Aero Bars?

Discussion in 'Pro Cycling (Road and Track Racing)' started by Boris Bajic, 8 Aug 2012.

  1. Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    My middle child (16yo and 5' 9") has started tentatively to ride TTs. Just 10s at the moment and this is really just a toe in the water.

    He does them on a road bike and is really treating the tail end of this year as a learning curve.

    The rides he's done so far were really ridden as if they were training sesisons. However, he seems to enjoy it and is talking of training in the winter and doing a whole bunch of TTs next year.

    He uses a standard road bike with shallowish drops and standard 9-speed and 39/53 Campag gubbins. He likes to see the solid-wheel carbon whizzbangs rumble past, but enjoys his old (2004?) machine and wants to keep riding it. Quite right!

    So, the question: If he gets into this, is there much benefit in a pair of cheapo, clip-on aero bars?
  2. fimm

    fimm Veteran

    I think so, yes. The aero position is called that for a reason. It will also get him used to riding in that position (I found it a bit of a learning curve, but then I'm a slightly nervous female, a teenage male might find it less of an issue!)
  3. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    Yes, a fairly large aero benefit will result, but just slapping the bars on and expecting to ride comfortably and fast is a mistake, he/you will need to make some other modifications to the bike fit to optimise the ride position on the aero bars, else his power output may reduce and his discomfort may stop him holding the position. Also the handling will be fairly twitchy on a normal road bike with the weight shifted forward, but he will get used to this.
    Smokin Joe likes this.
  4. Russell Allen

    Russell Allen Well-Known Member

    I have started doing TTs and fitted aero bars to a road bike this year. I can only concur with the comments above. On the fairly flat (75m of Ascent) local TT I would say the bars have knocked off about 45 seconds now I am used to them. It took a few weeks to get the bars and seat adjusted to my liking. They felt very twitchy at first especially when moving between the hoods and aero bars and back. The more I ride on them the more I like them. I am also much more comfortable on the drops for extended periods in non tt mode.

  5. VamP

    VamP Banned



    He will also benefit (for a similarly sized investment) from an aero helmet. He will need to spend time practising his aero position, to get the full benefit, but it will be worth it.
  6. oldroadman

    oldroadman Veteran

    If he is good, then get him into circuit and road racing. Time trials can be a waste of talent (see some of the best "British-style" TT riders who have good talent but use it up on pointless effeorts). Major TTs on a proper course - not your average British one - are inevitably won by roadmaen who can do the lot.
    But, if it's just for fun, use the aeros but look carefully at position, just fitting the bars and hoping will not be the way to go, as noted above. It alos does take a while to get position (flat back) right. Some of the horrible positions I've seen look more like a pose and wind blocker than aero.
    The aero helmet can help, but only in the right position. Perhaps the lad should get his results down to a good speed, then look to change equipment. If he's not getting inside 24 minutes yet, wait until then at least, because all the aero in the world won't be much help until you go reasonably fast.
  7. OP
    Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    Thanks for all the replies. I may have given the impression that he's in deeper than he really is.

    His main thing is football, but he's ridden with vim since he was little and this gentle foray into 'contre le montre' was the easiest way to compete on a bike. He just fancied a crack at TTs and has done a few as a 'toe in the water'. Very early days.

    He is nowhere near 24 minutes... I'm not too sure many 16-year-old boys on standard road bikes would be, but I don't follow club riding so I may be wide of the mark.

    Only a few more 10s left this year, then he'll see whether he gets into training through the winter. Happily, his club are showing some interest and this may keep the tinder alight during the dark months.

    Thanks again for the replies. I'll keep a watching brief on the aero bars. For now, he's quite happy that he rides a road bike on Egg Beaters (not Look thingies) and owns nothing made of carbon.
  8. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    I've got a photo of myself riding a TT when Aero bars first became popular. Looking at it now I reckon it added about a minute to my time on a 25, the setup was awful as I'd just plonked the things on top of my handle bars as was the norm for the average club rider back then (and you can still see people making the same mistake today).

    You've got to set the bike up so that you rotate your body forwards to get any benefit, lower, narrower and further forward at the front and the rear more directly over the bottom bracket. As Boris says the faster you go the more important aerodynamics become, for someone struggling to beat evens (20mph) a low profile position won't make much difference, the concentration should be on developing power and endurance.
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