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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 08-06-17, 09:44 PM   #1
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Do you use aero bars?

I used aero bars extensively on triathlon bikes some time ago but have never on a more standard road bike. What are you using and how do you like it. Photos? If you don't use them, why not?
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Old 08-07-17, 06:48 AM   #2
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I have thought about it. I was surprised recently when i saw someone with aero bars on a long distance ride. Many Trans Am Bike racers seem to use them. What I have found is that I can only use my drops for so long before my neck hurts too much. So I assume aero bars would be the same.
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Old 08-07-17, 10:26 AM   #3
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I have thought about it. I was surprised recently when i saw someone with aero bars on a long distance ride. Many Trans Am Bike racers seem to use them. What I have found is that I can only use my drops for so long before my neck hurts too much. So I assume aero bars would be the same.


Unless perhaps you had them adjusted/positioned so that you used them to get narrow but not low.
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Old 08-07-17, 12:13 PM   #4
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the highest I have ever seen an areo bar is not that much different than where I am in the drops, so I am thinking the neck problems will occur anyway.
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Old 08-07-17, 12:43 PM   #5
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I've been using them for about 5 years and won't do any long rides without them. While I don't ride on them for long periods of time, they are great to give your core muscles a chance to relax every now and then. Adjusting them properly is the key to not having pain with aerobars.

I use the Profile Design Airstryke model. I don't much care for the spring loaded pads so I took the springs out and secured the pads to handlebars with Velcro straps to keep them from bouncing up. While it may look somewhat dorky, I do like the bar design over the straight bars because it places your hands in a much more natural position and that makes it easier to control the bike.

And of course, they are a blessing when riding with a wind coming at you.
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Old 08-07-17, 01:27 PM   #6
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I've tried them a few times over the years, not for endurance riding, but heavy commuting on the Tourist. I really don't care for them in traffic. I have to keep a "heads up" position in these parts. Just my experience.
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Old 08-07-17, 03:06 PM   #7
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I made my own homemade all-in-one bar. Everything right in front of me. Not the lightest unit but with the bike I ride it does provide me several additional handholds that I would normally lose otherwise with regular aerobars and a bike that is built to my size. I think the top tube on my bike is a bit longer than what it should be given my personal dimensions. At least when they talk about the shoulder/elbow angle, the only way I can get the angle anything close to what they say you want I have to have the elbow pads sitting way far back from the regular bars themselves while most people have them chocked right up on the stock handlebars and pretty much couldn't put their hands right up beside the stem...I can.

Don't have a picture handy to show the full unit ready to ride on me right now and no camera around handy to take a photo. Pretty much I have a grand total of 8 hand positions plus no hands at all that I can use.
1. in the drops(flat part)
2. on the drops(veritcal part)
3 & 4. on the brake hoods, yeah I use two separate positions on the brake hoods all the time.
5. on the stock bar tops right by the stem
6. 45 degree aerobar position
7. 90 degree aerobar position(yes two different positions available, no adjustment necessary)
8. on the elbow pads
9. hands free

I can mount, water bottle, video camera(not a gopro but a real video camera), headlight and cue sheet(unactivated smartphoney) all right on the top of the all-in-one bar and then underneath I can mount a duct taped(for water protection) oatmeal container that I put put a full 6 pack of bagels or other food into. I can pop off the lid and velcro it to the bottom side of the elbow pads so I can remove the food and then unvelcro the lid and put it in place back on the container. Tested it quite nicely last week on my 200 miler and it works sweetly.

Quite heavy since I made it out of wood. Just bolts onto the regular bars using U-bolts up underneath the stem. Do have some problems with knees hitting it when I stand up toe climbing but not much anymore. I chopped it down to where I rarely hit the knees on it anymore but still do on occasion.
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Old 08-07-17, 04:06 PM   #8
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the highest I have ever seen an areo bar is not that much different than where I am in the drops, so I am thinking the neck problems will occur anyway.
Use your imagination instead.
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Old 08-07-17, 05:31 PM   #9
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Use your imagination instead.
I imagine I'll have problems, so I probably will
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Old 08-07-17, 07:38 PM   #10
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I used to use them ... but they're not allowed on the Paris-Brest-Paris, so I stopped using them.


Oh, actually, I put them on my trainer. They work well there.
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Old 08-08-17, 08:25 AM   #11
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I started this year. I got them for my 9-day ride from El Paso to Canada. Ever since I got them I've been wishing I had tried them earlier.

When I did my ride from CA to GA, my biggest complaint was pain in my hands. That was more of an issue than leg pain, taint pain, or any other pain. I was hoping that having aero bars would lessen that pain, and I was very pleased with the results. My hands weren't bothering me at all, and I didn't have to stay in the aero bars all day if I didn't want to. Just having that one extra position to use from time to time was enough.

