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Thoughts and experiences with aero handlebars?

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Thoughts and experiences with aero handlebars?

Old 12-08-17, 07:53 PM
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Thoughts and experiences with aero handlebars?

I'm trying to get more aero for the next race season. right now, I'm going down a list of equipments that give me the best performance advantage vs cost.

1. speed suit (check)
2. aero helmet - lg course (check)
3. aero wheels - chinese 25x50mm (check)
4. my position is already pretty damn low and aero, I think (check)

that leaves frame/fork, which I'm not going to bother with, because i'm perfectly happy with my caad9, and the handlebar.

here's the dilemma with the handlebar. according to cervelo, handlebar accounts for 30% of the drag of the bike, which is more than the front and rear wheels combined at 0 deg yaw. this all changes when there's cross wind, but still, that's pretty significant if you ask me. on the other hand, those aero handlebars are expensive AF, and they tend to flex more than rounder aluminum handlebars.

So the argument now becomes is it worth dropping $200 on a piece of carbon that's going to be the first to hit the ground if something goes sideways? how would having a more flexy handlebar affect sprint performance? If I decide to buy some off brand handlebar from china/taiwan that are supposedly reliable based upon consumer feedback, how would those fare in the flex tests?

i already posted in the road forum, but wonder what the racers think about this.

P.S. I should mention I don't care about weight or stiffness/weight. If I wanted to save weight, there are other places where this is more easily accomplished without much compromise.

Last edited by spectastic; 12-08-17 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 12-08-17, 08:03 PM
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Run fast tires and latex tubes?

More significant than your wheels or bars.

Otherwise, I don't think the flexier bars make that big a difference. I broke my previous sprint pr numbers 7 times last season. Never felt like my bars were a hindrance.

For 50 bucks for a knockoff generic version, though, I'd just spend another 100-150 and get real ones that are both stiffer and lighter (my pair are 40 grams lighter). I got my 3T aeronovas for like $160 from one of the British sites. Merlin just had ergosums for $130, so they run 3T sales on occasion.

Also, go for 38 or 40cm. Even if not aero. 40 cm round bar may be equal or faster than a 42cm aero bar, depending on whichever anecdote/data you happen to be reading.
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Old 12-08-17, 08:36 PM
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I have some 40cm FSA Metron 4d Bars. I was given them on the carbon bike I raced two season ago and they've moved onto an older aluminum caad 10 I'm racing now a days. Realistically, they're nice but if they ever get ruined I'm going back to narrow aluminum round bars. I don't think they make that big of a difference and they can be damn slipperly if I get sweaty.
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Old 12-08-17, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Run fast tires and latex tubes?

.
yea I'm planning to run gp4k with latex. I read that's a pretty kick ass combo
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Old 12-08-17, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
yea I'm planning to run gp4k with latex. I read that's a pretty kick ass combo
This is what I do. I'm also interested in aero carbon vs. my stock bars. I thought about pulling the trigger on monoprice's generic aerobars, but not enough data for me to feel comfortable.
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Old 12-08-17, 11:59 PM
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I have the Zipp SL-70 aero bars, no flex noticed compared to the 3T protundo's I had before.

One nice thing about aero bars - that has nothing to do with aeroness - is resting your hands on the tops is SUPER comfy! I can never go back, if only for that reason.
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Old 12-09-17, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
I have the Zipp SL-70 aero bars, no flex noticed compared to the 3T protundo's I had before.

One nice thing about aero bars - that has nothing to do with aeroness - is resting your hands on the tops is SUPER comfy! I can never go back, if only for that reason.
I've been looking at those bars for my crit bike.

Do you run Shimano or Sram? If Shimano, is the inside opening enough for both cable housings to route through?
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Old 12-09-17, 08:47 AM
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IIRC, Zipp said the SL-70 aero bar will save about 5w. That's not a whole lot, but if you are trying to maximize all your aero capabilities, it adds up.

Anyway, I have the Easton EC-70 cause it was cheaper than the other options. (I don't pay retail.) I've had stiffer bars, but I've also had less stiff bars. Be sure to look on Online Swap Meet for used options - I've seen a lot of Specialized Aeroflys on there lately. Also, I went for the aero bars because I had an aero frame.
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Old 12-09-17, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I've been looking at those bars for my crit bike.

Do you run Shimano or Sram? If Shimano, is the inside opening enough for both cable housings to route through?
I run Campy actually.

I didnít do the wiring, but both cables feed through internally fwiw.
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Old 12-09-17, 11:51 AM
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Love em. Love em love em love em.

I couldn't tell you if the bars make a noticeable difference in watts saved, but they're way more comfy than normal round ones. Aeronovas have a lot of different hand positions and the scoop coming into the flare to the hoods is great for getting low and narrow. If you're worried about flex, they make an alloy version, though it is pig iron heavy. Aeroflys are just shaped well and very very nice, I have a pair I'm going to install whenever it's time to service my cables. In general wing is nice.

