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Thread: Aero Bars

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    Aero Bars

    How many here have or have used aero bars on their tandems? I am experiencing some soreness in my arms this year and thought they may help. Facing a severe headwind last weekend I actually rested my arms on the bar as if I had aero bars to get some relief.

    I start experiencing the soreness about 30 miles into the ride and I have never had this before on a single or tandem. I have mentally checked posture and seems okay, elbows bent, changing positions often, etc.

    If you have, do you feel like you still have control when on the bars? What type/brand do you use? Pros, Cons..... any info appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Allen

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    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    I've used aerobars a few times on our Co-Motion Speedster, partly for comfort on long rides and partly for aerodynamics. The tandem feels even more stable when on them than on aerobars on my single bike. I'll happily stay on them until about 50 kph (30 mph) or until we come up to traffic or an intersection, when I move my hands to the controls.

    For aerobars that you're clipping onto regular drop bars, try to get some that put the pads directly on top of the bars, with the extensions supported either below or inline with the regular bars; I've used some that put the aerobars on top of the drop bars and then the elbow pads on top of that, which is just way too high. My personal current favorite clip-on aerobars are those made by 3T, they have an aluminum and carbon model, but when buying them be careful because the extensions are sold separately from the supports (which allows you to choose the shape of your extensions).
    Last edited by Chris_W; 03-06-13 at 01:26 PM.

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    We have them on our tandem. I don't find the tandem any easier or harder to control with them than they would be on a single bike. I am comfortable using them at any speed but obviously don't use them if I will be needing brakes or extra control to manage strong winds, bunch riding etc.

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    For the same reason that all track riders don't have brakes it's never a good idea to mix riders with aerobars and normal racing bars together, especially in a paceline.
    http://www.cycling-inform.com/bike-s...sibly-go-wrong

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    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    We use Oval Concepts:




    The pro's to these bars are 1) you can set them up with the pads low. (a problem with clip on aero bars is that they tend to be too high to be aero, if the bars are otherwise at a proper height), and 2) they mount into the stem, so are useable with CF bars.

    The con is that they are expensive, and the angle of the extensions is not adjustable.

    As for aerobars in general, I don't care for them just riding and use them only for TT's or training for TT's.
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    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    I have thought about using aero bars quite a bit and my problem is shifting. We shift so much on rolling terrain that I would really need electronic shifting from the aero bars to get a big benefit.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    My advice to the OP is to do some upper body and core work. More long rides on the tandem is a big help, too. When I first started tandeming, my hands would get to the inoperable stage after about 60 miles. I don't seem to have a limit now, having done rides of over 10 hours. That took a few years, but could have been done a lot faster if I had worked out more. I particularly like rows, either bent over dumbbell rows or seated cable rows and good old pushups, 3 sets to failure.

    Now that my stoker is using a much shorter stem and can get lower, I'm considering putting on aero bars for long rides, like 100 miles and up. Big PITA to put them on and off, though, because of redoing instrumentation, bar bag, etc. I always ran Syntace C-2 clip-ons on my fast single. They weigh a pound, but I easily come out on it on a long ride, even in the mountains. Syntace now has a C-3 version. I like the pad positioning and adjustability of the Syntace bars. I use their little accessory that ties the bar ends together for an instrument mount.

    Unless one is racing, getting low is not such a big deal. Just getting one's arms out of the wind will provide a substantial speed increase, plus it is wonderful to be able to rest one's arms from time to time. I ride with a randonneur who uses risers under his bars to get himself higher. I'm only on the bars when my nose is in the wind, which happens a lot on a long ride, and especially happens to tandems on a long ride. I never found it any big problem to shift. I just drop a hand back. Tiny aero penalty for the 2 seconds it takes to do that, but so what. You're not going to be using them in rollers, anyway.

    I'm looking forward to trying them on our tandem. Thanks to those who said that a tandem handles fine with them. That's all I was worried about.

    Caution to a new user: ride with them a lot by yourselves to start with. When long ride season starts to get close, I try to spend at least 1/2 hour of continuous use on every training ride. It's a new position which uses new muscles and the handling is different. I never take anything sharper than a long sweeper while down on the bars. I never descend winding roads on the bars. And to repeat: only when your nose is in the wind.

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    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    . Thanks to those who said that a tandem handles fine with them. That's all I was worried about.
    I'd agree with that, with one significant caveot.

    A tandem handles as well or better than a typical single bike with aerobars, presumably due to the long wheel base.

    The caveot is that the stoker can cause problems that the captain can't as easily deal with in the aerobars.

    Not in the aerobars, it's fairly easy for the captain to overcome any unintended steering inputs from the rear. In the aerobars, you don't have as much ability to overpower the stoker.

    So it's important for the stoker to be smooth, and follow the captain's lead when you're using the aerobars.

