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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to buy aero bars for my Felt Speed 22. Picture below, note it's a hybrid.

I'm starting to take on more city streets and I would like to get more aerodynamic and (attempt) to keep up with those “pesky” roadies. Needless to say as a novice I’m quickly learning that weight, tires and aerodynamics (lung capacity of course) are a key in not just getting up to speed, but maintaining it. Keep in mind the majority of my riding (just recently up to 60 miles, I’m a newbie still) is on bike paths but getting to them is putting me on the streets from time to time. I would also like to have more hand positions while riding and have thought about getting bar ends as well. Of course my handlebar will look like a hat rack when done, will this put me in the "Fred" division, the “just plain silly” class, or "who gives a crap, it's my bike and I'll do what I want with it" category?

Now it's hard not to notice how the majority here feel about aero bars being unstable and how I will be shunned from group rides. Well, I ride solo and I'm not really into the whole roadie group ride "thing". I stick by the beach where the ocean views and the often seen "bikini babe" sighting are, camera in hand. I also wouldn't use the aero bars on heavily traveled bike paths (too many people, need to stop quickly sometimes), just streets where I can get up to top speed. I have met a couple of people on hybrids with aero bars that swear by them, adding 2mph to their speed. I realize it will take some time to get used to, I'm confident I can. If not, well I can always sell them on Craigslist...

In any event I hadn't realized how many choices there are, I was sort of overwhelmed doing a Google search. I've attached a few pictures and welcome any advice in terms of which one is most suited to my bike, keeping in mind the style of bike it is. Profile Design seems to be on the leading edge with the CGT model weighing in tops in “cool” factor. Most expensive too of course. The Jammer looks like it will fit my needs in terms of position and price. The Century has a rounded design and I wonder if that will give me more hand positions although its length seems to be ill suited for a Hybrid. Lastly I added the Syntace because of it’s shape. I also wonder if I will need to move my seat forward in order to get in the proper position.

Once again, I’m not out to become a Tri Athlete, just looking to cheat the wind and not look like a Fred at the same time.

Advice, comments, ridicule are all accepted, feel free to speak up. I trust opinions here just as much as my LBS, you folks have been down the road many more times than myself.

John in Long Beach, CA
 

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Lemur-ing
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If you're riding solo, then no problem because it's not us that shun these, it's the people that you ride with in general just because of safety. But, you already understand that and aren't asking that.

Which is better? All of them are good, but it depends on the hand position you want with these. If it's for comfort, I'd recommend one of those ski bars type instead as it gives you a good area to grip and you don't have to bend your wrists at awkward positions.

Check profile design. They have a profile there as to which bars are suited for the purposes people are getting them for - TT, Tri, touring etc etc.

I'm swapping my stock clip ons for the S-bend kinds but I feel comfortable in them and I use it for TTs etc so, I'm fine with it.

For your purpose of aerodynamics and stuff, a more comfortable wrist/hand positioning is definitely more recommended IMO since comfort = you using them for longer periods and offering you another option on your rides vs. you using the bars for short periods of time due to pain etc.

If you want aerodynamics, I'd pick one with a lower stack height for the arm pads so you can get lower. But, this is also determined by your flexibility, back issues and such.

Check those few out at the shop and see if your LBS can mount them on your bike for you to test out for a little ride maybe.

Note that the bike would handle a little differently when on the extensions though - slight movements of the shoulder/arms would alter the line the bike takes and cause you to turn and all so just be careful if it's the first time you're riding on them.

Other than that, I'd say to see which fit your budget best.
 

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uzziefly said:
If you're riding solo, then no problem because it's not us that shun these, it's the people that you ride with in general just because of safety. But, you already understand that and aren't asking that.

Which is better? All of them are good, but it depends on the hand position you want with these. If it's for comfort, I'd recommend one of those ski bars type instead as it gives you a good area to grip and you don't have to bend your wrists at awkward positions.

Check profile design. They have a profile there as to which bars are suited for the purposes people are getting them for - TT, Tri, touring etc etc.

I'm swapping my stock clip ons for the S-bend kinds but I feel comfortable in them and I use it for TTs etc so, I'm fine with it.

For your purpose of aerodynamics and stuff, a more comfortable wrist/hand positioning is definitely more recommended IMO since comfort = you using them for longer periods and offering you another option on your rides vs. you using the bars for short periods of time due to pain etc.

If you want aerodynamics, I'd pick one with a lower stack height for the arm pads so you can get lower. But, this is also determined by your flexibility, back issues and such.

