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Old 02-13-08, 06:06 PM   #1
dvmarshall11
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first time with aero bars

hi, until now i've mainly done sprint tris on a road bike. i decided that for my bday i was going to buy myself a tri bike and try to work for longer distances. i've been able to ride my new tri bike only a few times and every time i get into the areo position i feel like i'm about to bite it. this is especially true when i'm going downhill. does this feeling ever go away? also, is a brake lever on an aero bar stupid or a decent idea? thanks in advance!
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Old 02-13-08, 06:48 PM   #2
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It is harder to control your bike in the aero position, so when you're cruising downhill at well over 30mph it can definitely be hard to maintain control. With practice you will get better at holding your line in the aero position and maintaining stability goes hand in hand with that.
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Old 02-13-08, 06:50 PM   #3
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In due time it will get better. As you get more miles under your belt with the areo bar's you won't have that feeling. I did see a rider several years ago at an event with his rear brake lever on his areo bar. I have all four of my bike's set up with cowhorn, and areo bars and felt no need to move the brake lever.
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Old 02-13-08, 07:03 PM   #4
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Practice practice practice

It will become second nature but remember it will never be very stable..be smart when decending or going over bumping stuff..
enjoy
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Old 02-13-08, 08:21 PM   #5
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I think HED makes a third brake lever hor your aero bars. I dont really decend a hill or bridge in my aero bars unless i have a headwind that slows me down. Too many things can happen when you are that far away from your brakes. Its not worth it to eat it during training because you wanted to go faster downhill. Stick with it the stability will come, soon you will feel more comfortable and faster!
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Old 02-13-08, 08:22 PM   #6
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The key is realizing that trying to steer with your *hands* while in the aero position is going to result in some twitchy turning. Remember to use your *elbows* to make minor steering adjustments and you'll notice that your ride is more stable. I also come out of the aerobars at virtually any turn above 35-37mph, I like my life too much to take the risk

Additionally, make sure that your fit in the aero position is good. A poor-fitting bike may contribute to the poor handling you're experiencing.
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Old 02-14-08, 06:21 AM   #7
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I think HED makes a third brake lever hor your aero bars. I dont really decend a hill or bridge in my aero bars unless i have a headwind that slows me down. Too many things can happen when you are that far away from your brakes. Its not worth it to eat it during training because you wanted to go faster downhill. Stick with it the stability will come, soon you will feel more comfortable and faster!
The Hed 3rd brake lever can be purchased from JTEK Engineering who seem to produce it for HED. The package consists of both a 3rd lever (they have 4 styles, one that clamps over the end of the aero bar and one that has a mount that replaces the flat nut/stud in the shifter so the lever hangs off the shifter. Each of these 2 comes in a left or right version.) and a cable combiner that joins the brake cable of your choice to the 3rd lever.

The combiner works the same way an interrupter lever (cyclocross) works, by separating the housing instead of pulling on the cable. Where you put the combiner and which brake you choose requires some experimentation so buy pleanty of brake inners and spare housing. Plan on riding a few times before you bury everything under tape and inside of bars.

There is another combiner made by Problem Solvers that looks interesting but has an awful lot of small parts inside to get right.

For training you can also use a cyclocross/interupter brake lever (24mm clamp size) as a stand alone brake lever using the combiner of your choice.
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Old 02-14-08, 09:49 AM   #8
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For most downhill portions i'll get off the aerobars just to be safe. They're most useful for those long flat sections anyways.
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Old 02-15-08, 05:22 AM   #9
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Practice Practice Practice.
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Old 02-15-08, 07:08 AM   #10
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thanks for all of the advice. like you all said, practice. typically it doesn't take much time for me to pick something up but the aero position is taking me longer than i thought to get used to. hopefully it'll come sooner rather than later. thanks again
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Old 02-15-08, 09:54 PM   #11
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That's right, it's all about practice. When I first got the aero bars on my road bike, I was scared like hell. A few times I felt like I was falling just by transitioning from the hoods to the bars. I would never stay aero downhill or on tight turns. But it's all about practice, didn't take me more than a month. You have to learn that you don't steer with your hands that are holding the bars, but more with your body and with the elbows.
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Old 02-18-08, 01:00 PM   #12
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yeah, it goes away, it just takes time and maybe some adjustment to the bars. i started with a pair of not very good clip on bars on my road bike and it just did not cut it, once i upgraded to some better profile design clip ons and ultimately profile aero bars on a tri bike i got a lot more comfortable, but it was coupled with getting used to the position over time. you will get there
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Old 02-22-08, 11:17 PM   #13
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any big crashes when you guys started with aero bars?
i'm a little nervous to try them ... thinking about trying them on my old steel bike first too
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Old 02-23-08, 01:27 PM   #14
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No crashes although a few times it felt like it was gonna happen, usually when switching in and out of them. As for comfort, I'll add that the fitting has a huge role... just adjusted my fitting a bit and all of a sudden the aero position is much more comfortable.

I think I had a bigger chance to crash when switching to clipless pedals, than the aerobars.

Oh, forgot... last week! After I adjusted that fitting, it appears like I didn't tighten up the elbow pads so first time when I went into aero, my right hand slipped away and I was very close of going aero with my entire body at 25mph. Would this have happened in the beginning, it would've been a bad crash, but as I said after just 6 months I got pretty confident in them.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:21 AM   #15
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Spending a bit of time with the bike bolted into a trainer may help. You don't do any of the riding/steering/balancing but you do get to spend more time in the position and get the bike fit right. (and tight)
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Old 02-26-08, 09:23 AM   #16
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any big crashes when you guys started with aero bars?
i'm a little nervous to try them ... thinking about trying them on my old steel bike first too
no crashes, i think bc you are not locked in. if you get shaky or loose confidence, you can always get out of them easily. just work in small sections, preferably flat and straight to build up the confidence
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