    For that reason, I wouldn't reccomend aerobars for a team that hasn't ridden together much.
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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    For the same reason that all track riders don't have brakes it's never a good idea to mix riders with aerobars and normal racing bars together, especially in a paceline.
    Better said: poorly built low-spoke count wheel, what could possibly go wrong? This is just a bunch of silly boys who don't know WTF they're doing. The tri-geek with the wing bars wasn't dropping back, he was pulling left to attack the new leader. The silly 3rd boy had overlap on him when they went by the old leader. And this is no paceline, it's just a bunch of riders larking. The guy who went down did a good job of getting control back. He should have been fine. Unfortunately, his front wheel was a POS. His spokes broke when he touched wheels, not later. The broken spokes are the reason he went down. His front wheel locked up in the gravel from rubbing on his fork.

    None of these guys knew what they were doing. The leader held his line in the middle of the road. The attacker wasn't using his aerobars. The tri-geek shouldn't have even been there. I don't ride near guys on wing bars. They can't shift without taking their hand off the brake. At least with clip-ons you have a normal road bike except when you're pulling or solo.

    In a paceline, the front rider goes left and eases off about 1 mph. The line then pulls through on his right. Except on a wide shoulder, then the leader goes right so the line stays next to the fog line. In a rolling paceline the next rider pulls off as soon as his rear wheel clears the front wheel of the old leader. On a tandem, the stoker signals the captain, "Clear!" It takes practice.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I'd agree with that, with one significant caveot.

    A tandem handles as well or better than a typical single bike with aerobars, presumably due to the long wheel base.

    The caveot is that the stoker can cause problems that the captain can't as easily deal with in the aerobars.

    Not in the aerobars, it's fairly easy for the captain to overcome any unintended steering inputs from the rear. In the aerobars, you don't have as much ability to overpower the stoker.

    So it's important for the stoker to be smooth, and follow the captain's lead when you're using the aerobars.

    For that reason, I wouldn't reccomend aerobars for a team that hasn't ridden together much.
    Thanks. Lonely roads when one can take the lane are the place for trying new things on a tandem.

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    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    In a paceline, the front rider goes left and eases off about 1 mph. The line then pulls through on his right. Except on a wide shoulder, then the leader goes right so the line stays next to the fog line. In a rolling paceline the next rider pulls off as soon as his rear wheel clears the front wheel of the old leader. On a tandem, the stoker signals the captain, "Clear!" It takes practice.
    just curious about your statement above... are you instructing to always rotate left?

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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    just curious about your statement above... are you instructing to always rotate left?
    The best answer from the standpoint of drafting is to rotate into the wind.

    However, in my experience, pace lines on open roads in non race situations almost always rotate left. This keeps more of the group out of traffic, and seems to pretty much be the convention.

    Sometimes on training rides (that might as well be informal races) it's agreed to rotate right into the wind. But I've never seen that work well with more recreational groups.
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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    just curious about your statement above... are you instructing to always rotate left?
    That's the practice here. We ride almost exclusively on no-shoulder roads. If we take long pulls, it's the lead rider's responsibility to check back for cars, then move left. That way, only one rider is exposed, not the whole paceline. That one rider can drop back into the line if a car comes while he's fading back. Thus we rotate the same way when we do rolling lines. We rotate the opposite way on roads with wide enough shoulders to accommodate two lines so that the fast line isn't pushed over into the part of the shoulder with more debris. If we are running a rolling line on a road with no shoulder and get a car back, we single up if it's not safe for the car to pass us. Pros and other teams can rotate any way they want. We try to keep it simple and consistent so everyone always knows what's going on and what's expected. Our motto is "safe and cooperative riding."

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    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Yes, I was curious about the intended instruction.

    One of the primary rules to forming a paceline is ALWAYS ROTATE INTO THE WIND. I'd like to hammer that home to any rec riders here that are not sure.

    Thing is, not rotating into the wind will cause all kinds of carnage. Reason being that when an echelon is formed (bikes staggered to the lee) it is accepted practise to have wheel overlap. The stronger the side wind the more overlap. Then when rotation occurs into the wind all is fine. However rotation to the lee will take out the wheel of overlapped riders behind. Admonishing people for wheel overlap is ridiculous because it is a necessity to efficient drafting (slipstreaming in Euro speak). If anyone insists on not following the above even after a lesson in proper technique, it is in your best interest not to ride in a paceline with them as they do not belong riding in a group of bikes if they can't follow obvious and well established rules.

    A double paceline is a different beast and an exception to the single paceline rule. It is something that is hard to teach even Cat 3 racers let alone rec riders. In this case, getting the lee rider safely off the front can be tricky in a heavy crosswind.

    Then there are the clowns that simply sit up and stop pedalling without notice. Yikes.