Aero frame + bars definitely feels faster at high speeds. There's data to back it up so it's not just placebo. I'm not going to tell you to replace your frame because Caad 9 rides well enough, but if you're ever in the market for a new one don't hesitate to go aero.
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Old 12-09-17, 12:24 PM
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In regards to spending money on something that is going to be the first to hit in a crash: I crashed into a steel pole somewhere between 25-30mph in a crit and my aerofly's were the first to hit, not even a dent. My fibula and helmet on the other hand were a bit worse for wear.
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Old 12-09-17, 12:40 PM
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I should add, I don't think you need to worry too much about the bars being carbon. If you get a solid set, they should be able to survive many crashes, depending on severity.

For example, I've had some Easton EC90 straight bars on my mountain bike for over 10 years. They run a 25.4 clamp too. I've crashed them more times than I can count, but I have not had any issues.

Also, I am hoping Santa brings me a set of these for my track bike: https://www.3tcycling.com/road/en/bi...rs/scatto-ltd/
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Old 12-09-17, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
I have the Zipp SL-70 aero bars, no flex noticed compared to the 3T protundo's I had before.

One nice thing about aero bars - that has nothing to do with aeroness - is resting your hands on the tops is SUPER comfy! I can never go back, if only for that reason.
Ditto. Really stiff and we'll made.

Narrower the better for aero efficiency. I run 38s in the Zipps, my track bike I run the 3T Scatto in 35s.

I would avoid the flexy knock off for crits, having a really stiff bar gives you that bit of extra control in tight situations.
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Old 12-09-17, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Ditto. Really stiff and we'll made.

Narrower the better for aero efficiency. I run 38s in the Zipps, my track bike I run the 3T Scatto in 35s.

I would avoid the flexy knock off for crits, having a really stiff bar gives you that bit of extra control in tight situations.
how wide are your shoulders?
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Old 12-09-17, 02:19 PM
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I think the Zipps and the Eastons both flare out, so they are 40 at the shifters but 42 at the drops.

I could easily go to a 38 in that, knowing they would be 40 at the drops.
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Old 12-09-17, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
how wide are your shoulders?
I wear a 42 regular jacket, so "average".

Worth noting most of the track sprinters have moved to very narrow bars, despite some of them being pretty big. After having ridden the 35s for quite a while on the track, you actually find they provide better sprint form.

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Old 12-09-17, 02:30 PM
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You Racing team pursuit like those guys, in the track, or time trials on the road?
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Old 12-09-17, 05:03 PM
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I have the Bontrager Aero Aluminum bars; they're okay but I definitely miss having carbon bars.
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Old 12-09-17, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
I have the Bontrager Aero Aluminum bars; they're okay but I definitely miss having carbon bars.
i've thought about getting those actually. relatively cheap, internal routing, flat tops, aluminum durability/stiffness. seems like the perfect trade off. why do you miss carbon?
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Old 12-09-17, 06:15 PM
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I ride regular bars on my TCR and aero bars (bontrager carbon) on my race bike (Venge).

Everything about the Venge is faster (Frame, bars, tires, tubes, wheels, post) and is definitely noticeable at speed. Having said that the TCR is a much more comfortable bike and sees 75%+ of my total riding between all of my bikes.
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Old 12-09-17, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
i've thought about getting those actually. relatively cheap, internal routing, flat tops, aluminum durability/stiffness. seems like the perfect trade off. why do you miss carbon?
Carbon just feels nicer, its lighter and dampens vibrations a bit. Not sure if its worth the extra $$ if money is a concern though.
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Old 12-09-17, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
I think the Zipps and the Eastons both flare out, so they are 40 at the shifters but 42 at the drops.

I could easily go to a 38 in that, knowing they would be 40 at the drops.
A good point - I kind of wish I'd gone with 38's instead of the 40's I got. (I rode 42's with 'regular' bars)

But the 40's feel plenty narrow in the tops, and I'm too lazy to switch it up now.
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Old 12-09-17, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
Carbon just feels nicer, its lighter and dampens vibrations a bit. Not sure if its worth the extra $$ if money is a concern though.
oh i can never tell the difference.. i'd actually rather have a heavier, more robust aluminum bar. the holes accommodate shimano cable routing, right? if so, I'll probably buy it.

Originally Posted by mattm View Post
A good point - I kind of wish I'd gone with 38's instead of the 40's I got. (I rode 42's with 'regular' bars)

But the 40's feel plenty narrow in the tops, and I'm too lazy to switch it up now.
my shoulders are 42 as well, and my race bike is currently 40. have a friend who recently went from 46 to 42, to 40s. now, seeing your guys' feedback, I'm starting to think about going down to 38 myself..

what are the drawbacks of using handlebars that are 4 cm narrower than your shoulders? I imagine it'll be less comfortable for longer rides/races like 80+ miles. could it restrict your breathing, when you have the elbows tucked in? will it have an adverse effect on handling?
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Old 12-09-17, 08:05 PM
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Thanks to this thread I have now purchased the S-Works Aerofly
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Old 12-09-17, 08:10 PM
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uhh sorry..
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