aero bars for touring......

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Smokey, Feb 28, 2003.

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  1. Smokey

    Smokey Guest

    i have a lemond road bike that is used for rides of 15-30 miles, with an occasional one over 50.
    this year, i plan to do my first century and was wondering if aero bars would be a worthwhile
    addition. it would give me another riding position and would help with the headwinds we get around
    here sometimes. i've heard it takes a while to get used to them. some say they can raise average
    speed by 1-2 mph. anyone have any input? if you have used aero bars, what kind were they and how did
    you like them? thanks in advance for any inputs. smokey strodtman
     
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  2. no

    no Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, smokey <[email protected]> wrote:
    >i have a lemond road bike that is used for rides of 15-30 miles, with an occasional one over 50.
    >this year, i plan to do my first century and was wondering if aero bars would be a worthwhile
    >addition.

    Seems to me that in most centuries, the faster rides form pace lines, which negate any benefit of
    aero bars. If you're not a faster rider, aero bars won't do you much good anyway. Aero bars are
    intended for time trialing, riding by yourself at speeds over 20 mph.

    Ken
     
  3. Never saw aero bars on a real touring bike.
     
  4. smokey wrote, regarding aero bars:
    >
    > some say they can raise average speed by 1-2 mph. anyone have any input? if you have used aero
    > bars, what kind were they and how did you like them? thanks in advance for any inputs.
    >

    I've got them on my touring bike. I don't use them all that often (maybe 5% of the time) but I find
    them a valuable addition to the bike.

    There's no question they add speed - for me, probably two miles per hour at 20 mph. I've done tours
    (that is, loaded tours) where the headwinds were so bad that even with aero bars, I was riding at 8
    mph for dozens of miles. In that situation, they're certainly worth having. I also appreciate having
    another _two_ hand position, meaning I can use the bars as intended, with forearms on the pads; and
    I can just put my hands on the pads for a higher riding position.

    Regarding century rides, Ken firmly divided riders into two classes: those who are fast, thus in
    pacelines, and everybody else, who are too slow to benefit from aero bars. I disagree. In many
    century rides, I've done pacelines for a while, then ridden fast but solo for a while, then ridden
    slowly with friends for a while, etc. Again, I find them useful any time I'm riding solo and either
    heading into a wind or riding fast.

    Mine are so old I'm not certain of the brand. I think they're Profile or something like that. Two
    separate aluminum tubes bridged by a day-glo chartreuse plastic piece with a funny shape. And, BTW,
    that plastic piece is a great place to hang a headlight while on tour.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  5. i've used spinacci style bars while touring and while i won't say don't go without 'em they are a
    nice couple of extra hand positions. speed never really entered into it.
    --
    david reuteler [email protected]
     
  6. Melisa Johns

    Melisa Johns Guest

    Some of the guys at BCI (Bicycle Club of Irvine) suggested Richards in Garden Grove. Richard
    suggested a $40 aero bar with a 2 inch riser for touring. In a day, it was uncomfortable. I saw it
    shaking the $90 lamp in my blowtorch and I took it off. But I haven't returned it either. It may
    have a place, if I get used to it.

    Go try it for yourself. But give it a few weeks and then decide.

    "Frank Krygowski" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > smokey wrote, regarding aero bars:
    > >
    > > some say they can raise average speed by 1-2 mph. anyone have any input? if you have used aero
    > > bars, what kind were they and how did you like them? thanks in advance for any inputs.
    > >
    >
    > I've got them on my touring bike. I don't use them all that often (maybe 5% of the time) but I
    > find them a valuable addition to the bike.
    >
    > There's no question they add speed - for me, probably two miles per hour at 20 mph. I've done
    > tours (that is, loaded tours) where the headwinds
     
  7. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >i have a lemond road bike that is used for rides of 15-30 miles, with an occasional one over 50.
    >this year, i plan to do my first century and was wondering if aero bars would be a worthwhile
    >addition. it would give me another riding position and would help with the headwinds we get around
    >here sometimes. i've heard it takes while to get used to them. some say they can raise average
    >speed by 1-2 mph.

