Keeping sweat away from bar end shifters

I’ll be mounting a bike with bar end shifters on my indoor trainer this winter and need/want suggestions on keeping sweat away from my precious cables!

I have the usual stuff like a massive towel on the handlebars, a Y shaped towel with elastic covering the cockpit, and three good fans for maximum evaporation. However, I’m a dripping machine aka “very efficient at cooling”.

Is there anything folks have done to keep sweat away from bar end shifters specifically?

Sweat will end up inside of them via gravity as currently configured. Is there a way to prevent this? When I’m doing long or hard indoor sessions, I change my hand positions frequently and don’t always have them on the towel covered tops or hoods. There are no towels currently in the drops, so sweat goes right into the tape and shifters.

(On drop bars?) Switch to lever shifters? Keeping the tsunami of sweat out of them is going to be a huge battle. I sweat a lot too and swamp anything downstream, sweat dripping off the bar ends.

Maybe try using 1 or 2 pair of wrist/bicep sweat bands and see if that works. I don’t think you could wrap the shifters themselves with anything that would be useful that wouldn’t impair their usage but wrapping a sweat band on each bar end would help stop sweat from the bars themselves. Using a lubrication or polishing spray might buy some time. Maybe plan on losing them, and get a spare pair to use for next season? It’s likely going to be hard to keep them from being swamped. Clean them after every ride? Good luck…

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A tsunami of sweat means you aren’t getting enough airflow to evaporate it, fix that and you won’t have to protect your bike from the sweat,


With three Lasko fans pointed at me like a Y during my sweet spot and threshold efforts, I can still generate an impressive and deep puddle of saline. Us high density, larger folks just generate a ridiculous amount of heat and some folks are prone to sweating more than others. A blessing and a curse. :slight_smile:


I’m so glad you don’t sweat a lot. Like mimod said, I have 6 fans, and a ceiling fan, all on high, and I STILL can swamp the bars and puddle the floor. That’s why I couldn’t use a Halo sweat beanie, that silicone band just dams the sweat up, and it either eventually goes over the top, or floods down the sides. (I do not ‘glisten’ as some women claim they do)

I have destroyed Speedplay pedals, a couple of chains, and am wondering how long my Ultegra crankset may last. I’ve heard of avid sweaters destroying bottom brackets, handlebars, and headsets too. (I guess if I can’t win races, I should at least leave a puddle. :smile: (I’m just glad I haven’t had any sweat drip into the vent on the trainer I ride))

I was amazed at the sweat dripping off my bar ends after a ride one day. Some days the puddle is right there, just below the ends, and sometimes it’s just everywhere. I’ve had it swamp the mat and seep under it before, Peeling it off the floor and scraping the mat residue is disgusting… Heavy sweating is not pretty by any means. :nauseated_face: I have to disinfect the mat every so often, and replace it almost yearly. Bar end shifters would just not work for me.

I generally agree, but you need somewhat dry air as well. Unless you live in a place with very low temps and humidity, you need AC to keep the air dry/cool enough to ensure evaporation can keep up with the sweat rate. Best investment I’ve ever made for cycling training is a min-split AC unit for the training area. Crank the AC down into the 60’s and add 3 big fans means you’ll never have any significant sweat runoff regardless of effort. I’ll do hard sessions on the trainer and sweat off 5+ lbs of water and there won’t be a drop on the floor (or bike) when I’m done.

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You need AC then. That dripping sweat is not cooling you down, your core temperature will be elevated, which affects RPE, your training is not going to be as effective,

I have AC running. I also have 8 fans total. I gave up using standard riding jerseys because they are just too hot. Gloves too, nope. I used to ride a Peloton in our ‘exercise room’, and still sweat a lot with doors open and fans running on high. I had a fan blowing both my front and back. That was where the mat usually overflowed, but it happens in the current location of the trainer occasionally too.

The location I ride in has a ‘split system cassette’ right over the trainer so I often find myself getting chilled by the system running with all the fans. I rode yesterday and left a small puddle.

But back to the topic: I invested in a (series of) smart bike(s) because of the amount of sweat pouring over my bike-on-trainer setups. I was horrified at the sweat soaking through my Ultegra crank set and the same week I discovered the ruined chain was when I found the Speedplay damage. (The new Speedplay cleats do not pass my sweat test and die in a huge rusted mess) I should have taken prevention with polish and sprays more seriously but I had a ‘bike thong’, and used the larger Tacx style towels.

But I’m not the only one to sweat a lot. It’s actually fairly common and varies by amount (of course) but isn’t a symptom of a disease.

So I’m not a big proponent of wheel-off trainers and people using their main road bikes on them. (I swapped my decade old Trek Madone onto the trainer because it’s ‘expendable’ at this point)

Bar end shifters? Seems like a bad idea, for people like me… I’ve never had an issue with the now standard lever shifters. Not yet at least. (I did have a couple of issues with a Kickr Bike with the shifters dying, but that was poor design/manufacture)

EDIT: Who said ‘split units’ were more efficient? I started the ride today at 73 degrees, and ended at 75. Oh, and I was a really sweaty mess. But the wife won’t go into the sweat cave, so I still don’t know if that’s a bonus or not. She says she hates opening the door, and texts me if she needs me. :flushed:

To OP’s question — I’d try to bodge together some sore of cover using a set of silicone funnels and some scissors. If the funnel is tight enough to the bar you shouldn’t get sweat ingress and you should be able to shift through the flexible material. Haven’t tried it, no idea if it would work, but it might be worth a shot.

Ziploc bags! I use that under my trainer to hopefully avoid a ‘burn out’, and short in the USB ports on the computer I use.

Condoms might actually be the answer here.