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Review: LoamLab Counterpunch Hand Protecting Grips

Nov 9, 2023 at 22:27
by Eric Olsen  
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What are these, bar ends for ants?

LoamLab is a Squamish based company run by industry veteran Mark Haimes. The purpose of the Counterpunch is to protect your fifth metacarpal, AKA your pinky, from impacts with trees and other narrow trail features. I wouldn't fault you for being skeptical of the LoamLab Counterpunch at first glance. But after a year of on-and-off testing I've found some real benefits to these metal doodads.
Details
• Weight: 68 grams per pair or 164 grams with grips.
• MSRP: $29 USD or $44 USD with grips
• Compatible with ODI dual clamp grips
• Works with other open-end grips
• More Info: LoamLab

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Installation

Installing the Counterpunch with LoamLab's own grips (or any open end grip) is simple. Slide the grip onto the bar. Slide the Counterpunch into the end of the handlebar making sure the flanges on the grip key into the endcap. Then tighten up the lockring and endcap to 2.5 and 5-6nm respectively. If you prefer a grip that comes with a closed end-cap then you'll have to cut the end off yourself.

This review is about the Counterpunch, but I want to touch on the LoamLabs grips because they designed to pair with the Counterpunch. LoamLab's own grips use a similar concept to OneUp's grips with cutouts in the inner plastic sleeve to allow rubber to contact the handlebar directly. The idea being that this will provide a similar feel to push-on grips. Overall, the LoamLab grips offered great integration with the Counterpunch. The shape was fine but the grip lacked texture and didn't work that well when wet. The LoamLab grips are also some of the shortest grips I've seen. This makes sense, though, because with the Counterpunch you tend to use only the outer end of the grip, so why not make the grip shorter? For me the length was not an issue as much as the lack of soft rubber and texture. I chose to cut the ends off a worn pair of Burgtec grips I had laying around.

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I liked the Counterpunch, but opted to switch back to my trusty Burgtec grips after a few months on the LoamLabs.

Feel

LoamLab touts performance benefits and states "As soon as testing began, several riders reported improved control, and declared it the top reason to run them." While I did notice my hands pressing into the bar ends slightly, I wouldn't say that I felt a massive change in control. I've personally never had my hand slip off the end of the handlebar, and I don't tend to push or pull on my handlebars in that direction so I didn't feel any benefits in terms of control. For the most part I didn't feel the Counterpunch at all, and could focus on riding my bike as normal. Which is exactly what I had hoped for.

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The Counterpunch doesn't change the aesthetic of your bike like a full blown hand guard

Protection

The main purpose of the Counterpunch is to protect your pinkies from trees. Do they deliver? Short answer: Yes. I smashed them into all sorts of rocks and trees over the past year and they have protected my pinkies admirably. I would recommend these to anyone who wants cheap insurance for their pinky fingers. I also noticed that, unlike a rubber endcap, the curved metal of the Counterpunch does tend to slide off trees slightly easier. Glancing off a tree with the Counterpunch is ever so slightly "slipperier" feeling than with a standard rubber grip. More of a "click" instead of a "thwack." All that being said, this isn't a magical product that lets you ride through anything. Neither are handguards.

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Comment below if you have pinky scars.


How do they compare to handguards?

Obviously this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. The Counterpunch and handguards have quite a different form-factor, but their goals are roughly the same. To protect your hands.

Hitting a tree is still hitting a tree. A plastic shield or small hook of metal can only do so much. I think the Counterpunch does a good job of giving you a better chance of getting away with clipping a tree, which can feel like a huge benefit if you're regularly cutting it close on tight sections of trail. Handguards don't specifically protect your pinky, and in my experience they don't protect your pinky as well as the Counterpunch. If your pinkies look anything like mine, or you've broken your metacarpal before, these might be a good product for you.

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Unlike handguards the Counterpunch does not protect your brake levers

Handguards offer protection from bushes and thorns as well as crash protection for your brake levers. On the flip side, I've bent and broken multiple handguards while the Counterpunch seem pretty much indestructible. Handguards may protect your brake levers but they tend to be sacrificial. Pair this with the fact that most handguards are twice the price of the Counterpunch and the Counterpunch definitely wins in terms of value. It's also worth noting the crash that broke my brake lever was quite violent and I have a feeling handguards might not have made a difference.

My assessment is that the Counterpunch bar ends are better for clipping trees and handguards are better for bashing bushes. For the sake of science I tried both simultaneously at TranSierra Norte because I figured I would encounter both situations over the course of that race. I did. After I got over the look, I was happy to find that I was able to reap the benefits of both products simultaneously. The Counterpunch saved my pinkies multiple times on the tight forested stages and the hand guards worked well to fend off cactus on the lower elevation desert stages. If it works who cares if it looks a bit weird?

