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AERO BARS, do you use them(24 posts)

AERO BARS, do you use themsurf
Dec 6, 2001 7:55 AM
I have noticed that alot of roadies don't use aero bars. Is it just that it's impossible to control your bike during group rides. I usually ride solo and swear that just by leaning down gain at least 1mph due to decreased wind resistance. It is hard to corner though and i usually only use them on flat, strait sections. What are your thoughts. Thanks
re: AERO BARS, do you use themmorey
Dec 6, 2001 8:01 AM
I do not use aero bars because of group situations and control problems.
re: AERO BARS, do you use thembrider
Dec 6, 2001 8:05 AM
I do use them, but in situations where it's appropriate. Group rides would be inappropriate (though I've done a few team time trials). Even if you have supplemental brake levers on the aero extensions, the maneuverability isn't what is needed.
re: AERO BARS, did use them for a triathlondzrider
Dec 6, 2001 8:42 AM
Found they decreased control and were useless for climbing which made them dead weight for most of the riding I do in central Connecticut. I may put them back on for Boston-Montreal-Boston as I have done when visiting relatives in Iowa where the wind blows hard and steady on straight roads.
re: AERO BARS, do you use themMiklos
Dec 6, 2001 8:40 AM
I ride mostly alone and love my aerobars. One of the best things I have ever bought for cycling. The more you use them, the more control you have. I really like them for riding into headwinds.

re: AERO BARS, do you use themDAN BB
Dec 6, 2001 9:18 AM
I use them, but for different reasons...I have lower back problems and for some reason, the pain is less and I could ride longer.....I am fan..

re: AERO BARS, do you use themSoftrider
Dec 6, 2001 9:25 AM
I use them when riding indoors on the trainer. It gives you some extra positions that make extended periods inside more tolerable.

Outdoors, I rarely ever use them.
AERO BARS, instrument of the devilDaveG
Dec 6, 2001 11:06 AM
For me, they suck the fun right out of cycling. Yeah, you will go faster, but being craned over the stem staring at my front wheel is not why I cycle. They also invoke fear on group rides even if you don't use them. I say put 'em on for TT's and Triathlons, leave them home otherwise. But that's just one opinion.
I live on my Profile Design Century bar.........STEELYeyed
Dec 6, 2001 11:14 AM
tilted at 11 degrees of the dropbars,I ride long distance solo rides 75% on aerobars,20% in the drops and 5% on the hoods.
explanationDuane Gran
Dec 6, 2001 11:57 AM
Aero bars are great things and no roadie in his or her right mind would dispute their usefulness in aerodynamics, however there are some reasons why many roadies don't use them:

* Not allowed in races, other than TT
* On a group ride people freak out if you so much as touch them
* They get lumped together with wearing a camelback or a TdF yellow jersey at the group ride

[Regarding that last point, I'm not saying I have anything against those things, but such is life. I'm just making an observation]
You used to see them on most bikes 10 years agoTig
Dec 6, 2001 12:09 PM
That was after Greg made 'em famous by winning the TDF in the last stage's TT. My guess is that the average road rider population would consist of over 60% aerobar users.

I love the advantage I could get with them, as well as the comfort. Try a short, flat time trial with them, then without them and you'll see a big difference in your times if you keep your heart rate the same. I sold mine a long time ago, but might get a pair for TT's and flat centuries.
Try not to.grzy
Dec 6, 2001 12:16 PM
They slow the handling and feel of the bike down due to their weight and incresing the moment of inertia. They make the steering feel sluggish and slow and you have less control of your bike - both handling, shifting and braking (fully intgrated aero bars will allow you to shift and brake, but clip-ons won't). Then there's the added bonus of lugging and extra pound up every hill. In a group the only time to "safely" (and I use the word very loosely) use them is when you're on the nose. Start using them in a pack and you'll start to pick up some negative vibes. I've gone off of a twisty road, solo, while in the bars b/c I didn't realize the corner had a decreasing radius. Once commited into a corner and on the aero bars you have very few options left when things start to go south.