I think my biggest reason for not trying them earlier was that I was scared I would have to do a lot of adjustments to my fit. That wasn't the case for me at all. I just put them on and rode them for a week or so, and I already felt comfortable. My arms/shoulders would get tired of the position after a while, but over time that went away. My position isn't extreme or anything. I do it for comfort, not for speed. I am faster in the bars, though, which is a nice benefit.

A have Syntace C3 bars. I highly recommend them. They are the lightest ones I could find, which means they aren't such a drawback on the climbs. I'm convinced that I'm faster with the aero bars unless I'm doing a really big climbing day without any flat sections. Otherwise, the time gained on the flat sections will outweigh the time lost on the climbs. If I'm doing 100 miles, I'd probably say 8,000 feet of climbing is where I'd start thinking about taking them off. It depends on the route, though. If there were just 2 big climbs with a lot of flat in between, I might keep them on. If there were 4 smaller climbs with a lot of up and down all day, I might take them off.

Anyway, I definitely recommend that you give them a try. I wish I had tried them a lot sooner.

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Old 08-10-17, 11:27 AM   #12
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I've used some sort of aerobars for a variety of ultradistance events. I'm tall enough that there's a huge difference in my position for "road" riding (drafting group road rides of any duration) and "time trial" (solo, fast enough for aerodynamics to be significant).

For brevets on a road bike, a single long, straight aerobar was sufficient. I primarily used it for stabilizing my cue sheet pocket. It's secondary use was pulling in headwinds. I wouldn't spend any more than 10% of a ride using that aerobar. "Shorty" aerobars didn't seem long enough to be helpful to me.

For time trials, I use a different bike (specifically with longer front-center and lower stack height) that handles well with aerobars. My favorite aeorbars for that purpose are the Syntace C2 and Profile T1 -- mounted low and narrow.
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Old 08-10-17, 12:51 PM   #13
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I've had them on my road bike for ~20 years. I've never done PBP. I don't/didn't change my road position.

My torso is higher using them than in the drops with my chin 2" off my slammed stem. Nonetheless, my top speed on a 6% descent is ~1 mph faster, plus I can pedal on the 'bars, which I can't do with my chin 2" off the stem. Arms in the wind are slow. On a close ratio cassette, I'm about 1 cog faster on the 'bars on the flat.
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Old 08-11-17, 10:48 AM   #14
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I assume you have to significantly adjust your saddle to use aero bars effectively, yes? Saddle way forward, probably raise it a touch?
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Old 08-11-17, 10:59 AM   #15
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I assume you have to significantly adjust your saddle to use aero bars effectively, yes? Saddle way forward, probably raise it a touch?
In the context of LD (this being the LD forum), you should probably not adjust your position to suit the bars. More like the other way around.
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Old 08-11-17, 12:32 PM   #16
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I assume you have to significantly adjust your saddle to use aero bars effectively, yes? Saddle way forward, probably raise it a touch?
That's the way triathloons use them to save their legs for the run, but not necessary for other situations.
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Old 08-11-17, 12:51 PM   #17
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That's the way triathloons use them to save their legs for the run, but not necessary for other situations.
Hrmm. I've tried getting myself into a pseudo aerobar position on my bike by just resting my elbows on the bare tops of my bars....I feel like the bottom end of my ribcage gets in the way of my knees getting that low. I AM noticeably faster though...but it seems like it would be much more sustainable moving up and forward even a touch...creating more room in there.

Though who knows...maybe my saddle position is just screwy right now lol.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:09 PM   #18
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Hrmm. I've tried getting myself into a pseudo aerobar position on my bike by just resting my elbows on the bare tops of my bars....I feel like the bottom end of my ribcage gets in the way of my knees getting that low. I AM noticeably faster though...but it seems like it would be much more sustainable moving up and forward even a touch...creating more room in there.

Though who knows...maybe my saddle position is just screwy right now lol.
Usually, clip-on aerobars put your forearms a little higher than iabs anyway, and you'd be able to adjust them further out, so you're probably on the right track.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:15 PM   #19
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Usually, clip-on aerobars put your forearms a little higher than iabs anyway, and you'd be able to adjust them further out, so you're probably on the right track.
Oh I meant my saddle actually haha. But yeah, raising the elbows a couple inches might be comfy.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:19 PM   #20
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I assume you have to significantly adjust your saddle to use aero bars effectively, yes? Saddle way forward, probably raise it a touch?
There is a reason for triathlon specific frames and bar/seat positioning is factored into the design element.