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Doubled up on the doodads

I became particularly aware of the benefits of both the Counterpunch and the handguards when I returned from my trip and rode my other bike without new-fangled hand protection. As is often the case with product testing, you don't realize how much of a difference the product makes until you go without it. In this case I realized I was used to clipping trees and smashing my hands through thorn bushes with much less consequence. I was quickly reminded that both of those things hurt without added protection. I'd say both the Counterpunch and handguards are effective. The Counterpunch gives a big benefit on tight trails, while the handguards give a benefit on overgrown trails, albeit this benefit is less significant especially if you wear thicker gloves. It's honestly nice to have both when things get really weird.

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The MTB equivalent of barkbusters? Regardless there's still nothing on the market that protects my gnome. Sorry buddy.

Durability

The Counterpunch have held up well, displaying only a light patina of scratches to let me know it's doing its job. The internal expanding mechanism seems tough and shows no sign of coming loose or ripping out. I'd guess the Counterpunch even adds a bit of durability to the ends of your fancy carbon handlebar. For those who are skeptical, LoamLab has a video involving a hammer that shows the Counterpunch bending with no sign of damage to a carbon bar.


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Pros

+ Works as advertised and protects your pinkies from harsh impacts

+ High quality and reasonable price compared to handguards

+ Easy to install with open end grips

Cons

- Requires very mild hacking to work with closed end grips

- Doesn't offer brake protection like handguards


Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe LoamLab Counterpunch is a unique product that works as advertised. They have protected my fingers from countless trees and the rest of the time I forget I have them installed. They may not protect brake levers like a handguard but they offer simplicity, superior durability, work better to protect your fingers, and probably won't attract as much heckling from your riding buddies. The Counterpunch seems like cheap insurance when compared to a broken pinky and has earned a spot in my parts rotation, especially for enduro racing.Eric Olsen


Author Info:
ericolsen avatar

Member since Aug 10, 2014
14 articles

209 Comments
  • 318 3
 If you make them longer, and tubular, you could rest your hands on them or pull on them while going uphill. Does anyone make something like that?
  • 139 4
 shhh... delete your comment and file for a patent. this will be the next big thing. i could see this working well on flat bar gravel bikes
  • 46 0
 Bring back X-lite and Onza!
  • 42 0
 @korev: purple ano too?
  • 5 214
flag MyGirlsRock (Nov 17, 2023 at 9:04) (Below Threshold)
 Are you being sarcastic or for real? They had things like that since like the '80s and they fell deep out of favour due to people crashing and impaling themselves on them.
  • 130 1
 @MyGirlsRock: whoooosssshhhhhhh
  • 2 4
 Google "horn grips" Big Grin
  • 13 3
 Bar ends are barred. The End.
  • 6 9
 @MyGirlsRock: didn’t get your coffee yet or did you forget your adderall?
  • 7 0
 Somewhat related, I tried these 'bike togs' for locking my thumb over. On technical sections they're useless IMO, but on long transfers/logging road climbs I think they're genuinely awesome. togs.com
  • 21 0
 @mior: this might be the biggest Whoosh! on PB This year.
  • 5 0
 @HankHank: inner bar ends however...
  • 5 0
 @mior: i went all in with purple ano on my gravel bike. figured if I am going to mimic that era, gotta go all in.
  • 7 0
 @adrennan: skinwall tires? useless contraptions? linkage forks?
  • 9 0
 @yoobee: google «bell ends». Whoops typo!
  • 7 0
 Bar ends are cool again. The 20-30 year cycle of trends is real.
  • 1 0
 @alexhyland: they can’t be bar ends if they aren’t on the end surely? Bar inners maybe???
  • 6 0
 Ned Overend was ahead of the game when he won the 1990 xc worlds with a set of profile durango xc bars
  • 2 0
 Also just waiting to spin round in an impact and destroy your knee cap as happened to a friend with his old x-lite stubbies...
  • 1 2
 for the love of christ, no
  • 7 0
 @korev: Control Tech!
  • 1 0
 @mior: sorry neg by mistake.
But yeah we will see.
  • 1 0
 @SonofBovril: hey man, it's what they are calling them.

