Elise Bennett weighs the pros and cons of a popular Trikke accessory.
To bar end or not to bar end? That is today’s question. I’ve read again and again in The Sweet Spot Annex on Facebook how much folks love their bar ends and what a boon they are for climbing hills, so I got an inexpensive pair to try them out. After a few rides, plusses and minuses are clear, but – to me, anyway – there’s no distinct winner.
Here’s a few of the plusses:
- Going up inclines, the bar ends force me to spread my arms wider than if my hands were on the handlebar grips. This brings my upper body forward and, ipso facto, puts more weight over the front wheel – great for hill climbing.
- It seems that using bar ends has increased my climbing speed somewhat. In fairness, this may be a product of my overactive imagination wanting it to be so… I need to use GPS and find out for sure.
- They look freaking cool on my T12, Zeus! Okay, so I’ve been a fashion-backward, wallflower dork my entire life, and that certain part of my ego that still wants to be one of the “in” crowd loves it when I get to look cool. Bonus: I overheard Zeus bragging to my T78cs that he feels like a majestic Texas longhorn bull now that he’s sporting bar ends. Sweet!
Now for the flip side:
- I haven’t quite figured out how to transition my hands gracefully from the handlebar grips to the bar ends. So far, the easiest way has been a rotate-my-palms-on-their-outside-edges maneuver, but the transition has to occur while I’m coasting in a straight line, not during a carve, and that adds a level of complexity when climbing – especially when an incline sneaks up on you. The analyst in me cries out (a la cheesy infomercials), “There MUST be a better way!”
- Having my arms spread so wide makes for an awkward carve-feel. Even if it is an optimal posture for climbing, it just feels off-center and wrong.
- The whole arms-wide, lean-farther-forward thing is tough on my injured lower back. I’ve figured out a way to bear more weight on my arms while still transferring weight from one leg to the other and hyper-stabilizing my lower back, but again, it’s an exceptionally awkward movement. Hopefully, most Trikke riders won’t have to deal with this issue, but it’s a big deal for me…
As a relative newbie to the whole bar end phenomenon, there are probably several plain-as-the-nose-on-my-face techniques I’m overlooking. If you have any feedback or tips for improvement, please comment below or send me a message via Facebook.
A few more rides of bar end trial and error should produce a clear pro or con philosophy. Until then, I’ll roll with it and enjoy the adventure. Have a great week, y’all!