Aero Bars – Cheat the Wind
2013 Buyer's Guide, aero bars cheat the wind.
Aero bars define triathlon bikes – the goal is to be able to ride in an aero position for as much of your race as you can. Like bikes and wheels, the options available are endless and there’s a huge price range to choose from. While one-piece bars are more aerodynamic, adding a clip-on bar to traditional handlebars can provide a lot more options for those who ride over varying terrain. Fit is critical when it comes to finding the right aerobars – lower isn’t always better because being able to stay down on your bars for as long as possible will make more of a difference to your times.
With a base bar just 30 cm wide, these bars are designed specifically for athletes who spend almost all their time in an aero tuck. By making the bars so narrow 3t engineers were able to cut the weight of this high-modulus carbon bar ($900) dramatically – it weighs in at just 486 g. The narrow bars can’t help but keep you aero no matter what position you’re in – you’ll be amazingly narrow even while cornering, climbing or braking as you come into T2 after a blazing fast bike split.
This light weight carbon bar manages to combine aerodynamics, stiffness and lots of adjustability into one sleek package. The “E” version ($900) comes without brake levers so you can easily fit electronic shifters and brake levers. Weighing just 585 g (that’s including brake levers), you’ll likely shave some weight from your bike setup in addition to looking extremely fast.
Utilizing a full UD Carbon aerodynamic design, these $1,280 bars are as aerodynamically slick as they appear, especially when combined with the Missile evo stem. Weighing in at lightweight 595 g (not including the stem), the armpads and extensions have a wide range of adjustments and include 5 mm gel armrest pads to ensure optimal comfort. There’s also an integrated brake and shifter cable routine which is compatible with the Shimano Dura Ace Di2.
Announced just as we were going to press, the brand new Vuka Stealth ($ 1,150) offers 1,920 fit options and three different stem lengths, which means you shouldn’t have any problems dialing in the perfect position. Made with unidirectional carbon fibre, the hardware is all made with lightweight titanium and aluminum and integrated together into one streamlined aero package that weighs 820 g. The base bar uses a truncated airfoil shape to maximize aero efficiency, but remains uci legal for those wanting to use them in time trials.
Easton Aeroforce Carbon Extensions with Deltaforce Base Bar
Coupled with Easton’s 6061 aluminum Aeroforce Mod Base System (342 g) and Deltaforce Alloy Base Bar (265 g), the lightweight and sturdy Aeroforce Carbon S-Bend extensions (170 g) are a great way to spruce up your current bike setup. The entire Easton set will cost you in the neighbourhood of $400 and utilizing all of the Easton components ensures structural integrity, and a wide range of adjustability to ensure comfort.
There’s a reason you see so many of these bars on bikes in transition. For $170 you can attach these 469 g bars made with 6061-T6 aluminum and forged brackets to virtually any regular or aero handlebar to put yourself in an optimal aero position. The brackets are easy to move around and the F-19 adjustable anatomic armrests are extremely comfortable. It’s affordable aero that will make a big difference to your bike splits.