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Best Aero Bars For Triathlon Bikes in 2021

 

Whether you’re riding in a triathlon or a time trial, aerodynamics are an important factor on the bike.

Aero bars can help cyclists optimize their position on the bike in order to be as streamlined as possible.

We have selected the Zipp Vuka Clip with Carbon Race Extensions as the best overall aero bars. They keep your wrists in a natural position, have an adjustable pad, and can be mounted above or below the handlebars for convenience.

We’ve also found seven more great options so browse through the full article to find what works best for you.

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Zipp Vuka Clip with Carbon Race Extensions

 

  • Adjustable pad width
  • Wedge inserts for adjustable angle
  • Mount above or below the bar
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Profile Design LLC Sonic Ergo 4525a

 

  • Rotatable armrest
  • Up to 100 different positions
  • Simplified extension clamp
Check Price

 

Profile Design Airstryke II

 

  • Flip-up armrests
  • Easy clip-on style
  • Comfortable grip angle
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Zipp Vuka Clip with Carbon Race Extensions

Zipp Vuka Clip Carbon Race Extension aero bars are the perfect mix of comfort and streamlining. They’re made from carbon and designed to last a lifetime.

These aero bars are made in such a way that they place the rider’s wrists in a natural position, allowing the elbows to tuck in naturally and remain that way without fatigue or pain for long durations. This also helps to prevent one from needing to adjust often, allowing them to remain aero for as long as possible.

The Zipp Carbon Race Extensions are more adjustable than most other aero bars. You choose the width that suits you, from the widest of 280 mm to more narrow positions—104 mm. The angle of the forearm pads is also adjustable using wedge inserts, from -5 degrees to -15 degrees.

You can mount these Carbon Extension aero bars above or below the handlebar depending on what you’re most comfortable with. They come with a split clamp, so you can remove the extension easily from the clamp without needing to re-cable everything.

Just keep in mind that the aero bars have clamps that fit handlebars of 31.8 mm. If your bike is a different size, then these aero bars are not the right ones for you.

PROS:

  • Adjustable pad width
  • Wedge inserts for adjustable angle
  • Keeps the wrists in natural bend
  • Mount above or below the bar

CONS:

  • Only compatible with 31.8 mm handlebars
 

Top Value

2. Profile Design Sonic Ergo 4525a

These aero bars are sleek and present as little surface area as possible to minimize drag. Both the length of the bars and the rotation can be adjusted easily using the bolt on the top of the clamp.

As well as adjusting the length and rotation, you can adjust the armrest offset from -70mm to 2.5mm in 7.5mm increments, the armrest width from 124mm to 290mm in 18.5mm increments. Plus the armrest stack from 60mm to 70mm in 5mm increments. In the end, you can achieve up to 100 different positions, making this one of the most adjustable and comfortable aero bars.

The extension clamp is more simplified than that on the previous model. This has also helped to make the Sonic a lightweight yet strong aero bar which won’t feel heavy on your handlebars. They are 400mm—15.7 inches—in length, allowing riders of all sizes to use them comfortably.

The first section of the extension rises at 45 degrees and the grip is at 25 degrees, keeping your wrists and hands in a natural position that reduces pain. The cable routing comes out of the rear end of the extension.

PROS:

  • 400mm—15.7 inches—long
  • Rotatable armrest
  • Up to 100 different positions
  • Simplified extension clamp

CONS:

  • Individuals who want to increase the stack height with the risers will need to buy them separately
 

Most Comfortable

3. Profile Design Airstryke II

Comfort is important on long rides and these aero bars have been chosen as the most comfortable pair. They look noticeably different from the others we have reviewed so far, with raised forearm pads and connected bars.

The armrests are fully adjustable, which adds to the comfort. The offset can be adjusted from -85mm to 17.5mm, in 7.5mm increments. You can also adjust the width of the armrests from 131mm to 298mm, so you can find the best position that causes the least fatigue. The armrest stack of 40mm is not adjustable.

They’re well-padded, providing a soft and comfortable surface for your forearms or elbows as you ride. A comfortable and natural grip angle also helps to reduce arm fatigue and pain.

One of the biggest advantages of these aero bars is that they’re very easy to install by yourself without having to get professional help.

PROS:

  • Flip-up armrests
  • Easy clip-on style
  • Padded armrests
  • Comfortable grip angle

CONS:

  • The clip-on clamps aren’t adjustable and will only fit handlebars with a diameter of 31.8mm—26.0 w/Shims
 

Top Quick Release Bars

4. Redshift Sports Quick-Release Aerobars

Riders who would like aero bars that they can connect and remove in seconds may find these quick-release bars to be suitable for them.

Unlike other aero bars—which can be difficult to attach and remove without the help of a professional—these aero bars use a patented release system that gets them on or off of your handlebars in just a few seconds without any need for tools. A safety mechanism prevents you from accidentally disengaging them while riding.

You can get these aerobars in two different styles—L-bend, which features a single upward bend of around 45 degrees, and S-bend which has a slight upward bend before straightening out again into a flat position. This allows you to choose the style with which you’re already most comfortable so you don’t have to spend time getting used to something new.

