Sail Furling: SQ Labs Innerbarends

Mountain bikes stopped needing bar ends, so far as I was concerned, when rear suspension became good enough that I preferred a bike with it to one without. The simple fact was that the presence of a suspension fork and rear suspension made standing up to climb a pretty inefficient endeavor for me.

But just because I originally used bar ends, in my case the Onza “ski bends,” for climbing, that didn’t eliminate one helpful use for them: reducing frontal area. Anyone who has ridden into the wind with their hands on the grips and then moved them inboard of the levers has felt the change in drag, one that can be quantified on a GPS unit.

I’ll be honest and say these things have been here for a full year and I’ve only had a few occasions to use them. I’ll even remove them if I don’t anticipate a need for them in the coming month or two.

Last month, when I went to Bakersfield for the Rock Cobbler I experienced more wind than than a sea-faring skipper. I’d anticipated this and mounted up the Innerbarends (leave it to the Germans to glue together three straightforward words into one head-scratching mouthful) before heading down. Without them I’d have lost my mind, or I’d still be out there. One of those.

SQ Labs’ website shows the Innerbarends mounted between the grips and the levers. That positions the heels of the rider’s hands on the grips, which is certainly more comfortable than positioning them inboard of the levers. But I swear, I can’t figure why anyone would bother to mount them and not move them in far enough to make a difference in their frontal surface area.

I mounted them on a burly aluminum bar to make sure it could handle the clamping forces, which really aren’t that great considering the bar ends aren’t meant for yarding the bar out of the saddle.

The accessory goes for $44.99 and were I doing something like Leadville with long stretches of flat or climbing into the wind, I’d consider them indispensable. Heck, if I still had a four-mile road ride to reach a trailhead, these would live on my bike; after all, they only weigh 108g for the pair.

With a clamp diameter of 22.2mm the fiber-reinforced plastic extensions will run into a limit to how far inboard they can be mounted. But rather than let the bar’s diameter be the mounting guide, I suggest trying them in a width a bit greater than you might think necessary; too close together and the bike will become harder to handle because of the reduction in leverage.

Final thought: I don’t really want to drill into a headwind on a mountain bike, but if I must, I want these on my bike.

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  1. Hautacam says

    Hello, Cinelli Spinaci 2.0! I’d like a set of these for my road bike (I don’t do any UCI-sanctioned events so no worries there).

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