Aerobars on a hybrid?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Owboduz, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. Owboduz

    Owboduz New Member

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    I'm training for the London to Cambridge bicycle ride. It's about 60 miles. I have a Trek FX 7.0, which is a hybrid with riser bars:
    [​IMG]

    http://www.trekbikes.com/int/en/bikes/town/fitness/fx/7_0_fx/

    I'm mostly happy with my FX 7.0, but while I've been training, I have found that I have a lot of wind resistance. That's fine, for training but for a 60 mile ride, I'd rather cut down the resistance. I also have to lean on the bars in pretty much the same position constantly. Hybrids don't leave a lot of room to shift around. I've been wondering about using aerobars. I've never used them before, so I don't really know what to look for in a set. I've found a few sets that aren't very expensive, but I just have no way to know what to avoid. So, would you suggest aerobars? Dropbar ends? Something else? Should I look for a two-piece aerobars? Or a single-piece aerobar?

    Are there any down-sides to adding some clip-on aerobars? I know it will be harder to shift and brake when leaning on the aerobars. Would it make sense to move the rear brake lever onto one aerobar? Is there anything else I should consider?
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well there's nothing stopping you from slapping some clip on aero bars onto your Trek. It's hard to say how much it will lower your front end and improve your aerodynamics but many people do use them more as 'comfort bars' rather than 'aero bars' when set up in fairly upright positions. Nothing wrong with that.

    The only real downsides are that you steer a bit differently when riding supported by your elbows and of course your hands are not near your shifters or brakes. That last bit can be an issue if you'll do your London ride with a group as it's not a great idea to put folks in aero bars and folks on more conventional bikes into a group together especially if the aero bar folks don't have a lot of experience riding in that position. But if you'll mostly be riding alone and not drafting it doesn't matter too much.

    Personally I'd start by working on the position with a flatter stem. Your Trek ships with a very steep high rise stem so just going to a more conventional road stem would drop your front end a lot. I might also add some MTB style bar ends like these:http://www.ebay.com/bhp/mtb-bar-ends they'll gve you more hand positions and let you stretch out a bit more both for aerodynamics and comfort when you choose but still keep your hands near the controls. If you really want you could do those things and still clip on some aero extensions for a lot of different position options but again the aero bars have some handling and group safety downsides.

    You could do all sorts of things like installing drop bars or rigging up an aerobar setup with one or more brakes moved to the aero extensions but all of that gets more complicated and more expensive. Drop bars themselves aren't expensive but by the time you buy brake/shifters to match those drop bars and recable your bike it will add up fast and may quickly exceed the total value of your hybrid. I'd suggest keeping it simple and clean with minimal changes. MTB bar ends and a lower rise stem would be good starting points.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  3. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    many races don't allow aero bars, so you might want to check that first, in the spirit of "train as you race". Apart from that, Daveryan covers it well with regular stem and bar ends.
     
  4. Owboduz

    Owboduz New Member

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    "Comfort bars" is a big part of what I'm going for. The rules of the ride I've signed on for stipulate that you're supposed to stay well clear of other riders. I imagine there will be groups, but I don't know if I will be able to pace them. I have checked the rules of the ride and they don't mention anything about permitted equipment.

    Given the generally positive responses I've seen to putting aero bars on a hybrid, I'm going to give it a go. I might also try flipping my stem so that it drops rather than rises.

    I'm aware of the potentially dangerous aspects to riding with aerobars, so I will ride with extra caution when using them.
     
  5. baker3

    baker3 New Member

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    Plenty of people around here use them on MTB's and Hybirds.
     
  6. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering if you're trying to fix the wrong problem.

    People who find themselves hanging heavily on the bars usually have something else going on.
    Too big bike, too long stem, saddle too far forward being the most common issues.
    If that is the case, adding an aero bar to the mix is more of masking the problem rather than solving it.

    'Course, fitness comes into play too. A fitter rider will have greater ability to use the forward overhang of his upper body to create leverage for his pedalling, supporting his upper body by the core muscles rather than by the arms.

    For more hand positions the traditional approach for something like your bike would be a butterfly/trekking bar, or possibly a North Road/moustasche bar.

    Assuming a properly sized bike, and a reasonably fit rider, I think a flipped stem (from the pic)and a butterfly/trekking bar would be a more true-and-tested approach to your concerns and desires.
     
  7. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    A flatter stem is a reasonable idea but I would not suggest flipping your current stem.

    You've got something like a +30 degree 90-100mm rise stem on that bike. Flip it and you'll be running a deep track drop pista stem at -30 degrees or so. That's around an 8cm to 9cm drop in your handlebar height which is a huge difference from where you are now. I'd go with something like a 0 degree or maybe a +6 to +8 degree road stem that will drop your bars a few cm but not drop them crazy low.

