Cue '90s MTB flashbacks as bar ends aim to adorn flat handlebars once again

SQlab Innerbarends on a mountain bike
SQlab hope to bring bar ends back into fashion with the new Innerbarends 2.0 (Image credit: SQlab)

The bar end for all of us of a certain age was a must-have accessory for adding to your best mountain bike bars. For those who have no idea what bar ends are, they're a 90-degree-ish angled extension secured to the ends of your bars that helped with climbing and allowed you to vary your body position. They came in all sorts of lengths, shapes, and materials and featured somewhat garish anodized coloring. My X-Lite bar ends were proud additions to my Marin Indian Firetrail abnd were purple (if my memory serves me) matching the purple forks and branding of my beloved MTB.

As the '90s came and went, bar ends' popularity fell quicker than the Berlin Wall. The introduction of riser bars, a different style of riding as the best full suspension mountain bikes meant spinning on hard climbs was far more efficient, rather than hammering away standing out the saddle with bar ends.

Although bar ends are still just about around, you'll be hard pushed to see anyone using them these days, marathon XC riders mainly. However, SQlab is now hoping ten years after the launch of its first version of Innerbarends, to introduce bar ends to a new generation of riders, and for older riders to relive the halcyon days of hooking a bar end around a tree mid ride. So is the bar end about to become a thing again with the all-new slimmer, and lighter SQlab Innerbarends 2.0?

The classic 90s x-lite bar ends in purple

The classic '90s bar end from X-Lite (Image credit: Paul Brett)

So what’s new with Innerbarends 2.0?

There are two new models of Innerbarends, the 410 and 411, aimed at different styles of riding. SQlab say thanks to their intelligent design with a removable spacer, the new Innerbarends can now replace the clamp on the brand's 7OX and 711 grips, giving optimal integration with the Innerbarend and hand grip. Innerbarends are also compatible with many other mountain bike grips on the market. 

The new 2.0 Innerbarends are also narrower in the clamping area which allows the brake lever position to move closer to the grip if required, and also frees up vital real estate in the already cluttered modern cockpit. 

Innerbarends close up with riders hand

The 2.0 Innerbarends have a narrower clamp giving more room on the modern bar (Image credit: Innerbarends)

Innerbarends 410 2.0

The new Innerbarends 410 2.0 take over the 'bulbous' shape similar to the previous Innerbarends 411 model. The shape has been further improved for a relaxed hold and offers maximum comfort on longer rides aimed at MTB bikepacking and commuting. They're made from a more budget-friendly fiber-reinforced plastic and weigh in at 104g a pair. Priced at $44.99 / £35.99 / €39.95.

The 410 version of Innerbarends close up

The 'bulbous' shape of the new 410 (Image credit: Innerbarends)

Innerbarends 411 2.0

The new 411 Innerbarends 2.0 are now slimmer, lighter and adopt the shape of their already known and heftily priced sibling, the 411 R Carbon. They have also become more sporty and SQ say they are ideal for more technical and trail riding. Made from fiber-reinforced plastic rather than carbon, they also have the same wallet-friendly pricing at $44.99 / £35.99 / €39.95, weighing in at just 56g a pair.

The slimmer looking 411 Innerbarends

2.0 Innerbarends come in two versions 410 and 411 (Image credit: Innerbarends)

There's no question, the Innerbarends look “special”. You'll either love or hate them but bar ends maybe about to make a dramatic phoenix from the ashes comeback. We look forward to trying them out soon and they are available now at www.sqlab.com

Paul Brett
Staff writer

Paul Brett is a staff writer for BikePerfect.com. He has been an avid cyclist for as long as he can remember, initially catching the mountain biking bug in the 1990s, and raced mountain bikes for over a decade before injury cut short a glittering career. He’s since developed an obsession for gravel riding and recently has dabbled in the dark art of cyclocross. A fan of the idea of bikepacking he has occasionally got involved and has ridden routes like the North Coast 500, Scotland and the Via Francigena (Pilgrim Route), Italy.

Current rides: Marin Alpine Trail 2, Ribble 725, Cube Stereo 160

Height: 175cm