Today, you will find many professional triathletes and cyclist out every day trying to reap the physical benefits of riding a bicycle. Skilled cyclists are always looking for better ways to enhance their ride. That’s where the current generation of aero bars come in to play. Many professionals are looking to gain speed and up their performance, while they are racing against other athletes and with aero bars that is possible.
In this guide, we will be looking closely at the best aero bars (triathlon bars, tri bars) out on the market today. Each review will give you detailed information that will assist you in finding the correct one for your needs. We also will be looking closely at many of the most important features to provide you with better insight on what to consider before you decide on any of the aero bars that we have reviewed here.
Top 5 Aero Bars for Road and Triathlon Bikes
Best for Long Races
|Profile Design Supersonic Ergo|
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|Profile Design Sonic Ergo|
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|Vision Trimax TT|
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Best for Short Distances ITU/UCI Legal
|Vision Team Mini TT|
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1. Profile Design Supersonic Ergo – Best Aerobars for Triathlon
This version is designed in three different extensions (45/25 deg; 35 deg; 50 deg), which I’ll go into more detail later in this review.
Compared to earlier versions of this model, the designers wanted to make this one easier to adjust so you can feel comfortable in the bars and extensions.
The total weight of the aero bars is 673 grams, which gives you a good, sturdy base to place your arms on. Having said that, this pair of aero bars isn’t the lightest, but it will give you comfort that it can handle whatever weight and pressure you put on it.
The aero bars, with three different extensions, give you a wide range of options. You can get different extension shapes, move the arm rests, tilt and choose the placement of your handlebars. This ensures you’ll feel in control of your bike and comfortable.
You can even rotate the arm rests around if you need to.
The 35c extension gives you a 35-degree shape that looks like a ski-bend. This turns down your wrists and is designed to put you in a streamlined position. The extensions are 400 mm long but can be cut to fit any size rider.
The 4525c extension gives you a 45-degree lower extension and a 25-degree upper extension. This gives you more options to feel comfortable on the bike. You can have a short or long reach depending on how you feel. This would be a good option to consider if you are doing long-distance rides. These extensions are also 400 mm and can be cut to fit any size rider. These extensions also are compatible with rear-exit cable routing.
The 50c extension gives you a 50-degree ski bend shape with side-to-side shift (7.5mm). This extension is best if you want a neutral wrist angle and the option to adjust the grip width.
Triathletes who have bought the aero bars like them because they are very customizable. Most can get the fit and comfort they need to be more aerodynamic. The ones who do long-distance triathlons really like the 4525c version since it allows them to switch their hand positions. And, they don’t feel stiff.
I recommend this to anyone who wants aero bars that have different options to maximize your comfort and control on the bike. If these two work, then the aerodynamics will follow.
2. Profile Design Sonic Ergo – Best Aero Bars for Road and Gravel Bikes
All models are made from aluminum which makes them sturdy and is cheaper than carbon fiber ones. These aero bars are cheaper than the Ergo Supersonic aero bars. All aero bars’ pads are 60 mm and are placed 15 mm forward, which puts you in the centerline of your bike. Each of the aero bars comes with five sets of adjustment holes (instead of three) so it can easily fit more bikes.
The arms pads are adjusted with a 1-bolt adjustment mechanism instead of a wedge-like the super sonic. But it still works just as well.
The most “basic” version is the Profile Design Sonic Ergo T5, which has a 13-degree ski bend shape. This gives riders a wide range of positions on the aero bars. This would be ideal for long rides. Or, if you’re new to aero bars, you can experiment with which position(s) work well for your riding style.
The Profile Design Sonic Ergo 45AR is ideal to use with your road, gravel, or packing/folding bike. The aero bars are also named “shorty” bars since they are shorter than other extensions. But they still provide all the benefits of “full length” extensions if properly fit.
The Profile Design Sonic Ergo 43a is similar to the Sonic T5 since it has a neutral angle grip with lateral adjustments. But it also offers relief to your wrists with a slight bend in the bars, which is supposed to get your arm closer to the bar.
The Profile Design Sonic Ergo 35a has a 35-degree ski-bend shape for those who want a wrist angle on the lower side of neutral. And, compared to other 35-degree ski bend aero bars this one has a straight angle bend.
The Profile Design Sonic Ergo 50a has a 50-degree ski-bend and a 7.5mm lateral shift on each side of the bars. This is an option for those who like the 50-degree ski-bend but also want to get their hands closer together. This is all possible without moving the bars closer together.
The Profile Design Sonic Ergo 4525a is exactly like the other one described in the previous product review. Riders can choose whether they want to have their hands at a lower or higher angle. Of course, these bars have a 7.5mm lateral shift for those who want their hands closer together.
The Profile Design Flip Ergo 50a has a 50-degree ski-bend shape with lateral shifting like other aero bar extensions. The aero bars’ armrest folds up when they are not in use. This gives you a neutral hand and wrist position with a lot of customization for the arms.
