Reissued Cane Creek Ergo Control bar ends selling like hot cakes

Cane Creek recently reissued their Ergo Control bar ends and apparently the orders have been flying in. Which begs the question – why?

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But first of all, why were they invented in the first place?

Bar ends have something of a chequered past. Back in the halycon days of mountain biking, back in the nineties when Friends was on telly and the Spice Girls hadn’t even formed yet let along reformed, every mountain biker had bar ends.

Well, maybe not every mountain biker but certainly the vast majority of mountain bikers were riding around with metal antlers on the ends of their (insanely narrow) handlebars. Seriously, even downhillers had bar ends.

Why did everyone have bar ends? The reason, other than that John Tomac had them, was the theory that they made climbing easier. And indeed they did but this was arguably because the rest of the bike they were attached to was so totally ill-suited to riding off-road. Handlebars were needlessly, counter-productively narrow, top tubes were really short, seat angle were crazy slack and so on.

The narrow bars were the main culprit though. It was nigh on impossible to get any leverage going through the transmission and into the dirt with narrow bars.

What was the point of narrow handlebars again? I’m not actually sure but I’d hazard a guess it was to do with weight saving(!) rather than any proto aero reasoning. Narrower bars were also probably less likely to bend/snap too.

There are still a handful of bar end fans out there. You may know of someone who still has cattle prongs on their bike. But they are very much in the microscopic minority. Even XC racers ditched bar ends sometime around the millennium.

bar ends

So, anyway. These reissued Cane Creek bar ends. What’s that about? Are bar ends making a comeback?

Obviously we haven’t been able to track down and interrogate all the hundreds of people who’ve ordered a set to explain themselves. But we’re fairly sure it’s not really purely about climbing.

It’s to do with offering more hand position options for the burgeoning long-distance ‘trans continental’ mountain biking sub-culture.

For reasons of comfort, and stiffness/cramping avoiding – not to mention boredom – it’s good to be able to put your hands in a different position for a while instead of having them clamped around the grips all the time.

You may indeed yourself occasionally move your hands and put your fingers over your brake lever reservoirs during long sections of seated climbing or on draggy road longeurs. These bar ends are the same sort of thing. Somewhere to hold out to when your body (and brain) is sick of holding on to the grips.