The endless arguement over whether bar-ends for mountain biking rock or are really not that good will never end. I have ridden a lot with bar-ends, and have ridden a lot without them. Now that Ergon is my title sponsor, I have tons of access to all their lovely little bicycle grips. That also gives me the option to use their grips with or without bar ends. Over the last week, I decided to do some testing for my own benefit to see which I prefer. Here are my opinions (which I am sure many will disagree with, but this is how it works out for me…)
In general, as everyone well knows, I love the body style of the Ergon grips, so that will go without saying in the following comparisons. I will never go back. I have guys ask me how I can go downhill so fast or ride the tech sections, and I attribute a lot of it to feeling comfortable on my bike. If your hands and arms are killing you on the descent, you are not going to want to ride much faster. They are also nice when you are lightly resting your hands on the bars for added support. No more ulnar nerve problems here.
Grip I used:
Ergon GX2 Carbon – BAR END GRIP
Weight: 240g ( a set)
I have used this on both riser and flat bar. Sure, people consider it “dorky” to use on riser bars, but really who the hell cares? We are all going to get dirty and have fun. 😉
- I am used to using this particular grip, so my arm muscles are developed for the pulling motion on the bar-ends. Stick your arms out, palms down. Face your palms toward each other, pull towards you. That motion, those muscles. Why is this an advantage over not using bar ends? One word – leverage. I can control my bike easier through technical sections. I can ride slower, use my upper body and core to maneuver, and save my legs. When you are climbing something steep on your road bike, and you are out of the saddle – are you on the flat part of your bar or the hoods? Same principle with bar ends.
- It offers multiple hand positions in general
- Despite what some think, they don’t get stuck on trees.
- You can get further forward on the bike which helps when you really need to throw your weight forward.
- At least for me, they limit my hand position on the DH. I like to get way out on the ends of the handlebars, basically lining up my pinkies with the end of my handlebar. With bar ends, you are somewhat limited and it can be annoying, especially on really rocky trails.
- If you are a weight weenie, the bar-end does add a little bit of weight. It’s 70g heavier… that is .15lbs… I mostly care about rotational weight, so the extra little bit doesn’t matter to me. It may to some people though!
Grip I used:
Ergon GX1 – SANS bar end.
Weight: 170g ( a set)
- A little lighter
- Smaller profile
- More room for your hands on the DH
- Still nice with the wing design, but not as easy to navigate tech-y sections
- I waste energy in technical sections and climbs. Instead of standing and using my leverage to power through, I have to pull in a different way – a less efficient way – like climbing on your road bike without using the hoods.
- Fewer hand position options
I went to yoga again today. It was a lovely ass kick. For the rest of the week, Coach is working me hard. I’m leaving Friday for Seattle!!!! I can’t wait!