General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment? Rss Feed  
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2013-07-29 7:48 PM

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Subject: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?

Subject says it all - your advice appreciated!

I'm doing my first 70.3 in a couple of weeks' time. I own both a tri bike and a road bike, but having previewed the bike course over the weekend, I have decided to use my road bike for the race.

Two main reasons:

a) the course is very up + down, lots of rollers, where you are continually changing gear. Having the shifters on the bars will make life a lot easier.

b) the course is very windy, lots of crosswinds, lots of buffeting from traffic on busy roads. I want the better handling/stability that goes with my road bike.

However, there are a few places on the course - including one very long (12 mile) straight flat sheltered section that is perfect for tri bikes.

Two questions:

a) how much benefit will clip-on aerobars really give me? Are they worth the effort/cost of buying and installing?

b) will I need to adjust my saddle - height and.or forward/back positioning? I'm kinda loathe to do so because my current set-up is dialed in nicely right now.

One final point - I'm not planning on setting any record times at this race. My biggest consideration is minimizing my exertion on the bike to leave myself in the best possible shape for the run.

Thanks for your advice!
SM









2013-07-29 7:58 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
A) compared to my road bike on the hoods, shorty clipons were 3.5s/km faster (and my tribike was 7s/km faster than the hoods)

B) IMO do not change the fit of your road bike to accomodate aerobars, make the fit of the aerobars accomodate your road position. Shorty aerobars are generally best for this and you want to keep your comfortable drops and hoods positions while adding the aero position to the mix.

Shane
2013-07-29 10:06 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
I have clip on aerobars on my road bike and LOVE THEM! My road bike is my training bike and I do most of my flat races on my tri bike. BUT, there are many instances where the aerobars come in handy!

A) yes, there is a benefit, even if it is only giving you one more option to put your hands. I'm most comfortable on the aerobars, but will be on the hoods/drops depending on weather/terrain. I like the option and feel my upper body is more rested at the end of a ride!

Good example...I just did the ride up Mount Lemmon, Tucson, Arizona. After a 4 mile relatively flat road up to the start of the mountain, it was ALL UPHILL for 25 miles at 4-6% Grade. I wanted my road bike due to better handling, more gears (more granny gears :-) and 1 extra water bottle cage. I wasn't in the aerobars once up to the top, but on the way down...let's just say it was one heck of a downhill. Once we got to the bottom there was still that 4 mile stretch before getting back to the car. It was hot, windy, and I was tired. I was SO GLAD I had the aerobars at that point :-)!

I'd find a good pair you like and have your bike shop fitter install them. I did this to be sure I had them in the right place...which leads me to:

B) I had the fitter who did my road set up put the aerobars on...and dialed in the position so I didn't have to adjust my road position at all. I'm comfortable riding either way. So don't adjust your road set up, esp if it really works for you now!

I'm definitely less tired after a ride with the aerobars than I was without them, and feel my power stayed more consistent/increased with them installed.

Only problem is if you do any group rides or organized road races...many wont allow aerobars, so you would have to take them off.

Give them a try, I bet you will love them!!
2013-07-29 11:20 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
+1 for shorty aero bars.

I just put some on my cyclocross-turned-roadie and saw a huge performance increase. When I needed to shift, I wasn't in aero anyway because I was going uphill. I got these: http://www.amazon.com/Vision-Mini-Clip--170mm-Black/dp/B001F3CQ3K/r...

I put them on myself. There's not a lot of adjustability in them so install was easy. I didn't feel like I needed to overhaul anything on the bike to make good use of them.
2013-07-30 3:07 AM
in reply to: smallard

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Lodi, California
Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
I would buy them all over again. The bars are much more comfortable for me than the drops plus more aero. It's a win/win. It might be a good idea to get refitted but I wouldn't call it necessary. I didn't adjust anything after installing my bars.
2013-07-30 6:59 AM
in reply to: tlancer23


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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
Do it. I have Profile Design Airstryke(?). Little longer than "shorty," but best for me. I don't have a tribike, and the only HIM I have done was very hilly, so I didn't miss one there. The aerobars are definitely faster, and worth it. I had mine installed by a LBS, and the fit is just right.


