When speed and aerodynamic efficiency matter above all else, then aero bars and the time trial bikes they are mounted on are the go-to option for triathletes and time trial specialists.
Aero bars typically consist of three primary parts that clamp together. The basebar, which has a bullhorn shape, is the foundation, attaching to the bike via a stem and providing two outer hand placement positions. Attached to the basebar are two clip-on aero bar extensions with pads, which allow the rider to get into their most aerodynamic tucked position by providing a place to rest your forearms and fully extend both hands in front of you.
Some aero bars such as the 3T Vola Pro Aerobar are sold as a complete unit. But it is also possible to purchase basebar and clip-on aero bars separately. There are also fully integrated one-piece aero bars, which combine basebar, clip-ons, and sometimes even the stem. These can be lighter and more aero, but may lack some adjustability and are usually more expensive.
Choosing the base bar requires deciding on preferred material (usually aluminum or carbon) and width, typically 40cm, 42cm, or 44cm, though you’ll also encounter other options such as 41cm, which adheres to the cycling world governing body’s 3:1 aspect ratio rule that is enforced in professional level races. Aluminum basebars will usually be less expensive, but also slightly heavier than more costly carbon options.
Clip-on extensions have varying degrees of adjustability, with some models allowing for changes in height and pad separation distance. These can be mounted onto a basebar or even standard drop bars if for instance you are racing in an uphill time trial. Other options to consider when purchasing clip-on aero bars include length and external or internal cable routing, the latter adding cost, but also enhancing aerodynamic efficiency by minimizing airflow disturbance at the front of your bike.
Along with carrying base and clip-on aero bars from companies like 3T, Vision, Deda, and Zipp, JensonUSA also stocks a variety of replacement pads, armrest plates, and bracket kits. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call one of our Gear Advisors today at 888-880-3811, who can help make sure you get the fastest aero bars set-up possible.