The author has been a keen cyclist all his life and likes to pass on his experience and showcase the best products available.
This article looks at the five best mountain bike bar ends, there advantages and what they are used for. If you decide to get a pair, you have made a great choice for improving your handling of your bike. Installling them is a a very straightforward task, but if your not sure how to fit them there is a video further down which will walk you through it. There are a lot of accessories you can add to your bike: some just add the ability to carry more on your bike, but others, like bar ends, are actually very useful. They make you go quicker and help you feel more comfortable, they work, and they are relatively cheap to buy.
Why Do Mountain Bikers Like Bar Ends?
Bar ends are designed primarily for mountain bikes and touring cyclists. They should always be used as a pair, not singly. They are a great investment and the main reason people use them is for additional comfort. When you're cycling uphill and you get out of your saddle, it is very useful to be able to move your hands into a better position. You will find that by holding on to them you can achieve an improved power output. Being able to hold the bar ends which are at ninety degrees to your handle bars gives you a better grip position, and this in turn provides improved efficiency while pedaling.
If you are planning to fit a pair to your touring bike you will find they offer a great deal of extra leverage for such a small amount of weight. Changing the angle of your riding position by altering the angle of the bar ends stops you from getting tired. Riders who regularly go touring often complain of a sore lower back or pain at the back of their neck or stiff upper shoulders; the main cause of this is the rider is staying in one position. So being able to adjust your riding position whilst riding throughout the day will leave you feeling fresher and without those niggling twinges, particularly in your wrist and hands, that you often get after exercising.
Press play to watch the easy way to fit bar ends to your mountain bike.
If you're looking for a basic set for your first mountain bike and don't want to spend a lot of money on a pair I can recommend these. They are small in length and straightforward. They have been included because they are the simplest version and are made from from a single piece of lightweight aluminium.
One of main reasons I bought this pair is that they are strong, simplistic and practical. They are very light, one of the lightest in this review that are made from aluminium the weight conscious will like them as they are only 115g which is absolutely nothing given the advantages you get from them. This company makes practical every day accessories with good design for mountain and touring bikes.
To fit them is simplicity itself. You need a 5mm allen key. Slide them on to each side of your handlebars and tighten them sufficiently so they don't slip. Try them out and if you find that they aren't as comfortable as you thought they might be, loosen the screw and adjust the angle it may take you a few times to get the correct position but you will instantly know. Tall riders will need a different angle than a smaller person. Trial and error is the best way to determine the right place, but by persevering you will gain both comfort and additional power on climbs.
Titec Micros are only available in one colour, Black, which is a shame as I like a silver option which seems to match my bikes. But if you're looking for a pair that doesn’t cost too much and does the job, I’m sure you’ll be very happy with these.
You Can Find Bar Ends to Fit All Types of Bikes
Profile Design Boxer
These are my own personal favourite, having owned a set for the last nine months. These not only look good, but are light in weight, and have various hand placement positions, which is an enormous advantage as you can move your hands around finding the optimum position when going over varying ground or ascending a steep hill. They are in my opinion very stylish, comfortable and have a price that is very competitive. If you can only afford one pair these are the ones to get.
The distinct advantage of a curved bar gives you the advantage of being able to move your hands to several positions. Because of their extra length, their weight has slightly increased to 170g but their advantages far exceed the additional few grams of weight. They are constructed from aluminium construction. They are available in two colour schemes, Matt Black or Matt Silver I bought the silver pair, after continued use I thought the surface may flake or show signs of wear but they look as good as new despite being out in the rain on many occasions.
I have had this pair on my mountain bike for about 9 months now and they are so good I wouldn’t want to be without them. As with the first set in this review, you may need to be patient with the positioning to get the optimum position, but this only takes a few moments as they are simple to adjust and set up. They are very strong and do not slip on the handle bars. The finish is also holding up very well. The shape of the bar ends is also great, as this allows for multiple hand positions.
