A great modification to your standard road bike is to install a set of clip on aero bars. These bars will allow you to get into the aero position while on the ride section of the race.
There are many benefits to this riding position – number one is being more aerodynamic.
When you ride normally you sit upright and act sort of like an air brake.
Getting aero pulls you down below the wind and significantly reduces you resistance mass allowing you to cut through the wind. In this post, we are going to review the best clip ons and provide details on some of the features of each set.
Best Clip On Aero Bars of 2017
|Profile Design Heritage Aerobar, Black||3 Reviews||$51.37||Buy on Amazon|
|31.8mm Grey Zipp Aerobar Vuka Alumina Clip Top Mount With Carbon Race Extensions||1 Reviews||$177.77||Buy on Amazon|
You can spend anything from a few dollars up over hundreds of dollars for professional clip-on aero bars. They basically do the same thing but when you spend more money you start to get a lot of additional features.
Primarily the bars will be carbon fibre – massive weight reduction compared to the cheap aero bars.
A lot will also depend on your budget and how serious you are about racing. Because of the variety, we have put together this selection to get you started in your decision process. We may not cover all options for temporary aero bars but hope you can find something here that suits you. These are the most popular on the market at the moment.
BEST AERO BARS – WHAT TO LOOK FOR
This question always comes up and has many answers.
How much do you want to spend?
What are the aero bars for? – A practice bike for training in the park or for your primary tri bike.
The beauty of these types of triathlon bars is you can swap them out fairly easily. A couple of hex head bolts are usually all that holds them onto the normal handlebars of your bike.
What are they made of? The cheaper sets tend to be made of some sort of alloy and as you go up in price you start to see carbon fibre introduced into the range.
Carbon fibre is much lighter so if you have the budget then go for these instead.
As stated earlier the beauty of clip on bars is you can take them off the bike without much effort if they do not suit your riding style or you prefer the standard set-up. You will find though over time that you will adapt to the aero position while racing and you bike times will reflect this.
Best Budget Clip-On Aero Bars
|Profile Design ZBS J-Bend Aerobars||4 Reviews||$34.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Conquer Clip-on Triathlon Aero Time Trial Tri TT Bars||48 Reviews||from $34.95||Buy on Amazon|
|Top Home Dec TT Handlebar Aero Bars Triathlon Time Trial Tri Cycling Bike Rest Handlebar for Bicycle...||37 Reviews||$17.69||Buy on Amazon|
|RXL SL TT Handlebar Carbon Aero Bars Bicycle Handlebar Triathlon Extender Rest Handlebars Road Bike...||6 Reviews||$55.00||Buy on Amazon|
|Profile Design GT Jammer Aero Bar (Black) Triathlon Road Bike Race Attachment||38 Reviews||from $109.98||Buy on Amazon|
CARBON CLIP ON AERO BARS
If you are serious about triathlon and want to compete at a higher level then you will need something much lighter and sleeker than the intro sets above.
Carbon aero extension bars will definitely be on your shopping list for their massive weight reduction.
Using these carbon aero bars does change a few things though. You will have to spend a few more dollars to get a set of tri bars you can work with, to keep the weight down and to get down and in the full aero position.
Comfort plays a bit part in this too. Getting set up with a good comfortable set of tri bars is critical on longer rides. We suggest you try out a few different sets first if you can to make sure they suit. Watch out as well if you buy a second-hand pair.
Sometimes the previous user will cut down the stems a bit and they may be too short for you.
|Profile Design T4+ Carbon Aero Bar||6 Reviews||$183.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Profile Design Carbon Stryke Bar (All composite)||41 Reviews||$129.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Redshift Quick-Release Clip-On Aerobars - Carbon Extensions - S-bend||5 Reviews||$249.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Vision Carbon Pro Clip-on Aero Bars (250mm Length)||1 Reviews||$259.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Zipp Vuka Stealth Aerobar Black, S||1 Reviews||$1,006.00||Buy on Amazon|
CLIP ON AERO BARS – WHATS NEXT
I have seen quite a few people start out with detachable aero bars on normal handlebars and then step up a level by purchasing a new Carbon Base Bar. Go to any Triathlon event and they are everywhere.
This gives you the ability to reuse your existing bars but builds up a full aero set of handlebars without the expense of a pro set. However, as you progress in the sport you will most likely get yourself a full TT bike with integrated Aero Bars.
AERO BAR ACCESSORIES
Addition items you may need when you install clip-on aero bars is some new bar end shifters. These gear shifters are designed to sit at the end of each aero bar – making it easy to change gear while you are in the aero position. We have more information on those throughout the site
CLIP ON AERO BAR BENEFITS
There are many benefits to using aero bars on a bike during a race but the primary one comes down to aerodynamics.
When you are down in the aero position you remove quite a bit of body mass out of the wind. Because we are not the most aerodynamic of creatures getting down low you are giving yourself a huge advantage over the opposition who will sit upright and act as an air brake into the wind.
The price of entry for a basic set of aero bars is very low. You can get something from as little as a few dollars. A couple of things to check out first though is the diameter of your handlebars. Make sure the bars will fit.
Also as stated at the start of this post you can always remove the bars if you are not comfortable or happy with the riding style.
Disadvantages of using clip-on Bar Extensions
If there was one thing we could say about the disadvantages of this type of setup is that because you are shifting your weight forward on the bike you are losing some of the stability and ride comfort of the original setup.
It took me quite a while to get comfortable and feel really aero when I first installed the bars. I had to slide my saddle forward to its limits on the saddle rail and eventually ended up getting a kicked saddle post to move me even more forward.
Road bikes are not designed for this type of setup but if you are looking for any sort of an advantage over a standard road bike set up for triathlons then installing tt bars are going to give you the best bang for your buck.
It’s the closest you will get to a full TT bike setup without having to shell out 1000’s of dollars more for a frame etc.
Any other Aero Tips
What else can you do to increase Aero potential with a road bike? There are really only two other upgrades you can get that will help you in your quest to be an aero speed champion…
After clips ons I would then look to get a decent aero bike helmet. This will really help reduce drag and can make a huge difference on split times for your bike section of the race.
The last thing I would look to upgrade is my wheels. Aero bike wheels don’t come cheap though and can be a bit challenging in windy conditions. I strongly suggest you go for something with a shallow enough profile to start with. The 100mm deep tri wheels and full dish rear wheels look awesome but are a pig to use when it’s windy…
The final thing we want to discuss today is how you can quickly modify your road bike and turn it into a triathlon style bike with two quick changes.
First, you will need an angled seat post. This pushes the rider forward in the frame.
Couple this with a nice set of clip on aero bars for a road bike and you are set.
The video below shows you how to do this and the benefits of getting aero in the ride.
We hope you found this post informative and as always let us know with a comment if there is anything else you would like to know or any other products you are currently using that you think we should add to the list.
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