Triathletes who have bought any one of the Profile Design Sonic Ergo aero bars like them because there are so many options to choose from. They are more “basic” in set up and materials than the Ergo Super Sonic, but they are still very easy to install and adjust. Triathletes can find the one that suits them the best and they can try several before finding one they like.
I highly recommend this model of the Profile Design Ergo series. It has many options so you’ll be sure to find one that fits right and is comfortable.
3. Redshift Quick-Release – Best Clip-On Aero Bars
The red quick release clip makes it easy for you to convert your bike within a few seconds to an aerodynamic piece of equipment. It also has a wide range of adjustability to make it an ideal customized fit for the extended reach, rotation, and pad width. The aero bars are manufactured with 6061-T-6 aluminum alloy for better aerodynamics.
This product can relieve pressure from your hands and wrist lengthening a comfortable bike ride and lessening the chances of getting hand numbness and fatigue. They are well-matched with 26.0 and 31.8mm handlebar diameters.
The armrest pads are not custom made to flip up out of the way, which causes someone who has large hands not to be able to parallel grip the bars.
If you’re looking to increase your speed, the quick release clip-on may be the right choice for you. It has the right features to bring comfortability to your wrist and hand, which is needed when you’re out on long rides. It is also very simple to install.
4. Vision Trimax Carbon Clip-On Aerobars
All of these adjustments can be made through open access underside bolts. This makes it possible to make adjustments without feeling like you need to turn your bike upside down.
The arm pads are 40mm and have width adjustment so that any sized triathlete can reap the benefit of these aero bars. Additionally, the arm pads have a low profile which helps your aerodynamics. The arm pads can be rotated between 0-13-degrees.
The real “treat” comes with the bar extensions. All options are made from carbon fiber which is very light weight and can withstand the pressure and weight you’ll put on them. The extensions come in three shapes (J, S, and JS) depending on what you need and what fits your body.
Triathletes who have bought this pair of aero bars like them because they are made from carbon fiber, a light material. It feels to them as if they have a competitive edge in competition. To an extent, they do give an advantage as long as the bars are placed and adjusted properly. The bars have three different extensions that are the most common and can be adjusted to fit any body size.
I recommend this to any triathlete who wants to shave seconds off their times and just need an upgrade in technology. All the training is done, but it may be time for a better set of aero.
5. Profile Designs T4+ Carbon Clip-On Aero Bars – Best Aero Bars for Long Distance
The F-35’s adjustable ergonomic armrests have 30mm of alteration options available to you. The profile design also consists of an adjustable J4 bracket for the rotation and extension length. Having adjustability is great for multiple users. These aero bars are lightweight and are relatively easy to install.
These aero bars are equipped with fantastic carbon fiber extensions that give the right angle for outstanding aerodynamic results. The J4 brackets are made out of aluminum to keep the lightweight design intact.
The rest pads are made out of foam giving them a solid, unmovable fit where a gel pad would contour to your forearm and elbow for a perfect fit.
Those who like to go fast may appreciate the lightweight aluminum structure this aero bar distributes. The adjustable aspect of this product takes it one step closer to accommodating many different bicyclists, and it typically fits most standard handlebars that are out there on the market today. The installation and adjustability are easily accomplished with just a few turns of a 5mm Allen wrench.
6. Zipp Vuka Clip Below Bar Mount – Best Triathlon Aero Bars
The Zipp Vuka Clip has a pad adjustment up to 50mm in the center of the base bar which can be adjusted to 104mm and thick as 280mm. It is easily attached with groundbreaking adjustability on the extension of the pads, and you can quickly achieve a position that has your hands narrower than your elbow. It is made with inexpensive aluminum or high-performance carbon fiber to keep it lightweight and help with better aerodynamics and speed.
It is compatible with the Zipp Vuka Aluminum Base Bar, the Vuka Bull, and any road or time trial bars that are assessed to allow a clip-on. You also will have the ability to adjust the width, height, and the angle of pads with minimal effort.
It is possible for the shift cable housing to come loose from the center, but it has been found that the cable routing was better without them.
If you’re someone who likes an easy way to turn your bicycle into a fast aerodynamic speed racer, you may want to check out the Zipp Vuka base bar. It’s comfortable to use especially on those long rides and can be obtained at an affordable price.
7. Profile Design Subsonic Ergo
The aero bars come with a low stack bracket with the extension arms touching the arm rests. This puts riders at a very low and narrow position. And, the extension bars go in and out through a pinch bolt.
The advantage of having a low-stacked bracket is the customization for “upgrades”. If you’d like, you can change the stack height without changing how close the arm grips and arm rests are. This would be ideal if you don’t want to compromise your narrow position when you want to raise the stack height.
The armrests are designed so that they squeeze your arms and put you in a very narrow position.
I’d recommend this pair of aero bars if you want to be placed low. And, don’t want to compromise your placement if you raise the stack height.
8. Bontrager Race Lite
But are they worth it?
For starters, they are easy to adjust since you put on each bar independently from the other. This allows for a lot of customization depending on what makes you feel comfortable. All you need to install them is a pair of allen-key bolts. The aero bars go right on your handle bars without a stacker kit to make it higher.
