Bar ends suck. They look horrible, can catch on branches and blackberry bushes, and take up valuable real estate on the bars as they push your hands inwards decreasing usable bar width. They’re appalling mounted riser bars with any type of sweep… that said, for long XC and multi-surface rides, having a secondary hand position sure would be nice.
We’ve been doing a lot of long-distance XC/adventure style rides from our front door, and our gravel and XC bikes have been getting a lot more use. Going full-on gravel with dirt drop bars is certainly one option – gravel bikes are rather hip these days. However, for maximum versatility for the XC adventure riding and exploring we’ve been doing, I’ve been leaving the gravel bike at home in favor of the 29er with its 2.2 tires and rise bars.
Plus there’s a new option — inwards mounted barends, AKA Innerbarends. (plus since you’re riding long distances solo, who’s gonna see you?) Here are three options worth looking into:
SQLab Inner Bar Ends – $44.99
SQLab has been offering Inner Bar Ends for a number of years, and while we may have scoffed at them when we first saw them, we’re coming around to the idea. Designed to be mounted directly inwards of the grips, they’re relatively short and are less likely to catch on trail hazards. At 108grams they don’t add too much of a weight penalty, but it isn’t quite clear how well they play with carbon handlebars so you might need to consider switching back to an alloy bar to be safe.
We ordered up a set and have been running them. See what we think of them here.
Order from Amazon.com
TOGS Thumbgrips – $25-30
TOGS, AKA Thumb Over Grip System are another option for providing an alternative hand position with rise bars. Shorter and with less reach than the SQLab option, TOGS are a hard plastic with a rubber tip designed to be rotated a bit more upwards, allowing you to switch up your hand position. As they’re short, they don’t add much in terms of weight while providing your hands with a more rested position for your thumbs on those long drawn out flat sections of pavement and gravel roads. With less leverage, they appear to be a bit more carbon bar friendly as well.
View our review of the TOGS Flex MTB Thumbgrips.
Spirgrips are an inner bar grip (not unlike the SQLab offering) that offers an ergonomic alternative hand position on the bars. Like the other options, they mount to the inside of your grip to increase comfort on long hauls. Unlike the other options, the offering from the Swiss brand is only available from European stores and direct.
Learn more at Spirgrips.com