Really I wanted to use that Drake meme with bar ends/inner bar ends.
  • 1 0
 hah, this is protection!

www.pinkbike.com/photo/25885613


nobody will even talk to you...
  • 1 0
 @yoobee: The joke flew over your head mate.
Also, they are usually called 'bar ends'.
  • 1 0
 @mior: lol my exact setup. i get called out all the time for my sick knurled stubbies
  • 1 0
 those are on dirt bike now, wrap around guards. i use them on my 450RX
  • 1 0
 @WhateverBikes: First, you misunderstood my smiley. Second, a horn grip is not a bar end. You don't have a belittlement for "horn" in english, unfortunately. "Squirrel" or "Croissant" do not really match. Here we say "Hörnchen".
  • 1 0
 @bunjiman82: my kneecap is protected by a pad, and from the end they are actually slightly bigger than the normal end of a bar, a curved, so slide off your knees better
  • 1 0
 @nedersotan: I'm not sure they really slide off your knees any better than an X-Lite stubby but maybe. Also not sure that the pads would've saved my mates knee as the bars spun and he landed with the weight of his knee into the bar end as he hit the deck.
  • 1 0
 @iffy: Yes, that's the belly scratcher.
  • 94 12
 They look like a hook designed to catch something and throw you down more violently.
  • 14 1
 Better than a cut on the pinky???
  • 3 1
 Back in the 90s I had an Onza barend get caught in some heather, I hit the ground incredibly hard and was genuinely happy I didn't break any bones...
  • 4 0
 Yeah I would wonder about an extended version (continuing the curve inward over the pinky) to have less risk of snagging the thing when turning the bars in tight circumstances. In my early teens we all had "bull horns" (early-mid 90's...geez I feel old)... often metallic purple or blue haha. I remember liking the hand positions when climbing but do remember OTBing (the 71 degree HT angles of the era made it a far more common occurrence) and having them tear up by thighs and legs (or once or twice the smashing the groin)... or stomach if ejected into the bars. Hence not recommending a forward extension. A low profile curve over the pinky could dual purpose of protection and additional grip options...
  • 4 0
 @korev: we gotta be careful about the locklear around here...
  • 18 3
 I snagged a small tree on a narrow trail when racing with these last year. It stopped me cold; my bars instantly ripped out of my hands. Hardest over-the-bars fall in years! Almost 12 months later I can still feel it. The pinkie protection they offer is not even remotely worth the risk.
  • 3 3
 And after throwing you down you will get impaled by them. No thanks.
  • 7 0
 @snl1200: why can’t they make one that each finger slips i to, like brass knuckles??? Imagine the control you’d get!!!
  • 2 2
 @snl1200: nah man if you get spit out the front and your pinky gets caught on a more curved and protective, this thing, you'll brake your pinky or tear some tendons. I'd rather just ride with my hand 3-5mm more inboard
  • 4 0
 @jeffhenc: I don't understand how you can hook anything bigger than a finger with them in any meaningful way? Surely the gap is filled with pinkie finger, meaning you'd have just smashed your hand into said tree?
  • 5 1
 Doesn't occur in real riding scenarios. I thought it might, but save for ferns and pliable foliage which don't truly pull the bars anyhow, it's a non-issue.
  • 6 1
 @jeffhenc: faced the same; 1st ride, hit a rather small tree, counterpunch hooked in.. thumb surgery from ripping the bar out of the hand and hard otb.. a pair used only for 500m for free in switzerland…
  • 7 0
 @jeffhenc: If you hit a small tree far enough into your bars to snag these... I'm pretty sure you would have gone down no matter what.
  • 2 1
 @islandforlife: Not so sure about that. Last race I hit a tree with the bars edge. Was enough to rip the plastic cover and the ruber away but I didnt lose control despite full gaz.
  • 2 0
 I wonder if they could be pointed in slightly more and then have a sprung hinge mechanism so that if they hit something straight on (like a tree) they still take the impact, but if they get hooked they bend back and so unsnag.
  • 5 0
 @Serpentras: that’s exactly what I’m saying, in that case, these would have pushed you off the tree. To actually catch a small tree on these it would have had to hit mid grip… which would probably take you down no matter what.

The comment is also very suspect. If you’ve ever put a hand on these, your hand fills the space and the counterpunch feels like an extension of your hand. There’s nothing for anything to “catch” on.
  • 3 0
 @islandforlife: that's literally my thoughts. Surely your hand is in the way of anything being caught. Only thing I see is are they being run with long grips and leaving an inch between the pinkie and bar end? Leaving a roughly inch by inch gap that stuff can get stuck in? I literally have my hand almost overhanging the outside of my grip, but I do have bear paws.
  • 1 1
 The Mountainbike industry wishes it were as cool as motocross....
  • 2 1
 @FuzzyL: A friend caught (landed on) their bar end in the gut and tore her liver nearly in half. Luckily the liver can handle that but I’ve looked for soft ended grips since. At least no sharp metal lockring because that’s just asking for it, imo.
  • 1 1
 @islandforlife: No space for anything to catch on..till you crash.
These bar-ends say: Yes, I have yet to ragdoll
  • 1 2
 @emptybe-er: What? You’re worried about what could potentially catch on these little counterpunches after you crash and are no longer on the bike??!!

