SQlab 411 Innerbarends and 311 Handlebars Long-Term Review

by Brian Mullin on August 14, 2017

The Innerbarends are highly functional, and the hand and arm relief and hand position alternatives they provide are greatly appreciated. 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 while bike riding, and have suffered swelling, numbness, and pain, especially with my right hand which is exasperated by thumb arthritis. I have been using their 311 handlebars and 411 Innerbarends on my full suspension Ibis Mojo HD3 for over a year now, and their ergonomic steering control system has alleviated some of my hand and wrist issues.

For further information refer to sq-lab.com

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411 Innerbarends

Their 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 $44.99. 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.

Innerbarend Impressions

Their installation was straightforward, they just slide on the bars and utilize a single bolt clamp that’s tightened with a standard 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. You do have to remove your grips to install them, so it’d be good to have a hinged clamp system to simplify taking them on and off.

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. I was also able to apply pressure backward on them to help with traction and control on steep climbs, where they offered some additional leverage for my hands.

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 and hand position alternatives they provide are greatly appreciated.

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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.

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 over extension 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 stretch 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. I have used other 16º handlebars such as SQlab’s excellent 30X carbon bars, but the addition of the 10mm stretch places you out over the stem slightly, and that offers a more comfortable positioning and improved damping properties.

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. I greatly appreciated the little bit of isolation the bars provided when thrashing through rugged terrain where they offered shock and vibration attenuation.

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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