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straight v ski v s type bars

Very simple question - which is best?

I`ve read that ski bars allow you to get more aero as you can get your hands closer together.

Also, apparently straight bars allow you to generate more torque but give your wrists/forearms a load of grief.

I guess S bars sit somewhere in the middle.

I`ve just ordered some straights but am not convinced I have made the right choice. My main distance is sprint which I reckon they`d be fine for but will they be too uncomfortable for the longer aerobic rides during training??


  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    You may wish to look at this posting


    In this posting I refer to research conducted by BikeSport in the US who have some excellent articles and reviews, part of their conclusions are as follows:


    When a professional cyclist like Ivan Basso or Lance Armstrong leaves the start ramp in a time trial stage of the Tour de France they are exerting enormous forces on the bike to get up to speed and maintain speed on rolling terrain and in windy conditions. These professional cyclists generate double the power output of a talented age group triathlete. To provide a powerful base for pedaling time trial riders try to hold their upper bodies rigid against the pedaling forces of their legs. Pulling up on their extensions and pushing down on their elbow pads they are bracing their core against the forces of their legs turning the cranks. This riding style is based in power and relies on substantial muscular involvement of the upper body including large muscles like the latissimus dorsi. There is a substantial physiological cost to this effort but in a short time trial with no run leg afterward the time trial rider can afford the cost.

    Triathletes have a different enough riding style that they will likely not benefit from “S” bends. While even the best triathlon cyclists like Normann Stadler, Torbjorn Sindballe generate substantial power they are more reliant on the aerobars for skeletal support of the upper torso. Especially in longer events such as Ironman triathletes tend to use the aerobars for support of the torso. Triathletes do use the aerobars as an anchor and fulcrum against which to brace themselves for pedaling forces. For this reason and others the “S” bend aerobar is not optimal for most triathlon cyclists.

    From an anatomical perspective an “S” bend aerobar is less comfortable than traditional up turned, ski bend aero extensions. “S” bends place a significant adduction on the inner/medial surface of the wrist. We visited Dr. Marcus Imsande, a specialist in treating sports injuries, to shoot X-rays of my arms holding various bends of aerobars. The implications are clear: “S” bends force the rider to bend the wrist at an uncomfortable angle in order to maintain grip on the aerobars. This causes the forearm to be less comfortable and fatigue more quickly.

    Additionally, the ergonomics of the bar-end mounted shift lever are extremely poor in "S" bends, with the shift lever pointing directly at the ground in the 11 or 12 tooth cog or hardest gear position. This orientation of the shift lever on “S” bends makes shifting to and from the largest gears awkward and uncomfortable. Athletes generally have to completely release their grip of the aero extension on "S" bends to pull the shift lever back toward them shifting to an easier gear.

    Finally, there is even a case to be made that straighter tipped, “S” bend extensions are more difficult to control and exert a negative affect on bike handling. As we have observed on the road and during indoor trainer rides athletes tend to recognize the uncomfortable wrist postures associated with “S” bends and release their grip on the forward, straight extension to relax their hand and forearm. This reduces stress on the forearm but also means the athlete no longer has a firm grasp of the handlebars. Some athletes do this on “S” bends without realizing it in an attempt to make their forearms more comfortable. If the athlete were to hit a chuckhole or have to steer quickly in an emergency the implications of not having a firm grasp of the handlebars are serious. [/blockquote]
  • Jason NJason N Posts: 36
    just checked out your link. A great article from bike michigan. I`ve definitely made the wrong choice.

    Time to read the exchanges policy......

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    Yeh, its a very interesting article, its the reason I went for ski-type even though I will only be doing olympic for the time being. There is also some very interesting articles around about the actual aerodynamic benefits of things such as the bars and hand position, but it invariably boils down to mere seconds, and the conclusion that comfort is key! If I were you mate I would go for the ski-bend type!
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