Haha, that’s a lot of effort put into trying to not like something, lol.

But following your strange logic… maybe it’s better, maybe they’d catch a branch or tree and stop your bike from falling farther away from you or taking more damage.
  • 2 0
 @emptybe-er: Cedric Garcia falling on his brake lever, opening his femoral artery, and almost bleeding out trailside was the most terrifying thing I ever saw in the context of mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 @FuzzyL: it wasn't his brake lever, it was a rock at the side of the trail, or so I seem to remember
  • 2 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: It’s been more than 10 years, but I seem to remember that at the time someone around him said it was the lever.
Might have been something else, but a roch making that kind of cut, I can hardly imagine, and pictures from the crash site don’t seem to show many rocks: la1ere.francetvinfo.fr/image/LfvIb4OaTmgY2JzlwsSnAkjjgVg/600x400/outremer/2019/10/02/5d9498d2ba6fb_gracia.jpg
  • 1 2
 @islandforlife: Tell me you’re slow w/out telling me
  • 43 0
 I ride with brass knuckles on so this seems redundant.
  • 2 0
 But from now on, you could not only punch riders that hold you up with your brass knuckles, but also stab at them with your bar end…
  • 30 1
 Nice... looks handy
  • 4 0
 I shake my finger at you for this pun
  • 26 0
 carpal diem
  • 2 0
 Nailed it
  • 4 0
 @savagelake: somehow I can’t think of a good counterpun…
  • 4 0
 @FuzzyL: Don't worry, we'll give you a hand...
  • 29 2
 Don't know about trusting a review by someone who rides a gnome on top of his handlebar
  • 36 0
 I’m telling him you said that
  • 1 0
 Exactly! What's he thinking, giving a personalized touch to his mountain bike.
All mountain bikes should be long, slack, and any colour as long as it is dull grey or black. We wouldn't want anybody to stand out now, would we?
  • 2 0
 @WhateverBikes: Bar buddies are so 2010
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: Who cares.
If you like something, do/use/wear it. Mountain biking is not a fashion show or a popularity contest.
  • 1 0
 Fashion would be acceptable, nothing wrong with self- expression. Unfortunately, bar buddies are just an unhealthy cry for attention. They must be shunned.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: Or maybe he, you know, just likes it, and doesn't give a crap what you or anyone else think of it?
  • 1 0
 @WhateverBikes: That’s most disturbing.. You’re saying he has a bar buddy because he finds comfort or interest in whatever he has on his bar. Well then how come bar buddies are always purposefully ridiculous (and always cringey) and never something like a little photo of mom or something?
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: You are way overthinking it. Comfort or interest? I never said that.
What about just 'fun'?
What you call 'purposefully ridiculous' or 'cringy' someone else might just find funny or quirky.
Fair chance I find your bike boring and totally interchangeable with most other current day mountain bikes (slack and long and full suspension and a dull color), but you might feel it's the coolest bike out there.
  • 1 0
 @WhateverBikes: Fun? Quirky? How about seeking attention. It’s a bike, ride it. Nobody asked if you think you’re funny/quirky
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: You are rambling.
I did not say he put that thing on his handlebars because he thought that other people would find it funny or quirky. He put it there because HE thought it was funny/quirky.
Did you choose the color of your bike because you think other people would like it? Or did you just choose the color that YOU like?
  • 1 1
 @WhateverBikes: That’s exactly what I said, nobody cares if YOU think you’re quirky and funny. It’s clearly for attention.
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: I'm glad you're still thinking about this.
  • 1 0
 @ericolsen: I guess any lasting impression is a good one for a bar buddy enthusiast.
  • 20 1
 Love mine. Great innovation. I tend to ride further out on my bars now and really notice a control difference. I’ve also smashed trees and these slide of nicely avoiding damage to my pinkies. I’ve also hooked them too. I’d say that’s more my fault then anything. I enjoy the feel of the grips and feel no need to try a different brand at this time. They don’t break the bank either if you’re sceptical about trying them. I’m sure we’ve all spent lots on trying new mtb products. Happy trails everyone.
  • 7 0
 Love mine as well. Have them on both bikes. Have saved a few bar clips with trees.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: where did you get them from? I'm struggling to find them in the UK
  • 4 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: ended up ordering 3 pairs (2 for me and 1 for a mate) directly from LL. I've clipped my bars too many times so thought I would try them. They seem to work well.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: fair enough, what was delivery/customs like? Ive wanted them since first released, and I've got multiple mates who have broken their finger/knuckle who are also interested.
  • 1 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: wasn't bad from memory.

