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CREATED: 06/26/13 by AROD REPLIES: 6
AROD    JOINED: 1/16/13    POSTS: 27
POSTED: 6/26/13 9:47 AM

So after this last race I did I realized that my fitting is off. I was talking to some people who recommended using some aerobars to see if that helped. they recommended the following:

Was told its a decent entry level aerobar without having to spend a large amount of money. Any recommendations or advice? I am new to this sport so other than some reviews I've read I have no idea what I should and shouldn't be looking for.


dsgrunning's ravatar dsgrunning    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1481
RE: Aerobars
POSTED: 6/26/13 10:38 AM

Your bike fit is off, but you think that somehow aerobars will magically correct that? That does not make sense to me. What am I missing?

The areobars are designed to complement your current fit, not fix a bad one. If you have a bad fit, it will remain a bad fit regardless of the aerobars. Even if you slap on a top of the line aerobar, it won't fix your ill fit on the bike.

Here is what I suggest. Get a proper bike fitting. Ask the fitter to recommend an aerobar for you or show them the specs for the one you have in this thread. They will tell you, based on your fit coordinate, what aerobars will work for you. Not all aerobars are the same. They are like shoes. Just because they fit well on someone else or is expensive, does not mean that they will be the best fit for you.

A good reputable fitter will put on the aerobars and adjust it for you based on your fit coordinates. They can do this after you've purchased the aerobar after and after the fitting without extra costs. You have to tell them your plan ahead of time though. Some places charge different prices for a regular road bike fit vs a road bike fit with aerobars. If you tell them that you are there for a regular fit, but will bring in the aerobars later, it will cost extras. If you tell them that you are there for the road bike fit with aerobars, they should not charge you extras after the aerobars come in.

I can't tell you how many times on this board or talking to folks at happy hours that I've heard someone trying to give away or sell aerobars because the ones that they bought either didn't work with their bikes or their body geometry. Don't make that expensive mistake :)


tgalbert's ravatar tgalbert    JOINED: 9/30/10    POSTS: 405
RE: Aerobars
POSTED: 6/26/13 11:35 AM

I echo what Tuan says, and I offer a some additional thoughts for consideration... (please pardon my being blunt, I only mean to illuminate beyond thinking aerobars will be a fix-all). The trick is using the right tool (and all the tools required) to do the right job.

Disclaimer: These are the musings of a gear junkie who aims to weigh efficiency, cost, and practicality in all applications to the sport. I merely offer my thoughts for your consideration. If there are any flaws in my argument, please correct me, as I'm always learning as well. In the end, whatever makes you feel better out on the course, go with that.

First, what distance did you race? If it was less than a half iron distance I actually discourage you from getting aero bars. You just don't get the advantage you think you're getting. Edit A proper fitting will help you gain power, speed, and reduce risk of injury.

Reasoning: Without completely changing your road bike's geometry by way of new seatpost; clip on aerobars; and probably a different saddle (and I haven't even gotten started on adjustments to saddle position/stem height and length.... )to steepen the seat tube angle (to produce similar geometry of a triathlon/TT bike) and getting well-fitting bars, you will gain marginal advantage over the course of 40 kilometers. The only thing this stands to accomplish is hurt your back.

Bottom line, it's a waste of money and you're only fooling yourself to think it's going to be helpful (edit) over shorter distances.

However, if you're racing a half or longer (140.6) event, then you may actually see some advantage to modifying your roadbike to have aerobars (and all the associated accoutrements).

If you are racing at 22mph+ (over the 40K/Halfiron) this modification may give you advantage as well. Although, at that point, you may consider upgrading entirely to a TT setup.

So, save your money by not buying into gimmick fixes and get a good/great/superEFFINGawesome fit from someone who knows what they're doing [insert another recommendation to go see Smiley] - I assure you that you'll go faster and further using less energy with a proper bike fit than you will by throwing on some aerobars. Dollar for dollar, a good fit will pay out dividends better than more gear in this case.

Remember, it all comes down to fit and position. You can have a $8,000 tri bike with every bit of technology and still be the slowest on the course if you're not positioned right (believe me, I see it every race). Put yourself on a well-fitting Schwinn and you'll fly like Graeme Obree.

my .02 deutschmarks :)

AROD    JOINED: 1/16/13    POSTS: 27
RE: Aerobars
POSTED: 6/26/13 12:17 PM

So the bike distance was an olympic length, and I definitely wasn't doing 22mph+. The reasoning behind the discussion is due to that my hands usually get numb while I bike ride and I tried making sure elbows were bent and followed some other guidance. In the end during the race I got down on the drops and for that is when I actually felt comfortable.

It sounds like the consensus is a bike fitting will probably really be the best thing at the moment. I have the General Smallwood sprint coming up but is there any recommendations for the fitting? I have heard variuos DC tri folks talk about smiley can you give me a link where I can go get more information?

Also would aerobars still be a good investment at this point since I am really just getting into the sport. it sounds like I should just request the fitting with aerobars. I appreciate y'all taking the time to write up some feedback for me.

tgalbert's ravatar tgalbert    JOINED: 9/30/10    POSTS: 405
RE: Aerobars
POSTED: 6/26/13 12:48 PM

We're here to help! That's the beauty of this club, is that it's a cornucopia of information!

Regarding fixing your numbness, it depends on the nature of problem (where in your hand, etc). The most common reason for numbness in extremities is improper fit (pressure induced). There may be other, more useful remedies to your situation than aerobars (which can lead to other injury if not done right), such as wearing different gloves. There are also a number of different factors that may contribute to WHY your hand are going numb - spinal/neck injuries; improper fit; poor posture - to name a few. My bet is that a proper fit will improve your situation.

Here is some good reading about cycling and hand numbness - HERE

Smiley's information:
He doesn't have a website, it's all by word of mouth, really. He has a shop set up at his home, and has a wealth of engineering knowledge. Yes, it is completely safe.

I've had him fit me on my TT and road bikes, and I endorse his work. Please reference this forum thread backing up my endorsement: HERE

More reading: here

To answer your questions regarding whether or not aerobars would be a good investment - [Edit] No, I do not think aerobars will be a good investment for you [end edit]. It won't make you faster, it won't make you save any energy.

Aerobars only help you if you're going fast over a long distance (we're talking 18+mph avg over longer courses). Think of a turbocharger on a car engine, it only turns on at HIGH speeds - when you're driving it around town it never turns on. Make sense?

If it's a matter of comfort, then we've gone full circle back to fitting. If after having a proper, professional fit you're still not comfortable on a road bike holding onto the hoods, that means you have other issues to worry about - weak core strength, chronic injury, weak arms - all which require remedies outside of fancy gear.

It's an expense you don't need to make at this point, not for doing sprints and olympics. Get some experience racing and riding before you start playing with gear upgrades. [Edit]When you're averaging higher speeds and riding/racing further, then it might be time to consider going aero.

AROD    JOINED: 1/16/13    POSTS: 27
RE: Aerobars
POSTED: 6/26/13 1:31 PM

Awesome. E-mail sent!! I like the car analogy and I dont doubt I need to hit the gym a bit harder. From everything you have all said it sounds like a fitting will do me the best right now and then I can start correcting any other issues. I really appreciate all your guys feedback.

tgalbert's ravatar tgalbert    JOINED: 9/30/10    POSTS: 405
RE: Aerobars
POSTED: 6/26/13 1:39 PM

Good luck! After your fitting, put in some miles and let us know if it helps. This will be a good reference for anyone else who may have similar problems.

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