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  1. #1
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    Why do I care about bar ends?

    I'm sure that I do (because I seem to see them on the bicycles of most avid bikers), but I'm not sure why I want/need them.

    I'm considering upgrading the stock grips on my new bike to a pair of Ergon grips. There are several models -- ones without bar ends (I think I'm using the right word here), some with small bar-ends and some with large bar-ends. For example, see the GP1 vs GP3 vs GP5 (linked below).

    Can someone enlighten me?

    http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gp1
    http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gp3
    http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/product/gp5

  2. #2
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    well, I found bolt on bar ends on a wide barred mountain bike to be nearly useless, but the bars on that bike were very wide (guessing 660mm or something)

    on my hybrid, I cut the flat bars down to like 550mm, and used GP3 (fka GS2) and /love/ them. I use them maybe 25-30% of the time on longer rides... mostly to give my hands and wrists a break by riding in a different position. I'm older (ok, 58, guess thats fuggin ancient), and after a lifelong career of sitting on my butt in a comfie chair and typing (aka computer software, been doing it since the days of punchcards in the early 1970s), my hands are getting delicate (I suspect early onset of arthritis, and can tell that if I donj't start being more careful, I'll get tendonitis, carpal tunnel and various other maladies).

    sit relaxed and up straight in your chair, hold your arms loosely out in front of you, with your palms down and your fingers relaxed (neither a fist nor flat, just kind of loose). with your forearms approximately level with your shoulders, and your elbows out a little, make a loose fist like your holding a gril, and bend your wrist back so your hand is 'up' (still facing down like on flat bars). thats how you tend to hold grips without the 'palm' rests of the ergons. I have the palm rests rotated quite high so the back of my hand is nearly straight with my forearm, this seems to greatly relieve wrist pains after a hour of strenuous riding.

    the GP3/GS2 grips have relatively short 'horns'. you want the bars cut so these are about as wide as your shoulders, give or take an inch. these horns should be nearly level so they are perpendicular to the line from your shoulders. with your hands in that 2nd position out in front of you, rotate your wrists so your thumbs are up, but keep the back of your hand in line with your forearm. when I hold the short end grip on the GP3, I have 3 fingers wrapped around it, my thumb is resting lightly on it, and the butt of my hand is on the end of the grip. ideally, what weight is on my hands is evenly distributed betwen the heel of my hand and the palm, with your wrist at a very relaxed angle.

    when the weather is good, I'll get someone to take some pics of me sitting on my bike.

  3. #3
    W A N T E D Juggler2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    well, I found bolt on bar ends on a wide barred mountain bike to be nearly useless, but the bars on that bike were very wide (guessing 660mm or something)

    on my hybrid, I cut the flat bars down to like 550mm, and used GP3 (fka GS2) and /love/ them. I use them maybe 25-30% of the time on longer rides... mostly to give my hands and wrists a break by riding in a different position. I'm older (ok, 58, guess thats fuggin ancient), and after a lifelong career of sitting on my butt in a comfie chair and typing (aka computer software, been doing it since the days of punchcards in the early 1970s), my hands are getting delicate (I suspect early onset of arthritis, and can tell that if I donj't start being more careful, I'll get tendonitis, carpal tunnel and various other maladies).

    sit relaxed and up straight in your chair, hold your arms loosely out in front of you, with your palms down and your fingers relaxed (neither a fist nor flat, just kind of loose). with your forearms approximately level with your shoulders, and your elbows out a little, make a loose fist like your holding a gril, and bend your wrist back so your hand is 'up' (still facing down like on flat bars). thats how you tend to hold grips without the 'palm' rests of the ergons. I have the palm rests rotated quite high so the back of my hand is nearly straight with my forearm, this seems to greatly relieve wrist pains after a hour of strenuous riding.

    the GP3/GS2 grips have relatively short 'horns'. you want the bars cut so these are about as wide as your shoulders, give or take an inch. these horns should be nearly level so they are perpendicular to the line from your shoulders. with your hands in that 2nd position out in front of you, rotate your wrists so your thumbs are up, but keep the back of your hand in line with your forearm. when I hold the short end grip on the GP3, I have 3 fingers wrapped around it, my thumb is resting lightly on it, and the butt of my hand is on the end of the grip. ideally, what weight is on my hands is evenly distributed betwen the heel of my hand and the palm, with your wrist at a very relaxed angle.

    when the weather is good, I'll get someone to take some pics of me sitting on my bike.
    pierce, I'm the same age as yourself, with the similar "run-ins" with arthritis. My question is simply, do you think these grips are worth the money? I'll be riding a rigid 1991 MTB this coming spring that I'm planning to ride on a few overnighters. These grips sound like they may be a big help.

