What are aero bars?
Aero bars, sometimes called "clip on aerobars", "triathlon aero bars" or "tri-bars", are handlebar extensions that mount close to the center of the handlebar and cantilever out over the front wheel. As the name suggests, they allow you to get into a more aerodynamic position by lowering your upper body and bringing your arms in-line with your torso. Unlike other handlebar positions, aero bars provide both hand grips as well as arm rests, allowing you to significantly reduce the pressure on your wrists and hands. The best clip on aero bars offer a wide range of adjustments to the height and separation of the bars and arm rests, allowing you to find the right balance of aerodynamic positioning and comfort.
How does one install aero bars on road bikes?
Road bikes typically do not come with aero bars, so specialty clip on aero bars can be added. "Clip on" refers to the fact that they are bolted onto the handlebar and can be removed with the right tools. Typically, clip on aero bars are installed once and are not regularly removed. Redshift's quick-release aero bars, however, can be quickly installed or removed without tools.
Most road bike handlebars can accommodate aero bars, but it's important to verify that your bike's handlebars are compatible. Check out our bike compatibility guide to see how this works with your bike.
Why should I put aero bars on my road bike?
After the thrill of doing a first triathlon, many people start looking for ways to go faster. You see other athletes out on the course riding by you on six thousand dollar bikes and you start to wonder, can I afford this sport? The answer is yes. On the bike leg of the triathlon, increasing your speed is all about reducing aerodynamic drag. And while there are dozens of small improvements you can make to your components and gear, the investment that gives the greatest returns is adding a good pair bicycle aero bars.
Why is there so much more value in investing in aero bars?
Optimizing aerodynamics can involve a lot of very complex analysis, but there's one simple rule that reigns supreme:
Reduced Frontal Area = Reduced Drag
Because your body represents the biggest percentage of frontal area, putting yourself in a more aerodynamic position means an instant reduction in drag. Most other upgrades are trying to improve the way air flows past an existing piece of equipment, but aero bars actually reduce how much of "you" is catching the wind. So if you're starting with a standard road bike, you have a lot of room for improvement by riding in an aero position using clip on aero bars. After installing aero bars, riders typically find that they're going 1 to 2 mph faster at the same level of effort.
Why quick-release aero bars?
Redshift Sports Aero Bars offer a unique quick-release feature that allows you to attach and remove the aero bars in a matter of seconds, without using any tools. In the same amount of time that it takes to fill a couple of water bottles, you can switch between a pure road bike for group riding and a tri-bike setup for training or racing. Road bikes are more versatile than dedicated triathlon or time trial bikes, and adding quick-release aero bars lets you take full advantage of a single bike.
Ok, so I put aero bars on my bike. What next?
Stay tuned for our next post in this series, where we'll explain why you need to change up your saddle position!