I've always heard "never use barends" and they're banned equipment for some of the local clubs/group rides. A number of people on-line swear by them though. What's up with that!? :-) Why would I NOT want them? When do I want them?

(Running with @sixtyfootersdude comment from Upgrading straight handlebars to drop handlebars)

  • Oh those "bar ends" do non-bmx handle bars even need these kinds of bar ends? danscomp.com/shop-PARTS/BarEnds.html
    – dotjoe
    Jul 23 '12 at 20:51
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    Even cyclocross event that allow mountain bikes do not allow bar ends. Want them and safe in a group ride are not the same.
    – paparazzo
    Mar 11 '15 at 0:15
  • @dotjoe Your comment contains a link which is now dead (April 2016) and without it your comment makes little sense. I found it on web.archive.org/web/20120918011007/http://www.danscomp.com/… We try not to depend on outside links for exactly this reason. Those are bar plugs, which keep dirt/water out of the handlebars and help stop people cutting round holes in their skin in an accident. They're not bar ends, which are more like Vorac 's picture in his answer.
    – Criggie
    Apr 24 '16 at 9:24

Bar ends are typically banned from group/club rides because of the potential to hook another rider when riding in a tight group. Because a flat MTB-style handlebar is wider than a drop bar, adding bar ends increases the likelihood of snagging another rider. (drop bars still can cause crashes though, which I've seen first hand)

On the plus side, adding bar ends gives you more hand positions to choose from (similar to using drop bars). This is very important on long rides (e.g. touring) since your hands can go numb and possibly suffer nerve damage if you keep them in one position for too long. Some people find the hand position on bar ends more comfortable too.

Papuass has been injured by a bar end in a crash. My experience is the opposite: the bar end protected my hand from sliding along the pavement at high speed, saving me a fair amount of skin. So it can go both ways.

If you're not doing group rides where bar ends are banned, I would definitely consider trying them for the sake of having more hand positions.

  • 4
    I agree with the plus side and I did like the positioning possibilities. However, I removed mine after a trail ride where the bar end hooked a branch and sent me tumbling down a muddy embankment. I was only scratched up a bit, but still...
    – user313
    Jan 14 '11 at 19:08
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    @wdypdx22: good point, my answer was slanted towards road use. On technical trails they probably don't help much since you'd mostly be riding with fingers near the brakes.
    – darkcanuck
    Jan 14 '11 at 20:08
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    I removed the bar ends right then and there after scrambling up the embankment to find the bar end nicely entangled with the branch in question. On a similar note, at one point I had a mirror attached to the handlebar end; I removed that too after it caught something and smacked me to the ground.
    – user313
    Jan 14 '11 at 22:12
  • Bar ends are no more dangerous than bullhorns though, right?
    – LeviX
    Oct 27 '16 at 0:27
  • @LeviX As I understand it, bars with barends and bullhorns are the same in practice. You might be thinking of “ram horns” i.e. drop bars? If so those are probably safer since they’re allowed in competitions.
    – meedstrom
    Jun 15 at 13:56

It really depends on the road condition, traffic congestion and the type of the ride. It is banned from most local group rides that i am aware of. When you're riding wheel-to-wheel 20+ mph, chances are you're not going to be able to stop in the nick of time. Not to mention that your body weight shifts to the front which makes maneuvering and stopping twice as difficult. However, i don't see it as a problem on a quiet ride with 1 or 2 other people and where traffic is very light. Bar-ends aren't that bad. Just have to be aware of your surroundings and make a decision when it's actually okay to use them.


They are dangerous in case of a crash. I still have nice "Nike" form scar on my leg from my own bar end, when my front tire exploded.

Otherwise they are just fine and recommended.

  • In contrast, many moons ago, I crashed, although wasn't on the bar-ends at the time, and while the bar-end snapped off, my hand was undamaged - the impact had been taken by the bar-end.
    – Unsliced
    Jan 14 '11 at 14:09
  • Completely agree, bar ends can protect you in more cases than injure you.
    – Papuass
    Jan 14 '11 at 15:08

A friend of a friend. etc... - a keen Mountain biker and senior Emergency Department Doctor advised me (very strongly - as in if you leave them on your bike, you might as well not wear a helmet) to remove them from my bike- he had treated several mountain bikers with internal injuries clearly caused by Bar ends - including one poor fella who has life threatening Liver damage, and one with Spleen injuries.

He said problem was usually going 1/2 over the handle bars (i.e. not clearing the bike like I usually do), and landing on top of the bar end when it's sticking up, or a group coming a cropper. Lay you bike on the ground and have a look at the position of the bar end, and image your soft abdomen area coming down on it from a height or at speed. For some reason he could not explain, he did not see many injuries where the rider landed on the end of the handle bars themselves when there is no bar end.


Maybe slightly off-topic, but I would like to share. Past summer my touring/commuter MTB looked like this.

enter image description here

The advantages of this bar ends position, compared to in the end of the handlebars are several. First, a more narrow and aerodynamic position is assumed. Second, standard grips can be used, without the need to cut them. Thirdly, for some reason those were HUGE aid on climbs.

Currently they are off, due to too much clutter on the handlebars.

  • 1
    Not really an answer, but it looks like a great set up! Mar 27 '15 at 13:53
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    Damnit - I had this exact thought while reading the answer just two above this one. Would you have to call them bar-middles instead of bar-ends?
    – Criggie
    Mar 29 '16 at 9:12
  • Just realised - the'y're not far removed from simply holding the up-swung part of your handlebar - but on the pictured barends you'd be much closer to the brakes.
    – Criggie
    Apr 24 '16 at 9:27
  • Can this be done with any set of bar ends? I'm thinking about doing something similar and I don't know if it's necessary to look for a specific type. Jul 27 '16 at 21:29
  • @ jedd.ahyoung, sorry, no idea. One thing to consider is what part of the handlebars is of the standard diameter. Many handlebars have a curve (as in the picture) or a bulge, which prevents the bar-ends (as well as levers and shifters) from sliding any further inward.
    – Vorac
    Jul 28 '16 at 5:33

I have been riding mtb from the age of 12-34 consistently and often with friends and small groups. I have not only never hooked my bar ends (bullhorn as called when they first became a thing) on anyone but never on anything either. I regularly ride through traffic, parked cars, trails with foliage, narrow passes on trails designed to keep cars out, and you name it. I have never had an accident with them. I think an individual has to look more at themselves and ask "Am I a Clutz who doesn't pay attention to what I'm doing?" If you are, or if you're not sure, don't get them. Myself I do a lot of long rides (even crossing my entire state of Missouri) and they are amazingly comfortable on my hands and wrists. Shrug Good Luck and I hope this helps.


My hybrid bike has them. The feeling of cool metal is nice on hot days, and they are just long enough I can lean on them for a lower position at higher speeds on road - sort of poor mans forearm rests.

They do become dangerous on narrow trails, when they may grab a nearby branch/tree, possibly slamming it into your hand or causing rapid halt.

In UCI regulations, usage is allowed only for certain competitions by rule 1.3.023:

For road time trials and the following track events: individual and team pursuit, kilometre and 500 m a fixed extension may be added to the steering system; in this instance, only a position where the forearm is in the horizontal plane is permitted. ...


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