Buyer’s Guide 2010: Aerobars
What separates triathlon bikes from regular road bikes are the aero bars.
What separates triathlon bikes from regular road bikes are the aero bars. Ever since Boone Lennon developed the first aero bar for Scott USA in 1988 cycling in our sport has revolved around staying in an aero position for as long as possible. (Unless, of course, you happen to race in draft-legal events, in which case you’re quite happy to compete on a regular road frame!) Here’s our look at the various aero bar options available in Canada this year.
Race XXX Lite
The full carbon Race XXX Lite Aerobar ($659) was developed and wind tunnel tested for the successful Discovery Channel team, so it is certainly qualifies as being fast. The bar is 42 cm wide, has a 31.8 mm clamp, weighs 630 g and the fit is personalized with its fully adjustable arm rests and carbon extensions (23.5 to 31.5 mm). Their Race X Lite Carbon Clip-On ($199) is a great option for clamping onto any road bike. Also wind tunnel tested, it is constructed from high compression molded carbon and forged aluminum. The extensions are in a ski bend style, weigh 500 g and qualify for Bontrager’s carbon fibre crash replacement policy.
The Georgia based company makes aerobar model selection easy because it only offers one: the slick TTB Carbon Aero Bar. Fairly light at 554 g, it measures 42 cm wide, each pad has 85 mm of lateral adjustment, the extensions can be moved 110 mm and it fits onto a 31.8 mm clamp stem. It is priced at $500.
Bikeparts for Bikers by Bikers is dedicated to producing quality, value-for-money, parts and accessories, but their products are also good enough for the professional riders on Team Cofidis and Team QuickStep. The minimalist full carbon BHB-53 Aerospeed ($639) is only 564 g. The aluminum clamping mechanism is fully adjustable over the width of the bar, while the extension length and pad angle are also adjustable. The BHB-57 Aeroextend ($299) is their lightest clip-on option at 356 g. All carbon, save for the aluminum 31.8 mm clamping mechanism, its extension length and pad angle are adjustable.
This Italian company has two new bars for 2010: the integrated Kronos and the Fastblack2 Clip-on. The Kronos’ ($645) carbon wing and extensions are their most attractive, aerodynamic, adjustable and ergonomic to date. It tips the scales at 550 g, has a width of 42 cm and will attach to a 31.7 mm clamp stem. The Fastblack2 ($340) also features carbon extensions, ergonomic hand grips, adjustable armrests, weighs 340 g and is capable of attaching to any sized clamp.
It doesn’t get much lighter than the one-piece, all-carbon Attack TT bar ($649). Available in three sizes, the smallest (225 mm reach) weighs in at 380 g, is 38 cm wide and you can get one to fit any clamp size. Easton’s TaperWall technology ensures optimum strength while trimming weight. The Aeroforce CNT clip-on bar ($329) features Easton’s CNT composite material, TaperWall technology, three sizes, weighs 410 g, only fits 31.8 mm clamps and, as with all of Easton’s aerobars, they have a five year warranty.
When Lance Armstrong wants to trick out his bike with the latest aero equipment, he calls upon Steve Hed, the aero guru with 25 years of experience in this field. The new Corsair Aerobar ($1,050) is the result of his work fitting the world’s best athletes. Compared to HED’s other integrated models, the Corsair is stiffer, has more comfortable armrests, is lighter (585 g), UCI legal and arguably their most eye-catching bar. It also has carbon integrated brake levers, is available in a variety of extensions and its base bar can be had as a flat or 84 mm drop. It fits 31.8 clamp stems only. HED’s other integrated bars come at a reduced cost, but with some extra weight. The Black Dog Drop Aerobar ($900, 630 g, and only fits 31.8 mm clamps) and the Vantage Eight ($650, 590 g, adjustable in 8 planes and only fits 26.0 mm clamps).
A701 Laminar Complete
Oval Concepts brings to their bars the precision that the Swiss are known for. Their objective is providing the ultimate fit through custom or modular aerobar systems; they really do have something to fit anyone. At the top end you can opt for the A911 JetStream Carbon Custom Aerobar that was co-designed with the Jordan/Midland/Spyker F1 Team, has 1,260 incremental adjustments and, because it is custom, can weigh as low as 550 g with a final price tag that is up to you. The A921 JetStream complete carbon bar (parts can be swapped if needed) is available at 750 g and costs $965. If you prefer aluminum alloy, the A701 Laminar Complete Aerobar has 1,209,600 incremental adjustments and has all of the aero benefits, but at a reduced price ($315).
