2015 Triathlete Buyer’s Guide: Aerobars
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
The draw: Most versatile clip-on bar
At first glance, this bar doesn’t look much different than Profile Design’s earlier clip-ons. But this bar features a new comfortably aggressive extension shape as well as redesigned arm pads and a revised clamping system, allowing for easier adjustability. The T+ Aluminum series from Profile Design remains the industry’s most adjustable clip-on aerobar, making it the go-to solution for bike fitters and consumers. With the addition of the T5+, there are now five different extension shapes to choose from.
The draw: ITU dream bar
The Carbon Blast bar from Deda Elementi is designed strictly for ITU-style racing, in which the rules stipulate that the tip of the aerobars must not extend beyond the front of the shifters. These bars are not for your average triathlete, but they are a great option for those racing draft-legal events or for a super minimalistic aerobar option. These little beauties are feather-light and integrate minimalistic wrist rests into the one-piece design. Just don’t expect a comfortable, well-supported aero position.
$750 (sold separately), Enve.com
The draw: Slick clip-on package
This low-stack bar features Enve’s multi-curve extensions, capable of assuming just about any grip shape. The clip-ons attach and detach with ease—repeat installations won’t take more than a few minutes. This bar would make a great addition to any road bike that is occasionally used for triathlon. Testers found that getting accustomed to this bar’s ergonomic profile takes a little while. The bars couldn’t be set quite as narrow as we would have liked, so try to get your hands on one before buying to see if it’s right for you.
The draw: Great beginner bar
For triathletes using a road bike, this bar works great from a fitting perspective. Its most notable feature is the dramatic upward sweep of the extensions, which create a comfortable wrist position and allow for great control of the bike when riding in the aero position. The benefit of its pad location is less noticeable but just as significant. The pads are positioned well above and far behind the handlebar, exactly the spot most riders need when riding aero on a road bike. The pad itself has a generous amount of fore-aft adjustability.
The draw: Elegant styling, improved design
An improved arm rest bracket is the biggest difference between the original Aura and the Comfort Pro. Also available for original Aura owners, the new bracket holds the arm rest far more securely and is easier to adjust. Most importantly, the new design allows the arm rests to be spaced far wider, making this bar a viable option for bigger athletes. As the arm rests are spaced wider, however, the location of the bolt holes forces them to turn inward, which some testers did not love. Spacers (available separately) can be placed below the extension/arm rest assembly, which allows them to be raised farther above the basebar.
The draw: Bike fitter’s dream
The most adjustable integrated aerobar on the market might be this integrated set from Profile Design. This feat is even more impressive considering the bar’s clean, lightweight and aerodynamic design. The arm pads can be located anywhere from 55mm to 135mm above the handlebar center, which is a massive range. Pad width can be adjusted up to five centimeters. For those not willing to fork over $1,000-plus for an aerobar, the Aeria Aluminum shares many of the same great features for only $350 (and a weight penalty).
$750 (without extensions), Tririg.com
The draw: Smart design
TriRig’s founder, Nick Salazar, set out to create a bar that is not only aerodynamic but also adjustable and lightweight. The Alpha meets all three of these requirements. With a 6-to-1 aspect ratio airfoil basebar and minimal frontal area, it meets key tenants of aero design. Adjustment screws are exposed everywhere else and it weighs about 600 grams when fully assembled. The pads can be positioned anywhere from roughly 20mm to 100mm above the handlebar center and offer a wide range of fore-aft and width adjustment.