XLC Alloy Curved Bar End, Available in Silver
I haven’t had this pair for very long, but they look good, have a lovely finish, and feel secure as you hold them. I have fitted these not on the ends of the handle bars but much closer to the centre of them. The reason behind doing this is because I feel this pair lends itself for long rides where you need to obtain an almost race position on the bike. Keeping a low profile on your bike has two advantages: it keeps you moving faster and it makes you less of a target for any wind that you maybe fighting against.
If you are looking for a solid dependable pair that are made for continual use take a close look at this pair. Solid construction combined with a smooth finish make these a favourite for a lot of cycle tourists. XLC are a German brand which make quality parts and accessories throughout Europe and South East Asia. The company tries to employ a lot of cyclists who gain first hand experience of there products. The company uses this experience to help develop future products.
I particularly like this pair. The curved section, which looks a little odd on your bike, is actually the best thing about these bar ends; ergonomically they are beautiful ,and fit your hands so well when you pulling up a steep gradient. These bar ends are made from aluminum. They are relatively light, only 127g, and are 140mm in length.
These are ideal for mountain bikes and touring bicycles. From the first time I used these I found them extremely comfortable. They look stylish which in turn offers the rider the option of where to place there hands.
The Ravx lite are the lightest bar ends in the review. They weigh 85 grams, which is incredibly light and will make little difference to your overall bike weight. They are made from a single piece of aluminum. They have a slightly raised or embossed pattern on the surface with an embossed grip, and they come complete with an anodized finish, which I think looks brilliant and is my preferred finish.
I chose them because they are the longest set at 180mm in length. This extra leverage will give you, the rider, even more choice of where best to place your hands. This offers you, as I found out after trying them, many options on where to hold them and change your position on a continuous basis. This slight adjustment of your hands seems to save your forearms and wrists from starting to ache. This is particularly useful when going over uneven ground or through a forest where there are many obstacles to face.
A word of caution. With the added length there is a tendency for these to move (slip) on your handle bars, so remember: given the added leverage that this pair offers, you need to tighten them up sufficiently and check them regularly. Other than that, I have found these to be a great addition to my mountain bike.
The Ravx have been finished to a very high standard and come recommended in any review I have seen and I have really enjoyed using them. Regular touring cyclists will find these a great accessory and will love the finish and extra comfort they offer. They are complemented with laser graphics to enhance the design, if that’s what you look for in a product.
Bar Ends Have Been Fitted to This Touring Bicycle
Pyramid Carbon Fiber
I have included this set of Pyramid carbon fiber bar ends not just because they are a short straight pair and simplicity in themselves but because they are the only pair in the review made from carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is being used extensively nowdays to make components that are both lightweight and strong. Weight-conscious cyclists looking to to save extra weight will seek out components made from this wonderful material.
Cyclists looking to gain an advantage over another competitor will try and change as many components to carbon fibre as possible, to make their bike lighter, which in turn will make it easier to get up hills and give a softer ride. Carbon fibre is not only stronger than some steels, it is far more durable. Carbon fibre is built up with several layers, each one adding to the total strength of the product.
Carbon fibre is often preferred to aluminum. Components that are made from this material are generally lighter and will not bend. Carbon fiber is now being used extensively in the aerospace industry and competition sports like motor racing, as well as for many bicycle components, such as bicycle frames, wheels, and accessories.
The Pyramid bar ends are ony 120 grams per pair. They have a carbon fiber shaft with an alloy clamp to secure them to your bike by means of an allen key.
All the items featured are recommended by myself as I have tried these and quite a few others as well,. They all perform well and their aim is to help you adjust your cycling position. So if you suffer on a long cycle tour with an aching back, try a pair of my recommended bar ends from this review.
It may take you a few attempts to get the perfect spot, depending on how tall you are and the angle needed to get the best position, but all these bar ends are easily adjusted. Just make sure you tighten the Allen key sufficiently so they don't move or slip. The advantages I have found by owing several pairs now is that you get improved efficiency when climbing and you can change your position on a regular basis whilst doing normal riding so you don't get stiff, or ache in your wrist or hands.
© 2010 Brian Slater
John Harrison on October 08, 2010:
The bar end installation in this article is very good -thanks