I stopped using bar-ends a number of years ago. It happened like this: When I started riding mountain bikes, flat bars (with as little bend as possible--3 degrees was about as small as you could find) on fully rigid bikes with short chain stays (for climbing) was the thing. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that if they invented bar-ends and attached them to the end of these flat bars, we'd all be a lot better off. Of course, standing up and pedaling was no big deal back then. No one worried about "bob" or other suspension-related drawbacks.
Um, do I sound old?
Anyway. Bar-ends. Right. So someone invented them and we all got excited over them and the manufacturers jumped on board to make a few extra bucks and before we knew it, everyone used them. Then, for some reason I can't quite pin down, flat bars were no longer the thing. (Actually, before flat bars were the thing, riser bars were it. Yes, full circle.) I don't know if a bunch of road cyclists started to cross the great divide and ride mountain bikes or not, but I do know that everyone suddenly realized that with riser bars, big suspension and the trend to all things "hard core", everyone realized that bar-ends didn't look cool. Or something.
Thus, with the inexplicable rise of, um, riser bars, came the almost total demise of the bar-end. Not really gone, but certainly neglected and hardly used. I, myself, being not quite as much of a retro-grouch as this post might imply haven't had riser bars on my bike for a number of years.
But, in anticipation of a long (in time, not distance), slow ride, I decided to borrow from James some Ergon GR2 grips--with integrated bar-ends. I knew that hours in the saddle without hardly any effort would lead to numb hands and wrists. I really like the Ergons. They perform exactly as designed. They're comfortable and really help prevent any sort of wrist issues that come from bad positioning--something hard to avoid if you're exerting almost no effort throughout a monotonous 5-hour ride.
What surprised me about having the Ergons on my mountain bike wasn't the comfort of the grips, though, (that is one of those unobtrusive benefits) it was how quickly I went back to using bar-ends. I didn't even have to think about them. It was natural enough for me to switch to them when climbing or standing up out-of-the-saddle.
They're off again now (my slow ride is over), but not because of how they looked (not entirely, anyway). No, the main thing I didn't like about them was how it made my handlebars (and grips) virtually more narrow because of the bar-ends. I'm used to having my hand right at the end of the bar, and I almost felt cramped to have that bar-end snuggling up next to my pinky finger.