It’s long been customary for the maillot jaune to roll on to the Champs-Élysées resplendent in yellow from head to toe and tip to tail, and that was certainly the case for 2022 Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard. But one small detail has been largely ignored: his yellow handlebar plugs.
Vingegaard’s bar plugs weren’t just yellow; they’re a new design from the folks at CloseTheGap (makers of the neat HideMyBell computer mount), designed as a simple means of preventing abrasive damage to the ends of fragile carbon fiber handlebars during an inevitable crash. Unlike conventional plugs that are inserted inside the end of the handlebar, the SaveMyBar goes around the outside, offering up a sacrificial plastic layer to be ground down on the tarmac instead of the bar itself. In terms of form factor, it’s not entirely unlike Shimano’s EW-RS910 handlebar-end junction box, albeit made of a much thicker and more durable plastic.
“Any race mechanic loathes Grand Tour crashes, just for the handlebar replacement work and all-nighters they mean,” said Phillip Lucas of CloseTheGap exporter UpShift Sports. “They asked us to design a bar plug that would protect bars and reduce the need for full replacements — ideally, just retaping.”
The SaveMyBar obviously won’t do anything to prevent more severe impact damage — like a crack — and initial installation also requires a fresh roll of tape since they don’t just replace standard internal plugs. They’re also not exactly cheap for a couple of bits of molded plastic. But given the headaches of modern fully internal routing, preventing any sort of damage probably can’t hurt. And since re-taping the bars after a spill is most likely still necessary with the SaveMyBar, that provides a perfect opportunity for a visual inspection, anyway.
CloseTheGap currently only offers the SaveMyBar in black and yellow, although other colors may be offered later depending on demand. Retail price is €10 per pair, with pricing for other regions still to be determined.
More information can be found at www.closethegap.cc.