Living Jackson

Benefits of cycling

How To Fit Clip On Aero Bars | Upgrade Your Road Bike To A Triathlon Machine


– Now, if you’re new to
triathlon, or indeed an old hand, you could well be doing most
of your riding out on the roads on a road bike like one of these, but be interested in the
notion of a triathlon or time-trial specific bike. However the thought of
splashing out all that cash on an extra bike simply to
go a little bit faster seems, well a little bit extravagant doesn’t it? But fear not, because for
a fraction of that cost and a good deal of the benefits of one of those triathlon or TT bikes, with a set of these aero clip-on bars, you too could be getting
comfortable and aero out on your road bike. So, today, I’m going to
talk through how to install a set of these clip-on aero
bars onto your road bike so you can get faster out on the roads. (dramatic music) So, first things first, you’ve decided to add these clip-on bars onto your handlebars, but
you need to figure out if those handlebars are
compatible for the clips-ons, so, what you need to do is have
a look at your own handlebar and see if you’ve got space
either side of the stem, ideally you need about two fingers width or two to three centimeters
either side of your stem to allow those aero clip-on
bars to be clamped on. Do be mindful, because a lot of handlebars
taper off quite soon either side of that stem,
as you can see here, these handlebars are a lot
narrower once you get past that two to three centimeters, so you need to just check
and make sure that there is the space for those clip-on bars. Or alternatively, you can
have a look at your handlebars because they often have a handy guideline, like these spare ones I
have here, show just there that past that point it’s not
safe to add your clip-ons. And on that note of clamping
aero bars onto your handlebars, if your bike has carbon
handlebars, just be careful, because carbon has a tendency
not to like to be clamped and often these types of
handlebars actually need to be reinforced to cope with aero bars being clamped onto them, so the best thing to do is to
check with the manufacturer of the handlebar in the first instance, or even just pop down to your
local bike shop and ask them, “Can I add clip-on bars
onto these handlebars?” (soft music) So, once we’ve figured
out what our own bike and handlebars set-up requires, it’s time for us to be
able to start clipping on our aero bars onto the handlebar, now for this I’ve opted for
a two-piece extension set-up, as opposed to one-piece alternatives, just ’cause I think they
offer more adjustability and comfort, reach and
so on, but I will touch a little bit more on
that later in the video. And, as you can see, I’ve already started with clipping one of my
extensions onto the handlebar, just ’cause the process
is a little bit fiddly, and in terms of that process, what we need to do is
firstly unbolt the clamp from the back of the extension, take that underneath the handlebar, pop the rest of the extension on top and then tighten those bolts up, but not too tight because
you want to be able to have some movement in the clip-on once it’s on the handlebar, so that you’ve got some
maneuverability once you’re trying to dial in that position. Now, it is worth noting that since we’re clamping
metal onto metal, it’s worth adding a couple
layers of electrical tape onto your handlebars, just
so that, in the future, if you want to take those
clip-on bars back off you don’t want any scratches
left on your handlebars. (soft music) So, as you can see, I’ve got
my second extension added on to the handlebars now, but I want to touch on the adjustability that I did just talk about a bit before, because these extensions
have a ton of adjustability and that is because of a single bolt that just sits here under the arm rest, and if I undo that,
suddenly I’ve got rotation and I’ve got extra length
backwards and forwards too, which just adds a whole
spectrum of extra adjustability to these clip-on bars,
and as a final note, you’ve actually got a
really handy guideline which you can see here
on the aero extension, which just means you
can be really specific, to the millimeter even, with your reach. (soft music) (bicycle wheels whirring) So once we’ve got the
general position set up, the next stage to get comfortable and really dial in this
position with the clip-on bars, is to set up the indoor
trainer like I’ve done here. Now, if you remember, I didn’t
tighten up the bolts fully on these clip-ons, and
that was for a reason, so that once I’m on the bike just now I can just slowly tilt them
up or push them down to try and figure out the right position that I want them to be sitting in, once I’m happy with that
I can tighten them up. Now as a rough rule of
thumb for this positioning, I was always told to try
and have my upper arms roughly tracking the fork leg of the bike, and my forearms would be
parallel to the floor. And in terms of getting
this position set up it’s really good if you’ve got a friend who can help you with
this, taking a photo or, ideally, a little video,
so you can have a look and really get it set up properly. (soft music) Now, the arm rests, or arm pads
as they’re sometimes called, can be moved around a lot
on these clip-on bars too, sometimes you might find that, say, your knees are catching
on them when you’re cycling so you can move them
forwards, or, in fact also, if there’s too much reach
they can be pulled back too. All you have to do is simply
pull away the velcro pad and then that reveals the
bolts that are underneath, now, I personally, when I’m
setting up clip-on bars, like to leave them in, what
I call, a neutral position, which is usually having the
bolt sitting in the middle of the options as you can see here. There’s also, usually, a
width adjustment factor to clip-on bars too, which is just underneath,
in here on the extension, and I like to have them
sitting middle as well, so that just keeps
everything quite neutral. If, of course, you feel that you want
to be more stretched out, you can push the pads forward, and similarly if you feel
you are too stretched out then you just pull them back as well. (soft music) So the whole point of us
adding these clip-on extensions is to try and be more aerodynamic, and the common school of thought is, the lower the better when
trying to achieve that, but of course, our positions
are all a little bit different and we might not all want to have the absolute lowest position
that comes with these clip-ons, so, there is the possibility,
with a lot of them, to change the height that
your arm rest sits at and that’s by adding in
these sorts of stack raisers. Now, as I’ve got them
sitting at the moment this arm rest is as low down
to the handlebar as it can be, but if I added in this
block, which is 30 mils, that would just sit in
there, raise the arm rest up and that would take it to
an intermediate height, and I could, of course, add
in an even higher raiser to bring that up yet further as well. (soft music) Right, so now that I’ve got
my position nice and dialed in with these new clip-on
bars added to the bike, there’s just a couple other
factors worth paying attention to for improving the overall position. The first of those is the saddle, because when we’re in aero bars and we’re down on that
position in the bike our hip angle is
naturally altered relative to the bottom bracket, so to counter this we can
move the saddle forward a little bit and that just
helps with our general position when we’re down in the aero bars, and it is worth noting,
and I certainly feel, that whenever I am in that position I generally find myself shunting forward on the saddle anyway. Now, the other point I
was going to talk about is the aerodynamics that
we’re trying to improve when we’re on the bike, and the lower is generally the better, so if we can bring our
handlebar down just a little bit then that could help our
position quite a lot, so it’s worth having a
look at your stem height, and seeing if there’s any
spacers that sit below your stem, now I know this is a more
aerodynamic looking frameset, so I would actually just have
to take these spacers away to drop the stem, but on a regular road bike you
could take those spacers away and then pop them above the stem and start playing around
with your position to see how it feels when
you’re out on the road. Right then, I am pretty
happy with this set-up that these extensions have
added to my road bike, I’m more comfy, I’m most certainly more
aerodynamic than I was beforehand, and the beauty of it is they
have essentially transformed this road bike into
something pretty similar to a TT equivalent, and
as I said at the outset, for a fraction of the
cost of a whole new bike. If you too have opted for
changing your road bike with some sort of set-up
like this, please drop those in the comments below,
I’d love to hear about it. If you’ve enjoyed this video please hit that thumb-up button,
find the globe onscreen to get all the other
videos on our channel, and if you want to see another
video about doing things at a fraction of the
cost that Mark did about a DIY home disc wheel,
you can find that there.

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