Adding aero bars to your triathlon or road bike can drastically improve your speed without breaking the bank. By shifting the angle of your body, they eliminate wind resistance and improve your speed potential. When shopping, you will notice most aero bars have the following components: extension bars, grips, and padding for your forearms. Nevertheless, the style and designs vary greatly. Keep in mind, aero bars can give you a competitive edge but take some getting used to. If you are triathletes looking to up your speed, read along to learn more about what to consider when purchasing aero bars and discover some helpful reviews. Enjoy!
While most aero bars share a few basic components, they vary widely in terms of price, weight, and design. Even if a bar comes highly recommended, what is comfortable and fitted for one athlete may be completely incompatible with another. Read along to help identify the key properties to look for in triathlon aero bars and discover our five favorite aero bars.
Generally, triathlon aero bars are designed for long distance races. Typically, they feature clip-on hardware that attaches to a bike's preexisting handlebars. This type of aero bar serves to put your body in a more aerodynamic position while giving you the option to vary between positions for longlasting comfort. When utilizing aero bars, your elbows are close together, your head is as low as possible between your shoulders, and your back and elbows are parallel to the ground. Acclimating to the aero position can be a bit of a challenge, but the perks include less wind resistance, more speed, and less fatigue.
Armrests are an essential component of an aero bar's metal extension rods. Sitting toward the bike end of the rod, the armrests are typically composed of a sturdy metal frame with generous padding. Armrests should be somewhat anatomical and provide a curved lip to prevent wet or sweaty arms from slipping unexpectedly. What's more, you should be able to adjust the position, width, and rotation of the armrests. Remember, no two riders have the same measurements nor stances. If you're unsure if your aero bars are adjusted properly, it is always a good idea to seek the help of a professional fitter.
Extension rods are the backbone of an aero bar. They are attached to the front of a bike in a variety of ways, including screw-in metal brackets, quick-release brackets, clamps, and integrated stem systems. The majority of extension rods are made from aluminum or premium carbon. These lightweight metals give riders more speed. Some extension rods allow the rider to adjust, or drop down, the angle.
Most athletes look toward aero bars as a way to improve their performance. For that reason, the weight of a prospective triathlon bar should come into consideration before making a purchase. While the concept that lighter riders are faster may be true, we shouldn't ignore the fact that these devices are also responsible for holding up the body weight of a rider and sustaining that pressure though countless rides. As a general rule of thumb, efficient bars range between 400 and 600 grams.
While not all aero bars include them, base bars provide a more relaxed position option during long rides. Nestled out and below their prospective extension rods, models such as the Zipp Vuka Aero and the Specialized Carbon Aero Bar the Aero Stem feature these versatile additions.
Prices vary depending on the materials, quality of design, brand, and style of bar. Inexpensive clip-on extensions can cost less than $100. Meanwhile, customized full-sized handlebars can cost several hundred dollars. If you're an extremely active and competitive racer, purchasing a pricier model may pay off. Still, expect it to take some time and a proper fitting before you see any measurable improvements in your performance.
Are you a triathlon rider who still isn't sure if aero bars are right for you? These metal extensions transform the cockpit of your bike by instantly reconfiguring your body into an aerodynamic position that can shave a small chunk off finish time by increasing your speed. This happens because your body becomes less resistant to the wind. On the downside, these handlebar extensions don't possess breaks. This means you'll need to switch back to your standard bars to stop. Such an inconsistency isn't that dramatic but can be somewhat problematic during group rides.
Check out this video, "Are Aero Bars Worth It," for a look at how they can save you time during a triathlon.
Why there are several products in the market, here are some of the best ones to add that extra edge to converting your road bike into a tribike!
Starting with the adjustable drop bend carbon extensions, the Profile Design T3 bars are king of comfort. Even the armrest pads appear to be significantly thicker and more sturdy than most. The ergonomic cockpit enhancer easily attaches to your bike with forged aluminum J4 brackets. These allow you to easily adjust the extension rods and armrests. With a weight of 620 grams and clamps that fits both 26.0mm and 31.8mm bars, it is hard to deny the versatility of these carbon extensions. Not only will these help you to shave a few minutes off your next triathlon time, they'll tone down your recovery too.
The Redshift Quick-Release aero bars are some of the few triathlon extensions that actually clip on without any tools. They feature a patent-pending dovetail technology that allows you to quickly snap on or release the bars. Still, what makes the Redshift bars so phenomenal is their ample adjustability. The height, length, angle, and even pad width can all be adjusted to create a custom fit. The bars fit handlebars with both 26.0 and 31.8 mm diameters. They weight between 630 and 640 grams.
The Control Tech cockpit clip-on aero bars offer a novel triathlon concept. With a welded carbon bridge firmly connecting the two extensions, the arms have transformed into a single unit. The bridge also doubles as a place to mount a computer or heart rate monitor. Weighing in at a mere 305 grams thanks to the single unit carbon frame and titanium screws, the Control Tech bar is designed with speed in mind.
Vision's mini TT Clip-on is yet another super light bridged aero bar. In fact, it is smaller than your typical triathlon bar and weighs a mere 471 grams. If you are not super tall you can get away with murder with these UCI-compliant cockpit additions. The butted aluminum extensions will fit any 31.8mm handlebar. Meanwhile, the armrests can be adjusted six DIFFERENT ways to achieve a comfortable and personalized position. Finally, the CFD design has been refined to accomplish supreme speeds.
The Profile Design Jammer GT Aerobars feature premium aluminum extensions mounted with F-19 armrests. If comfort is your prerogative, the length, width, and rotational adjustment options for both the rods and armrests will serve to impress. The jammers are on the lighter side at 512 grams and can attach to both 26.0mm and 31.8mm bars. However, it does take a good amount of patience to secure the multi-fit bars are properly adjusted.
While we looked at quite a few of the best aero bars for triathlon purposes, our number one slot goes to the Profile Design T3+ Carbon Aero Bars. There's so much that sets these bars apart from the pack. With easy to attach J4 brackets that fit both 26.0mm and 31.8mm bars, the install can be done by an amateur without hassle. What's more, they feature ergonomic drop bend extension rods that allow the rider to find their sweet spot. Finally, they're not too shabby when it comes to increasing speed either. In fact, you can probably add on one or two MPH thanks to the Profile Design's classic aerodynamic design.
Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been doing Triathlons for a while now and am competing in 70.3 Ironman's as well come this year. I created this site to help those new to the sport and to share my journey with other athletes.