Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Aero bar decisions

Old 03-28-07, 12:55 AM
  #1  
mech2o4
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Aero bar decisions

i've been contemplating putting on a pair of aero bars on my bike for a while now-only i'm not sure its something i should do. they can be expensive, i try to ride mostly hills, and i'm already pretty strong on flats... but for some reason they still appeal to me.
If i could hear some of the reasons you guys decided to put them on that would be really helpful.
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Old 03-28-07, 01:05 AM
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you should have posted this in the triathlon forum, because most of the members here are going to tell you they serve little to no purpose on a road bike, and they're right...

they're only advantageous if you're riding alone, or if you're pulling a line, and that's it. in other situations, they put you and everyone around you in danger, because you can't get to your brakes fast enough...
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Old 03-28-07, 01:07 AM
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Do you have really long bike paths along your favorite rides with few or no stop lights or stop signs? That's the only way I'd justify installing aero bars.
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Old 03-28-07, 01:10 AM
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Headwinds. I have a triathlon-specific bike that has clip-ons. My road bike doesn't.

If you're unsure if you want to do it, don't. Especially if you ride a lot of hills. The arm pads get in the way of you gripping the tops of your bars. Profile makes a model that has arm pads that flip up, but I've never been too pleased with that design.
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Old 03-28-07, 01:11 AM
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For some reason, the Road forums members here have an obsessive fear of aero bars. I say go for em if ya ride solo - I've seen some devilishly fast riders blow by me with a pair of clip-on aero bars.
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Old 03-28-07, 01:18 AM
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Also, only if your top tube is short-ish relative to your torso. You don't want to be too stretched out if your top tube already has you stretched out a bit, in which case you'll need to switch to a shorter stem.
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Old 03-28-07, 01:18 AM
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I rode all last summer with them and liked them a lot. I can't use them now since I broke my wrist and ended up with nerve issues - the pads put awkward pressure on the messed up nerve in my arm now so I can't really use them anymore.

I rode a lot of long bike path type riding and they were great as another position and helped in headwinds. Now though I'm focusing more on climbing so they're just dead weight to me.
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Old 03-28-07, 01:21 AM
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Lastly, depending on the aero bars, you might lose a hand position on the top of the bars - especially if you're used to grabbing the top bars while climbing.
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Old 03-28-07, 02:05 AM
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FACT: It's a scientific fact that aerobars, fitted and installed correctly, will offer an appreciable advantage over ordinary road bars if you ever break away, ride solo, pull a paceline or time trial and have enough flexibility to use them.

FACT: Gains from increased efficiency are more substantial and common than gains from increased power.

If you don't plan on using them often, I would suggest the Vision Tech Mini ("pronghorns"). Only 410 grams, under a $100 and too short to get your superman on, but they offer the comfort, better posture and support denied to the many pro road riders who ride with their forearms on their top bars. These were sold to me by a gentleman riding with me at 29mph who dropped to his mini bars and was then zipping away at about 32.

Sold.
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Old 03-28-07, 02:58 AM
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Just a thought: You can't just slap on aerobars onto a properly fitted road bike and expect not to have to make changes to your bike setup.

If you ride anywhere near/or around the city with traffic, aerobars are completely useless. Also don't forget unless you're buying the more expensive aerobars they add significant weight (yes I know the aerodynamic advantages are greater but still).
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Old 03-28-07, 05:43 AM
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I like the syntace C2's. They give you extra hand positions. You can climb with your hands on top of the aero bars just as well you can climb with your hands on top the bars.
As mentioned you get the most advantage on flat, bike paths facing headwinds.
When you go on group rides stay off of them unless you are pulling.
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Old 03-28-07, 06:42 AM
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If you're going to time trial, or do triathlons, you definitely need aerobars. Otherwise, they're a heavy, unnecessary encumbrance.

To get the aero advantage, you've got to set the bike up so you get in a position that is not very comfortable for most people, and you have to train in that position to be able to put out power in that position. (All the aerodynamic advantage in the world doesn't help if you can't sustain the position, and you can't produce power in the position.)

In my experience, I see most touring/recreational riders hardly ever using their aerobars. And while they only have an aero advantage when you use them, they always have the downside of being heavy, interfering with using the tops of the bars, and making the bike feel clunky.

If you're not racing, I just don't see the point. Set up correctly, and with training you'll be a little faster in the one instance that you can use them (i.e. riding solo). But if you're riding solo, and not racing what difference does is make if you cruise on the flats at 22 mph, or 22.5 mph?

And for full disclosure, I have clip on aerobars, that I used on a road bike to TT, and have a triathlon bike with aerobars. I don't use either for just riding around
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Old 03-28-07, 09:18 AM
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They're extra weight when climbing, unstable when descending, and dangerous in a group. But if you ride solo flats a lot, they're great.
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