  4. #4
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I think if your bars are too wide, the outside grip position is uncomfortable and awkward. it works well if the bars are no wider than your shoulders, and gives you a completely different hand position to break the monotony


  5. #5
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    i ride up to 2 hours, 100% road, depending on time available, weather and the condition of an ancient body. never have found a need for extra hand postions but then i always rode motorcycles and never worried about extra hand positions.

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    I haven't really used bar ends either, I tried some but didn't find them to be useful for the way I ride. I've used the GP1s for four years and am very satisfied with them. . If Santa is nice to me, I might get a new set to replace my worn current set.

  7. #7
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    Depends entirely on the relationship between how/where you ride, and personal preference.

    So, why bar-ends? I can only tell you why I like and use them.

    1. Allows full rotation of the wrist -- think from the 'tops' of drop bars to the 'hoods'. Different positions; alternating back and forth reduces pressure on the hands/tension running up the arms and into shoulders. If your rides regularly exceed a couple of hours, that's a good thing.
    2. Moving onto the bar ends changes your torso angle, and allows a little more power in your pedal stroke. Again, the alternation of position (grips to bar-ends to grips etc) is an inherently good thing for reducing the build up of tension in the body over longer rides.
    3. The bar-end position is slightly more 'aero' than the grips in terms of torso angle; slightly less so (typically) in terms of 'arm spread' (if you see what I mean), unless you use cut-down bars.
    4. The bar-end position is much, much more natural when climbing out of the saddle; it allows you to get your weight properly balanced more easily when honking up a hill.

    None or some of the above may not matter to any given individual cyclist. The only way you can find out is by trying. Pretty simple, really, like most things in cycling.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    If nothing else, bar ends make a great place to hang your helmet while it is parked.

    I have a pair of Ergons, GP-1's IIRC, and like them a lot. I also have a pair of alloy bar ends that are on the larger side that I do not. I suspect, that as it was already mentioned up thread, that is primarily due to the width of the bars.

  9. #9
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    I also have the GP3s on my hybrid and really like them. I recieved these as a gift and never really thought that I would utilize the little bar ends, but now every time I get on a bike without them it just isn't the same. Sometimes when going up a steep hill or really getting on it at an intersection I put my hands on them slightly similar to the way you would the hoods on drop bars and it seems to help with the momentum of getting going (this could very possible just be in my head though...). I could never imagine needing the super long bar extensions that you see a lot of people using, but these are just enough to move your hands around a bit and relieve some of the built up tension caused by a long ride. If nothing else they do make for a good coat rack to hang stuff on.

  10. #10
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    I put some XLC "ski bend" ends on my hybrid and liked them well enough. Different hand positions worked ok. I had a tendency to lock out my arms however. Not good. I wound up moving them to the inside of all the brakes/shifters for a kind of short aero bar. Has worked out really well. I get at least a couple of different hand positions out of the arrangement. It is also much more aero, as it allows my elbows/arms to be in front of my body instead of way outside it. With my arms in that position I can bend my upper body easily and it definately helps with the wind. And oh, you can still hang stuff on them!

  11. #11
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downwinded View Post
    I put some XLC "ski bend" ends on my hybrid and liked them well enough. Different hand positions worked ok. I had a tendency to lock out my arms however. Not good. I wound up moving them to the inside of all the brakes/shifters for a kind of short aero bar. Has worked out really well. I get at least a couple of different hand positions out of the arrangement. It is also much more aero, as it allows my elbows/arms to be in front of my body instead of way outside it. With my arms in that position I can bend my upper body easily and it definately helps with the wind. And oh, you can still hang stuff on them!
    Exactly the same with me, I moved my bar ends in between grips and controls for the exact same reason as you. They were way too far apart out at the ends, and I just wasn't using them. Inboard of the grips I can get aero much easier, and I find that I rest my hands on them at least 50% of the time.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  12. #12
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    Any of you folks moving the bar ends inside the grips have issues using the brakes/shifting? Between reps in my workout, I tried rearranging my (short) bar ends to do this. It seemed to be in the way of shifting unless I contorted my hands. I have combined shifters and brake levers. Is that why I'm having problems? Could I see pictures of people's "bar insides"?

