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Aerobars.. how do they help?(5 posts)

Aerobars.. how do they help?2300 Edmontonian
Nov 15, 2002 11:27 PM
Besides triathloning and velodroming..
How do they help in road biking?
Do they really help maintain rhythm over distances?.. not to mention, go faster?
How uncomfortable are they?. especially in turning,
I rode my friend's last weekend and they were quite smooth and I "felt" faster..
Thinking, for a while now, and now am quite assured that I need them.. see, this year, as my first year road biking, I was quite uncomfy and couldn't really settle in that well when it came to longer distances.. will they help?
Do you think they really are worth it if I plan to use them only on the road?
I probably may get into track next year, but that's a long way, and I'm still unsure...
But I will be covering longer distances..
re: Aerobars.. how do they help?mja
Nov 16, 2002 5:23 AM
Here's some tech info on aerodynamics and cycling:

When I read that you couldn't "settle in" on your bike, I surmise that your fit on the bike isn't quite right. Maybe you need to experiment with a different stem length, handlebar drop, saddle height or setback?
re: Aerobars.. how do they help?Jon Billheimer
Nov 16, 2002 7:05 AM
By reducing frontal exposure to the wind they reduce wind resistance. The primary use for aerobars is in time trialling. Long distance, or ultracyclists, also use them not only for their aerodynamic effects but also to give them a different position to ride in, thus resting their arms and shoulders.

Do not use aerobars in group riding situations, since they compromise steering somewhat and your hands are taken away from the brakes.
Aero ...Humma Hah
Nov 16, 2002 9:49 AM
... is the key. Aerodynamic pressure on an object moving thru the air = air density x velocity squared. Drag is that pressure times effective area. Power needed to overcome drag increases by velocity cubed (velocity times drag). Going fast on a bike, any time except on steep climbs, is almost purely an exercise in balancing limited power against aerodynamic drag. Aero bars get your back flatter and your arms sticking straighter into the wind, so they lower that area that produces the drag.

Thus, in solo riding at race paces, aero bars reduce drag. That applies to TT's and triathalons, where drafting is prohibited.

In most other roadracing forms, where pacelines and pelotons are used to overcome drag, aerobars are far less useful and are usually prohibited due to concerns over controllability in close quarters.

For "touring", going out for a nice, long, enjoyable ride, and seeing the countryside at a more leisurely pace, aerobars might not be the best idea. For group rides, they may also make you a pariah, unwelcome in the close quarters of a paceline.

Fit issues are different with aerobars, as you get your back very flat with them and your arms are more stretched. A bike that is comfortable with conventional drop bars may never be comfortable with aero bars. Thus, many riders will keep two bikes, one with aero bars, one with drops, for their different types of riding.
I've been using them for yearsMatno
Nov 16, 2002 10:03 PM
Especially handy on longer rides, but I use them anytime I hit a long straight section of road with no traffic. The aerodynamics can be nice (especially when you're leading a paceline, but not in any other position in the line!) However, the main reason I like them is because they make it much easier to relax on a long ride while maintaining a decent speed. Totally takes the pressure off of your arms and back, which is wonderful. You might have to fiddle with your saddle position to get it to work with both the aerobars and the regular bars, but it can be a real lifesaver.