Check those few out at the shop and see if your LBS can mount them on your bike for you to test out for a little ride maybe.

Note that the bike would handle a little differently when on the extensions though - slight movements of the shoulder/arms would alter the line the bike takes and cause you to turn and all so just be careful if it's the first time you're riding on them.

Other than that, I'd say to see which fit your budget best.
+1....spot on advice here.....
 

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Lemur-ing
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Oh sorry! I just checked Profile Design's website and it seems they no longer list the profile (no pun intended) of their aerobars as to which are more suited for the different types of usage.

Damn. I always liked that feature since it gives people a good guide and I also thought it was pretty cool they did that (didn't know of any other companies that listed their bar profile against the type of riding that best suit the particular bars.)
 

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I have a pair of Profile Design Aero bars that I put on my Cannondale road bike. They are the ones pictured but flip up which are nice because you can still use the top of the handlebars if you want. I took them off when I had carbon fiber handlebars installed but really liked them. I might be interested in selling them as I am not for sure the carbon handlebars I bought can take the aero bars.
 

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People who have studied rider position a lot more than I have consistently recommend the short-armed Jammer for the road bike rider who wants to retain his normal non-aerobar position over the pedals. Even though you're on the aerobar, with the Jammer you retain the position your body is used to—meaning you're at your most powerful and efficient.

As to the 2 mph increase: I'd put that squarely into the category of wishful thinking. Most people's average miles per hour increases about 0.5 to 1.0 mph with an aerobar.
 

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Baltic Scum
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John in Long Beach said:
Once again, I’m not out to become a Tri Athlete, just looking to cheat the wind and not look like a Fred at the same time.
John, if you slap a pair of aero bars on that bike, the latter is impossible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone, I just got back from my LBS to discuss. The Jammer model is the one I'm leaning toward, they didn't have them in stock and will have to order. It fits the advice given here. There's a huge BikeFest coming up next weekend here in Long Beach, I'll hold off on buying as I might be able to find a Show Special and save a couple of bucks. At the very least I can talk to seasoned pros and get their advice too. This bike "stuff" is pretty fun and by keeping an open mind and listening to others advice and recommendations I'll make my first Century soon.

Question still unanswered: Will I need to move my seat forward?

C130, feel free to PM me on yours.

Have a great weekend to all,
John in Long Beach, CA
 

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Banned forever.....or not
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It's gonna be hard not to look like a major league Fred with those aero bars.
You mention that you're thinking of putting on bar ends also.
I think that it would make a major fashion statement if you went with the double (or triple) bar end look.
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Satanic Watch Winder
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Keep the correct saddle possition you've been fitted to. The Profile clip on's you've chosen have a fore and aft adjustment, so mount your clip-on's to fit you the way the bike is set up. Put the bike on a trainer and start by placing your elbows or fore arms in possition that feels good for your entire torso, then adjust the aerobar reach to meet your grip. With your handle bars where they are now, it won't be too much of a bend or stretch to get into your aero possition.

Don't worry about being a Fred. I have Profile Airstrykes on my long distance bike and while all the purists are busy reflecting on their "pureness", I'm coasting on the descents while they pedal. With these bars, I can push harder on a climb knowing I'll have the descent to recover. This comes in very handy as I'm an average climber even on a good day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mr. Grumpy, classic picture, thanks for the laugh. My "Fredness" will be my undoing some day, just another subject for my therapist and I.:eek:ut:

John in Long Beach, CA
 

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Seat forward-not.

As oily666 said, don't move the seat. The whole idea here is to remain in your dialed-in power position while giving you an alternative for your arms and hands.

After a few weeks with the bars, you'll find that being able to rest your upper body on your elbows will be a huge benefit. Because the weight of your upper body is supported by bone and not muscle, more energy is left for the legs. Plus, you'll be more comfortable, especially on long rides.
 

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I have the same aero bars as oily666 has on his stead. Have been using them for about 3 years and they make a great platform to be able to change positions when out for a long ride. I wouldn't want them on a race bike, but for just getting out and putting in miles they are great and allow the user to get comfortable and get aero on windy days... every litttle bit helps.
 

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wim said:
As to the 2 mph increase: I'd put that squarely into the category of wishful thinking. Most people's average miles per hour increases about 0.5 to 1.0 mph with an aerobar.
I have to disagree on that one. I have fitted aerobars on my bike 2 months ago, and I consistently find that my cruising speed has risen from about 31-32 km/h (on the hoods) to 34-35 km/h (on the aerobars). The difference gets even bigger when I put in the occasional interval. I had added the bars with similar reasoning as the OP, but nowadays I find that I almost always ride on the aerobars, because I am more comfortable, too.

