Competitive biking has its own challenges, but the biggest ordeal for triathlon bikes is getting the right kind of aero bars especially if you have an upcoming triathlon!
Aero bars are the only way for you to get really close to that TT bike aero feel — at the end of the day it is all about aerodynamics! There are different versions from aluminium to carbon (which only saves a small amount of weight and is often less durable and has less room for adjustments!)
Here, we have listed some of the best aero bars for road or tri bikes and have also shared our in-depth analysis in the buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision.
Note: This site uses affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. I only provide unbiased reviews.
What Are Aero Bars And How Do They Help?
Aero bars “the clip on” varieties are handlebar extensions that attach to the handlebar at the center and cantilever out over the front wheel. They enable you to get into a more aerodynamic stance by lowering your upper body and bringing your arms in line with your torso.
Aero bars, unlike conventional handlebar configurations, have both handgrips and armrests, allowing you to greatly alleviate pressure on your wrists and hands.
The best clip-on aero bars allow you to modify the height and separation of the bars and armrests, allowing you to find the perfect combination of aerodynamic placement and comfort.
Clip-on aero bars are preferred by most people who have wrist joint issues. This is because riding a bike requires fewer muscles in your back, shoulder, and arms when your forearms are closer together and your elbows are resting on aero bars.
In other words, you won’t overstrain your upper body muscles, which could be beneficial if you are prone to injury on the bike.
Aero bars allow you to lower your upper body and align your arms with your torso to achieve a more aerodynamic position. This, in turn, decreases wind drag while cycling and considerably enhances your speed.
It is unusual for an aero bar connected to a lower-powered bicycle to travel quicker than a drop bar mounted to a higher-powered bicycle. Aero bars, on the other hand, are better suited for time trials, especially when riding on flats or downhill.
If there’s one thing you should know: aero bars on the road and triathlon bikes are rarely comfortable when riding uphill or on routes with abrupt twists and uneven terrain.
However, if you’re riding on long flat roads at a fast speed, aero bars will boost your grip and make you feel more comfortable.
Remember that riding with clip-on aero bars will most likely require a lot of practice before you’re comfortable and competent on a road or triathlon bike. But once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to fly in dizzying speeds!
7 Best Aero Bars for Road & Tri Bikes You Can Buy In 2022
The FSA vision aero bar is made up of a carbon extension, which is both lightweight and sturdy. To top it all off, the carbon extension bar dampens shocks and the armrest is covered to make your riding as pleasant as possible.
Weight: 957 grams
- It is durable
- It is lighter in weight
- It increases speed
- It is convenient for the armrest
- It is easy to install and adjustable
- It works only for road bikes, not for triathlon bikes
- Adjustment of stems can be difficult sometimes
This aero bar is composed of aluminium and has a 45-degree angle at the border and a 25-degree angle at the handle. It appears to be a cross between an ‘S’ and a ski bend design, which implies it will provide you with both ease and agility.
Weight: 559 grams
- Very lighter in weight
- Increases speed
- Comfortable for armrest
- Easy to install
- Fully adjustable
- Cups of pads are made up of plastic material
- You cannot use the handlebars under the aero bars elbow pads
What about some aero bars which can be installed and changed in a matter of seconds without the use of any tools? Riders can also change the extension length, arm pad width/height, and armpad fore-aft position.
On the other hand, if you wish to raise the stack height, you must purchase the extension riser kit separately.
Weight: 630 / 640 grams
- Easy to install and remove
- Relieves pressure
- Available in aluminum and carbon
- Available in various sizes
- Daunting instructions on the guideline script
- Riser kit sold separately
Sure, it’s not your standard aero bar; it’s half the length, but it’ll give you the most leverage, especially on shorter triathlons. Aside from that, the armrests are comfortable and flexible, perfect for those long rides.
Despite its modest size, it fits most bikes with a 31.88 mm handlebar.
Weight: 471 grams
- Compatible with standard handlebars
- ITU and ICU compliant
- Flexible arm pads
- Designed for sprint distance triathlons
- This model is not suitable for everyone
- It is a bit difficult for some to put their fingers on it
You may fine-tune the armrest to around 80 various settings thanks to its flexibility. Even better, you may adjust the extension handlebar to fit your arm length.
Unfortunately, because of its low angle, this bar requires you to compromise convenience for a better aerodynamic angle.
Weight: 554 grams
- Very aerodynamic
- Lightweight material
- It can be fine-tuned
- Ideal for most riders
- Easy to clip
- Minimalist appearance
If you are looking for an aero bar that must adjust with your arm. You should buy a Legacy II aero bar. These are perfect for long-distance rides.
Although it would seem difficult to install in beginning, once you install it, it lasts for years. Legacy II aero bars can be adjusted manually according to your arm’s length.
Weight: 450 grams
- Easily adjustable
- Comfortable pads
- Best for long ridings
- It cannot be easily removed/installed
- It is difficult to fix them on flat handlebars
Airstryke V2 aluminium clip-on aero bars have some unique features. Most of the time, the biggest issue that might be faced with clip-on aero bars is their adjustability and installation.
This model resolves this issue as its screws can be fitted in various screw holes by adjusting your arm length.
This aero bars are worthy of money, can be easily installed, and are comfortable for your arms.
Weight: 771 grams
- Easy to install
- Improved and updated designs than the previous one
- These aerobars won’t fit on a giant disk road bike
- The same is true for a trek bike handlebar
What do you need to know?
Is It Simple To Clip Them On And Off?
When it comes to clip-on aero bars, you should go for one that is simple to install and remove. Some versions, for example, include a quick-release mechanism that allows you to install and remove the aero bars in a matter of seconds.
