A 10€ CloseTheGap bar plug set saved the Tour winner’s carbon handlebars in a crash

CloseTheGap’s new SaveMyBar road handlebar end plugs are like a low-cost insurance policy protecting your carbon bars in the event of a small scrape. They aren’t quite magical protection against all crash damage, but they proved themselves effective as protective scuff guards for the entire Team Jumbo-Visma squad of ’22 Tour winner Jonas Vingegaard in several falls and peloton pile-ups during this year’s Grand Tour.

And now, they can guard your bars too, for just 10€…

CloseTheGap SaveMyBar low-cost protective bar plugs

2023 cervelo s5 aero road bike tour de france team bikes and details

c. Cervélo

I’m admittedly a sucker for simple, low-cost innovations. Sure, fancy new bikes are cool and all… like Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard’s subtly reshaped Jumbo-Visma yellow custom Cervélo S5… but that thing sells for 13,000€! That’s nowhere near most of our road bike budgets.

v-wing handlebar on new cervelo s5 gets easier to adjust

all other photos c. CloseTheGap

But we were a bit curious when we spotted Vingegaard’s yellow bar plugs, and his teammates’ black plugs.

They cost just 10€ and serve a cool purpose.

CloseTheGap SaveMyBar bumpers, low-cost plastic protective anti-scrape carbon road handlebar plugs, Jumbo-Visma bar damage

Developed by CloseTheGap to “solve a specific request from the team mechanics”, the SaveMyBar plugs protect against “filing-down of carbon handlebars during racing crashes”. They specifically don’t try to prevent real handlebar crush or cracking crash damage (even a simply scraped bar should be inspected by an expert for real damage, before you think about re-wrapping new bartape anyway). But these scuff guards put plastic between carbon & asphalt so they get ground down the next time your bar meets the ground.

CloseTheGap SaveMyBar bumpers, low-cost plastic protective anti-scrape carbon road handlebar plugs, TdF Team Jumbo-Visma

That’s especially helpful on this Cervélo’s two-piece integrated full-carbon HB14 handlebar and V-stem combo cockpit. We haven’t seen an official pricetag for replacing it after a crash, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it between 300-500€. And now that everything is super-integrated, it also helps cut back on the time for a mechanic to remove a damaged bar, put a new one on, and completely reinstall all those hidden cables and hydraulic lines that need to now be re-bled.

How do they work?

How are a couple of ten euro pieces of plastic going to save your bar?

CloseTheGap SaveMyBar bumpers, low-cost plastic protective anti-scrape carbon road handlebar plugs, details

Their secret is that these handlebar end plugs go over your bar, not inside of it. It’s really simple actually, these plugs are more of a bumper that slips over the outside of your bar, with one tab facing to the side so that when you lay the bike over they contact the ground before your carbon bar does.

They are installed before your bar tape, and electrical-taped in-place so they won’t move. Then you need to carefully wrap the bar tape from bottom to top almost like normal. Pay attention and trim the start of the tape angled like you would finish (watch Jumbo-Visma’s mechanics guide you above) to get a clean finish up against the SaveMyBar plug’s raised bumper end. The plugs do make the tape about 3-4mm wider at the end of the bar, but no taller, so fit & ergonomic impact should be minimal.

CloseTheGap SaveMyBar – Tech details, pricing & availability

CloseTheGap SaveMyBar bumpers, low-cost plastic protective anti-scrape carbon road handlebar plugs, black or yellow

At 8g for the pair, the SaveMyBar bar plugs are made of high-impact, abrasion-resistant, UV-stable, injection-molded plastic to protect your carbon bars from road rash. That actually makes them even lighter than most internal expander-style bar plugs (but about the same as some basic push-in plastic plugs.)

For just 9.95€ you can pick them up now in either low-key black or Tour-winner Jumbo-Visma yellow from CloseTheGap directly or through one of their global retailers.

CloseTheGap.cc

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Ernest Fitzgerald
Ernest Fitzgerald
1 month ago

Better get a set now before Silca figures out how to put them in a jewel-encrusted varnished teak case and sell them for >$200.

Ken
Ken
1 month ago

Silca sealant is the worst !!!

edge
edge
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken

Silca sealant is the best!

Evan
Evan
1 month ago

Surely these can be made tear dropped shape to shave 0.2w for the low low price of €99

redbarn
redbarn
1 month ago

Ummmm, Benotto….

An203
An203
1 month ago
Reply to  redbarn

I see you are a man of culture!!

satanas
satanas
1 month ago

Freestyle BMX has had CrMo bar end plugs for ~30 years which do pretty much the same job, though perhaps more frequently…

Colin Lynch
Colin Lynch
1 month ago

That’s great: but aren’t these exactly the same as the blanks that come with Shimano DI2 bar-end charge ports? (Port on one side, blank on the other)…

Bgfd
Bgfd
1 month ago

Looks just like Shimano Di2 bar ends.