I am doing a sprint triathlon and was wondering if it is worth using clip on aero bars. Will they save me any time? Or will the added weight and worse handling make this gain marginal?
they should save you time if your bike can be set up suitably to get the best out of the position they can give you. they can take a little while to get used to, but the benefits to well set-up clip-on bars is pretty noticeable compared to hoods or drops.
How much time would you say you save?
too many variables - you, your bike, what position you can comfortably hold and for how long, course type, course length, wind...
there was a website somewhere that compared simple additives to road bikes (wheels, bars, pointy hat) and the same kit on on a tt-frame, and there was a respectable amount of saved watts from the clip on bars. i can't remember where it was, though - sorry.
for the money - you can get good second hand clip ons for under £50, and new for under £100 - they are probably the cheapest time saving per £.
my first sprint tri i rode on a standard roadie with drops (allez sport) and did 45mins (includes transitions). a year later i did it with awful clip on bars (profile design century) - 40mins (including transitions).
same course - the only difference in kit was the bars. i'd also had a year's training, though, so quite a difference in that regard.
last year - same course, different bike, different clip ons and about 5 years of training - 38mins. progress is slow...
if this is your first tri and you think this will be the hobby for you then clip ons might be a good idea. if you aren't sure and this race is going to be a one-off i'm not sure i'd bother. when else would you use them?
I've only been cycling for about 2 years and Tri's for about 12 months. I did my first TT yesterday.
They without a doubt help, but how much do they help? I've noticed on straight roads with a head win, 1-2 miles per hour difference between bars and hoods for the same effort.
I would recommend a bike fit to compliment the bars, as just sticking some bars on can cause your knees to push outwards leading to knee injuries. Some core/stretching exercises to avoid back pain would be a good idea too.
The sensation of sandwiching your privates if you dont have an adamo saddle is a parculiar problem which may put you off.
I agree with DDTTRI. Having read this thread I kept a watching eye on my speed during my ride today and dropping onto the tri bars did indeed see my speed increase by approx 2km/h with seemingly no additional effort required. My bike is a spectacularly ancient 531, doesn't fit me properly as its on the small side and I've never had any kind of professional fit. The clip on tri bars were given to me by a friend, heavy aluminium jobs but they definitely make a difference especially into the wind. Probably no more aero advantage than being on the drops but a superior position to apply more power through the pedals at the same time.