15+ years with aero bars on my road frames. No re-positioning of saddle/bar set up at all, not even when riding in triathlons because I am not a hard core rider. The bars allowed for a non stop 112 mile bike in my 2014 IRONMAN tri and contributed immensely regarding comfort in this past February's 307 miles during Bike Sebring 12/24 Hour. Speed increases with less effort and longer sustained speeds possible due to the Lazy Boy feel while down on them.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:20 PM   #21
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Oh I meant my saddle actually haha. But yeah, raising the elbows a couple inches might be comfy.
Oh, gotcha! I can see the wisdom of opening up the hip angle for tri/TT stuff, but like Steamer alluded to, you don't want to mess up your regular riding positions to do it. I feel like optimized "go-fast" and "rando pace" riding positions can be at odds with each other.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:35 PM   #22
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Oh, gotcha! I can see the wisdom of opening up the hip angle for tri/TT stuff, but like Steamer alluded to, you don't want to mess up your regular riding positions to do it. I feel like optimized "go-fast" and "rando pace" riding positions can be at odds with each other.
Well, I'm no triathlon guy, but I've been working at upping both mileage and speed this year...and consequently I've just been doing more thinking in general about cycling.

In regards to the aero bars...I think it really comes down to what you want to use them for. If it's just an additional hand position, or rather a position to take pressure OFF your hands for while...sure I would not make saddle adjustments myself. And like I said...just from my brief pseudo experience, it's still faster as well.

However...if the plan is to spend the MAJORITY of the time on the aero bars, I think adjusting saddle position will actually create a situation closer to your normal riding position than simply clamping on bars and leaning down.

Picture a rider in his normal position, hands on normal bars. Pivot the rider forward, using only his foot position as a pivot point. head/shoulders will go forward and down, butt will go up and forward.
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Old 08-12-17, 12:25 PM   #23
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Well, I'm no triathlon guy, but I've been working at upping both mileage and speed this year...and consequently I've just been doing more thinking in general about cycling.

In regards to the aero bars...I think it really comes down to what you want to use them for. If it's just an additional hand position, or rather a position to take pressure OFF your hands for while...sure I would not make saddle adjustments myself. And like I said...just from my brief pseudo experience, it's still faster as well.

However...if the plan is to spend the MAJORITY of the time on the aero bars, I think adjusting saddle position will actually create a situation closer to your normal riding position than simply clamping on bars and leaning down.

Picture a rider in his normal position, hands on normal bars. Pivot the rider forward, using only his foot position as a pivot point. head/shoulders will go forward and down, butt will go up and forward.
Tried to relate your driscription to my transitioning and it doesn't seem to agree with my dropping down on to the tri bars as far as the way I feel. My pivot is for the most part fairly fluid whether going down or up on my Propel road bike or my altered Paramount road bike. During today's 109 miles I transitioned from hoods or bars down to aero and did not move forward/aft on the saddle unless I later chose to get on the nose or way back. Making the shift fore/aft helps to work the muscles a bit differently. Going out tomorrow for another 100+ and will be with a group who can observe my shift.
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Old 08-12-17, 12:50 PM   #24
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Tried to relate your driscription to my transitioning and it doesn't seem to agree with my dropping down on to the tri bars as far as the way I feel. My pivot is for the most part fairly fluid whether going down or up on my Propel road bike or my altered Paramount road bike. During today's 109 miles I transitioned from hoods or bars down to aero and did not move forward/aft on the saddle unless I later chose to get on the nose or way back. Making the shift fore/aft helps to work the muscles a bit differently. Going out tomorrow for another 100+ and will be with a group who can observe my shift.
Oh no, I wasn't referring to actually shifting on a static bike. Maybe my description wasn't clear..

An easier way to imagine it...you've got 2 clear sheets of cellophane, 1 with an image of a bike with drop bars and , 1 with an image of a rider. Put a pin through both sheets through the bottom bracket. Then, rotate the image of the rider until his head/shoulders are in a position for the aerobars. His butt will have moved up and forwards as well. Moving the saddle position on the bike to meet the new position of the butt will result in hips, knees, and bottom bracket all being in exactly the same relationship to each other on the aerobars that they were in the normal riding position. Angle relative to the ground, and position relative to the bars are the only things that changed.

This is a long way of saying...if you don't want to increase your lean angle/hip angle, the saddle has got to be moved if you're using the aero bars. Is this a good idea or not? I have no idea, I'm not up to the kind of mileage you guys are at here.
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Old 08-12-17, 08:53 PM   #25
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With the local rando riders, some use them, some don't- on today's 100k with 8 people, I think 3 of them had aero bars.
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