I run push grips so they work well as bar end caps as well.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: too late for my bent and broken pinky knuckles but these look fantastic, would they work with slip on grips? I’m hoping I could just use them as a bar end?
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I use push ons and the work well as end caps
  • 6 0
 I can give a 2-year review on mine. Love them. They have deflected me off several trees that were hungry for my pinkies. And they save me every time I wash out on wet, off-camber slab. You can just keep your hands on the bike and slide down the granite without grinding the skin off your fingers.
  • 3 0
 Love mine too. Saved my pinkie so many times and deflected off too many trees to count. I’ve been riding these for a couple years now.
  • 1 0
 Absolutely your fault for getting hooked by them. (you bought them) Seriously though, just don’t ever let go again, ok? Commit.
  • 18 0
 Solid looking product. Don't have much need for them...until that time I do.
  • 14 3
 My experience was that these snagged things and tore the bars from my hands and made me violently swerve, often stopping me in my tracks. Understand that with a hook at the end of your bars, you are going to snag, not glance off, unless you only snag the very tiny end or hit a really fat tree. That was my personal experience. Removed after 2 rides.
  • 1 0
 Seems cool but I can’t stand grips with 2 clamps
  • 10 0
 2 rides?! Jesus, how often do you clip trees? Haha
  • 1 0
 @Alexanz1: a bar tap or two every ride is typical for me.
  • 1 0
 I once asked a Kovarik about hurting my hands every time I hit a tree, he told me to stop hitting trees... made sense. Counterpunches work really well for what they are designed for, how often and where you hit trees is your own decision.
  • 3 0
 Is it possible that you installed them backwards?
  • 11 0
 Been running the Counterpunches on all my bikes for a few years now and they have saved my pinky many times. I have experienced a slight enhanced riding performance, as have other buddies riding them, as they seem to enhance the ability to initiate an aggressive lean in a corner and offer a more locked in feel. If you don't run your hand tight to the punch they can catch on alders or smaller trees but as advertised, they slide perfectly on close encounters with bigger trees. Have seen them send bark flying on a couple occasions.
  • 9 0
 Have these on all my bikes. Feel naked without them. Definitely protect the pinky which I've degloved in the past hitting trees. These things actually take chunks out of the tree! Worth it
  • 7 0
 I love these things as a reference point for where my hand sits. (Yes, a flanged grip will do that too). My pointer always lands on the brake lever sweet spot now, without thought or adjustment. I also feel like I'm holding the bar looser.

It also makes brushing a tree into a non event. I have not managed to get in a situation where it grabs instead of sliding, but I also don't ride super narrow trails much.
  • 2 0
 I like them for the reference point too and put them on all my bikes, the protection piece is just a bonus. With a little outward pressure I can ride with a more comfy looser grip on the bars, and when my hands get knocked around I can always get them back in the right spot without looking down. It's a much more effective marker than a flanged grip to me.
  • 6 0
 Purchased a couple directly from Mark as I was passing thru Squamish this past September. Been running the counterpunches since October. Haven't yet had to give them a real test. But really cool guy! He had a neck brace as he suffered a really bad crash a few months ago. So sending him healing vibes his way! Should also check out his other company, Khyber Racks, they make super beefy shuttling-style racks...
  • 8 0
 Why isn't there a product like the one pictured for motos that fully encloses your grip?
  • 14 2
 Because it would brake your arm of you go otb
  • 9 0
 Imagine going OTB and slide your hands into this "enclosure"... Eek
  • 3 1
 As others mentioned full bark buster style guards are not good if you have risks of going OTB, which is less of a thing on dirt bikes. Also they're more useful on motos since the chance of breaking a brake or clutch lever are a lot higher without them, sure you can carry spare levers but it's easier to just have the protection since if you break your clutch off good luck riding out. With an MTB it's more feasible to ride with one brake, and also you can always just walk out.
  • 1 0
 It should only mount with a flat flexible beam to the outside and rest to the inside. In case of a hit, it protects your hand. In case of such a crash, it flexes away.
  • 4 0
 @malca: basically everybody I know from my moto days has broken arms and wrists due to closed handguards.

No, I am kidding, noboby has had any problems with them.
  • 1 0
 I run Profile Design Stubby bar ends with Sendhit Handguards on both bikes. They are about as close to moto handguards as you can get on a mtn bike. I have not had a single issue with them, not matter how much the people in the other comments swear you will rip your hand off just for trying it. 30+ years of riding with short/straight bar ends on every bike...not one single issue. There is a whole thread going on about bar ends on another MTBR page right now...good timing on this review.
  • 1 0
 In the Seasons movie (from The Collective, now Anthill) Cam McCaul was using bars over his grips which would also enable him to rotate his bike with his wrists or lower arms. It kind of worried me too back then about what could happen if he had to bail over the front of the bike or just crash out whilst still holding the bars. I don't know how common that setup was and whether they caused any injuries.
  • 6 0
 I tried these and they offer protection as described
HOWEVER the added width to your bars (12mm total) can be a nuisance if your riding in Alpine etc in which the trail - tree width is narrow (760-820mm).
  • 2 0
 That’s why I always ride with a Silke saw in a pack. Trail maintenance. Preventative measures.
  • 4 0
 I've been riding with these for about a year. They have this magic way of just sliding around a tree when you get those slight contacts that would normally twist your bar while crushing your pinkie. They do add about a centimeter on each end, so you are more likely to need them unless you further trim your bars.
  • 4 0
 Used them with the loam lab grips but did not love the grips so took the grips and counterpunch off. Two rides later I broke my pinky FML. Was out for 7 months after surgery and painful PT and still not 100% a year out.