    -Dave
     
  8. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The OP has a threaded headset with a 15° welded Bontrager quill stem. Can you flip those?

    er...

    I would also wonder about the additional loading placed on the stem and steerer tube by the addition of aero bars.
     
  9. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that would be a good trick ;)

    Damn Ass-umptions...
     
  10. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "Damn Ass-umptions..."

    We all make them! I plead guilty more often than I care to admit.

    More to the OP's issue is attach aero bars to what has to be a low-bidder welded quill stem. It might handle the load and it might end up with product liability lawyers asking for information on a cycling forum. There are some unknowns...rider weight, rider weight distribution on the bike, riding style/power output and...what kind of hospitalization coverage the OP carries in case of 'Sudden Loss of Steering Syndrom' (aka SLSS).

    While not directly related, I seem to recall a rider named George that had that syndrome due to riding a Bontrager fork over a somewhat roughly paved road in Belgium...
     
  11. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    Below are trekking bars. Last year I saw a road bike that had these mounted spun around so that the open part was farthest away from the saddle. It had bar ends in it pointing upwards and forwards. So the result was one could stretch way out in an aero position and grab the bar ends like on an aero TT bike setup.

    That could be a simple method for you to stretch out to get lower and not have to change any components. Just get a trekking bar and some bar ends. You might need a different stem too. You will also have other hand positions that can be lower than on your flat bar.


    [​IMG]
     
  12. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Drop-Ends-Mountain-Road-Drop-Bar-Converter-/161042498834?pt=Cycling_Parts_Accessories&hash=item257ee18512 http://www.ebay.com/itm/Origin-8-Bicycle-Drop-Bar-Ends-Black-New-/330929769256?pt=US_Handlebars&hash=item4d0cf38b28 BTW. Now you know why most Road bikes have DROP handlebars ...
     
  13. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Supplier info offers some doubt, see link:http://www.trekbikes.com/int/en/bikes/town/fitness/fx/7_0_fx/#

    Click on "show features" in lower right, then on the stem. Must be from another bike.
     
  14. Owboduz

    Owboduz New Member

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    Well, I bought some aftermarket aerobars. Overall, I love them. I'm very cautious with them when it comes to cycling with others and near traffic.

    Not being able to shift in aero is a bit annoying, but I find I can get a hand back and shift without sitting up. I've also managed to brake like that, not that I had much option. I was riding in a cycle lane in aero, when a truck went roaring past me, then cut into the cycle lane, and turned right in front of me. I got my hand back and managed to brake enough for the truck to finish pulling in.

    What I love about them is not just the lower wind resistance, I find them much more comfortable to ride with than the riser bars that came with the bike. The aero position is surprisingly comfortable, except for the reduced lung capacity.

    Given what these handlebars have been through now, I wouldn't worry about their collapse. They're steel and pretty solid. If they didn't break yesterday when I fell off my bike (not aerobar related) on a gravel road, then got hit by another cyclist, they're not going to break in aero.
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Dabac...I think that's a generic pic in the features section of the page that depicts a riser BAR. I don't think it's there to define the stem type.

    Clicking on "details" specs the stem as a: Stem Bontrager Approved, 15 degree

    Pics show that as a quill type stem.

    If you click on the crankset, it shows a different model than the bike's spec'd crankset. If you click on the mudguard mount detail, it shows a different seat stay design and completely different brake type than the specifications list.

    Of course the usual, "Specifications may be subject to change without notice.", applies. [​IMG]


    OP, be careful on those new aero bars. Being away from the brakes does involve some risk in traffic.
     
  16. Owboduz

    Owboduz New Member

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    CAMPYBOB, I don't use them in traffic. I reserve them for cycle paths or very quiet streets.
     
  17. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Not to keep flogging a dead horse, but that's a mighty strange way to present a riser bar...
    Not a friendly thing to do to a novice rider either, challenging them to decipher which is what between the written spec and the pics.
     
  18. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Well, you aren't riding in a traditional aero position, possibly an aero-ish.
    On a dedicated tri/TT bike, the saddle is shifted quite a bit forward to compensate for the dropped torso and open up the angle between the legs and the upper body again. If you feel like continuing to experiment, you can get a zero offset or even a forward offset seat post to achieve something similar.

    But why the worry about the bars breaking, was it someone here who voiced that concern?
    The general caution is usually about the reduction in control and handling when using the aerobars.
     
  19. Owboduz

    Owboduz New Member

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    I was also surprised about the concern over them breaking. In fact, I would be more concerned about the damage to the paint on the handlebars (that's a lost cause now ;) ).

    The London to Cambridge was a lot of fun. I didn't get a lot of chance to use the aerobars until the last 1/3 of the ride. Mostly it was that there were too many people around me, and it didn't feel comfortable to try them. When I did get onto them near the end, I suddenly found myself comfortably pedalling in my top gear, when I had expected to be worn out and running low gears.
     
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