All of this has to be ballanced against the fact that yes they do allow you to lower drag and go faster - no doubt about it. So if you're riding solo and doing flatish rides then they work quite well. You really want them for Tri's since it allows you to relax much of your upper body and conserve energy for the run. An added bonus is that on really long rides like centuries and beyond it gives you another riding position which helps reduce fatigue. Example: the Death Ride organizers advises against using them while the Terrible Two does advise using them. Both rides are 16,000' of climbing, but the DR gives you very little chance to use them except for the long slug out to the 5th pass - Carson. The TT has much more steep nasty climbing, but there are huge sections of flats. The DR is "only" 129 miles, while the TT is 204 mi. Using a set of Scott RCO's for the TT was a good thing.

For your stated use they are obviously a good thing. Just be aware that as you change your riding habits they may no longer be as much of an asset. It's also easy to get sucked into a dicey situation. Know their limitations.
Aero vs. drop bars,guido
Dec 6, 2001 12:16 PM
I've never used aero bars from the time they came out. They're too heavy, screw up bike handling by putting too much weight in front of the front wheel axle, and steering with your elbows seems dumb if you have perfectly good fore-arms and hands.

Drop handlebars placed far enough away from the saddle so that the rider can pivot from the tops to the drops without scrunching up, allow you to change upper body positions and stretch. They don't put so much weight over the front wheel that you can't take your arms off the bars and sit up. If reach is long enough to keep the back flat, ridng on the drops is just about as aerodynamic as tri-bars. John Cobb did wind tunnel tests with Greg Lemond. They showed Greg riding on the drops was about as efficient as with tri-bars, with which he had just beaten Lauent Fignon in the TDF.

Those clip-on Spinergys are pretty light and riders say they don't screw up the steering, but they don't look very comfortable.
i think they are more aerodynamicsurf
Dec 6, 2001 12:40 PM
Im tall with long arms so from the drops im still a bit up in the air unless i pancake my chest. So for me the move to the aerobars does make me more aerodynamic and also it keeps your elbows in which helps at higher speeds. If you ride a slightly smaller frame with the seat post up a bit more (due to the smaller frame) you can really get flat on the aerobars. I dont feel that extra pound makes a difference in handling when your on the drops but i do understand the imitations when handling from the aerobars, by the way i do use them for triathlons so they are perfect for that situation. Just my rookie opinion though
But only a little,guido
Dec 6, 2001 2:01 PM
If you had a longer top tube and stem, your chest wouldn't "pancake" when you're on the drops, your back would be as flat as when your're on the aerobars, your chest could expand and breathe, and as long as you kept your arms in, you'd be almost as aero.

Alot of riders never learn to ride on the drops on their small racing frames. The saddle is jacked up so high, the drops are so low, the handlebars are so close, it's really uncomfortable. Aero bars work great on small frames, providing about the right stretch for the elbows.

Greg Lemond's back was so flat on the drops that he easily adapted to tri-bars. The difference was less drag when the arms were folded in and hands clasped like a diver.
the aero differenceTig
Dec 6, 2001 2:55 PM
You are right about how proper bike fit can place you in a very aerodynamic position while in the drops. The one main difference is the forearms and hands. When aerobars were new and wind tunnel testing was frequent, they determined that the hands and forearms would help disrupt airflow to the chest. This was copying downhill skier's tuck positioning. The hands up near, but out in front of the chin was the optimal position.

In order to achieve a flat back you need to rotate/roll your pelvis forward on the saddle. This takes pressure off the lumbar and is why many people feel it is more comfortable. Otherwise you'll have the classic humpback shape of a newer recreational rider. If the arms are extended enough to place the elbows forward, the chest cavity opens up (as long as the elbow pads aren't too close together). Keeping a flat back and relaxed stomach (belly breathing) combined with the hands/forearms breaking the airflow is where the aerodynamic and breathing advantages are gained.

Just like any other bike position, this one must be adjusted for each person to find their optimal efficiency and comfort. It takes time to dial it in and gain the necessary skills to ride safely and effectively.

Through aerobars I learned how to position my back flatter on regular bars. I'd like to compare my aerobar position with my regular aero position in a wind tunnel, but that costs a fortune!

