar ends look similar to what I've already got, which sort of suits me because I do like them.

    The 'bent tube' bar ends don't seem to offer anything and I was hoping to get some feedback about these. Maybe they don't actually offer any advantages.

    Richard
    I use short "Stubbies" On the MTB. Basically they are there to stop my hands falling off the end of the bars- but I do climb with my hands on the bar ends for extra Force on the bars. My bars are Risers and are 27" wide so They are unusual in being that wide. Now on the ergonomic grips- Tried them and gave them away. I have a small hand but use a thick firm rubber grip. Soft ones or small diameter ones do hurt my hands. The make I use is "Yeti" and have them on the Kona- The Bianchi and the Tandem.

    And on the Shape of the bar ends- There are some that will give a position to hold that is hand width- and parrallel to your bars but about 4" away from them. A good bar alternative position- but I prefer to have the bars set up right in the first place by stem length.
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  14. #14
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Back when I was kid "bar-ends" were shifters. Does anyone else remember that? There were Campy bar-ends and Sun-Tour bar ends, Shimano bar ends . . .

    Nowadays, bar-ends means these levers that go on the end of handlebars, but aren't good for shifting at all.

    Now I do feel old!

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  15. #15
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    Back when I was kid "bar-ends" were shifters. Does anyone else remember that? There were Campy bar-ends and Sun-Tour bar ends, Shimano bar ends . . .

    Nowadays, bar-ends means these levers that go on the end of handlebars, but aren't good for shifting at all.

    Now I do feel old!

    Rick / OCRR
    Remember them? Heck, I still use them!. Suntour on both my road bikes and Shimano on my road tandem.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  16. #16
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Remember them? Heck, I still use them!. Suntour on both my road bikes and Shimano on my road tandem.
    That's good to hear BluesDawg!

    I used to have them on my touring bike (Mercian Vincitore) but when I went from a six-speed freewheel to an eight-speed cassette I had to to upgrade the bar-ends too. The price sent me into sticker-shock, so I put the old (can you say "friction"?) down tube shifters back on.

    Still there to this day, and still work fine. Sometimes I do miss the bar-ends though (mine were Shimano indexed), so maybe I'll have a look on ebay for some used 8-Speed Shimano bar-end shifters.

    Rick / OCRR

  17. #17
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I find that bar ends shift so well, I don't need the indexing on my single bikes. I do use the indexed Shimanos on the tandem, though.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  18. #18
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I find that bar ends shift so well, I don't need the indexing on my single bikes. I do use the indexed Shimanos on the tandem, though.
    Okay, well, just to show you how fast things work these days, I won an auction on ebay for some SunTour bar-ends, and will install them on my Mercian within minutes after they arrive.

    Thanks for this bar-end thread, even though it is kind of derailed, but at least it's derailed to shifters, which shift derailluers, as opposed to that other kind that shift . . . well, I guess they shift your hand position, or allow you to shift it.

    There you go . . . back on topic!

    Rick / OCRR

  19. #19
    flying on 2 wheels conurejade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EXCALIBUR View Post
    For flat bars, I like to go with the Cane Creek Ergo Contol II bar ends. They are very comfortable and provide additional ergonomic hand positions. The rubber covering helps prevent my hands from slipping off the bars and bar ends.

    +1
    I have them on my Trek 7100 commuter - love 'em.

  20. #20
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    ... Thanks for this bar-end thread, even though it is kind of derailed ...
    ... so to speak.

    Back on topic, I added ordinary short bar extensions like Stapfam's to my mountain bike to give me a neutral rotation "handshake" position, without which I was suffering from tingles and other nasty side effects of riding with flat bars. (I am a rabid fan of drops for road bikes.) The extensions are indeed superb for out-of-saddle climbing, as well, and they work particularly well with my motorcycle-style old school 4-finger brake handles, which I can reach from either primary hand position.
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  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Funny thing about bar ends is that although they started as something to enhance offroad riding, I rarely see them any more on bikes that are actually used to ride offroad, at least in my part of the world. We ride a lot on tight trails with trees and vines close to the sides of the trail. Bar ends tend to hook these trees and vines, leading to spectacular back flips and crashes.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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