Nothing on a motorcycle is vestigial. You might not know what everything is and you may never see every single part on your motorcycle in its (or your) lifetime. You also learn all the fundamental operations of a motorcycle very early on. You learn that in some cases, your control inputs have multiple functions, and the same is true for certain parts of your motorcycle. Consider, then, the simple bar ends. What are they for? Where do they come from? Read on, and your questions shall be answered (well…except maybe for “Where do they come from?”).
Some motorcycles do not come with bar ends, so if you’re coming off a bike that does have them, you might feel a little naked. If you’re coming off a bike that doesn’t have them, you may like what you see, or you may be wondering why you suddenly have an extra inch or so of material extending from your grip. Bar ends serve the simple purpose of protection. If your handlebars are wide enough and/or your bike is narrow enough, then your handlebars are susceptible to some damage in a fall. In such a case, the bar ends will take the hit in place of other parts that might be more expensive to replace. Without the bar end, you could be looking at replacing your throttle tube, clip-on, or the entire handlebar if it is a one-piece unit. Bar ends are relatively inexpensive and offer tremendous protection as well as peace of mind for the low cost.
All internal combustion engines create vibration. Some more than others, but they all do. You’ll feel the most vibration coming out of single and twin cylinder engines. Four cylinder engines, by contrast, are quite smooth, though you might notice high frequency buzzing at higher engine speeds in some cases. Generally speaking, the more cylinders you have, the smoother your engine will feel. Engines, of course, are mounted to a rigid frame. A swiveling fork is attached to that frame, and your handlebars are somehow attached to that fork. Without getting too scientific, the engine’s vibration travels up through the frame and into the handlebars, which then experience what is known as “resonant frequency.” In a nutshell, bar ends help to isolate, or at least minimize the frequency as it is transferred up through the engine. They do this because they are weighted, but we are talking ounces/grams, so there’s no need to worry about any detriment to your ability to steer smoothly. Trust their design, and all will be well.
A Hint of Style
With bar ends, you have the bonus of adding a little of your signature flair to your motorcycle. Choose from a variety of colours, chrome, or a carbon fiber look to match what suits you. Stylistically speaking, if you like spikes, skulls, or the six-shooter motif, then those options are available to you. Some bar ends come in two pieces: a weighted cylinder plus a nylon cap. Others are one-piece items. Essentially, you can choose from a whole smorgasbord of bar ends to suit your taste as well as your practical needs.
So there is your quick look at motorcycle bar ends. We are lucky that certain problems have simple, yet effective solutions. Inexpensive, too. Bar ends definitely fit that description, so install them and ride on in confidence.