  13. #13
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    I'm not sure if I can post pics due to low post count. Give me a little while & I'll try. I can tell you though, I have to move my hands to shift and brake. Doesn't seem to be a big issue. I don't use them in traffic or in a situation where they don't seem safe.
    Last edited by downwinded; 12-11-12 at 05:41 PM. Reason: added comment

  14. #14
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    (if you can put your pictures on another photo hosting site that allows embedded linking, such as picasaweb, smugmug, or flickr, then you can post them here by using the [IMG] tags surrouind the URL of the picture itself [NOT the page the picture is on])

  15. #15
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    Well here goes.... Hoping Santa will bring a bike computer. The bars are about 24" or so.

  16. #16
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    Thank you. My bars start to taper too soon and my shifters stick too far inward, so they blocked where the bar ends would go if I used your setup. I would have to put it between brake/shifters and the grips, so I wouldnt be able to reach controls even from regular grips or bar ends

    Thanks for the pic so I could make sure I wasn't missing anything.

  17. #17
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    No problem. Would wider, say 680mm or even a bit more than that help? Mine are actually pretty narrow. I considered wider but this is working out so, what the heck.

  18. #18
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I've grown to dislike wide bars on road/city bikes. they get in the way going through narrow spots, past pedestrians on bike paths, and posts in the road and such. I'm currently at 550mm wide and thinking of taking another 15-20mm off each side. they also make it harder to make really tight low speed turns, as the outside bar is too far away to reach comfortably.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Put Ergon GR5, long grip shift version on my Brompton, M3L, wouldn't fold to the latch ,
    without Loosening the clamping bolt holding end and grip, so I got the Shorter GR3,
    which stays fixed to the same adjustments..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-12-12 at 11:05 AM.

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    Unless they changed bars in the last year, it looks like my bars are "Avenir 100 Series Alloy 640/15mm Riser, 31.8". I'm guessing that I'm at 640mm, but I'm not really up on measurements.

    I'm not sure which direction I'm going from here, but I'd like to work on something. I was riding home last week into a SIGNIFICANT headwind. I tucked down, placing my hands precariously over my shifters. It felt a little odd, but cut through the wind much better. I'd like to come up with a good option, but this doesn't look like it will work unless I make some much more significant changes. Guess this way I just get a better workout.

  21. #21
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    simple aluminum straight bars are cheap. lowering your stem is usually free, if there's any spacers under it, and if it tilts up, you can flip it so it goes down or at least more straight out, and gain yet more.

    640mm (25.2") is likely way wider than your shoulders, you'll likely find you could cut 2" (50mm) off EACH end of that bar to make it around 550mm (21.6"), and have a more comfortable riding position. Wide bars are good for handling gnarly dirt trails as they give you extra leverage to keep the wheel from getting pulled side to side, but anywhere else they are a liability.

    all told, I've probably dropped my bars 4" or more from where they came as originally it was a riser bar, and I put them about 1" farther forward to boot.


    current arrangement:




    when I got the bike (but already lowered 20mm via swapping spacers around the stem)

  22. #22
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditchbanker View Post
    Any of you folks moving the bar ends inside the grips have issues using the brakes/shifting? Between reps in my workout, I tried rearranging my (short) bar ends to do this. It seemed to be in the way of shifting unless I contorted my hands. I have combined shifters and brake levers. Is that why I'm having problems? Could I see pictures of people's "bar insides"?
    Be happy to oblige ya I have my bar ends between the grips and controls, and it's not a problem at all reaching the shift levers. I do have to be careful of the angle of the bar ends, as the clamp bolts on the bar ends can interfere with the smaller shift lever if I'm not careful. But I am careful with their positioning and it's not an issue.

    If I ever replace these shifters with combined shift/brake units (fewer clamps on the bar) and/or if I get a flat bar instead of riser, then I'll probably shorten the bars and move everything inward even more.

    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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    Thanks for that photo, Patrick, maybe I'll give that a go and see how I like it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Also I could swap the bar ends side-to-side to have the clamp bolts facing up where they would in no way impede shift lever operation. But I tried that once and the bolts end up right where I rest my hands and were very uncomfortable. So I just keep them as you see them above and have everything adjusted just so to keep moving parts from hitting other parts.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  25. #25
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    I put the gp5's on my fuji absolute 3 with a riser bar......like it a lot

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