Have since opened up the ends of my preferred grips and put the counterpunches back on.
  • 5 2
 I just scootch my hands in an inch when I'm heading into the tight trees........ I don't want to go back to 1994 with my bar ends, that means I would need to get flat bars because we all know, you can't put bar ends on riser bars. You'd get shunned 30 years ago for that kind of fashion violation.
  • 3 0
 Where I live and ride its super tight trees and bushes everywhere, and I regularly smash my hands over the 5th MCP joint in particular. I got these, and I do think I have had significantly fewer painful hand impacts since, so I do think they work, more than you might expect given their diminutive appearance. You do need to make sure your hands are right up against them though….I have hooked these on bushes in particular, when I have left a gap between my hand and the counterpunch. For the price, for those regularly riding in tight trees I think they are worth it. I don’t see much of a point if you ride in wide open spaces.
  • 4 0
 I love these. I use them with a set of Acerbis handguards and I can bounce off trunks and still earn a living to buy more bike parts.....
  • 4 0
 They work great.
I’ve had them for about three months now.
They are short enough that if you hit anything they slide, instead of getting hooked up.
  • 2 0
 Been using these for a few years now and they have saved me from a number of likely broken fingers. So…I still have them on all my bikes. If you are a thin grip rider, the grips are awesome, these are inexpensive….like the least expensive, best cockpit upgrade you can make.
  • 2 0
 I have these, highly recommended if your trails have lots of trees. They have also saved my hands sliding into an embankment, you know, one of those crashes that you are positive you will save it & don't let go of the bars until you are laying on the ground.
  • 2 0
 Lots of comments on this article but I have to say that I have these on my suspension bike and am thinking of getting a second set for my hard tail. I agree with the points Dario made. They do seem to glance of rocks and trees better than just a blunt end of a regular grip and I've had no issue with brush and such snagging, which I thought might be an issue. This next point may get me a million down votes but I do find they give me a nice second hand position for climbing. (I didn't say bar end) Where I live we climb a lot of long steep fire roads and having that little stub out there to hook your pinky finger under and rotate your hand angle is quite nice as a second climbing position. I like these so much I'm probably going to order a second set for my hard tail.
  • 3 0
 @NealWood Cheers! I agree with the second hand position. I find myself resting my palms on them and wrapping my fingers around as well.

Just a heads up that I’m not Dario. We were roommates at one point though!
  • 2 0
 I’m in the same boat as you and use them for different hand positions while climbing. Have had these on my fully for the last 2 years and they have been great. Saved my pinky knuckles lots of times and yes, they do glance off trees.

For folks getting bucked off bars and hooking them, I wonder if they are not taking advantage of sliding their pinky right up against the loam levers, leaving a gap to snag. I’ve trimmed my bars slightly when I added mine. Perfection.

