Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bar Endian Notation: Time for a Change

Old setup: straight bar, Oury grips, bar ends, Gumby illustrating precariousness

Way back when it was still crazy hot in Phoenix, I wrote about looking for relief for sore wrists that felt worse riding on my commuter bicycle, and ended up trying some bar ends wrapped in bar tape. They helped. The alternate hand positions did give some relief. But, there were still issues. Foremost, while those bar ends stayed put 400 times that I pulled or pushed on them, one time when I needed some extra power to get across a street with more speed than I initially thought I would need, one of them pivoted on me, and I could never trust them again after that. Also, I never really liked the way that adjustable stem looked, although I guess it worked OK. The grips were kind forced into this service and weren't exactly glued in the right place to begin with. Finally, the bar ends really only offered a small added range of hand positions. 

Several knowledgeable responders pointed me toward alternative handlebars. Recently, I again had to power across a street when an oncoming car showed up that I hadn't seen, and again I pulled up on the bar end. It held, that time, but I was really anticipating that it would pivot up again and send me sprawling in front of traffic, and that feeling pushed me to a decision: time to listen to those suggestions and try some new bars.

New setup: trekking bars, new stem from the swap meet, more room for lights and accessories

I took the bike for a spin after installing them and doing the initial adjustments, and so far I like them a lot. I had some misgivings about how the brakes and shifters would feel, not even sure where to put them on these things, but I found that riding in the dark my hands knew right where to go. The front hand positions put me in a little more aero position than the bar ends ever could, and the side positions, in conjunction with that beefy stem, gave a great feeling of security when I pulled up on them or stood on the pedals. I'll let you know how they work after commuting for a few weeks. My thanks to cycler, Steve, Emma J, Big Oak, Rat Trap Press, and Bluescat for your good suggestions to ways to ease wrist pain--I do pay attention when smart people give me good ideas, sometimes it just takes a while for them to bounce around inside my ahead and come back out as action. My wrists will thank you, and Gumby just looks more confident standing up there on bars that don't pivot out of position under normal use. Get up. Go ride.


  1. These butterfly bars should offer you far more hand positions that your previous straight bars.I am sure that you will find them more comfortable over the long term.

  2. While they look very comfy, they also look like drop bars that were afraid to jump in the water!

  3. Did you get one of those threadless adapters?
    If so, what do you think?
    Get any flex when on the inboards?
    I like the idea of multi hand positions.
    Although image is everything, I'm kinda getting tired of that straight bar on the Express.

  4. Trevor, I hope so, I will report back on the positions that work out for me.

    Steve I know what you mean. And it would only be fair for me to put drop bars on a mountain bike since the previous bar swap I did was to put straight bars on a road bike.

    limom I did get one of those adapters to adapt a 1" threaded stem to 1 1/8" threadless stems, yes. I got that first. It works as advertised, but I ran into a snag in that I also needed a canti cable stop thingy, too, and it was for 1 1/8" (makes sense, right?). The coolest thing about the old stem was that it had the canti cable stop built in. However, the new stop fit onto the lower 1" part, so I had to shim it. No flex that I have noticed, but I will let you know, now that I have more confidence in using the bars for leverage.

  5. Cool bars! Look forward to hearing your comments on them as you ride more. I've never tried trekking bars before.

    I bought a bike that came with an adjustable stem once. I made them swap it out for me. The thing creaked and flexed as I rode. Scary stuff!


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