Day 2 – Palatka to Gainesville

Riding mostly on nice trails today. Weather was perfect and bike trails were really scenic. Thanks to Tom Wells, a theoretical physics PhD running for congress, for talking my ear off on the way to Gainesville.

However, despite some good riding, this day will forever be stained by a brutal struggle between man and machine.

An instrument of Satan

This unassuming section of pipe was my downfall today. The Answer Hyper Bar End released in 1996 to mild approval from critics and mountain biking enthusiasts alike. I put a pair on my bike to give me some extra positions for my hands so I could sit more upright and alternate where my hands are to prevent nerve damage. I noticed today that my right bar end was slightly crooked and after spending 30 minutes trying to adjust it I realized it was beyond repair. All future pictures of my bike will have one handlebar extender.

Internal expansion mechanism. Screwing in the bolt causes the inside petals to expand and grip the inside of the handlebar tube.

Answer is now the only bar end maker using an internal wedge system to hold the bar end to the handlebar. Part of the reason why is the Answer wedge aluminum system weighs so much less than the previous steel systems. Another reason is that Answer cleverly designed their system to expand and grip the interior of the handlebar within an outer shell that surrounds the outside of the handlebar to enclose what ever expansion it undergoes. In this way even the thinnest of handlebar tubing walls are supported both internally and externally from the expansive nut of the bar end. The bar end has two major structural pieces, the wedge to grip assembly and the grip tubing.

There is a reason why Answer was the only manufacturer making bar ends like this, further analysis reveals that the internally expanding design is not “clever” but in fact has one fatal flaw: it is dumb and stupid. The petals do not expand inside the tube when the bolt is screwed in. The whole mechanism just freely rotates inside your handlebars, taunting you with squeaking sounds. I ended up throwing away the right extender, I’ll have to find some new ones when I can.

Anyways I made it to the motel just as it was getting dark, Gainesville seems like a cool town, got some curry from a Thai place that was pretty good.

Ride info


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