Aerobars recommendations

TOM

Maximum Pace
#1
Having never used this kind of contraption and being totally unfamiliar with them (always thought this was for triathlon) I'd like to receive some advice.

I was told that aerobars may boost substantially my performance on a long and fast race (300km without much climbing, Tokyo-Itoigawa).

What type would you recommend...any affordable brand ? (don't want to spend too much on something I will only use once or twice a year)

I was thinking of a simple-looking "Clip On Aero Bar Extension" type...these things weigh more than half a kilo though but with so little climbing to do, I suppose the added weight will not be much of a disadvantage...

Thanks for any suggestions!

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#2
Aro Bar

YEAH, I like the clip ons. You have to re tape your bars to leave some bare most likely though. You can take them off if you don't want to look like a geek. I laughed at the whole aro bar thing until the peloton I was riding with just walked away from me. They are good for maybe 2 KPH +. I have the original Scott bars. The same ones Greg used on his epic TT into Paris to beat Le Professor by 8 seconds and win the Tour.
 

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
213
75
48
117
Kobe
#3
For the distances you are doing, and terrain as well, I would try to find a pair of old Cinelli Spinaci clip ons. They dont have pads, but are 100% adjustable and can also be set-up for additional climbing positions. You cant use them if you are using oversized 31.8mm bars, and I wouldnt use them if you are using carbon bars. You may be able to get away with them on FSA OS bars as FSA bars taper quickly to standard diamer....

Another option to look at (and more modern) is the Vision Tech Mini clip on, which will work with OS bars. Benefit of both of these is that they are lightweight and wont mess with handling much, and the added benefit of Spinaci`s is that you dont lose any positions on the bike. You can also get lower with the Spinaci`s than other aero bars.

Some may suggest full clips ons, but honestly they are heavy and will screw up the front end handling of your bike and you lose hand positions on your bar. The alone would prever me from using them in anything but a timed event.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#4
Mini clip-ons

I remember asking Philip about this a year or so ago and he recommended these (edit: same recommendation as Specialized DJ above):

http://www.cycle-yoshida.com/inter_max/fsa/bar/8tt_miniclipon_page.htm

About half the price overseas:
http://www.glorycycles.com/fsavittclmi.html

They are short reach (extend just a little further than the hoods) so you can use them without making adjustments to your usual road position, which I think is what you want in this case.

(If I was buying bars to convert a road bike into a temporary TT bike, I would get longer reach bars so I could bring the position forward into something closer to a true TT position. That said, I used them for the Saitama TT last April and they worked fine.)

Some people can't get used to the aerobar position and some people love it...I'm one of the latter. I find it really comfortable to rest on the elbows and take weight off the supporting muscles. Definitely adds a little speed on those long flat solo rides.

They're so comfortable, in fact, that I believe RAAM and most randoneuring organizations ban them because people fall asleep on them during those long overnight rides.

They are also banned as a matter of course for the vast majority of races in Japan, including enduros. (For different reasons: lack of control in tight pack riding and the hands not having immediate access to the brakes.) Might be worth checking that your race allows them...?
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#5
Times change :) Now (currently) I would recommend these from HED

You want the lightest you can get (as they do affect the feel of the steering) and these allow the pads to pop up giving you access to the top of your bars. You can also adjust the length of the extensions. Which takes us to the clip on experience . . .

A dedicated TT bike has a steeper seat tube that allows you to rotate your body forward so you do not have to bend (acutely) at the waist to get your elbows on the pads with your upper arm vertical.

This is important because it places the weight on your skeleton and not on you muscles (when your upper arm is not vertical). Try it on your desk now. Put all your weight on your elbows with your upper arms vertical and it is easy. Put all your weight on your elbows with your upper arms at an angle and imagine holding that position for any period of time. Impossible.

Now push your chair back and place your elbows on the table with your upper arms vertical. Your waist should be uncomfortably bent with your stomach close to your thighs. This is how clip-ons can feel when used with a road bike with a standard seat tube angle (around 73 degrees).

The solution is to sit further forward on the saddle to reduce the bend at the waist. Now you are closer to a TT bike position. However, your feet have not moved forward so now you are sitting on your "tush" :eek: Can be painful.

So you need to ride on the bars a lot to get used to:
  1. riding on your tush, or
  2. riding bent at the waist, or
  3. riding with your upper body weight on your muscles, or
  4. some combination of 1, 2 & 3 (what most people will do)

As Phil says, some people adapt more easily than others. How flexible are you. If you are comfortable you can stay on them for long periods of time and gain the aero benefit. If not, they are just extra weight.

