Mtb Bar Ends: The Ultimate Guide To Pros, Cons, And Recommendations


Mtb Bar Ends

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Mountain bike bar ends are handlebar extensions that give riders extra leverage for climbing and additional control when descending. They also allow riders to adjust their hand positions to reduce fatigue and pain on long rides.

If you’re a mountain biker looking to enhance your ride, then you might want to consider adding MTB bar ends to your bike. While they were once popular accessories for mountain bikes, they’ve fallen out of fashion in recent years. But don’t dismiss them just yet!

There are numerous benefits to using bar ends, including additional hand positions, ergonomic comfort, and improved leverage while climbing.

In this ultimate guide to MTB bar ends, we’ll explore their pros and cons, as well as recommendations for popular brands like Cane Creek and Ergon. We’ll also dive into the nitty-gritty details of installation, safety, and ideal hand positions.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, this article is a must-read for any mountain biker looking to improve their comfort and performance on the trails. So, grab your bike, and let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Bar ends offer numerous benefits including additional hand positions, ergonomic hand position, muscle recruitment, better hike-a-bike grip, and stable bike leaning.
  • Bar ends can be dangerous if snagged in the trailside brush, add weight, and could possibly impale someone in a crash.
  • Different lengths and materials are available for bar ends, with aluminum, composite, and over-molded options being popular.
  • Bar ends can be a low-cost solution for addressing discomfort in the back, hands, and arms, and are advantageous for standing hill climbs and long road stretches on a mountain bike.

What are Bar Ends?

You might be wondering what bar ends are, but they’re actually a great addition to your mountain bike. They offer ergonomic hand positions, additional grip options, and improved leverage. Bar ends are extensions that attach to the ends of flat handlebars, providing a wider range of hand positions.

There are different types of bar ends available, including grip-integrated and add-on styles, as well as inner bar ends that provide additional comfort and control.

Installation is generally easy, with most bar ends designed to fit standard mountain bike handlebar tubing. Maintenance is minimal, with occasional tightening of screws and checking for any damage from crashes or trailside brush.

Bar ends can greatly improve comfort and performance on the trail, making them a worthwhile investment for any mountain biker.

Pros of Bar Ends

Funny how nobody wants to look like a dork with those old-fashioned bar ends, but you’ll be laughing all the way to the top of the climb with the added ergonomic hand position, width and leverage, and muscle recruitment they provide.

Bar ends offer a variety of hand placements that engage different muscle groups, providing relief from fatigue and nerve damage. They also help distribute weight, allowing for better balance and control when going uphill or maneuvering through technical terrain.

Check out the table below to see some of the pros of using bar ends for your mountain bike. Keep in mind that while bar ends can provide numerous benefits, they can also be dangerous if not used properly or in close quarters with other riders. As with any bike accessory, it’s important to assess your own needs and preferences before making a purchase.

Pros of Bar EndsBenefits
Ergonomic hand positionRelieves pressure and tension in the hands and arms
Additional hand positionEngages different muscle groups, reduces fatigue
Width and leverageIncreases balance and control, helpful for hill climbs
Forward weight shiftImproves weight distribution, especially on uphill climbs
Better hike-a-bike gripOffers a stable grip when walking or carrying your bike
Stable bike leaningProvides support when leaning the bike to take sharp turns

Cons of Bar Ends

Now, it’s important to consider the drawbacks of using these handy accessories on your mountain bike. While they offer many benefits, there are some potential downsides to using bar ends.

First and foremost, bar ends can be dangerous if snagged in the trailside brush, potentially causing injury to both the rider and those around them. Additionally, there have been reports of people falling on their own bar ends and causing organ injuries.

Some races and club rides have even banned bar ends due to the danger they pose to other riders in close quarters. While these instances may be rare, it’s important to know the potential risks when using bar ends on your mountain bike.

Bar End Materials

When choosing bar end materials, it’s important to consider factors such as weight, durability, and grip comfort.

Aluminum bar ends offer lightweight and strong options, while composite bar ends provide a more comfortable grip and shock absorption. Over-molded options combine the best of both worlds, with a comfortable grip and added durability.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even create your own DIY bar ends with materials like PVC or wood. Ultimately, the choice of bar end material will depend on your personal preferences and riding style.

Inner Bar Ends

If you’re looking to improve your grip and control on your mountain bike, you might want to consider adding inner bar ends to your handlebars. These types of bar ends are often made of rubber or other soft materials that provide additional comfort and control while riding.

Here are some tips for installing inner bar ends on your mountain bike: first, make sure that the bar ends are compatible with your handlebar type, as some may not fit properly. Additionally, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure proper installation and maximum safety.

When compared to traditional bar ends, inner bar ends offer a more integrated and streamlined look, as they are built into the grips themselves. However, they may not provide as much leverage or width as traditional bar ends, so it’s important to consider your specific riding needs before making a decision.

Overall, inner bar ends can be a great addition to your mountain bike setup, providing added comfort and control on long rides and challenging terrain.

