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  1. #1
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Passing the bar exam...

    For some of you this may be old hat but others expressed an interest in pictures as I scratched my way up the learning curve on aerobars.

    The first lesson was the difference between a road bike with aerobars and a tri-bike (saddle position well forward and longer aerobars). I have gone with the shorter aerobars so the roadbike would be similar to what I am used to.

    The base bar with brake levers is in the same position that I have been using so far this summer. Rather than spend more money on an aero specific brake lever set I have stayed with the cyclocross "inline" brake levers that I already owned. (they are a relatively rare 24mm clamp size, not the more common 26mm or 31.8mm dropbar center section clamp size)

    The clip on aerobars are Profile Design Jammer GT bars and are adjustable in length (from relatively short to shorter), angle of rotation and the positioning of the pads (position along the bar, angle of rotation viewed from above and angle of rotation viewed from behind.

    So far I have set the positions of everything by mounting the bike on a trainer and adjusting for what feels comfortable to me. I am not ready yet to rotate the hand position up to vertical and tuck the elbows in close to the centerline so for now the hand position is about 45deg or halfway between the position they would be on the hoods or on the top bar. My elbows are still splayed out a little so the pads are toe'd in to accomodate the angle of my arms. The brake levers are angled out quite a bit because thats the way I like to place my fingers (perhaps not as aero but for now my "feel good position")

    One last experiment (probably should not change as many things at once). While doing the cables I noticed that if the front/rear brake lever positions were reversed that the cable runs were noticably cleaner so I'm going to have to learn that the front brake is on the right hand not left. I've always thought that hand had more modulation control anyway!!

    I will begin riding these late this weekend or next week and will not wrap them with bar tape untill I am sure that I like the position of everything.

    Now I have to go somewhere safe away from cars and learn to ride this beast.
    Last edited by maddmaxx; 03-30-08 at 06:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    They are squirrelly to ride and it feels really weird. Give yourself plenty of room because the bike can go radically one way or the other and your hands are not on the brakes. The good news is the learning curve is very steep and you will have it down in a couple of rides. And you will love the position into the wind. Good luck and enjoy.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  3. #3
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    Makes me hurt all over just looking at that thing. Good luck, and I hope you love it, but it's not for me.

  4. #4
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    It's not my bag either, but I've got to say...it looks like an impressive setup. Good luck mm.

  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The standard position for the brakes looks stable enough, but I would think you'll have some tricky situations trying to shift gears.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    The standard position for the brakes looks stable enough, but I would think you'll have some tricky situations trying to shift gears.
    In practice, it is easy to hold either the aerobar with one hand and shift or hold the handlebar and shift from the aerobar. By putting the shifters on the aerobars, you bias the riding to position to the aerobars and allow the rider to keep the aero position while shifting. When you put clip-on aerobars on a road bike and use the brifter to shift, you have to leave the aero position to change gears and you must be able to do it with either hand. With practice, it is no problem no matter which setup one chooses.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  7. #7
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I like my aerobars a little more straight up and down (where your hands fit) but you've worked through a lot of positions so go with what works for you.

  8. #8
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Well, its been about 50 miles of practice and I haven't crashed or been hit by anyone else yet. What can I say...........wow.

    The learning curve is steep, it feels like getting on a roadbike for the first time with that twitchy front end wobbling all over the place.

    First impression. Don't worry so much about short bars, these may need to get longer. There are major saddle position changes involved as the saddle has gone aft, up and tilted forward to accomodat the more lay'd down position. Shifting is easy using either hand with one still near a brake lever or both hands on the aerobars. (I ride with my hands sort of wrapped around the shifters. The reversed brake position is almost unnoticable (front/right rear/left) as brake balance was good on this bike before. (Thankyou SRAM Rival)

    The real surprise is that I am more comfortable going downhill even though my head feels much lower. The biggest problem has been the application of power withoug wobbling. Smooth level straights are ok but gradjal uphills get me wobbling again with the pedal strokes. (This setup will teach you a great deal about riding straight and keeping your line)

    I don't think that this setup will be comfortable to me for another 2-300 miles. You wouldn't want to ride next to me and I cannot see getting into traffic situations with only about 6" to play with outside the white line. (one left bob and your a hood ornament)

    The practice seems to be more about muscle memory, balance and confidence than anything else. (sound familiar dlipless pedal learners) I think that 61 years and some degridation of the inner ear makes this just a little bit harder than for kids.

    But.........................WOW.............this is an E ticket ride. I may go looking for senior time trials next year.

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