LP Composites Carbon Fibre Bar Ends|
Thursday, April 01, 1999
Years ago, when I first spotted a mountain bike with bar ends I thought to myself, "What a dork. He looks like he's riding a bull." OK. So at one time I was completely ignorant. But it didn't take me long to figure out that the "dork's" bar ends were helping him to climb faster than I was. I couldn't seem to keep my back wheel from breaking loose while he kept up a steady pace. He reached the top pedaling. I reached the top walking. I know... It was pretty clear who the actual dork was. When I asked what the hell his horns were for he said, "If you have to ask such a stupid question you don't need to know."
I had that one coming. The next day I went into the local shop and asked the friendlly mechanic about the horns. This time I was careful to call them bar ends. He explained that they help you climb. As you pull on the bar ends and shift your wieght over the back wheel, more power is transfered to the tail of the bike providing better traction. No wonder he climbed faster and easier than I did. I immedatiely bought a pair and put them on my bike.
Ever since then I have been trying to find the perfect pair for my hands and riding style. I have tried eight different brands all with different shapes and sizes. Some were to small. Some broke too easily. Some wore holes in my gloves and gave me blisters. And others were just plain old uncomfortable to grab hold of. I wanted something that felt smooth and had a curve that fit my hand. Something familiar and large enough to get a grip on
Last season I found a pair seemingly made just for me. LP Composites, a local company in White Salmon, WA, makes five sets of bar ends. The Braids, the Braid Jr.'s, the BE8's, the BE7's and the Teams. I have yet to try to the Teams or the BE models but I would highly recomemend the Braids and the Braid Jr.'s.
The first time I grabbed hold of the Braids they felt familiar and comfortable. Like something I have been grabbing all my life. Their ergonomic design is smooth and fits the natural shape of my hands. They feature a light weight construction of kevlar, carbon fiber and an epoxy matrix with forged aluminum clamps
They are light wieght, 110 to 130 grams, and they are the most durabel bar end I have ever used. I have broken nearly every set of aluminum bar ends I have ever had. But the LP bar ends are nearly bullet proof. Impacts that will normally break and or bend aluminum or steel usually only scratch the composites. Minor scratches can be buffed out with wet and dry sand paper. Best of all, even a hard ding will not compromise the integretity of the the LP Braid. Each one is made with at least six differeent layers of braided carbon and kevlar. By weight it's even stronger than titanium
As for my favorite pair I like the Braid Jr.'s. They are just big enough to fit my hands and short enough that I don't feel over extended when I reach for them as I do with the Braids. However, a taller rider who is more comfortable in a more extended position should go with the longer Braids
All three models are available in a black and gold braided finish or a natural black carbon finish
Suggested retail price is $69.95