So now I'm looking into fitting at least one brake lever for the front brake, maybe both brakes.

My riding buddys even complain that they get noticably less drafting benefits when I drop onto my bars...:biggrin5:

Ah yes, I do have moved my saddle slightly forward and also raised it a tiny bit.
 

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Lemur-ing
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Sriajuda said:
I have to disagree on that one. I have fitted aerobars on my bike 2 months ago, and I consistently find that my cruising speed has risen from about 31-32 km/h (on the hoods) to 34-35 km/h (on the aerobars). The difference gets even bigger when I put in the occasional interval. I had added the bars with similar reasoning as the OP, but nowadays I find that I almost always ride on the aerobars, because I am more comfortable, too.

So now I'm looking into fitting at least one brake lever for the front brake, maybe both brakes.

My riding buddys even complain that they get noticably less drafting benefits when I drop onto my bars...:biggrin5:

Ah yes, I do have moved my saddle slightly forward and also raised it a tiny bit.
The forward saddle plays a little role too since you would have shifted to a more powerful position.

2 months is also a fair amount of time in which you can get stronger generally and hence, ride faster.

Additionally, putting in the interval here and there counts for nothing honestly because you're pushing harder while in the aerobars vs. the non aerobar position (since you mentioned that you're putting intervals in). Unless you're measuring power output, there's nothing to state that the conditions are similar or how hard you push each of those times. Basically, there're just a few variables that you can consider that could contribute to the speed increase within intervals with and without aerobars.

Furthermore, you did not state how you're comparing "the difference gets even bigger when I put in the occasional interval" - both with aerobars? One with and one without? It's a rather ambiguous statement.

I'm not picking on you, nor am I saying you're not right, nor am I calling you out etc etc. I'm just stating that there are several possibilities with regards to your speed increase.

Also, note that a 0.5-1.0mph increase means a 0.8-1.6kmh increase and your values of a 3.0kmh increase within the 2 months you mentioned could well be the effect of the bars AND your fitness improving.
 

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uzziefly said:
The forward saddle plays a little role too since you would have shifted to a more powerful position.
Well, we're talking smthg. like 5 mm further forward. I would like to move way more forward for the aero position, but that does not work well when riding in my normal position. So it's a compromise. Actually I think that going on the aerobars I'm closing the angle between my thighs and my upper body too much, resulting in some power loss, as well as some breathing restriction.

uzziefly said:
2 months is also a fair amount of time in which you can get stronger generally and hence, ride faster.
Uh, gaining 10% speed in 2 months? Anyhow, I only rode 1000 km or so in those 2 months due to really bad weather here.

uzziefly said:
Additionally, putting in the interval here and there counts for nothing honestly because you're pushing harder while in the aerobars vs. the non aerobar position (since you mentioned that you're putting intervals in). Unless you're measuring power output, there's nothing to state that the conditions are similar or how hard you push each of those times.
Not entirely true: I ride my 'intervals' at about 175 heart rate, which I can sustain for about 10 minutes without burning myself. If I do that on the hoods, my speed was (and is) about 38 km/h, on the aerobars it's around 42 km/h.

Or if I just ride any speed on the hoods, then drop onto the bars and take care to keep my heart rate steady, my speed goes up about 10%. It's very consistent.

uzziefly said:
Basically, there're just a few variables that you can consider that could contribute to the speed increase within intervals with and without aerobars.

Also, note that a 0.5-1.0mph increase means a 0.8-1.6kmh increase and your values of a 3.0kmh increase within the 2 months you mentioned could well be the effect of the bars AND your fitness improving.
Of course many variables in the equation, but as I said, there's little chance my fitness improved in those 2 months, rather the opposite. I also have the observation that in group rides, when I'm taking a pull down in the aerobars, people who formerly rode on par with me start having to work harder, at least that is what they say.

Please note that my comparisions are always between riding on the hoods, and the aerobars, not between riding in the drops and on the bars. The latter might be much closer together, but I never ride or rode long stretches in the drops for comfort reasons.

PS: Attached a pic of my bars, sorry for the bad quality. They are the type with the flip-up armrests. The are useful, but rattle a lot if you're not riding on them. Pic shows an improvised anti-shock mount for my LED headlight.
 
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