New this year is the Missile EVO with unidirectional carbon monocoque construction. It has fully integrated cable routing for brake and shift cables (and seamless Dura Ace and Di2 routing). This bar provides a sleek addition to many integrated stem designs. The Simon Whitfield Series includes the Stealth EVO Clip-on aerobar ($759). This feather-light carbon monocoque bar with twistlock fully adjustable S-bend extenstions weighs 260 g. It is only compatible with Pro’s Stealth EVO handlebars (350 g) and therefore more suited for triathletes using a road bike. For a dedicated tri-bike set-up, the monocoque carbon Missile Flat with Straight, S or Curved Bars is their best choice. It features twistlock adjustable extensions, adjustable carbon armrests with gel pads, integrated brake and shift cable routing, a width of 42 cm, a clamp diameter of 31.8 mm, weighs 485 g, has the price tag of $1,399 and is the weapon of choice for Craig Alexander.
Selection and constant innovation are a few reasons why Profile Design remains the top selling aerobar company (also leading the count in Kona every year) and, in 2010, they continue to offer more choices. You still have the top of the line full carbon Volna ($999) at 670 g, and CX3 ($899) at 653 g, but this year both are available in white. The same goes for the T2+ Cobra Clip-on. Also new are the T1+ Viper – carbon extension clip-on’s that are the official aerobar of Ironman, the ZBS (in Stryke, Ski, TT, or S-bends), TMAG, T1+, and Airstryke S. Of note is the TMAG with its AZ-80 magnesium brackets, and S-bend AZ-80 magnesium extensions – at 374 g, it is one of the most adjustable and lightest clip-on’s available.
Syntace have not gone the carbon route (other than the Stratos CX base bar), or introduced any new aerobars for close to three years, but why should they? They still produce some of the market’s lightest, strongest and most comfortable aluminum aerobars. Available in three sizes (the smallest weighing 348 g), the unique double helix bend of the C3 ($255) promotes an improved upper body position and increased pedal pressure. For something even lighter and more traditional there is the SLS Clip-on (318 g in the small size) with comfortable and shock absorbing biowing armrests for $245. Syntace makes an adapter to ensure their bars fit all clamp sizes.
For 2010, Valdora revised their only aerobar to make it lighter, thinner, and more versatile. Compete with ergonomic carbon extensions, oversized armrests for extra comfort in long races and internal cable routing, the SR-1.0 has a price tag of $735, and weighs 641 g (trimming 99 g from last year’s model). If you wish to use a different type of extension, knock $100 off the price and plug in your favourite style of extension.
The Trimax Carbon ($639) is Vision’s lightest integrated aerobar at 975 g. It has flat carbon wings, 6-position multi-deluxe armrests, molded armrest pads, a width of 41 cm and ergo/aero carbon extensions that are available in different lengths. Their popular clip-on choices includes the Carbon Pro (460 g) at $279, and the TT aluminum alloy (510 g) which costs $169.
Zipp products are stringently wind tunnel tested. So, with the integrated Vuka Aero ($1,399), you are getting the ultimate in aerodynamics. On top of cheating the wind, the extensions can be adjusted fore-aft, vertical, rotational and angular to personalize your fit. It is also very strong (passed EFBe’s toughest fatigue tests), measures 42cm, fits any sized clamp diameter, includes chicane extensions and weighs 860 g. For $499, Zipp’s super light (195 g) Vuka Bull carbon base bar gives you the foundation to build your own time trial cockpit, especially when combined with the Vuka Clip with extensions ($279).
3T has three product lines: LTD (ultimate performance), Team (mostly functionally equal to the LTD, but utilizing different materials), and Pro (a combination of price and performance). The Ventus LTD ($1,450) is their signature bar with thin carbon aerofoil wings, minimalist brake levers, an aerodynamically integrated stem, a choice of extensions that adjust front-rear for reach along with vertically for height, a width of 42 cm and a weight of 850 g. Their Ventus Team version is a bit heavier at 900 g ($1100). For something more value priced, the Mistral Pro ($400), fits the bill as their new entry point integrated bar. It fits 31.8 mm clamps, weighs 727g, has a carbon base and includes extensions, clamps and armrests made out of Aluminum 6061 alloy.