    Pacelines with riders that won't take instruction is the worst. As a single rider there have been quite a few times when I formed a group of friends and asked other people not to join as we rode by. I once made the error of doing that to Ron Keifel without looking to see who it was, from which he made a funny comment causing me to look and laugh at the mistake

    It is not done out of snobbery or ego or such, simply a matter of safety and sanity.

    As for aero bars (on topic) in either single or tandem group riding the only "safe" place for their use is on the front or on your own, thanks.
    Last edited by twocicle; 03-07-13 at 06:54 PM.

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    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    ^ that all makes sense, and is pretty much bike racing 101.

    However, on open roads, where there's no room to echelon, and with recreational riders, following one set convention tends to work better.
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    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    ^^^^ if "paceline" is being used synonymously with drafting, then technically in a crosswind without an echelon there is no paceline but just a line of noobs getting blown out the back

    Applied knowledge and skill... you can't persuade some people regardless. For example, last year in an intense Fondo we had pretty heavy winds. In one particularily nasty section with cross-headwinds we were pulling 28mph. There was a national kit clad junior Cat 3 completely petrified of any sort of echelon and was content to ride in the gutter... until he blew.
    Last edited by twocicle; 03-07-13 at 06:55 PM.

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    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moonwalker View Post
    I am experiencing some soreness in my arms this year and thought they may help...I start experiencing the soreness about 30 miles into the ride and I have never had this before on a single or tandem.
    Just my opinion, but using aerobars to address a soreness issue is not the ideal solution. Best to figure out the underlying fit (or physiological) problem that's causing the soreness. A properly fit bike should not cause pain.

    I was getting some annoying pain in my triceps on longer rides, and my chiropractor ride buddy told me it could be referred pain from my neck. She gave me some neck stretching/strengthening exercises to do, and the pain went away.
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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    Yes, I was curious about the intended instruction.

    One of the primary rules to forming a paceline is ALWAYS ROTATE INTO THE WIND. I'd like to hammer that home to any rec riders here that are not sure.

    Thing is, not rotating into the wind will cause all kinds of carnage. Reason being that when an echelon is formed (bikes staggered to the lee) it is accepted practise to have wheel overlap. The stronger the side wind the more overlap. Then when rotation occurs into the wind all is fine. However rotation to the lee will take out the wheel of overlapped riders behind. Admonishing people for wheel overlap is ridiculous because it is a necessity to efficient drafting (slipstreaming in Euro speak).

    If anyone insists on not following the above even after a lesson in proper technique, it is in your best interest not to ride in a paceline with them. I am not going to argue the above, it is fact. You do not belong riding in a group of bikes if you can't follow obvious and well established rules.

    A double paceline is a different beast and an exception to the single paceline rule. It is something that is hard to teach even Cat 3 racers let alone rec riders. In this case, getting the lee rider safely off the front can be tricky in a heavy crosswind.

    Then there are the clowns that simply sit up and stop pedalling without notice. Yikes.

    Pacelines with riders that won't take instruction is the worst. As a single rider there have been quite a few times when I formed a group of friends and asked other people not to join as we rode by. I once made the error of doing that to Ron Keifel without looking to see who it was, from which he made a funny comment causing me to look and laugh at the mistake

    It is not done out of snobbery or ego or such, simply a matter of safety and sanity.

    As for aero bars (on topic) in either single or tandem group riding the only "safe" place for their use is on the front or on your own, thanks.
    A couple of comments: First of course is that I don't know why someone is trying to lay down the law about pacelining on a tandem forum. I was once with enough compatible tandems to form a paceline. We'll be going to our first tandem rally this year at the NWTR if they ever open registration. We'll see how this issue is handled on their group rides.

    Closed course racer behavior is not applicable to rec riders on the public roads. I don't know where you ride, but around here forming echelons is really, really contraindicated. Good way to get a whole lot of car drivers POed at you and cause an accident. Besides, it's illegal to ride more than 2 abreast, which wouldn't make much of an echelon.

    We'll frequently have 10 or more riders in one paceline, single or double. We'd like to have them a little smaller, but people have this longing for a good wheel. On the roads on which we ride, it's uncommon to proceed for more than a mile or two with the wind in the same direction. Occasionally we'll be on a lonesome road and form small echelons of 3-4 bikes, but we won't paceline then. It's simply too dangerous to assume that everyone that happens to have found their way into one's group is going to move in a predictable and correct fashion in that situation. You come off the front of an echelon with wind to the left and you'll be hanging off the back of the last guy's wheel, working just as hard as you were before, except you're not helping anyone any more. Ordinary pacelining is fine - people understand that.

    Running a double line, I don't remember ever being in a crosswind since we'd be going fast enough to pull the wind ahead. We don't double up unless we're going fast, 25 or better. So I don't understand your comment about the lee rider. Maybe it just doesn't blow that hard around here, since there's not much flat out in the open.