Aerobars were never meant to be used while climbing or during a turn. Watch the pros during a TT and you'll see them get off the bars at those times and to crank up the speed out of turns.
I use them about 20%Dog
Dec 6, 2001 12:46 PM
On solo rides, they will almost always be faster and more comfortable. Anything over 150 miles justifies them, as far as I'm concerned. Shorter than that, and you need balance use on the flats and hills, and whether there will be much group riding.

With good groups, like a very fast paceline I did at the Solvang Double last year, those at the front who had them went to the aerobars, and it kept the line moving around 25 mph on the flats. Everyone had the good sense to know when to and when not to use them, though. Speed sort of weeds out the ones who aren't experienced on them.

My hard core road race buddies wouldn't be caught dead with them, unless they are in a sanctioned time trial (with skin suit, disk wheel, and aero bike). When one of them did a flat double with me, I recommended them, and he said "no, my races are without them, so I don't use them."

On long flatter training rides, I use them extensively. They not only make it more comfortable, but that position trains different parts of the body, especially in the hip and butt area (and neck). If you do events with aerobars, then I think you need to train with them, too.

The mostly weigh around 1 pound. Even up a steep hill, that isn't a whole lot. Run the numbers at and you'll see the effect of a pound. The loss up a hill is vastly outweighed by the savings on flat ground and moderate descents. They do make the bike "feel" heavier, though.

When I train with others, and there will be pacelines, I never take them. It sort of freaks people out. Everyone is so paranoid of someone using them and losing control and taking others out. For the most part, though, these are shorter, faster rides, so they're not of much use, anyway.

I've become very comfortable with them, and can pretty much handle the bike on them. I even stay on them on descents with moderate turns, jumping cattle guards on them, drinking and eating on them, etc. Use them enough and it pretty much comes naturally.

I use them about 20%Harry Hall
Dec 6, 2001 3:19 PM
Any thoughts on the Spinaci/Tiramisu type of bar? I have always avoided aero bars but they look more usable for several reasons; easier to reach, less drastic change in position, less clutter on the bars. Anyone on this board with experience using them?
Dec 7, 2001 4:40 AM
I have them. They are not as aero as full on aeros, but you can get into a decent tuck for a while, until the lack of wrist pads gets to you, esp on rough roads.

I like them cos they are light, and give you a nice range of position options on longer rides. They are also nice and cheap at

Oddly enough, I would certainly use them on a touring bike, on account of the position options.
My 2 centsCartman
Dec 6, 2001 1:24 PM
Firts, I just noticed that my keyboard doesn't have the "cents" symbol! I guess with inflation, you don't need to use it anymore!
I have aero bars, and went through a phase last winter/ spring when I'd take them off / put them on. For me they work good. I use them on flats, windy conditions, and time trials / triathalons. As a matter of fact, my next bike will be a tri/tt bike, so i guess that I find them useful. I probably don't use them as much as i should/could on regular rides, but they definately make a difference in tri's and tt's.
here you go: ¢Dog
Dec 6, 2001 1:48 PM
copy and paste: ¢
re: AERO BARS, do you use thembadabill
Dec 7, 2001 8:29 AM
I have done a lot more long solo riding this year and put a set of the profile airstrike bars on this year. At first I would take them on and off according to the ride, later have left them on. Now will not ride without them. The added aero into a head wind makes up for any added weight. plus I have found on climbs I can place my hands on the elbow pads to strech the back out a bit. The airstrikes have the fold up pads to give more access to the flats of the bars. The small group I ride with are all experienced Tri and road riders, about half have them on.
dislike, but still use them..dotkaye
Dec 7, 2001 10:05 AM
they make the bike look goofy, don't like the extra weight much either. But in a triathlon or TT, it would be a severe handicap to be without them, except on an extremely hilly/technical course. Recently built up a new bike and left the aerobars off, will ride without them until the next tri that has a flattish course.
re: AERO BARS, do you use themWoof the dog
Dec 7, 2001 9:57 PM
I am used to putting my arms into the aerobar position on the top of the bars and hold the cables a little bit for steering. Works well and for quite a while unless the road is too bumpy. I get the same benefits as from aerobars, feel just as confident, and my bike weighs less. I also have real aerobars that I am putting on my tt bike soon after I finish that baby up.