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i've decided that i should spend some more money on my bike. But i can't decide between a bike shoe or some aerobars[8|]. Which should i get?


  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Dont know what a bike shoe is, but can highly recommend aero bars. Bought a set last August and was kicking myself I never bought them a lot sooner.
  • by "bike shoe" do you mean clipless pedals and shoes? If so, these will improve your riding straight away, as more of the power from your legs will be transferred to your pedals.

    Fitting clip-on tribars to a road bike is of limited value anyway for various reasons, plus you can't/shouldn't use tribars if you're training in a group.

    Get the pedals and shoes first.

  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    They maybe of limited value but I certainly found tri bars to be very comfortable and found my average speed increased on a long cycle (on my own) Id imagine the club you join would or should advise against them in a group.
  • Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152
    IronJohn wrote:

    by "bike shoe" do you mean clipless pedals and shoes? If so, these will improve your riding straight away, as more of the power from your legs will be transferred to your pedals.

    Fitting clip-on tribars to a road bike is of limited value anyway for various reasons, plus you can't/shouldn't use tribars if you're training in a group.

    Get the pedals and shoes first.

    Totally agree with this.

    I noticed a huge improvement on training rides when i got my first shoes and clipless pedals. I got some Nike,s hat have a very stiff sole and the power transfer over the old toeclips was huge.

    Aero bars are fine but decent shoes/pedals are a big step up.

  • Depends how much money you want to spend. The pedals and shoes will make a world of difference to your power transfer and will save much more time than the tri bars but they'll also cost a lot more. You'll struggle to buy decent shoes/pedals for less than £100 total (and you can easily spend up to £300 if you choose), whereas you can get tribars from about £30 upwards - possibly less on ebay.

    A recent 220 edition estimated the savings from different bits of kit. It didn't cover the shoes, but it reckoned that tribars could save 3-5 minutes over an Olympic triathlon (assuming a starting time of about 2:45). It didn't say which type of bar, but that's pretty good value for £30-60.
  • AlgarniAlgarni Posts: 46
    I would definately say it is better to get clipless pedals. The power transfer is greater and it also takes quite a while to get comfortable with aerobars and if you get the wrong ones you may never be comfortable with them.

    Even without aerobars you can get an aerodynamic position but it is very hard to duplicate the power you get with clipless pedals and shoes.
  • whereas you can get tribars from about £30 upwards - possibly less on ebay.

    But a £30 tribar may not be the right choice. A poor aero position will make you less powerful than a good position on the hoods/drops. I made this mistake as a novice and bought a cheap, non-adjustable tribar for £30. A few months later, I was back in the shop buying a pair of Carbon Strykes because I could adjust them to give me a good position.

    A suitable tribar can cost as much as pedals and shoes. But pedals and shoes will still deliver greater performance benefits.

  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Shows you what I know, in my defence I had no idea what you meant by a "bike shoe" Can only assume you are one legged....ha ha.

    Seriously though if I had to make that choice I too would go for clipless pedals and shoes first.
  • Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152
    Ive read quite alot of debate on the net regarding Aero bars while mooching around. I may have read some bits wrong so dont quote me,[:D]

    The Tour de France Guys dont use them and they ride long distances and often in windy conditions.

    The Olympics Triathlon guys seem to have lost interest in them.?

    Now 'Drafting' regs may be different but is it that critical?

  • I don't think that tri bars are legal for either the Tour de France or for the Elite Triathlon races because they are dangerous in groups - the best bars point pretty much straight forward, meaning that they could skewer someone if there was a multiple crash. It's only in races where drafting is illegal that you are allowed to use tri bars (there are a couple of very short curved bars that are allowed in drafting races, but they're not as effective as the longer straighter bars). The elite/tour de france racers also don't need the bars so much because they are able to keep in a pack and hence reduce their wind resistance. The result is that you'll never see a professional road racer or elite olympic triathlete using them, but the elite ironman triathletes (where drafting is illegal) will have them.

    The £30 upwards that I referred to was just the entry level (century strykes?) and I agree that some of these are clunky and may not be suitable - they cannot be adjusted meaning that taller riders cannot get comfortable. But there are some fairly decent ones for under £100 (my Profile T2+ cost £65 and are v.comfortable and light) albeit that you can spend £300 if you go for the super lightest/most aerodynamic.

