Why R170 handlebar plugs were fitted to the Tour de France winning bike

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Jonas Vingegaard’s bright yellow bar ends not only themed with his Jumbo-Visma sponsors, but served a very real protective function, too. (Photo: Cervelo)
Jonas Vingegaard’s bright yellow bar ends not only themed with his Jumbo-Visma sponsors, but served a very real protective function, too. (Photo: Cervelo)

A Tour de France winner rides with carbon-fibre everything on their bike. And Jonas Vingegaard’s winning Cervelo race bike is a collection of the best carbon-fibre cycling technology.

For all its structural strength, carbon-fibre has a weakness. It is immensely strong, but can be fragile to direct point-load impacts. In mountain biking, this is usually a rock strike on a composite frame, rim or handlebar.

In road cycling, specifically at the Tour de France, the risk is a flailing handlebar drop, impacting asphalt or pavement during a crash.

Even the world’s best riders get it wrong, and a seemingly mild crash can prove catastrophic if your composite drop handlebar cracks. With this in mind, the Jumbo-Visma team built their pro bikes with very cheap, but clever, bar end plugs - to prevent a handlebar crack disaster.

Tour de France 2022
Unlike most bar end plugs, which expand inside your handlebar, these have extrusions which go over the handlebar drops. (Photo: CloseTheGap)

Cheap pugs - to save expensive handlebars

Jonas Vingegaard and his teammates had their Cervelo Tour de France machines finished with CloseTheGap bar end plugs. Developed by Dutch industrial designers, these bar end plugs weigh only 8g a pair and are made from UV-stable injection-moulded plastic.

What makes the CloseTheGap bar end plugs so special? They prevent your expensive carbon-fibre handlebar from grinding down or cracking, at the drops, during a crash. Unlike most other bar end plugs, the CloseTheGap version features integrated scuff guards that wrap around your handlebar drops adding protection during a crash.

At only R170 a pair, the CloseTheGap bar end plugs are a great way to save your carbon-fibre road bike handlebar, which easily prices at a few thousand rands.

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