Touring cyclist Christopher Madden lives in Washington, D.C., and was out riding recently when he spotted another cyclist with two wooden balls mounted as grips on the ends of his bar end extensions. The cyclist told Madden -- who has had problems with numbness and soreness in the palms of his hands and fingers on longer rides -- that these wooden balls, about the size of tennis balls, allowed him to maintain a more comfortable hand position that had eliminated hand numbness and soreness for him.
This got Madden thinking about how he could replicate the set-up for himself, and while riding the next day, he found two tennis balls alongside the path. He took them home and voila! 45 minutes later, the tennis balls were installed on the bar extensions of his own bike.Get directions to install your own.
"The tennis balls are the perfect size and shape for a secure but relaxed and comfortable grip," says Madden. "Plus, there are many different comfortable grip positions as I rotate my hands and wrists around the tennis balls. I do most of my riding with a relaxed grip on the tennis balls and only drop back to the bars when I need to brake or shift."
Other Positive Features of this Set-Up
Madden has since ridden over 150 miles with the new grips and had no problems with the tennis balls coming loose. He noted the following other features about this set-up:
- Contact is spread over a large smooth curved area so you won't get any numbness or soreness.
- When you hit big bumps the tennis balls collapse because they have no air pressure in them but instantly spring back to provide excellent shock absorbsion.
- The surface of the balls don't get slippery when wet and provide for excellent gripping.
- In case of a crash the tennis balls will cushion any contact with the bar end extensions.