They are also available in both aluminum and carbon. Aluminum is 70 grams heavier than carbon, but both are strong and robust options.

A variety of accessories are available, but all need to be bought separately. You can purchase risers for the Dual-Position Seat Post, an Extension Riser Kit, and shims.

PROS:

  • Quick-release clamp locks
  • Two extension shapes
  • Easy to integrate accessories
  • Adjustable extension reach, stack height, and pad width

CONS:

  • Accessories used to adjust the comfort of these bars are not included and have to be bought separately
 

Best Compact Design

5. Vision Team Mini Clip-on Tri bars

This is the smallest set of aero bars on the list, but it’s ideal for riders who want the most compact bars they can use effectively. It should be noted that taller riders may find these aero bars to be too short for them to use.

The aluminum extensions are of a fixed length and connected at the end to make them more stable. Molded, padded armrests increase comfort on long rides and are adjustable so you can find the best riding position for you.

These compact bars weigh just 170 grams, which is almost a third of most others. They would be a great choice for triathletes who aren’t used to aero bars or the weight of aero bars on their bike.

The alloy extensions are 170mm long, and the armrests can be adjusted to six different positions for your comfort.

PROS:

  • Fixed-length butted extensions
  • Molded armrest pads
  • Choose from six different positions
  • Aero CFD design

CONS:

  • May be too small for taller riders
 

Top All In One Aero Bar

6. KCNC Aero Bar Aerotekk

These aero bars are very streamlined and recommended for time trials. They would be suitable for triathletes who want an all-in-one bar that can be used for a variety of cycling events.

The stack height is lower than most others, which may be more comfortable for some riders. Designed to fit 31.8mm handlebars, you can adjust the extension length and rotational adjustment, depending on if you have an S or J-bar.

PROS:

  • Low stack height
  • Variable pad width
  • High-quality machined alloy
  • 390 or 420mm width

CONS:

  • Some may find these aero bars to be quite heavy
 

Best Carbon Compact Aero Bar

7. Controltech Impel Mini Clip-On

Carbon is highly durable, strong yet still remains light and easy to handle. These aero bars are compact and easy for cyclists to use, and don’t add much weight to the bike.

They are manufactured from 3k carbon, which is the best combination of strength and lightness and also absorbs some shock. The bar weighs just 276 grams and has an aerodynamic and sleek design. Titanium hardware is also light but strong.

The ergonomically designed armrests are well-padded to provide prolonged comfort. For stability, the two extensions are connected at the top. To adjust the armrests, you can purchase 30mm spacers to increase the stack height.

PROS:

  • Ergonomic and anatomical design
  • Made from 3k carbon
  • Padded armrests
  • Easy to attach or detach

CONS:

  • Some riders may feel that this set of aero bars is too small to use comfortably
 

Top Budget

8. Deda Elementi Parabolica Uno

These J-bend aero bars are minimalistic but still serve their purpose well. The maximum extension length is 300mm, which will suit taller riders with longer arms as well as shorter riders who can shorten the bar length.

You can purchase these aero bars in two sizes—to fit 31.7mm handlebars or 35mm handlebars. The 31.7mm version can be adjusted to a stack height of 10, 15 or 30. The armrests are adjustable for comfort and come with padding to protect and cushion your elbows as you ride.

This aero bar is UCI-approved (Union Cycliste Internationale). This is the group that governs cycling rules and regulations.

PROS:

  • Extensions length up to 300mm
  • Adjustable armrest
  • Two handlebar sizes, 31.7mm and 35mm
  • UCI approved

CONS:

  • Armrest spacers must be bought separately
 

FAQs

What are aero bars?

Aero bars—clip-on bars or tri-bars—are long, extended handlebars that are mounted onto your bike’s existing handlebars and jut out over the wheel.

Most aero bars also have some kind of padding to rest your forearms on, assisting you to get into the most comfortable and aerodynamic—time trial—position. Having one’s arms in front of the body and extended forward while being tucked closely together reduces aerodynamic drag. The less surface area that’s exposed, the less drag there will be.

This is significant when it comes to performance. The less aerodynamic drag you have, the faster you can go. It is the subject of many studies and lectures, including the well-known MIT Chemistry of Sports lecture called “Cycling Aerodynamics: Clearing the air.

This was based on wind tunnel experiments done by eight professional cyclists. It focused on small adjustments made to positioning while in the time trial position, and how effectively these adjustments reduce drag. The research indicated a reduction of between 2 and 17 percent in drag.

Why do triathlon bikes have aero bars?

Triathlon bikes often feature aero bars to keep the rider in the most streamlined position possible while still being comfortable for long periods of time in the same position.

Using aero bars can also help to reduce the amount of fatigue the rider experiences by placing them in a position with little pressure placed on the arms and wrists.

This can be beneficial in triathlons particularly as you will be in the saddle for long periods of time but you will still need to run after you’ve cycled so you will need to be in optimal condition.

Are aero bars comfortable?

As long as they are installed correctly, aero bars are very comfortable. They reduce pressure on the wrists and instead rest on the elbows for long distances which helps to reduce fatigue and discomfort. Many of them also offer padding to increase the comfort of your forearms.

The Wired Runner