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tri bar's

Hi Guys,

Just wondered if i could pick at your wealth of knowledge...

I've tried a few times to try and get used to using aero/tri bars but cant seem to get used to them, i find my cadence is not as fluent when in the compact aero position.

I feel much more comfortable without them, so...

Should i take them off or stick with it?

What are the benefits, will i save time by getting used to them?

I'd really appreciate some wise word on this if you would be so kind,




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    BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    There's no question, if you can get used to them then they will help save you time. Aerodynamic drag is the greatest resistive factor in cycling and all you can do about it is get in a more aerodynamic position.

    If you are struggling to find a comfy position then it may be well worth getting fitted properly on the bike at a decent bike shop, seems to be the answer to most questions asked on here, but it is important. If you are over reaching or too crunched up it will feel wrong. You will still need to get used to them but it shouldn't take long.

    It's worth getting it looked at, I for one feel far more comfy on my aero bars.

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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    If you cant get used to them, then they are fitted wrong for you. I'd go with Boycie: You'll definetely save time, no question about that. But proper fitting is key, get it done by people who really know well about it( you'll find a lot of bike shops who do not know how to do it good, most shops only know how to sell a bike).

    Try it, it's really worth the small effort!!
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    chischis Posts: 94
    Hi Bristol

    Tri bars certainly do take some getting used to in my experience - they alter the way the bike handles and its worth practicing a lot before any attempt to race with them.. If you have clip ons then you can have the best of both worlds as you can move to the ordinary bars for security when you need to. However the other comments about getting them sorted to suit your own bike and your own body size are worth taking note of.

    If you can come to terms with them however you will notice a big difference in times - the aero postion seems to aid a more effective pedalling action as well as reducing drag. The difference is especially noticeable on long straight stretches - get them fitted well and then persevere! It will be worth it!

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    This might be a stupid question, but do you have a road or a TT bike? The different geometry of the two types of bikes means that you need aero bars specific to your type of bike.
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    Man of Steel wrote:

    This might be a stupid question, but do you have a road or a TT bike? The different geometry of the two types of bikes means that you need aero bars specific to your type of bike.

    Hi MOS

    I ride a road bike (specilized allez) the aero bars fully adjustable.. any thoughts?

    Thanks all for the pointers, I will simply persevere with them and get help with positioning from the coach at the next club ride.


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    pigletpiglet Posts: 86
    I was thinking of getting aero bars fitted to my road bike. I need to pick up speed on my bike and a lot of people seem to use these.Is it possible to get gear levers on the end of detachable aerobars or is it only possible on dedicated Tri bset up? I can't afford another bike. How hard is it to have aeros and then taking hand off to change gears? I seem to change gear constantly- mainly due to hilly nature of where I live plus the wind! One minute I'm in top gear next minute down to 4th- just due wind factor! For the same reason I thought a more aerodynamic position may help reduce the drag with the head winds[:@] Any advice appreciated
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    BoycieBoycie Posts: 189

    I've never seen gears levers on the end of detachable aero bars and would be very suprised if they are available, you would need to re-route the cables every time you take them on and off, but someone may well know otherwise. If you're concerned about changing position to change gears, remember that you will have to do the same to reach the brakes too, even if you have proper tri bars, so if your training/racing routes are technical you're probably better off with clip-on's.

    There is no need to get a TT bike to fit aero bars on, either clip on or otherwise, a road bike is fine. This is exactly what I use as I can't afford expensive kit either.

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    Having aero bars on a road bike is a very standard set-up and can, indeed, give you a "best of both worlds" scenario. I road with a set-up like that for 2 years and benefited a lot from the set-up before I saved up and got a TT bike with the "dedicated" aero tri-bars. I have to say that I really do prefer the TT bike with aero bars, largely due to the frame geometry, as well as the gear shifters on the end of the aero bars. But, there are also times when I realise the drawbacks of the TT bike compared to the road bike with aero bars.

    So, here's my thinking on the plus and minus side of having a road bike with aero bars:


    - Flexibility. If you want to do some training that requires a road bike (e.g. some clubs really prefer you using a road bike if you join in on a group ride, as your gear shifting and braking on a TT bike can be much slower and potentially unsafe for the others in the group), then you've got a road bike (and you just don't use the aero bars much). If you want to do some training that requires using the aero bars, then you've got them, as well. Indeed, it can be really useful to try switching positions often and get comfortable changing back and forth.

    - Racing. You can use a road bike with aero bars in a draft-legal race, but you can't use a TT bike in a draft-legal race.

    - Cost. It is much cheaper to put some aero bars on a bike you've already got than it is to go out and buy a new bike.

    - Safety. Until you get used to the aero bars, it can be nice to know that you can just switch back to using your brakes and gears in a way that is comfortable and familiar.

    - Getting used to aero bars before you buy a TT bike. Putting aero bars on your road bike is a good first step towards seeing how comfortable you might feel in this new position before you make the decision to splash out on a big upgrade like a TT bike. Some people find they don't really like riding in an aero position all the time and that they prefer the position of using the regular handlebars on a road bike. And so, it's a good thing that they just spent £35-100 on a set of aerobars rather than a lot more on a TT bike.

    Yes, of course, all the posts above are correct in saying that you should make sure the aero bars are set up correctly before you give up on them, but some people just don't like that position.


    - Frame geometry. I think if you plan to spend a lot of time on the bike (2+ hours for training sessions on a regular basis) tucked in the aero position, then you may well feel the strain of using them on a road bike.

    - Control. Until you get comfortable with aero bars, you will not have the same degree of control with clip-on aero bars, essentially "steering with your elbows". Depending on what type of bars you get (I originally got the cheapest Profile bars on my road bike), you may not be able to make that many adjustments to them to suit your forearm length and preferred position on the bars.

    - Gear shifting. Yes, there's no way around it, you will have to take your hands off the bars to do any sort of gear shifting, which can get to be really annoying under certain circumstances.

    - Vanity. TT bikes just look so much cooler than a road bike with aero bars stuck on top of them. In my opinion.

    So, it's up to you to decide which you think is best.
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    pigletpiglet Posts: 86
    Brilliant- thanks Rpopper- that sums it up nicely. I have found some detachable aeros that look like they'll fit the bill - happen to be the cheaper ones. The bike shop has a great set up with video etc so they will set my bike up with the aeros and check out my whole body position.So until I can afford a Tri bike - that's the way I'll go. Thanks for the advice - that pretty much decides it for me- now just have to get it in my Xmas stocking[:D]
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    I've got clip-ons stuck onto my standard road bike, and actually one of rpopper's minus points I count as a plus.... but only because I'm rubbish.

    Allow me to explain....

    Personally speaking, I don't need gear changers on the ends of my tri-bars, because at the slightest sniff of an incline I'm hanging onto my brake hoods for all they are worth. I tend to only use the tri-bars when I'm up to speed and want to get into my 'cruise' position. I also still use the drops as, say, I'm accelerating down a hill and clicking through the gears.

    If I had bar-end shifters I'd be having to reach out to them when hanging onto the flat bars/brakes.

    Does that make sense? The time when I need to have my gear changers at my finger-tips isn't when I'm in my bars, it's when I'm standing up, holding onto the hoods and usually cursing at how unfair hills are.

    On the other hand.... I really REALLY want a proper time trial bike, and the legs to be able to use it. Planet-X Stealth Dura-Ace build on Xentis wheels, please, if anybody would like to buy me an Xmas gift.
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