To be honest, most clip-on aero bars require specific tools to bolt onto the handlebar. Even though clipping on and off may take some time, the aero bar will be secured and unlikely to come loose because of road shocks.
Are They Simple To Adjust?
Here’s the deal: the best clip-on aero bars should include adjustable armrests and extension rods. How else will you ensure that it is the correct length for your arm? Consider aero bars with the ability to shift the elbow pads back and forth or in and out.
You should also be able to change the length of the aero bar extension or even increase it as needed. Choose an aero bar that allows you to put your arm to the end of the extension and swap gears without shifting your elbows.
3. Is It S-Bend Or J-Bend?
When it comes to extension bars installed on aero bars, there seem to be typically two options: J bend or S bend. The J, also known as the ski bend extension, resembles the letter ‘J’ with a bent forward end. However, the S bend extension appears to be an ‘S’ from the side, but the shifters are simple.
So, which is better, the J bend or the S bend? It all depends! You can arrange your arm in a neutral position by using a J bend extension rod. That is, J bend aero bars are intended to favor comfort, particularly over vast distances.
The S bend is the polar opposite of the J bend; it will not be as comfortable, but it will provide you an edge in terms of leverage and lowering wind drag. As a result, professional cyclists riding in time trials favor S bend extension bars.
If you’re a regular cyclist on a road bike, we recommend a J bend extender. However, if you’re an expert on a triathlon bike, the S bend extension is a superior option. However, it all comes down to personal preference.
Aero Bars Types
Clip-on aero bars and full-on aero bars are the two most frequent forms of aero bars. Clip-on aero bars for road bikes are adaptable, affordable, and simple to install. A standard clip-on aero bar can cost as little as $40, while luxury variants can cost up to $300.
If you use a triathlon bike, however, full-on aero bars are better suited; nonetheless, they are expensive and hard to install because you will most likely need to change the brake and cable system.
The advantage of full-on aero bars is that they contain base bars and are more aerodynamic than clip-on aero bars.
Armrests And Elbow Pads That Are Ergonomically Designed
After all, you want a cushioned armrest to keep your elbows easy. The last option you would like is for your hands to go numb as a result of road shocks, specifically on a pretty long trial.
Extra-thick arm pads, ranging from 16mm to 20mm thick, are recommended for maximum comfort. Aside from that, the armrest pads should always be broad enough to accommodate your elbows.
Steel, Carbon, Or Aluminum?
Aero bar extension rods are often constructed of carbon, steel, or aluminum. So, which is superior? For starters, steel is virtually unbreakable and will endure a very long period. Steel, on the other hand, is heavy, and the added weight will slow you down.
As a result, we don’t suggest an aero bar with steel extension rods unless you need durability above all else.
Aluminum, on the other hand, is lighter but not as durable as steel. However, you will most likely be faster with aluminum aero bars because of their lighter weight than with steel aero bars.
But what if you need something that would be both lightweight and long-lasting? The answer is carbon stuff.
Carbon reduces shocks better than aluminum and steel. The only disadvantage of carbon aero bars is that they will be costly when paired with steel or aluminum handlebars.
Bars At The Bottom
If you prefer aero bars, pay special attention to the base bars. Base bars are typically available in two styles: regular (with a good grip facing the extension bar) and reverse (with a grip handle behind the wing).
Front base bars, in our experience, are much more aerodynamic and make it easier to change arm position while riding. Reverse base bars, on the other hand, will provide you with a more convenient and safe grip. Finally, it comes down to personal preference: do you want to prioritise speed or comfort?
Otherwise, consider base bars with a gripping system that allows you to modify the space between the bar extensions.
FAQs For Aero Bars
Why are aero bars not permitted in group rides?
Aero bars are normally not permitted in group rides or on routes with traffic or barriers since they make braking difficult. Not to mention that if you’re not a experienced rider, it’s simple to lose control of the bike, particularly at slower speeds.
How do you fit aero bars to a road bike?
Each aero bar presents its own set of installation instructions. It’s straightforward and it can be done in a matter of seconds for various aero bars.
Are aero bars delivered fully assembled?
Yes, most aero bars are pre-assembled. However, you will most likely need to attach or clamp the aero bar to the handlebar.
Is it possible to rotate or alter the elbow pads?
It depends on the style of the aero bar, but most models have rotating or adjustable elbow protectors.
Are aero bars hazardous?
Aero bars are not hazardous if used properly. Aero bars should also be used on the level and smooth roads with little barriers, junctions, or traffic.
Can aero bars be installed on a mountain bike?
Yes, aero bars can be installed on a mountain bike. However, we strongly advise against it because mountain bikes are made for greater arm reach, which does not work well with both aero and drop bars.
However, putting aero bars on a road bike would be another story.
Are aero bars required for Ironman?
Yes, aero bars are used by many elite cyclists during Ironman endurance races. It’s an advantage because depending on the road, you can swap between an aero bar and drop-down handlebars.
Sure, we’ve heard it all: aero bars make it difficult to rapidly apply the brakes, and when riding in a group, most riders will undoubtedly avoid them.
However, if you merely want to boost your speed while using less power and can’t afford triathlon bikes, having aero bars on your road bike would be an excellent option.
Especially if you have a triathlon ride, an aero bar will increase your speed more than any other change. It makes no difference whether you’re riding a $5000 or a $700 bike; if your aerodynamic stance is poor, you won’t be able to go as fast as you could otherwise.
Nonetheless, all of the aero bars we’ve examined in this list are the finest you can find. It all gets down to what you desire in the end.