    >anyone have any input? if you have used aero bars, what kind were they and how did you like them?
    >thanks in advance for any inputs. smokey strodtman

    I use Aerobars on my Time Trial bikes. I have tried them on standard road bikes but I have decided
    they really don't belong on a road bike.

    My thoughts:

    1. With aerobars you have less control and you do not have immediate access to the brakes. So, if
    you are riding with a group, unless you are extremely skilled, it is best to avoid using
    aerobars when riding with a group. The reduced control means you will have difficult avoiding
    pot holes, objects in the road and in general doing anything but going in a straight line.

    2. Most of the aerodynamic advantage from aerobars over a standard aggressive road position comes
    from getting your upper body lower and arms in. To do this, the rest of your position on the
    bike needs to be changed. In general, from what I have observed, touring bikes setup with
    aerobars are mostly for comfort. In my experience a bike setup to be efficient and fast with
    aerobars is uncomfortable when used normally.

    For me the bottomline is that because I need to modify my standard road position and because they
    reduce manuveurability and braking, I avoid them for normal road riding. I believe that if
    aerodynamics is the issue, then a reasonablly aggressive position in the drops is is a better
    solution, especially in a situation where I will be riding with others.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  8. Jon Isaacs wrote:
    >
    >
    > 1. With aerobars you have less control and you do not have immediate access to the brakes. So, if
    > you are riding with a group, unless you are extremely skilled, it is best to avoid using
    > aerobars when riding with a group.

    I'd go further. I'd _never_ ride the aero bars in a group... unless, perhaps, I was out in front
    pulling everyone else.

    > The reduced control means you will have difficult avoiding pot holes, objects in the road and in
    > general doing anything but going in a straight line.

    This is true. I use them when it's straight, smooth and lonely.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  9. Mgs

    Mgs Guest

    One more opinion.......

    I added aero bars to my road bike for a tour last season. About 100 miles per day over 4 days. A
    group of five of us rode without a pace line.

    I will never again ride or tour without bars. The additional position was great. I used Syntace
    bars, and set them so that I was level with my seat in the aero tuck, and about 1 inch below seat
    level when riding the tops of the hoods.

    They definitely give about a 1-2 mph speed advantage, and in a long ride, the position and comfort
    are immense.

    My vote is always go with the bars.
     
  10. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "smokey" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > i have a lemond road bike that is used for rides of 15-30 miles, with an occasional one over 50.
    > this year, i plan to do my first century and was wondering if aero bars would be a worthwhile
    > addition. it would give me another riding position and would help with the headwinds we get around
    > here sometimes. i've heard it takes a while to get used to them. some say they can raise average
    > speed by 1-2 mph. anyone have any input? if you have used aero bars, what kind were they and how
    > did you like them? thanks in advance for any inputs.

    I have a set of Profile bars on my touring bike (Cannondale, that I never tour with). I keep the
    bars on all the time since I find them useful for fast club rides and distance cycling, my 2 main
    types of cycling. I use them on club rides when I am between paceline groups, or when I am pulling.

    I don't think they're dangerous for normal road cycling if you're a reasonably alert person. It's
    not too hard to avoid obstacles, nor is it too likely to lose your balance or control.

    I think 1-2 mph is perhaps an overly optimistic estimate of the advantage. Perhaps 1 mph if you're
    in the low 20's, and only then if the position is relatively aggressive.

    For touring and long distance cycling, bars can be nice to get weight off your hands and stretch out
    a bit. On my long rides I use them more for a change in posture than for speed, since my average
    speeds aren't really high enough to get any aero advantage.

    Although my back angle isn't any different on my bars or drops, I am much more "closed up" on the
    bars, and get a slight, but measurable speed increase in time trial type events ( 21-23 mph,
    10-40 mi).

    I think Profile brand bars are pretty wretched from a mechanical integrity POV, I wouldn't buy them
    again. They are quite comfortable.
     
  11. Frank Riley

    Frank Riley Guest

    "Peter Cole" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > I think Profile brand bars are pretty wretched from a mechanical integrity POV, I wouldn't buy
    > them again. They are quite comfortable.

