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This article is in the Features category, and was posted on 19/02/2003.

World's Lightest Barends (Author: Emil)

Hallo my name is Emil, and I live in Denmark. I work as a cabinet-marker and have for a long time thought about making parts for my mountainbike from wood. About 3 years ago I decided, that the easiest part to make had to be the barends. But it wasn't easy! My idea was to make barends being ergonomically correct, reasonably light and strong. I made a prototype to see if my idea for holding the barends to the handlebar would work. It worked, but I had a couple of problems. The barend wasn't strong enough when I fastened it on the handlebar and it started to crack. So I had to make it stronger. The other problem was, that no matter how hard I tightened the screw, the barends just wouldn't grip on the bar. I tried a lot of different thing to make it grip, but nothing worked. So I forgot the barends for a couple of years. Then last summer I got a carbon handlebar instead of the aluminium. I tried to put the barends on my new bar and it gripped! Then I started to shape it into the ergonomic shape I wanted. This is how it ended up looking (almost, I still have some small corrections to make on it).
The barend is made of beech wood, because it is strong, light and flexible, and mahogany - I put it in to get some colour in the barend. Here is a picture of the barend seen from the side.
And now to the most important thing about the barends. The weight! I told my friend Anders, (who writes here regularly about his Superlight and "homemade" chainrings, and he has helped me with the pictures), about my project. He was especially interested when the talk came to the weight. Back then (December '02) it weighed 30 grams with a steel screw. I knew that it could get a couple of grams lighter, by switching the screw for a titanium or alu screw I could save a couple of grams and I could shave a bit more wood of. Anders told me that the lightest barends AX-lightness carbon barends, that should weigh 55 grams for a pair. Now I knew that it would be possible for me to make the lightest barends in the world.
It might look a bit fragile on the picture, but it is really strong. When I try to squeeze it together without the screw in, it doesn't move a bit. So I think I can shave a bit more of it, without compromising with the strength. But the shape still has to be comfortable. Here it a picture of the inside of the barend.
Here it is on the scale. 24 grams with an aluminium screw. I think I can get the pair down to about 45 grams.
The barends are not done yet, so I haven't tried than on my bike. But in a couple of weeks I should be finished with the lightest barends. And I will return with the final product and a test of how they work, and if they are worth all the hours I have spend making them.

Thank you for reading this.
Emil



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