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The importance of bar end plugs...

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Crash, bang, wallop! An errant tree root laid across the trail sees me seperating from my bike and flying through the air, followed by the inevitable hard impact with the dirt. The bike meanwhile cartwheels down the hill.

I dust myself down. I’ve hit my knee pretty hard, and the palms of my hands are stinging from breaking my fall. No blood, no lasting damage. I untangle the bike from the bramble busy it’s now resting upon, straighten up the bars and carry out the necessary post-crash inspection.

All looks fine. Then my eye is drawn to the handlebar. The right hand side grip has shunted along the bars a bit, revealing some smashed carbon fibre. Oh dear.

Like a bad mechanic, I forgot to fit the bar end plugs when I swapped the bars over and this is the price I pay. If I had remembered to fit the plugs, this crash damage would likely not have occurred, and I wouldn’t now be looking at having to lop the end off with a hacksaw.

So learn from my mistake and make sure your bars have some plugs slammed in them. You never know when they might come in useful!

Anyone else made similar blunders? Let’s hear them in the comments box:

  1. John

    Seen them puncture someone…not pretty!

  2. Jefferz

    Having jumped a tabletop I landed badly and the bar end gouged my thigh. Luckily I had barend plugs in so it was blunt trauma rather than biopsy without anaesthesia. Always have plugs

  3. gareth jones

    Surely the damaged bars are the least of your/any ones worries as if you had landed on the bars you would properly had cored yourself and bled out on the trail and maybe died! i have seen injuries from people riding without bar ends and as john has previously said ‘its not pretty’! That is the main issue with not having bar ends, not a scuffed bar!

  4. David Arthur

    “bled out on the trail and maybe died”, bloody hell Gareth way to cheer me up!

  5. Greg Turner

    The Dragon DH series, when it was running, ended up making bar end plugs compulsory for all racers (along of course with helmets) because of the potential for personal injury without them.

  6. Andy R

    There was a tragic case about 7 years ago in Derby of a kid riding his bike in a park, without bar ends, who came off his bike and was killed by the bar end going through his chest IIRC. Bar ends are such an underappreciated ‘safety’ feature on a bike.

  7. Andy

    Yep, bar end plugs are a safety essential. I work in a children’s surgical unit, and see a few life-threatening abdominalinjuries each year due to handlebars, especially nasty if they’re not protected properly. I also run kids mountain biking skills courses, and about half the kids who attend have damaged or non-existent plugs… something i always put right before they start riding. A pair of plastic end plugs is a cheap and essential safety accessory. Plug em up people!

  8. Roger W

    Absolutely essential to have plugs. A MTB guide in Chamonix checked all our bikes before going on a ride and explained the horrific injuries he’d seen. Some of the rental bikes plugs were missing so he plugged them there and then.
    This summer my 12yr old son came off his bike on loose gravel riding around the yard and landed on the end of the handlebar. The bar bent by 90 degrees (cheap bike) so it must have been some impact. Although he suffered some internal bleeding and severe bruising to the lower abdomen he was very lucky not to cause more damage. Inches either way and things cold have been very serious. Please check yours and your kids bikes too!

    1. Roger W

      forgot to mention his bars were plugged too otherwise it would have been a different story altogether, one I don’t even like to contemplate.

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