I'd be interested in Andy's experience as he seemed very positive about them.

If you want to borrow the Vision Tech Mini Clip-on I have some sitting at home?

Philip

PS - Tom, don't forget to check your carbon bars are clip-on compatible
 

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
213
75
48
117
Kobe
#6
Good points, but remember he did say affordable, and for a 300km race a dedicated TT position is not the most desirable for a variety of reasons....even if it is legal.
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#7
Folks...thanks a lot!! This is all very helpful.

Wish I had the budget for the HED....right now I'm hesitating between the VISION TT RACING BEND CLIP and the PROFILE T2 DRAFT-LEGAL AERO both featured on Wiggle at around 11,960 yen.
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Which one would you chose for extra long rides? Put both of them on my wishlist for the time being.

* Thanks Philip for offering me to borrow your Vision mini clips ! Let me think about it. How do I find out my handlebar is compatible for these clip-ons? I guess my hillclimb-specific VLAAMS (oversized 31.8) with the five-finger dents is no good.

** Thank you Phil for pointing out they may not be legal. I checked and fortunately the Itoigawa event does not ban them.

*** Specialized DJ, why are they not recommendable on oversized carbon handlebars? Is that just for those Spinacis or for clip-ons in general?

**** Todo R Caspell...removing some bar tape....I see, from each side of the stem how much space on the bar gets taken up by the clip-on mechanism would you say?

***** Andy Wood...what are you using?
 

Philip

Speeding Up
Feb 15, 2007
765
7
38
Setagaya
#8
Thanks Philip for offering me to borrow your Vision mini clips ! Let me think about it. How do I find out my handlebar is compatible for these clip-ons? I guess my hillclimb-specific VLAAMS (oversized 31.8) with the five-finger dents is no good.
The five finger dents may not be the problem. The bar needs to be reinforced because you are clamping (crushing) the carbon when you bolt the clip-on on. The reinforced clamp areas should be immediately adjacent to the stem on both sides.

The clamp area may or may not interfere with the finger dents. Also, if the bar is not tubular in shape at the clamp area the clip-on clamp will not fit.

You will need to contact the handlebar manufacturer to check.

Regarding clamp size, when you buy the clip-on specify 31.8 diameter bars (if that is the case).

Cheers,

Philip
 

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
213
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117
Kobe
#9
Hmmm....I like visions stuff, but I would go for the Profiles as it looks like you can adjust the length. Comfort is key!!

The Cinelli`s I mentioned were originally designed for road racing and were legal for a year or two before being banned. At the time, all bars were around 25.8mm or so in diameter, so cinelli`s were made for standard size diameter bars. After the ban went into effect, Spinaci`s were no longer made. Super fun to have on the bike though......

As for carbon bars, they dont handle the stresses of clamping (depending) as well as an Alu bar and can fail suddenly if they have been damaged by over-torqueing. Check with your bars maker (if carbon) before installing aero bars....and I recommend using a torque wrench. Its part of the reason you still see a lot of pro`s using alu stems/bars.
 

Terry

Speeding Up
Jan 13, 2007
60
0
26
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Tokyo
www.team-nfcc.com
#10
Hi Tom,

The profile T2+ seems to be nice, comfortable, easy to adjust, not heavy and you can fixe it up or under the handlebar. I use the T2+ cobra with handmade armrests.
The mini clip or T2+DL are nice also.


Thierry:bike:
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#11
Overtorqueing...

Thank you Specialized DJ and also Philip; you both point out the same critical point...the stress and crushing of carbon due to overtorqueing. Better forget about my Vlaams in that case. The Colnago CLX should be no problem, bar is made of aluminum with a carbon layer and is tubular in shape.

Terry! How've you been? You back in the saddle :p?

Will go for the Profile draft legal (aka T2+DL).

Thanks so much all of you.

Cheers,

TOM

As for carbon bars, they dont handle the stresses of clamping (depending) as well as an Alu bar and can fail suddenly if they have been damaged by over-torqueing. Check with your bars maker (if carbon) before installing aero bars....and I recommend using a torque wrench. Its part of the reason you still see a lot of pro`s using alu stems/bars.
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
393
30
48
Tokyo
#12
have vision tt mini's and love them. Unless going for all out aero/stretch position, i think you can get most of the aerodynamic benefits (if elbows are relatively close in) and all of the comfort benefits of putting weight on the pads. The mini's also do not interfere with putting bike into Rinko bag because they do not extend beyond brifters.

