Review – SQlab 311 Handlebars, 411 Innerbarends and 711 SY Grips

by Brian Mullin on August 23, 2016

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The new Innerbarends are wicked cool and highly functional, and the hand and arm relief they provide are greatly appreciated. The 711 SY Grips offer good ergonomics due to their boxy shape and wavy contours and three density rubber, and the wings provide superb Ulnar nerve comfort. The 311 handlebars provide excellent ergonomics and a comfortable and natural hand orientation, along with a functional combination of back, forward and up sweep, and a soothing blend of rigidity and damping.

SQlab produces ergonomic bike products, including saddles, grips, pedals, and handlebars. I have been having some severe issues with my hands lately while bike riding, and have suffered swelling, numbness and pain in the right hand. To get a complete impression of SQlab’s ergonomic steering control system and how their product suite might alleviate my issues, I installed their 311 handlebars, 411 Innerbarends and 711 SY grips on my full suspension Ibis Mojo HD3.

For further information refer to sq-lab.com

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411 Innerbarends

Their new Innerbarends or ‘Inwards mounted bar ends’ are innovative and unique and were designed to be positioned inwards of the grips. The Innerbarends are made from fiber reinforced plastic, have a single clamp bolt design and weigh 102 grams for the pair and retail for $49.99. By moving your hands inwards, your elbows get positioned into the torso, and your upper body gets stretched mildly forward for improved ergonomics and biomechanical advantage and decreased hand fatigue. The relaxed elbow and natural hand position provide relief for the muscles in the arms, shoulders, back and hands. Bar grips help alleviate stress by providing multiple hand positions on the handlebars and by just offering the ability to move things around while riding.

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Innerbarend Impressions

I had first seen the SQlab Innerbarends at Sea Otter this year and was highly intrigued with their design and was even more keen to try a set out when my hand issues became painful. Their installation was straightforward, they just slide on the bars and utilize a single bolt clamp that’s tightened with a typical 5mm hex key. I tilted them fairly far forward since that felt the most comfortable to me during use, even while just poking around in the driveway.

The Innerbarends provided additional leverage and positioning when using wide handlebars, and they resided just inwards from the standard hand grip locations. This setup lets me pistol grip the Innerbarends while I rested my outer palm on the padded inner portion of the grips, which provided some excellent comfort to the Ulnar nerve. Allowing an alteration of how the bars are held offered muscle relief for the hands, arms, shoulders, neck and back and were advantageous for fire roads, flat trails, mellow climbs and long days in the saddle. The Innerbarends offered a hand positioning that felt very natural and ergonomic, and it helped with hand numbness and tingling, and the combination of being able to move my hands around on the bars along with pulling the elbows towards the torso provided additional comfort and decreased fatigue. They felt stable while steering since they sat far enough outward without feeling wobbly or tippy. I was able to brake without any issues, though it was only light braking and wasn’t useful for anything technical or abrupt. I was personally never a fan of regular bar ends since I never liked having things sticking out from by bikes handlebars, where they could catch on branches and prevented my hands from smoothly moving outwards. The Innerbarends alleviates any of those complaints, yet they still provided leveraging abilities, comfort and allowed hand positioning alterations.

The Innerbarends are wicked cool and highly functional, and the hand and arm relief they provide are greatly appreciated.

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711 SY Grips

The highly functional and ergonomic grips utilize advanced materials and designs and shapes, to fit the hand as naturally as possible for increased comfort and decreased hand issues.

The ergonomic design has a profile that is cut square on the front and bottom to emulate the boxy shape of the fingers when they grip, and the grip has smoothly shaped undulating waves throughout its body to fit the hands naturally. The outer relief wings have a significant surface area and a lowered position to optimize the pressure distribution to the Ulnar nerve. They use three different densities of rubber which help augment the comfort and damping properties of the grip. The grips synergy provided a secure hold and improved comfort and maximum control. The clamp uses a single Syntace lock-on bolt design for security, and the base material utilizes a fiber reinforced plastic for strength. It comes in three diameters, small (120 grams), medium (138 grams) and large (156 grams) to fit any hand shape and size, and they retail for $29.99.

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Grip Impressions

The grips were simple to install and used a stout single bolt clamp on the outside that’s tightened with a 5mm hex key. Although they felt like I had initially rotated them properly, it took some trial and error out on the trail to get them tuned properly since the wings need to sit in a particular location to stabilize your Ulnar nerve and keep your wrists comfortably propped up. Otherwise, the wrists hyperextend or drooped downward, both of which felt odd while using the handlebars. I ended up having the wings more horizontal than seemed proper at the outset, but that is what felt comfortable and functional while riding. During all my riding adventures they never slipped on me, even when hammering through gnarly terrain.

Once I had the grips correctly positioned they offered excellent comfort, stability, and control. The wings provided superb Ulnar nerve support, which alleviated some numbness and hands pain, and I felt a huge improvement with my hand problems. The wavy contours and boxy shape of the grips offered up an ergonomic grip and secure hold for the hands, which decreased fatigue, and improved leverage, and security. It does share a common problem with all winged grip designs; it limits your hand to a singular position due to its shape.

The 711 SY Grips offer excellent ergonomics due to their boxy shape and wavy contours and three density rubber, and the wings provide superb Ulnar nerve comfort.

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311 Handlebar

The ergonomic bars utilizes functional sweeps and rise and designs to improve comfort, optimize positioning and decrease hand fatigue and hand related issues.

The 7050 aluminum alloy bars have a prominent 16º backsweep and 50mm rise and 740mm width, a 31.8mm clamping diameter and weigh 290 grams and retail for $104.99. A unique design of the bars is that they also have a 10mm forward sweep and 5º upsweet, which keeps you up forward in a comfortable heads-up position. The backsweep prevents hyperextending the wrists and provides ergonomic hand and forearm and elbow positioning and reduces Carpal Tunnel Syndrome issues and hand numbness. They optimized the bars wall thickness for lightness and have ovalized the tubing between the stem clamp and the ends which offer a functional balance of rigidity and flex and vibration damping. The bars can be shortened to 700mm if desired and they also come in 15 and 25 rise options.

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Handlebar Impressions

The bars have broad sweeps and a high rise so after performing some seated tuning in my home shop; they felt the most comfortable with a slightly downward tilt towards the rear of the bike. That rotation created a natural fit for my hands, without any overextension or odd contortions of the wrists. Although they have a 50mm rise and a decent 740mm width, the combination of the 16º backsweep and a 10mm forward sweep and 5º upsweet makes them more of an Alternative or Alt-Bar than an All Mountain bar. I found the sweep and rise extremely comfortable and easy to get used to, without any hand or wrist distress.

The bars have a nice beaded finish and so far don’t seem to scratch, even after installing multiple pieces of gear on and off the bikes while doing all the control system setups. The tubings ovality between the stem clamp and grips offered an interesting blend of rigidity, damping and a touch of flex, and this balance provided a welcome softening to rough trails without feeling sloppy.

The 311 Handlebars offer excellent ergonomics and a comfortable and natural hand orientation, along with a functional combination of back, forward and up sweep, and a soothing blend of rigidity and damping.

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