I'm looking to purchase aero bars to use for the Seagull Century, but I'm a little overwhelmed by the selection. So I thought I'd ask the experts :)
Does anyone have a recommendation on aero bars? Brands I should look into/stay away from? Materials? Size? Etc Etc. I really appreciate the advice. Thanks!!
Am I right in assuming that you are looking for clip-on aero bars and are keeping your drop bars?
Profile design pretty much has the corner on the market. I have profile design T2 clipons and love them - they are very low profile like most real aerobars. There are more comfortable models like the Airstryke, but you are gonna be less aero.
I don't have any recommendations for specific aerobars, there are a lot of designs out there, and it is a bit overwhelming.
Here are a few things to check, however. I assume you are putting these on a road bike.
First, are your handlebars carbon or aluminum. If they are aluminum, great. If they are carbon, check to see if they are designed to accept clip on aerobars. The issue is that the pressure from tightening down the areobars can crack carbon fiber. Murphy's law dictates that the crack will not show up immediately; it'll show up while you are screaming down a hill and have a fair amount of weight resting on your forearms. That would be bad. Some carbon fiber bars are reinforced to prevent this.
Second, your handlebars are thickest where they attach to the stem and then taper down from there. Check to see how much space you have to the left and right of your stem before they taper down. Again, you don't want to put the bars on the tapered part of the handlebars. They won't be secure and bad things can happen.
Good luck! Let us know what you get, how you like them, and what it was like learning to use them.
EDIT - oh, and I love my Syntace C3, but they are not as adjustable as many of the profile design ones
Ryan is right about your handlebars. That taper part is important.
I have the Profile Design Split Second (aluminum). I like the adjustability (rotation and length) and the flip-up armrests.
Material choice - weight doesn't matter too much if you ride mostly flat, drag limits your speed way more (aluminum isn't evil!). More important is the shape, and I can't tell you which one you'll prefer, but even the nonadjustable ones are fairly comfortable to me.
You might also consider a forward seat post (thomson or profile design) to go with those aerobars. It's your riding position that makes you aero, not the bars. The fwd seatpost rotates you forward and opens up your hips. Otherwise, you could get uncomfortable being so "closed" up at the waist unless you're super flexible.
if you have a local bike shop you trust go to them.
the reason for that is if you are at all doubtful that your handlebars can handle the aerobars they are the ones that can tell you whether its safe or not and probaby suggest some options for you.
there are many different good brands, ones that come to mind are syntace, profile, visiontech/fsa, easton, cinelli, hed.
granted some of these you will not really find except in very exclusive stores, ie hed, visiontech/fsa, but hey you can try to see what they suggest.
i personally used to use teh syntace c2 for a few years, they were great. also i used the profile design jammer aerobars for a while on a road bike, not particluarly comfortable but very handly for very technical tri courses.
i currently use visiontech/fsa brand 1 piece aerobars, great bars that have very very limited adjustments available, you either fit this bar or you don't.
Thank you! Y'all are awesome :)
Jason is right in that it's the positioning of your body geometry that makes you aero (balanced against the amount of power you generate in that position), which is why most people are better off just riding regularly on their road bike than trying to attach a set of full size clip-on aerobars to a road bike. If you want to setup aerobars on your road bike w/ minimal other purchases/adjustments, check out the types of aerobars ('shorty aerobars') people are using on the ITU circuit, syntace XXS for example. and good luck with the century ride!