    I'd have to agree with this statement. The Profile bars I bought wouldn't stay tight on my
    handlebars for anything. I replaced them with Syntace aero bars and haven't had any problems.
     
  12. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >I don't think they're dangerous for normal road cycling if you're a reasonably alert person.

    > It's not too hard to avoid obstacles, nor is it too likely to lose your balance or control.
    >

    In my view, aerobars are fine on open roads, but riding them in traffic or other situations where
    something unexpected might happen is a no-no in my book. Around here I see tri types using them in
    all sorts of situations where they are a definite risk.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  13. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Jon Isaacs" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > In my view, aerobars are fine on open roads, but riding them in traffic or other situations where
    > something unexpected might happen is a no-no in my
    book.

    Almost as dangerous as sprinting in traffic.

    > Around here I see tri types using them in all sorts of situations where
    they
    > are a definite risk.

    Tri-geeks give us all a bad image.
     
  14. Harley

    Harley Guest

    I have a set of "Profile" (century) I didn't spend much as I didn't know if I could get down in that
    position. I don't use them a lot but the first thing I noticed was that I could shift up 1 or 2
    gears without more work. The riding position isn't real comfortable for me for more than 5-10 min.
    They're staying on.. ~h~
     
  15. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Harley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I have a set of "Profile" (century) I didn't spend much as I didn't know if I could get down in
    > that position. I don't use them a lot but the first thing I noticed was that I could shift up 1 or
    > 2 gears without more work.

    No way.
     
  16. Tuomas Polvi

    Tuomas Polvi Guest

    When I was younger I drove over 90km to my parents home more than once in a summer. My previous bike
    had drop bars but I could drive only about 10km on lowest position so I usually used higher
    positions in these long rides. Then i bought my current bike that is a hybrid bike and fitted it
    with aero bars. I find out that I could use aero position almost all the time and I was going little
    faster than on the lowest position of drop bars with same effort. My time on this >90km course
    dropped more than 10%

    Couple of years ago I did a bicycle tour with a friend. We did only 50km/day on average and used
    aero bars most of the time. There wasn't big group so it didn't feel dangerous.

    When I am training alone I use the aero bars about 90% of the distance. I only use straight bar at
    crossings and tight bends or when there are people on my way. When I ride with slower people I use
    straight bar to slow me down. I don't usually drive with big groups and if I did I wouldn't probably
    use aero position.

    Some people have negative experience of aero bars. One difference may be that I have very flexible
    spine and not very strong back muscles so I appreciate the support of elbow pad and don't feel over
    extended. Another difference is that my straight bars are higher than most drop bars in serious
    touring bikes and probably nearer to seat than in most race bikes so my aero position isn't
    extremely low. I have read that if you use well positioned drop bars, you should use short aero bars
    or you have to reach too long forward to be confortable.

    Even if my aero position isn't extremely low it is much lower than I could ride long distance
    without elbow support and narrow hand position gives another advantage. I would say I go about 15%
    faster with it than with straight bars and straight arms and maby about 5% faster than with lowest
    position on drop bars.

    Some people say that aerodynamic advantage matters only when you are already going fast. I strongly
    disagree. Even at 20km/h on even terrain the air drag takes most of the power you produce and
    aerodynamic shape is aerodynamis shape in slower speeds too. If using aero bars give you 20% less
    aerodynamic drag it means less power with same speed or more speed with same power.

    I bought hybrid bicyle because I thought that drop bars wouldn't be good at city traffic and put the
    aero bars on it to make it better for road use. In fact I like aero bars so much that I might get
    another bike only for road use and put bullhorn bar to it to mach aero bars better.

    Does anyone know if there is any other aero bars except Profiles airstrike etc. that allow using top
    of the drop/bullhorn bar?
     
  17. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Jon Isaacs" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > >Almost as dangerous as sprinting in traffic.
    >
    > Actually considerably more dangerous, your weight to far forward, you have
    poor
    > access to the brakes plus steering is a bitch.

    No help here on steering, but you do have the option of adding a brake lever to your aerobars:

    http://www.profile-design.com/brakes_QS2.html

    It adds braking to your aerobars while still allowing the use of your standard brifters.

    -Buck
     
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