Carbon Fiber Handlebars

You’ll love the sleek look and lightweight feel of carbon fiber handlebars on your mountain bike. However, there are some durability concerns to remember when installing bar ends on carbon fiber handlebars.

Carbon fiber is known for its strength and stiffness but can also be brittle and prone to cracking if not handled properly. To avoid damage, use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.

Weight considerations are also important to keep in mind when installing bar ends on carbon fiber handlebars. While carbon fiber is lightweight, adding bar ends can add extra weight to your bike. Choose a lightweight option and consider how the added weight will affect your bike’s performance.

Overall, with proper installation and consideration of weight, carbon fiber handlebars can be a great option for adding bar ends to your mountain bike.

Different Bar End Lengths

To get different grip options and improve your riding comfort, consider choosing bar ends of varying lengths for your mountain bike handlebars. Shorter bar ends provide a more subtle change in hand position and are less prone to snagging on the trailside brush. Longer bar ends offer more leverage and a wider grip but are also heavier and can potentially hook onto objects during a crash.

It’s important to consider the bar end position on your handlebars and ensure compatibility with your grip and control assembly before purchasing. Ultimately, the right bar end length will depend on your riding style and preferences, but experimenting with different sizes can lead to a more comfortable and efficient ride.

Grip-Integrated Bar Ends

Imagine having a more streamlined and comfortable grip on your mountain bike handlebars with bar ends seamlessly integrated into your grips, allowing for a more natural hand position and reducing the risk of snagging on the trailside brush.

Grip-integrated bar ends have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing a sleek and ergonomic design that eliminates the need for separate bar end attachments. Integration options include over-molded options, where the bar end is seamlessly molded into the grip, or grip-integrated options, where the bar end is inserted into the grip and secured with a locking mechanism.

These options offer your bike a more cohesive look and feel while still providing the benefits of traditional bar ends, such as additional hand positions and improved leverage. Check out the table below for some popular grip-integrated bar end options.

BrandIntegration TypeMaterial
Ergon GA3Over-moldedRubber
Deity KnuckledusterOver-moldedRubber
ODI Elite ProGrip-integratedAluminum
Renthal Lock-OnGrip-integratedAluminum
DMR DeathGripGrip-integratedRubber

I think grip-integrated bar ends are a great option for those looking to improve their grip and comfort on the bike. The seamless integration and ergonomic design provide a more natural hand position, reducing fatigue and strain on the hands and wrists.

Additionally, the elimination of separate bar end attachments reduces the risk of snagging on the trailside brush and improves the overall appearance of your bike. While traditional bar ends may still have their place in certain riding situations, grip-integrated options offer a more modern and streamlined approach.

Add-On Bar Ends

Adding bar ends to your bike can provide additional hand positions and leverage, but it’s important to consider the style and length of the bar end that best suits your riding needs.

Add-on bar ends are popular and come in various materials and lengths. They can be easily installed on standard mountain bike handlebars, but ensuring they don’t interfere with brake and shift controls is important.

Popular brands include Ergon GP and GS and Cane Creek Ergo Control, which offer ergonomic hand positions and additional width and leverage.

Compared to grip-integrated options, add-on bar ends may offer more customization in terms of length and position. However, they can also be bulky and potentially dangerous if snagged in a trailside brush or if they end up in the wrong place during a crash.

To install, trim the grip or move the whole grip and control assembly inboard a little, if necessary. Overall, bar ends can be valuable to your mountain bike setup, providing more comfort and control during long rides and climb.

Improving Comfort

Improving your comfort on the bike is essential to enjoying your rides and avoiding pain or injury. One way to achieve this is using MTB bar ends to relieve hand fatigue, muscle recruitment, and position diversity.

Different hand positions engage different muscles and relieve pressure, allowing you to ride longer and more easily. To help you decide on the right bar end for your needs, we’ve created a table outlining popular options and their pros and cons.

With options like the Ergon GP, GS, and Cane Creek Ergo Control, you can find a comfortable and effective solution that fits your bike and riding style. So, don’t let hand discomfort hold you back from enjoying the trails – try out some MTB bar ends and experience the benefits for yourself.

Bar EndProsCons
Ergon GPErgonomic grip, easy to installCan be bulky
Ergon GSGood for long rides, offers multiple hand positionsCan be pricey
Cane Creek Ergo ControlComfy on hands, offers leverageIt may not fit carbon handlebars
Ergon XXXInner bar end for extra comfort and controlIt may not fit all handlebars
SQlab 411 InnerbarendsInner bar end for extra comfort and control, good for long ridesMay not fit all handlebars

Engaging Different Muscles

Now that you’ve improved your comfort with bar ends, engaging different muscles is time. Alternating grips can benefit muscle recruitment and relief hand fatigue during long rides.

By switching between regular hand positioning and using bar ends, you engage different muscles in your arms, shoulders, and back. This helps relieve pressure and tension in your hands and provides a break for tired muscles.

