Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bar Endian Notation

Bar End Variety Set, with Book for Size Comparison

This post best viewed while listening to "Stray Cat Strut" by the Stray Cats, because it eases wrist pain, and possibly jacked little toes, too.
In yesterday's post about wrist pain I've gotten apparently from riding with my wrists jacked out of good alignment on a straight bar on my cruisemuter Yasuko, which was once a mountain bike but now has skinny tires, a rack, and fenders, some suggestions pointed me toward bar ends for the different positions they offer. My available choices from the parts box are portrayed above: small black ones wrapped in grip tape for friction that were used on many happy mountain bike trails but are too small and uncomfortable for commuting, blingy bent purple ones that come to think of it might look great on Bip but are too attention-grabbing for my rack bike, and then what will probably be the selection for this go-round, the fat Answer bar ends wrapped in cork bar tape. I'm not that pleased with the attachment method for those: allen head bolts that screw into an expander that goes inside the handlebar end. It always seemed to me that the point that those things are tight enough in the bar is very near the point that twists off the bolt head. Using a torque wrench at the recommended torque never seemed tight enough. That was probably before I became obsessive about greasing threads, though. Will see this time.

Then there's the question of optimal bar end angle. Flat horizontal? Or vertical, gut stabbing, tracked vehicle steering controls mode? (Hey you're doing it wrong). In between. At a comfortable reach while seated.

Secretly I'm kind of hoping the bar ends are not the ultimate solution in this case. I like the clunky look of the adjustable stem from a ugly bike perspective, but have longed to replace it with a good looking regular stem in plain black, which could be done in tandem with a bar replacement, if the bars had both some sweep and rise--sweep for the current wrist pain, rise to replace that jacked up adjustable stem.

Ok, here's the results, ready to ride:

Featuring the Park Tool Scratching Post Bike Stand

One last factor: since I sometimes daydream a bit when I'm riding, with a safety process running in that background that snaps me out of the reverie usually in time to avoid utter devastation, I like my hands close to the brake levers. Not gonna have that with bar ends. Could with the Ergons, or the On_One Mary, or the Titec Jones H Bar. Uh oh. Violating the twenty dollar rule and the Ugly commuter rack bike principle. I'll have to do what I usually do to figure stuff out: Get up. Go ride.


  1. Have you considered changing your handlebar instead of putting extensions on? That would allow you to put the brakes on the handlebars, but gives a more natural and forgiving wrist position.
    North Road or (my favorite) Albatross bars have a much more forgiving hand position, but they might put you more upright than you might want. Then again, would these bar ends put you much further forward than normal?
    You might have to re-do your brake cabling, but isn't it worth it to have both comfort and safety?

  2. I'm having a bit of trouble too with the new albatross-type handlebars and ergonomic grips I put on my aged hybrid. I like them, but after long all-day rides I get wrist-pain. I'll have to keep tweaking - or take your advice and hope the answer comes while I'm out riding.

    Good luck. I hope your adjustments work out.

  3. Good idea, to slip a book in for size perspective. I'll have to remember that one. I'm with cycler - alternate handlebars might be the ticket if you can find the right one. I like the cyclocross shallow/short drop bars, with a bit of a forward swoop before they drop. LOTS of choices on that combo.

  4. cycler, I did consider putting on the drop bars that I have, but stopped when I feared that mounting drop bars on a bike with 26" wheels violates some deep universal principle, with dire consequences. You are completely right, though, recabling would be worth the safety. If the bar ends don't work out, I'll check those bars that you mention.

    Emma J, I still suspect that the size of the frame of this bike, or maybe something about it's geometry, just isn't right for me. The bike that fits me best and is most comfortable is one that a very knowledgeable person at a local bike shop set me up with. Maybe a visit to the LBS would be advisable for any of us, including me, who continue to have some sort of discomfort.

    Steve A is there anything to my sense that putting drop bars on the mountain bike frame just ain't right? Other than getting the right stem, I mean. Will my Cane Creek SCR-5 levers work with mountain cantilever brakes? These questions keep me up at night! Also would need to work out a good place to put the thumb shifters, but that's the least of the concerns.

  5. On second thought, all I had to do was check here,

    and all my questions are answered!

  6. That's an interesting piece of artwork you have hanging on your wall.

  7. limim my kids are prolific makers of artworks--watercolors, dioramas, tiny sculptures of horses and dragons, little towns that need five year growth control plans...

  8. Probably pretty late in the game for this, JRA, but I've been so busy I haven't even had time to update the posts on my OWN blog!

    Have y'all thought of Trekking bars: Butterfly Bars on The Roadley?

    They fit on standard MTB/Hybrid stems, you can even reuse the shifters/brake levers of a MTB/Hybrid riser/flat bar, you don't have to mess with changing cables, and you can't get a more comfortable handlebar with more hand positions.

    Nashbar has them on their web site --- on and off through the year (currently ON) --- for $23 USD. I have them on both my Giant Yukon and Specialized Hardrock, plus I have an extra set in the closet just in case of an accident or I spot that 700c-wheeled Hybrid I just GOTTA have!

  9. Bluescat Hi! I kind of like the functionality of the butterfly bars but honestly can't figure out where to put the brake levers or thumb shifters. I guess the answer is anywhere you want, anywhere that works, which is the type of open-ended freedom of choice (or expression) that I usually jump at. So far the bar ends seem to be working out better than the flat bars alone.


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