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I need to get my older bike fitted with aero bars: I will be doing my first stage race and there is an 30km time trial. I don't expect to do well, but would like to get some experience racing in some TT's this season as well as during the SR's. I would like to use my old bike for a time trial rig: cheaper and easier than buying a dedicated TT machine.

Should I just buy some Profile clip-on bars? Do I need to run brake levers out on the end of the bars, or it is not necessary? Also, should I use a 26.0 bar for this application? I have noticed that on 31.8 bars, the bulge seems to taper down right where I would want to mount the bars.

Also, how much of a difference time-wise does a specific TT rig make over a converted road bike, and should I worry about borrowing a TT helmet?
 

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Why not go ahead and dedicate your older bike as a TT rig? The big advantage of dedicated rigs is not the rig, but the ability to train regularly in an aero position and gradually optimize that position. You might even surprise yourself and end up doing pretty well at time trialing. Many stage races and omniums have a TT stage - if you can contend in those it really improves your chances in the overalls.

If you want to keep the second bike available as a road bike, just set it up as normal and add clip on aero bars - most will only fit 26-mm handlebars, and certain carbon handlebars do not allow use of clip-ons - check the model before you buy. The only other modification I recommend is a zero setback seatpost (Thomson makes a great one) - this will allow you to move the saddle further forward. Aero wheels are also a plus, especially for longer, flatter courses, and total TT geeks (like me) generally opt for a rear disc and aero helmet.

If you can dedicate the second bike as a TT rig, go ahead and use bullhorns with clip-ons - or integrated aerobars if your really into it. Bar-end shifters and aero brake levers will allow you to remain in your aero position compared to STI/Ergo levers. Same dealio as above with the seatpost and wheels. Start your position close to what you have on your road bike, but as you gain comfort in the aero position start dialing into a lower, more forward position. The idea is to find the optimal position where you can maximize your aerodynamics without losing power. There are lots of online articles about TT positioning, but a fit session with a qualified person will save you lots of trial and error.
 
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