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The 2014 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide magazine is out on newsstands now (and check out the digital version), and we’re giving you a sneak peek right here. Check out the aerobars from the guide below and check back to Triathlete.com for more Buyer’s Guide content.
Bontrager Race X Lite Carbon
The draw: Maximum adjustability
If you like to tinker with your fit or need a big stack height boost to get comfy in the aero position, this bar offers a solution. It has an adjustable range wider than any of the other integrated bars in this review. While overall adjustability is vast, some riders will struggle to get the arm pad width just right—this bar is best suited for riders with narrow or flexible shoulders. The extensions create a fantastic wrist position, with just the right amount of tension to help anchor the upper body without any strain.
Redshift Switch Aero System
The draw: Road-to-tri conversion
The first offering from Redshift, a new brand launched on Kickstarter.com, consists of a dual position seatpost paired with removable clip-on aerobars (available separately or as a pair). These bars will make life much more convenient for athletes who want to install aero bars on a road bike for racing and solo training but want to remove them before a Saturday group ride. The lightweight aluminum bars offer a great deal of adjustability in every direction. Their most notable feature is the quick-release mechanism, which allows you to easily remove and reinstall the bars, all while preserving their original position.
Zipp Vuka Stealth
The draw: Streamlined and adaptable
Achieving a broad range of fit adjustment options usually takes a bunch of hardware that looks clunky and possibly adds wind drag. Zipp found a way to make a bar both fit-flexible and streamlined. The Vuka Stealth boasts a vast amount of adjustability while maintaining great ergonomics, aesthetics and aerodynamics. The bar comes in three sizes. The only downside to this bar is the weight—it is a bit heavier than the others reviewed here, but considering that it includes an integrated stem, a few extra grams is a compromise we can live with.
3T Vola Pro
The draw: Well-designed grip and variable stack height
Don’t be deceived by the aluminum—this is a full-blown high-tech aerobar masquerading as an entry-level set. Stack height ranges from low to toweringly tall, allowing the bar to adapt to a broad spectrum of positions. Both the extensions and brake grips create ergonomically sound hand positions. There is one catch, however. The elbow pads can only be positioned narrowly and almost in line with the extensions, adding significant tension to the shoulders.
Vision Metron TFA
The draw: Sleek construction
Like the popular clip-on bars from Vision, the TFA offers a very clean and elegant design. This one-piece bar features an integrated stem and brake levers, all in a very aero-efficient and lightweight package. Fit adjustability is extremely limited, however. This bar has a very low arm pad stack height. As a result, this bar is best suited for riders looking to get low. The arm pads can be raised slightly by installing spacers, but this can compromise wrist comfort. This bar can be a great solution if you are looking to assemble a speed-oriented bike to go along with a dedicated aero position.
Enve SES Aerobar
The draw: Elegant shape-shifter
Great arm pad adjustability and an innovative one-bar-fits-all extension are the hallmarks of the first aerobar from this Utah-based carbon parts manufacturer. It can accommodate tall positions, and is sleekest when slammed for a lower fit. The extensions can be cut to achieve the desired shape—straight, up-turned or S-bend—and length. (This can be a bit complicated, so measure twice before cutting.) Grip ergonomics is the only notable drawback to this bar. Even with the armrests in the widest setting, they are positioned nearly on top of the extensions, which some testers found uncomfortable on the wrists and shoulders.
Profile Design T1 Plus Viper
The draw: Adjustable and streamlined
Whether converting a road bike for triathlon or building a dedicated tri bike, the T1 Plus is an affordable and capable bar. The extension shape has proven to be very comfortable and it boasts an ergonomic grip, which creates the sensation of a more direct connection with the bike. This updated bar features brackets that offer arm pad and extension length adjustability. Another appealing feature is the ability to raise the entire assembly above the base bar, or pedestalling, with an AeroBar Bracket Riser Kit (sold separately). The arm pads on this bar are exceptionally comfortable and available in three thicknesses.
The draw: Hyper-comfy grip
This brand has been around for a long time and is known for highly functional and comfortable aerobars. Syntance’s own extension shape, called the Double Helix, is featured in carbon on this bar and it lays the bars naturally into the rider’s palms. According to Syntace, the fairing between the extensions streamlines airflow by splitting air above and below the bars. It also makes the structure very rigid and doubles as a bottle mount or storage box. The bar is available in three sizes to match riders with different forearm lengths, although adjustment options are limited. It pairs very nicely with Syntace’s CX Stratos base bar ($300).