When I’m riding in new places, I don’t have the luxury of knowing every single tree and tight spot. These let me ride a bit faster and provide some hand insurance. Have saved at least one road trip from sitting on the sidelines with a busted up finger.
  • 1 0
 Hey never noticed you had them! Got mine two years ago after breaking my pinkie, and also quite like them for climbing Smile
  • 2 0
 Been using them for a year and love them. They also protect your grips when you crash as well instead of tearing them up on the ends. I ride in a lot of narrow trails and has saved me a few times. I do strongly as the installing says to be careful when install. I was very careful and still manage to screw up one of the ends. Luckily you can flip the metal insert to the other side. It is a very soft metal they use for the insert.
  • 3 2
 Label them as climbing aids for a lower price and nobody buys them.... label them as hand guards for more money and they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. That they're basically identical shape and size to some of the short bar ends already out there is obviously just a coincidence.
  • 3 0
 While I don't fault you for a little healthy cynicism, these are best set up parallel to the ground and holding onto them is possible, but not really comfortable.
  • 1 0
 there's not enough to grab for it to be a practical climbing aid...
  • 1 0
 @mattmatthew: there's enough to hook your thumb as you move your palm to the edge of the bar which is all you need to be a climbing aid.
  • 1 0
 @deeeight: i have a set on my bike and there's not enough there to call it a bar end.
  • 5 1
 in 18years of mtb...one of the worst injuries I saw..made by one of these little horns
  • 6 0
 details? I've run these in the past and didn't have any close calls - but curious how it went down for you/your acquaintance.
  • 3 0
 I would also like to hear this story… proof or it didn’t happen as they say on Reddit or whatever
  • 5 0
 Get your pinkies removed and avoid the whole issue (like wisdom teeth)
  • 2 0
 Pinkies: the appendix of fingers
  • 2 1
 Pinkie and ring finger are the gripping digits. Pointer and middle are the dexterity digits. Think about what you hold on with while grabbing a handful of brake
  • 2 1
 Bar ends sucked because they would hook/spit the rider. These will do the same. I guess if you’re building a bike with reinterpretations of past bad ideas (5dev instead of AC cranks, i9 instead of Ringle hubs and stems) might as well add MORE bad performance.
  • 1 0
 the bar ends with the dog leg didn't hook anything......I think if some creative person used a similar design, slimmed them way down so they're not tubular (to the max), there might be some real hand protection
  • 2 0
 This is an assumption you're making. I'm sure it's possible to hook them if you hit a tree far enough over, but at that point you would have been spit out the front without them too. In my actual experience, they deflect quite nicely in the more common scenario, barely skimming a trunk. They do snag low foliage, it has never caused a problem for me though
  • 1 0
 not in 30+ years riding with bar ends for me. People need to learn to ride the trails properly and not go into the brush...and if your hand is snug against the bar end, it won't snag any more than just your hand. Profile Design Stubby has been one of my favorite accessories for as long as I can remember.
  • 1 0
 I really don't know why there aren't the mtb equivalent of 'barkbusters', as the current mtb handguards don't do much other than keep the breeze off your gloves. All you'd really need is a modern slimmed down take on bar-end mounted 'bar ends' style tree bashers (remember the 80s-90's?)
  • 5 0
 It's a great component. Try before you judge
  • 1 0
 It looks like it makes 780mm bars 800mm without increasing grip width. I rather not hit my bars than run a part that makes it hit more often, even if you're usually ok when it does. I'm guessing if you clip something hard enough that you would've clipped with narrower bars, then that tip is grabbing rather than deflecting, and you're along for the ride regardless. The contact patch argument is fully valid tho.
  • 1 0
 Imagine if someone invented a device that instead of your bar end hitting the tree and branches and you fighting to regain control, it actually grabs the bars and wrenches them around, sending you catapulting. You can actually buy that now.
  • 1 0
 Is anyone riding with ESI silicone grips and these things? If so, do they offer enough protection to stop the grips from damaging at crashes?
I loved the feel of my super chunkies, but couldn't get over their short life expectancy.
  • 1 0
 I've gone back to rubber grips, but I used to run ODI outer clamps for that purpose with good results. These should work well too.
  • 2 0
 Sounds like a lot of people have gotten way more injured with them and way more injured without them, conclusion- don’t ride near trees, if riding near trees, have narrow handlebars.
  • 1 0
 My experience is that they *do** tend to get pulled out. I really like them but stopped running them after losing two in crashes.

Both crashes were my fault and both times I could have spent more time looking for the missing pieces, but I've stopped running them because at $30 per crash (plus international shipping), the cost was adding up.

They definitely saved my pinkies a time or two, but I also left a lot of trash on the mountain side as a result.

As a prebut, I torqued them correctly and avoided the urge to over torque them out of fear that they might crack a carbon bar. If I was running an alloy bar, I might be more willing to tighten them significantly more.
  • 5 1
 They need to be at least three times this big.........
  • 3 0
 "That's what she said."
  • 2 0
 I did not realize I have pinky scars until I read this article, turns out both my pinkies have scars. Guess I could use these.
  • 3 0
 Never will there be an end to crap mountain bikers want to attach to their bodies or bikes.
  • 1 0
 When I had a bar, that was 10mm longer than before I started hitting trees with the bar ends. With a product that adds a couple of Millimeter, don´t you intensify the problem you wanted to solve?!
  • 5 2
 Cool a new way to Impale myself during a crash!
  • 1 0
 Good idea?
Just thinking about how many things these will catch on going from the bike hung up in the shed to the trail head....
  • 1 0
 I’ve also run these this season and as a constant tree tagger, they definitely have saved my pinkies a few times… both in carbon and alloy bars with no problems.
  • 2 0
 These are great for those of us in the mature demographic who struggle with width perception
  • 1 0
 I have some of these if anyone wants em. I actually like ‘em just changed grips out and have yet to install again. And yes, I have acquired pinkie scars since all of this.
  • 2 0
 Cut your bars down and you’ll be further away from trees! Problem solved, costs nothing but a little time.
  • 3 4
 Posts like these, and especially the comments always amuse me.