would recommend using on aluminum bars, and not carbon. I find that I tighten the clamps pretty tight - and beyond what I'm comfortable on carbon fiber.
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#13
My final choice??...Profile AirStryke 2000 Aero Bars
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Top Features of the Profile AirStryke 2000 Aero Bars
Spring loaded ZB brackets allow top of bars to be used while climbing
Length adjustment up to 105mm
F-19 arm rest system is padded for comfort and has 60mm arm length and 20mm of pad with adjustment for custom fit
Forged multifit system with 6061 - T6 aluminium brackets
620g

...a bit on the heavy side, yes, but at least I will have access to the important mid-section of my handlebar by flipping up the arm rests :) !
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,582
1,271
133
Niigata
#14
Tom,

These are the ones I used. I have to be honest though, I didn't put much thought into it and Enosan at the bike shop just bought them in for me.

http://www.syntace.com/index.cfm?pid=3&pk=349

However, I really like them.

I think they are light enough. They are sized depending on the length of your forearms for a good fit. There are finger grips beneath the pad rests which means you can hold on here during the climbs (an unusual position but quite effective). The shape of the bars is also good so you can change positions to avoid fatigue and you can pull on the bars on easier climbs.

The angle you set them at is important. 0 to 30 degrees. Comfort Vs aerodynamics. The box has a scale you can use to set the angle right. I set mine on the high side at around 20 degrees (a bit like the Landis "cobra" position"). For a shorter TT effort (ex. Chokai san) I would go lower.

The pads can be adjusted to set how far apart you have your arms too.

There is no need to remove bar tape. However there's not much room left on the handlebars for any computers etc. I use an adapter to set my polar HRM up on the stem (ie. between the two bars).

Mine are not compatible with oversize bars (though I'm sure you can get them) which is the sole reason I used my older, heavier aluminium VITUS frame last year.

I reckon you can add 10% to your speed. 33 instead of 30! Then put on the deep rim wheels, plus 2, and that's 35kph average!

They are a bit on the pricey side though I guess at around 18000 yen at the link above. Maybe you can get them cheaper?

Happy shopping!

Andy
 

massa

Warming-Up
Feb 22, 2008
174
0
0
Setagayaku
#15
My final choice??...Profile AirStryke 2000 Aero Bars

Top Features of the Profile AirStryke 2000 Aero Bars
Spring loaded ZB brackets allow top of bars to be used while climbing
Length adjustment up to 105mm
F-19 arm rest system is padded for comfort and has 60mm arm length and 20mm of pad with adjustment for custom fit
Forged multifit system with 6061 - T6 aluminium brackets
620g

...a bit on the heavy side, yes, but at least I will have access to the important mid-section of my handlebar by flipping up the arm rests :) !
The longer period of time you use extension bar, the more you need longer length to hold with your stretched arms, because you are going to used to take aero position without any fear of loosing control.
In my case, I don't rely too much on earo bar pad, but I'm mostly sustain my weight with arms and sustain little bit with handmade rubber pad on base bar.
Hope this works.
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#16
Thanks all !

Figuring I will only use it a couple times a year, I ended up ordering the very cheapest (6,387 yen @ Wiggle) entry-level aerobar ! Profile Century Aero ZB Aero
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Great for touring riders seeking comfort, and Triathlon riders seeking speed
One-piece closed-end design in 6061 aluminium tubing for strength and durability
Adjustable arm width for a custom fit
Multi-fit system fits 31.8 mm or 26.0 mm handlebars
Weight: 600 grams
Thanks Andy...the Syntace is very nice & lightweight but a bit too expensive. 10% speed increase....wow ;) !! Can't wait.
Massa...I can imagine how one would eventually want to have increasingly longer extensions as the body adapts.
 

massa

Warming-Up
Feb 22, 2008
174
0
0
Setagayaku
#18
You need auxiliary breaking grip on each extension bar. It is essential for you to rely on this system.
Roughly extra 5 km/h average can be expected, not to mention of max speed. :D
 
#20
Pokki !!!

Last evening, I tried to attach my new clip-on aerobars onto my Colnago and in spite of Philip's warning ;), I think I somehow crushed my handlebar as I was slowly and carefully tightening the clip-on bolts without even applying much torque....

The FSA Team Edition carbon-covered aluminum handlebar said "pokki ! pokki !" twice...a very horrifying sound if you ask me :eek:uch:. Although the handlebar still looks intact on the outside, I don't want to take any risk and will swap to a dubble-butted aluminum one.... Folks, be careful when attaching those clip-ons! It's better not to learn these things the hard way...