    I've already stated our well established rules. Those who don't hold to them, don't ride with us if they don't respond to a few well-chosen words. I don't see how you'd ever move right anyway, since you'd have to ride in the ditch to do that. We don't ride in the middle of the road. That's illegal, too. We ride as far to the right as practical and never pass on the right.

    Our job as recreational ride leaders is to make sure that everyone has fun and gets back uninjured. I've been riding safely with this group, now up to about 120 people, every Sunday since 1996. IIRC, we've had two bike/bike accidents and one car/bike accident, fatal, when a car turned left into the middle of our paceline on a straight, dry, clear road, no intersections, broad daylight.

    Guess I'm a noob. Only been riding 60 years. But I'm a live noob who still leads safe rides.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 03-06-13 at 12:07 PM.

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    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
    Just my opinion, but using aerobars to address a soreness issue is not the ideal solution. Best to figure out the underlying fit (or physiological) problem that's causing the soreness. A properly fit bike should not cause pain.

    I was getting some annoying pain in my triceps on longer rides, and my chiropractor ride buddy told me it could be referred pain from my neck. She gave me some neck stretching/strengthening exercises to do, and the pain went away.
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    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    A couple of comments: First of course is that I don't know why someone is trying to lay down the law about pacelining on a tandem forum. I was once with enough compatible tandems to form a paceline.
    Strange comment seeing as you had replied extensively to the ride video of single bikes. You also seemed to suggest rotating left is the defacto rule, which it is not.

    Really good tandem pacelines are few and far between. I last witnessed a group of 5 hammerheads in 2002 in Santa Fe. A tandem rally is certainly not where one should expect to ride with any intensity... those are "fun" social events. Otherwise, this is all only for background info.
    Last edited by twocicle; 03-06-13 at 12:13 PM.

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    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twocicle View Post
    ^^^^ if "paceline" is being used synonymously with drafting, then technically in a crosswind without an echelon there is no paceline but just a line of noobs getting blown out the back

    Applied knowledge and skill... you can't persuade some people regardless. For example, last year in an intense Fondo we had pretty heavy winds. In one particularily nasty section with cross-headwinds we were pulling 28mph. There was a national kit clad junior Cat 3 completely petrified of any sort of echelon and was content to ride in the gutter... until he blew. But an old guy like me can finish and sprint with the leaders if using the head and skill is applied.
    You must live in a good area for cycling if the motorists are infrequent and considerate enough that you can get away with stringing an echelon across the road. You must also have great confidence in those around you if you are willing to overlap wheels, especially if you are riding a tandem.
    Around here drafting isn't much of an issue as we are the only tandem and it is reasonably hilly. On the ups we are trying to hang on and everywhere else it is the opposite.

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    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
    You must also have great confidence in those around you if you are willing to overlap wheels, especially if you are riding a tandem.
    The key when you're overlapping wheels, either in an echelon, or just a race/pack situation where you find a rider beside you is, is you can't do it just a little; you need to be overlapped to the point you can protect your front wheel, i.e. you're far enough up that you can use your elbow/ forearm to keep the other rider off your wheel.

    Always protect your front wheel. So not overlapped at all, or enough that you can keep your wheel from being swept.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  25. #25
    Clipless in Coeur d'Alene twocicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
    You must live in a good area for cycling if the motorists are infrequent and considerate enough that you can get away with stringing an echelon across the road. You must also have great confidence in those around you if you are willing to overlap wheels, especially if you are riding a tandem.
    Around here drafting isn't much of an issue as we are the only tandem and it is reasonably hilly. On the ups we are trying to hang on and everywhere else it is the opposite.
    The paceline/echelon talk here mostly pertains to single riding. I haven't found much need to force the issue with tandems as we don't go so intensely with others.

    As far as road usage goes... Idaho, not so much as the big group rides are seldom. WA has more big group rides and when common sense allows usage of more than a couple feet of road then the echelon will string out more. In Colorado... the groups were so big we basically just took over 1/2 a lane or more regardless.

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    The key when you're overlapping wheels, either in an echelon, or just a race/pack situation where you find a rider beside you is, is you can't do it just a little; you need to be overlapped to the point you can protect your front wheel, i.e. you're far enough up that you can use your elbow/ forearm to keep the other rider off your wheel.

    Always protect your front wheel. So not overlapped at all, or enough that you can keep your wheel from being swept.
    Excellent points. Though it is amazing how spooked many people get if you so much as reach out to touch them while riding or come within 2ft of their handlebars - a common communication practise in the racing crowd (and even the pros get it wrong as you often see on TV). I've tried demonstrating to people how easy and safe it can be, but have more or less given up.
    Last edited by twocicle; 03-06-13 at 02:08 PM.

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