Look how far these better, super capable bikes have brought the sport! You now need a bike park to provide trails that are actually fun on these machines, where you can then ride at breakneck speeds and continuously on the edge of your skill level, dressed up in full face helmets, body armor and knee protectors. But damn those trees standing in the way of you schralping through every banked turn. There must be some protection from that, right?

Anyway, I wish you people fun with that experience, while I grab my 1994 full rigid mtb and hit the local trail dressed in whatever clothes I feel like, for a fun loop with my mate, without entry fees and lift cue's, just a few hours of physically active and reasonably safe fun, good times.
  • 2 1
 I see these becoming a thing, with multiple manufacturers making them in the future.
  • 2 0
 I checked. Yep have pinky scars.
  • 1 0
 given how everything posted on pb is priced lately is it bad I half expected these to cost $200? lol
  • 2 0
 Jank components version???
  • 1 3
 I fail to see the situation where these help. I'vd drawn out the vectors like a good nerd. When does an impact come in directly from the side? The hooks seem way too small to help with hitting a tree. And don't these make your bars wider which just increases tree strikes?
  • 3 0
 The end of the bar slides into it, like any dual clamp grip. Think of the hook as effectively narrowing the bar where it would hit the tree
  • 2 1
 Those are literally just togs on the other side of the grip, the logo even looks identical.
  • 3 1
 Could they be mounted on a Saddlespur Seat? Asking for a friend.
  • 1 0
 The carbon wrapped aluminum Bull bars from the og nukeproof were the best. So durable and cool looking.
  • 2 0
 Very cool. I’d try these. Seem like a good idea.
  • 1 0
 Wonder if they stiffen the bars. Everyone is trying to engineer in dampening on these 35mm bars
  • 1 0
 I was wondering where I could get these. But I'm also worried about puncturing myself with them.
  • 1 0
 Ergon grips ... stable hand position and several protection options. Been riding them for years.
  • 3 1
 Ah, another solution to problem that doesn’t exist.love it.
  • 1 0
 brining dirt bike parts to MTB, i have something similar on my Enduro MX bike.
  • 1 0
 I used something like this in the 90's, would catch branches and twist the bar out.
  • 1 0
 I'd like to see them offered in a raw/polished colourway so they don't look all scratched after hitting trees with them
  • 1 0
 those are cool - may try them out

what saw guide is that?
  • 4 0
 Looks like the Park SG-6
  • 3 0
 @showmethemountains: Doesn't have the same catchyness as 'Looks like a session'.
  • 1 1
 Full coverage or nothing for me. Seems like this is a limb hook waiting to catch a bar and send you to the ground.
  • 7 0
 yeah and disc brake rotors are basically saws that will cut your legs open if you ever have a crash
  • 2 0
 @twonsarelli: happened to my friends cousin
  • 2 3
 I’d like something like this, but maybe long enough I could put my hands on them to give me different hand choices for long climbs that make my elbows hurt.
  • 3 0
 I've run them for a couple years, and you can actually hook your thumbs on them to switch up grips while climbing boring fire roads.
  • 1 0
 Profile Design Stubby. These counterpunches are too small and uncomfortable to work effectively as a "bar end" for hand position, leverage, etc...
  • 1 0
 I always wanted the cut welded Ti bar ends from Onza....
  • 1 0
 Love that these are reasonably priced.
  • 1 0
 Probably too heavy for my ultralite enduro build but they look sick
  • 1 0
 End Cap to hook anything your close to, I need that!
  • 1 0
 They could be great levers in a XC race to pull out opponents ribs!
  • 1 0
 I got some and pulled them off of the grips to run on my moto, work great!
  • 1 0
 They need to be at least... 3 times bigger than this!
  • 1 0
 Pinky scars? I've had a compass hinge. Those who know, know.
  • 1 0
 That’s one tough gnome!
  • 1 0
 These do not fit on cut down (760mm) deity carbon bars
  • 1 0
 I've broken a knuckle off a tree. I wish them luck!
  • 3 4
 100% this thing would grab some raspberry brambles and turn my bars 90 degrees. I don't think they're for me.
  • 1 2
 Hmm...does it mess with hand placement and pressure? Feels like these would get in the way.
  • 1 0
 these and more traditional bar ends help a ton with hand placement and pressure. I have much more control running with bar ends than I do when I try buddys' bikes without them. And they don't get in the way of anything I've ridden...
  • 2 1
 Tree grabbers!
  • 1 1
 So it’s the end of the barends? Nnnnnope!
  • 2 3
 Hand guards look cool. These do not.
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