2013-07-30 10:15 AM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
I totally agree with gsmacleod's comments. Shorty aerobars were a great investment!!! I got the Profile Design Jammer GT Aerobar this past spring. Dorky looking, but they work well and are fairly inexpensive. No fancy carbon fiber! Their set up so that the armrest is over the bike top-tube. This setup let's me keep my road bikes positioning and still let's me get into a fairly aero position without any handling twitchiness. With the shorties, the end of the aerobar is just about where your right brake/shifter is located. I can stay in my aero tuck, move my right hand quickly to the shifter and back easily. If I need to perform multiple shifts, I just keep my right hand on the shifter, maintaining my aero position.

As the season has progressed and I've adapted to the bars, I've been able to readjust the Stubby aerobars for a flatter back, better aerodynamics. Adding the stubby aerobars has upped the average speed of my normal bike loop by a few MPH.
2013-07-30 10:45 AM
in reply to: Macguyverguy

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?

 

I found aero bars on my roadie to be pretty uncomfortable in the lower back region. However they don't add a ton of weight and can be had for pretty cheap so if you want to try them give it a shot. I agree though, don't mess with your roadie position to accommodate the bars, make the bars fit your roadie position. 

As far as are they worth it monetarily for a 56 mile ride? That is all up to you. We all buy lots of stuff that probably isn't really worth it as far as speed or energy savings goes, but that is part of the fun!

2013-07-30 7:19 PM
in reply to: smallard

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
+1 on investing in the clip-ons. And agree with choosing short bars requiring minimal (if any) seat adjustment.

You've given your handling/climbing logic for using road bike for your 70.3. Here's some comparison data supporting the aero benefit of clip-on aerobar-
http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/how-aero-is-aero
2013-07-30 9:25 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?

Originally posted by gsmacleod A) compared to my road bike on the hoods, shorty clipons were 3.5s/km faster (and my tribike was 7s/km faster than the hoods) B) IMO do not change the fit of your road bike to accomodate aerobars, make the fit of the aerobars accomodate your road position. Shorty aerobars are generally best for this and you want to keep your comfortable drops and hoods positions while adding the aero position to the mix. Shane

x2...the information above is spot on.

However, my opinion is that you should use your tri bike, and you're picking a road bike for this course because you're overthinking.

Save money by not buying clip on aero bars and go faster on your tri bike as a result.  WIN - WIN

2013-07-31 12:21 AM
in reply to: #4816355

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
Thanks to everybody for your fantastic input. My LBS has the Profile Design Airstryke in stock so I'm getting those fitted tomorrow.

To those of you who wondered - I realize that my tri bike (Cervelo P3) will outperform my roadie (Trek Madone 5.2), even with clip-ons, in virtually every scenario but I think this upcoming 70.3 race is the exception. I've done 10 events on my P3 in the last 12 months and never had an issue but I previewed this course on my P3 last week and it was a nightmare. I was probably aero for no more than 20% of the course and felt like I'd gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson by the end. Oh, and I nearly got blown into a ditch on a fast descent by a particularly tricky crosswind!

If this was a TdF time trial, I'd have the team car switch out my Trek for the Cervelo for the last 12 miles but I don't have that luxury :-)

Thanks again!


2013-07-31 6:15 AM
in reply to: Jason N

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Subject: RE: Clip-on Aerobars on a Road Bike - Worthwhile Investment?
Originally posted by Jason N

However, my opinion is that you should use your tri bike, and you're picking a road bike for this course because you're overthinking.

Save money by not buying clip on aero bars and go faster on your tri bike as a result.  WIN - WIN




I was going to post that as well however, based on the OPs statement that they were not comfortable on the course on a tribike led me to forgo that suggestion. If someone doesn't feel safe, not only will they likely ride more slowly on the tribike but it is probable they would be a hazard to others.

However, I agree with your point for a rider who is confident on the course - i have not seen a single triathlon bike leg in North America that would lead me to choose a road bike over a tribike.

Shane
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