Well, we didn't expect these to land in the BikeRadar HQ. Yes, fans of early-2000s accessories will rejoice the return of the rubberised ergonomically designed bar end, the Ergo Control from Cane Creek.
- Check out all four reviews we have of bar ends here
- The simple solution to end misaligned bars and controls
Now, I've a long history with the original Ergo Control bar end. Back in my less enlightened times I ran a set on a variety of bikes. Singlespeed town bike — check. Flat-barred touring bike — check. Singlespeed MTBs — check. Rohloff-hubbed MTB — check. The Ergo Control appeared on them all.
Bear in mind this was at a time when a 710mm bar was deemed wide — I think I had a set of Salsa Pro Motos back then, which my riding buddies swore would get me clothes-lined by trees on another bike.
Perhaps my most often-forgotten-about bike had the Ergo Controls fitted — a Kona A. I'm not even into retro niche bikes, but this was one hell of a machine. I picked it up for £80 while I was at uni. A dedicated singlespeed full-suspension bike with Marzocchi Z4 Bombers, a non-descript coil shock and Magura HS33s doing a woeful job of bringing it all to a stop.
So, what are they exactly?
The Ergo Control is, in the world of bar ends, relatively unique.
Instead of the clamp sitting right at the tip of the bar end, with the body thrust forward of the bars, the Ergo Control's clamp is about 40 percent of the way up the bar end — hence the bar's width directly intersects with where you place the weight on your hand.
They're shaped in a way that is said to be ergonomic — instead of a round tube, there's profiling to match the shape of your hand. They're then coated in rubber to offer shock absorption, and, when cold, provide a non-freezing surface to hold onto.
The original design had a slightly different shape to these new ones (which are apparently back by popular demand). The new ones are a touch boxier and have a less textured surface.
However, at the moment, all I can find is UK pricing (£25), and they are not yet listed on Cane Creek's own website. I am yet to come across US or Australian pricing (let us know in the comments if you find them…).
Like a phoenix
As I said, I rode with these unique-looking bar ends for a number of years, on a wide range of bikes, and I loved them. However, I do attribute my second worst mountain bike crash ever to them.
On a lovely sinuous piece of alpine singletrack, snaking alongside a steep mountain stream, there was a cheeky right-hand corner… with a step in the middle and a rock on the inside corner.
As you might have guessed, the bar end clipped the rock, flipping me over the bars, down eight foot of banking on to a lovely rock, heavily bruising my right arse cheek.
The physical shock of the impact left my then-exposed, and somewhat (at the time) chubby belly shaking like a leaf while my friend Sam at BikeVillage whittled a walking stick and called round to get someone to take the long drive from one alpine valley to another to transport me home.
Would a non-rubberised bar end have gripped so doggedly to that rock? I'll never know. Anyway, I digress.
As I'll soon reveal on BikeRadar, this year I'll be riding a Giant Rapid 0 as a long-term town bike. Aside from the regulation lights and mudguards, I have immediately fitted these rubbery throwbacks to see whether I still love them as much as I once did. However, they shall venture nowhere near any mountain bike of mine!
Bar ends are always controversial — let us know in the comments what you think. Oh, and if anyone else has had a Kona A, I'd love to hear about that too …