Here are four ways bar ends can help engage different muscles on your rides:

  • Bar ends extend the usable width of your bars, providing a strong, high-leverage grip at the outer ends.
  • Different hand positions can engage different muscles and relieve pressure.
  • Short, medium, and long bar ends are available, with longer options providing more grip options but also being more prone to hooking objects.
  • Inner bar ends provide additional comfort and control, allowing even more hand position options.

So, if you want to switch things up and engage different muscles on your rides, try bar ends.

Accessories and Gear

Accessories and gear are a crucial part of any mountain biker’s setup, as they can enhance the riding experience and make life on the trails easier and more enjoyable.

When it comes to MTB bar ends, there are a variety of accessories and gear options available for mounting and maintenance. Some riders may add accessories to their bar ends, such as lights or GPS devices, while others may prefer to keep their bar ends minimalistic and clutter-free.

Regardless of your preference, it’s important to ensure that your bar end accessories are securely mounted and properly maintained to avoid accidents or malfunctions on the trails. Regular maintenance and inspection of your bar end accessories can help to prolong their lifespan and ensure that they continue to perform at their best.

Advantages of Specific Terrain

To tackle technical terrain, bar ends provide better balance and control, allowing you to easily maneuver through the mud, rocks, and roots on the trail.

Standing climbs become easier as bar ends offer more leverage and muscle recruitment, allowing you to power up the hill easily.

Technical descents become less daunting as bar ends provide a wider grip, allowing you to maintain control and confidence on steep sections of the trail.

And when faced with trailside obstacles, bar ends provide additional hand positions and width, allowing you to navigate them easily.

Overall, bar ends are valuable to any mountain bike setup, providing increased control and comfort on various terrain.

Changes in MTB Geometry

You may have noticed that mountain bike geometry has changed over the years, with newer bikes featuring longer top tubes, slacker head angles, and shorter stems. These changes have had a significant impact on riding and handling, with many riders feeling more stable and in control of rough terrain.

However, these changes have also made using certain types of equipment, like bar ends, more difficult. While bar ends were once a popular addition to mountain bikes, they have fallen out of favor in recent years due to changes in geometry. Some riders still find them useful, particularly for long climbs and flat stretches, but they may not be suitable for all types of riding.

Ultimately, the decision to use bar ends will depend on your preferences and the terrain you ride on.

Bar End Safety

Bar ends can be dangerous if not used properly, but don’t let that scare you away from using them. With proper installation and awareness of trail hazards, bar ends can be valuable to your mountain bike setup.

It is important to remove bar ends before participating in races or club rides that ban them and to avoid using them in close quarters with other riders. When installing bar ends, ensure they are securely tightened and angled appropriately for your riding style.

Remember to stay aware of your surroundings and trail conditions to avoid snagging your bar ends in brush or other obstacles. With caution and proper use, bar ends offer additional hand positions and improved comfort on long rides.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any specific types of handlebars that are not compatible with bar ends?

Not all handlebars are compatible with bar ends. Carbon fiber handlebars may not be suitable for bar end installation due to the risk of cracking. Using bar ends offers ergonomic benefits and additional hand positions.

Can bar ends be used while shifting and braking?

Bar end positioning can interfere with grip compatibility and gear shifting, making it difficult to use them while shifting and braking. Using bar ends exclusively for climbing and cruising on flats is best.

Can bar ends cause discomfort or injury if not used properly?

Improper use of bar ends can cause discomfort and injury, such as nerve damage and organ injuries. Proper installation and use are important to avoid these potential risks. Follow guidelines for angle and length, and avoid using them while shifting and braking.

Can bar ends be used for downhill riding or only for climbing and cruising?

Bar ends can benefit downhill by offering an alternate grip for long descents. Grip compatibility may be an issue with certain handlebars, and prolonged use can lead to hand fatigue. However, they are still primarily used for climbing and cruising.

Are there any special maintenance requirements for bar ends?

Just like a garden needs tending, so do your bar ends. Keep them clean with mild soap and water, and dry them thoroughly before storing them. Lubricate the clamping mechanism as needed for smooth operation.


Congratulations, you’ve now learned all about MTB bar ends! By now, you should clearly understand their pros and cons and recommendations for popular brands like Cane Creek and Ergon. You also know how to install them, position them for maximum comfort and performance, and ride safely with them on the trails.

But before you purchase your set of bar ends, let’s take a moment to reflect on how they fit into the bigger picture of mountain biking. While they may not be as popular as they once were, bar ends offer numerous benefits for riders, especially regarding additional hand positions, ergonomic comfort, and improved climbing leverage.

However, it’s important to remember that bar ends are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every rider is different, and what works for one may not work for another. You must experiment with different hand positions and bar end styles until you find what works best for your needs and preferences.

So don’t be afraid to try something new and see where it takes you on your next ride. You may find that bar ends are missing in your perfect mountain biking setup!

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