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How To Choose Aero Handlebars | Maintenance Monday

How To Choose Aero Handlebars | Maintenance Monday

– You can spend almost
as much money as you want on making your bike more aerodynamic but fundamentally, it’s actually your body that is the biggest drag holding you back. Actually, for most of us, our bodies just hold us back full stop, but anyway, let’s gloss
over that shall we? The single best thing that you can do to make yourself faster then, is to buy a pair of aero handlebars. Now, they’re not going to make
your bike more aerodynamic but they will make you
considerably more aerodynamic. Now of course, they’re not
legal in mass start road events but for ultra endurance events, for time trials and for triathlon, they make a really sound investment but which ones do you choose? (light music) You have two basic choices to make, firstly, so called clip-ons, that bolt on to
traditional road handlebars and then you also have
something more like these, which are a full aero handlebar, and more at home on a
traditional time trial bike. Now you don’t need a specific bike but to use these you will
need different gear shifters, different brake levers and therefore a full re-cable every time you swap from a traditional road
handlebar to a full aero bar and basically it would take
an experienced mechanic about an hour every time
you want to do that job. (light music) Let’s start with clip-ons first, shall we? They bolt onto the central
section of your handlebar, as you can see, some of them,
like these from Profile, will bolt onto the top of your handlebars, therefore raising your elbows up slightly and making your position
a little bit more upright. Some, however, will mount
below the handlebars, therefore dropping you down a little bit. Now which ones you choose,
depend on, firstly, what type of riding you do, but then also how low your position
is as a starting point. So, for some people doing,
perhaps, ultra endurance events, where aero is gonna come
secondary to comfort, then being a little bit higher up is probably a good idea, however, if you want to get really aero, the chances are that you may well want to go a little bit lower and, in fact, in those cases you might
even want to consider dropping your stem as well, or
perhaps swapping it entirely for one that drops you even further. You’ll also want to look
at having adjustable pads so that means both for height, independently of your handlebars, and also the width, because
some people will find that they’re more comfortable with wider elbows and wider hands, which other people will
want to be narrower. In terms of which one is more aerodynamic, it is, unfortunately, not very clear cut because it very much depends on the width of your shoulders. Sorry about that one. And the last thing you need to think about is the shape of the extensions themselves. These ones, the T2+’s,
are actually my choice and they keep your wrist
much, much flatter. They feel faster, although
I’ve never actually tested them in a wind tunnel so I don’t
know how it affects my position but you may well find
that if you’re on the bike for longer periods of time, looking at you ultra endurance athletes,
that you might want an extension that kicks up a
little bit more at the end. Then, one last point to mention, actually, is for triathletes, those of you that are doing draft legal
races, need to bear in mind that the end of your
extensions need to finish before the maximum extent
of your brake levers, so these need to be a lot shorter and they also need to be
joined in the middle as well. (light music) What about full blown aero bars then? Well, as I mentioned, if
you are considering buying some of these for the first time, you also need to factor
in that you’re gonna need specific brake levers and
also gear shifters as well and they do tend to be significantly more aerodynamic than road handlebars, so buying the most aero ones you can find should probably be something that you want to factor
in to your buying decision as is the fact that you
want them to be UCI legal if you’re doing UCI
sanctioned events, of course, and by that I mean they need to conform to the three to one
ratio of width to depth, so on the base bar here, you
can see that does meet it, but it is significantly
wider than it is deeper. Now, a full blown aero bar
probably has less adjustment than the clip-ons but there
is still plenty to play with, so, you’ll be able to move
the width of the pads out and then also on these Profile ones you can actually increase the stack, so increase the distance
between the base bar and the extensions by up to 10cm. (light music) Remember, that actually
setting up your aero bars is one of the most important
parts of actually buying them. If you just throw them
on your bike you may find that you don’t actually get
any more aerodynamic at all. You don’t need to invest
in a full on bike fit, although if you’re
relatively inexperienced then it might well be a good idea but definitely put your
bike on an indoor trainer, either in front of a full length mirror or a video camera and just check out firstly your position,
and your frontal area, which is one of the most
important parts of aerodynamics and indeed, how changes to your setup will change your frontal area. There are golden rules, generally, your power output and your comfort should be more important
than your aerodynamics, so maintaining them as opposed to adopting a super extreme position
that looks more aerodynamic and then also bear in mind that
as you lean further forward, your hips will rotate and that means that you will want to push your seat a little bit further forward as well so I’ve swapped out a seat post to an inline one here
and knocked the saddle correspondingly further forwards as well. Aero handlebars then,
are definitely a secret to being able to go faster, just make sure that you
spend a little bit of time choosing the right ones
and indeed setting them up. Now, make sure you have subscribed to GCN, it’s completely free, it’s very easy, all you’ve got to do is click on the globe and then, if you’re
after some more content, I have a couple of very
relevant ones for you right now including how to fit and
setup clip on aero bars, see, told you it’s relevant. That is just up there. Or, to see how to get more comfortable with your road handlebars
and adjust the fit on them, then click just down there.

15 comments on “How To Choose Aero Handlebars | Maintenance Monday

  1. In October I start training for a 4500 mile cross-continental bike ride. Your videos have made it seem less impossible!

  2. on long rides the position they provide seems to be more comfortable. is it? i have tried putting my elbows on my handle bars and it seems more comfortable but is it in the long run? i never leave my elbows on the bars for more than a mile or so. the bumps etc.. are too much and it feels very unsafe

  3. I am looking for aero clip in handlebars but my handlebar of my bike is pretty wide (more oval then round shape) and a normal mounting system is too narrow. Any suggestions?

  4. I just want to enjoy the ride. Knowing how to ride with a peloton is the best way. You always have someone to ride with. You use less energy and that is what makes the ride enjoyable.

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