  • Tri bars are illegal in cycle races, and in ITU drafting triathlons there are restrictions on their dimensions, which is why when you watch the pros at Oly distance they only have short bars.

    A good, powerful aero position will certainly make you go faster, but fitting a pair of clip-on tribars to a road bike does not necessarily make for a powerful aero position.
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Look at Pyro platforms instead of shoes if you are only doing short course races they provide a solid base for training shoes you still need appropriate pedals though.

    As for aero bars simply clip on's will totally affect the bikes geometry and handling.Hope this helps in the debate.
  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    It's also worth bearing in mind the impact on your posture with clip on bars. It will take some getting used to and your percieved level of effort will increase (typically I've heard that getting into the aero position raises the heart rate by about 10bpm) though the position isn't as exagerated with clip on bars on a road bike.
  • nickbnickb Posts: 13
    Shoes ar a must, and go for some decent pedals as well (look Keo for example) - it all depends upon budget really regarding the Aero bars and what sort of course you're racing, how frequent, and obviously how competitive you want to be.

    Flatish, non drafting to 1.2 IM distance I'd go for a some clip ons if you have a normal road bike as the reduction in drag will make a big difference - up to full IM you'll need to make a choice between comfort and drag reduction as if you're not used to racing Aero you'll need to ensure you stay comfortable for the duration or you'll pay on the run.

    Don't take normal sections of the Tour as your lead re the Aero bars, the Tour is totally diffrent type of racing to the bike leg of a Tri. Take a look at the pelaton - no need to be aero if you're drafting. Look at the time trial section of road racing and you'll not only see aero bars all 'round but also totally different bikes - more aero, heavier, disc wheels etc. This is because TT's are a solitary thing much like most Tri's unless you're a pro.

  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    nickb, that was a very interesting post. I was beginning to think I should dump my clip on bars. I personally have found them a great boost to my cycling, cut my time and find them comfortable. I suppose its up to the individual at the end of the day.
  • jazdogjazdog Posts: 223
    Just to chuck in my tuppence worth...

    no point getting aero when in a group hence cyclists in drafting events (elite tri and ICU cycle races e.g TdeF) won't have them on!

    You don't need to spend a fortune to get clipless shoes and pedals! I got a pair of look Keo classics from Wiggle for £30 odd quid and I got Shimano SPD-L shoes (bottom of the range) for under 40 quid. Get them both on wiggle just now and you'll get 10% off! And you will immediately notice the difference... you can't pedal efficiently in toe clips.. been there done that and it didn't work!

    BUy clipless shoes and pedals
  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    Well it seems unanimous, that you get shoes first Mike. After that if you have a decent bike shop near you, you could go in and ask them to clip a set of tri bars on a bike to let you get the feel of them.
  • Normally I would agree with the shoes first aproach promoted by many on this thread but since swapping on to clipless pedals (and shoes) I've had real knee problems. After much trial and error it would seem that this could be down to the restriction in movement that the clipless pedals have. In old fashioned toe clips my feet were free to move around and therefore relieve any tension in my knee, with the clipless pedals my feet are to a much greater extent fixed to the strain appears in the knee. I've replaced my road clipless pedals with MTB pedals and shoes as the "float" is greater which results in less pain in my knee.

    One other theory is that the move from MTB to Road also means moving from a triple front chain ring to a double with a corresponding reduction in gait (or gap between my feet). I'm going ot try a triple front chain ring road bike in the coming weeks and see if that makes things even better.

    On the shoe front, make sure the ones you buy are easy to get on and off. Mine weren't which makes for some lost time in transistion.

    What ever you shoose, good luck
  • Craig, I know what you mean because I had the same problem with clipless pedals at first. In the end I had to go for Look CX7s. This enables me to change the "Q Factor" (the distance of the pedals apart from each other) and also the "Q Factor" ( the angle of the pedals relative to the ground. The axles of my pedals are now adjusted to -3 degrees relative to level ground. This sorted out my "issues" and I'm very comfortable with the pedals now.
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