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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a TT race coming up soon described as "1200 feet of climbing over 4 miles". Due to the climbing, I plan on using a road bike for this TT. There are two small flat sections on the course, but most of it climbs at around 5 to 6% grade. Also, based on the prevailing winds, I anticipate a small tailwind.

My question is, should I use Aerobars or not?

Your thoughts?.
 

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Rollin' Stones
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The TT is 4 miles in total? If so, that's a bit of climbing. I would probably use regular bars. It really depends on the topography and length of the TT. I don't like using aero bars on climbs of %grade. Rolling hills are no biggie. Any aero advantage gained with bars would probably be negated on the climbing. What you are comfortable on is another issue. Best of luck.
 

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What offseason?
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There is no definite yes/no answer - it depends on a lot of factors. Is it a hillclimb that starts at the bottom and ends at the top or is there a turnaround where you need to descend the course as well. If you descend the course and it's not a technical downhill, aerobars will give you huge gains. Different people react differently to aerobars. In the bars, I personally lose power on a climb and slow if the grade is sustained at much more than 4%.

You say it climbs 1,200 feet in 4 miles. That is an average grade of 5.7% If there are any substantial flat or downhill sections the climbing may easilly average 6 or 7%.

I'll say this - a pro might average 20mph+ on a course like that and would see significant advantage in using aerobars. At the Alpe d'Huez TT in '04, more than a few pros used aerobars and the speeds were below 15mph on a grade over 8%

This is one of those situations where you should ride the climb beforehand with and without aerobars. Compare your times - that'll make the decision for you.
 

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Moderatus Puisne
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I'd say if you're really comfortable in the aerobars, do a lot of tri / tt riding with them, and know how to climb with them, then I'd say go for it. 5-6% are definitely grades you can do in the saddle.

I don't, so on the few hilly time trials I've done, where average speeds were 12-15mph, I, and most riders, opted not to. It was less for the weight, and more because I wanted to be able to climb smoothly and comfortably on the tops.
 
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