The extension bars come in three types of shapes: s-bend, ski-tip, or straight bars. It’s recommended to try them out and get fitted at a store if you can. Or, asking a friend to help install while you’re on the trainer, especially for your first pair of aero bars.
If you want to adjust the arm pads, you’ll need an allen-key to move the pads horizontally or to rotate them to your desire. It will take more time to make the adjustments than other clip-on aero bars especially if this is your first pair.
Since the aero bars don’t come with a “base” attached it’s easy to accommodate other bike accessories. For example, if you wanted to have an aero-shaped water bottle or shifters at the end of the bars it’s not terribly difficult.
Triathletes who have bought the bars like them because they are simple and have a lot of customization. Additionally, they can add more aero accessories as they get more involved and “committed” to the sport. Most triathletes like that the bars can be positioned either wide apart or very narrow as depending on their comfort level.
I recommend this pair of aero bars if you’re looking for simple ones that can be adjusted. This would be ideal for people who want to drop a few more seconds during a triathlon or time trial without buying a new bike.
9. 3T Revo Team Stealth Time Trial Aero Bars – Best Aero Handlebar for TT and Triathlon Bikes
Revo aero bars are made from carbon fiber to establish the lightweight structure needed for a cyclist or a triathlete to win his age-group. These aero bars have a reverse design that has changed the standard way it is attached to the basebar wing. It no longer attaches to the back of the grips; instead, they are connected to the front for a better grip and handling on bumpy road surfaces. It has a comfortable S bend and a new comfort cradle.
The Revo aero bars are intended for top-level competitions and are designed to prevent the cyclist’s hands from sliding forward, which provides them with a much safer and more prosperous ride. This technique is great for when a cyclist descends a steep hill or rides on particularly rough surfaces.
The hand grip may be too small for those who have larger hands. It is possible with some bicycles that it could be in the way of shifting. To prevent that, you can switch the D12 levers from right to left.
If you’re looking for a fantastic add-on for your bicycle that will help you have better control over your ride, the 3T Revo aero bars may pique your interest. Its intelligent hand positioning and amazing hand grip helps to give you better control of your journey.
10. Vision Team Mini TT Handlebar – Best Tri Bars for Draft Distance (ITU/UCI Legal)
It has six different positions that can be adjusted for better ergonomics. It also has angular armrests and butted alloy extensions with a new refined Aero CFD design. It has a UCI compliant 3:1 bridge and weighs 1.35 pounds. Additionally, it is made out of double butted alloy and is UCI legal.
Its design is coated with an anodized black finish. Its design is made for the cyclist to be able to lean forward. As a result, you will be able to pick up speed while racing.
There isn’t a clip-on version of this product. With that said, it may take a little longer to install but it is well worth the effort.
This product is excellent for racers that need to stay within the UCI guidelines, and the ergonomic angular armrests can be angled in six different positions to fit your comfortability. It’s made out of double-butted alloy for added durability.
Aero Bars – Buyer’s Guide
Aero bars are relatively unpretentious in their structured design although their positioning of the cyclist is what makes them an excellent add-on. Any professional cyclist knows how imperative it is to be in the narrow position to achieve adequate speed, accuracy, and a comfortable ride, that’s what these ground-breaking aero bars can help professional racers to achieve.
Aero bars are connected directly to the existing handlebars to give the rider a good angled position that will help the wind roll right over their back. This aerodynamic technique will provide you with exceptional speed within the ITU/UCI legal guidelines. Another benefit these aero bars have is the elbow cushion pads for added comfort on those long rides.
Who can Benefit From Using Aero Bars?
There seems to be a mistake about who aero bars are intended for, but the goal of this guide is here to help put your mind at ease. Some people think that they are only for professional athletes; the truth is, they’re for anyone who so desires to reap the benefits of using aero bars. They are great for time trial bikes, road bikes, and triathlon enthusiasts.
The Benefits of Aero Bars
Since many professional athletes have shown off at many competitions while using aero bars, everybody wants a piece of the action. For such low-cost equipment, there are a lot of benefits that aero bars will give a cyclist, which include:
Riding for any amount of distance can be physically strenuous, especially when you’re riding in those areas where it puts a good amount of strain on your body. Having aero bars attached to your handlebars gives you the ability to shift your position from time to time while riding to relieve the pressure that comes along with riding your bike.
Lower Wind Resistance
All cyclists have learned about wind resistance and how much it is a factor while riding. Mainly, the more area available for the wind to connect, the more resistance you will create when it comes to speed. The main reason for installing aero bars on your bike is to change your ride position and make your physical profile as narrow as possible while trimming down your surface area to lower your wind resistance.
The main benefit of aero bars, and why they are so popular among professional cyclists, is the accelerated speed that they bring. They truthfully enhance your overall aerodynamics while boosting your speed.
Injuries happen quickly in the cycling world, and your medical condition is no different, most of these come from your positioning while you’re cycling and most of the time your posture is not in proper alignment. Adding aero bars to your bicycle can make a huge impact and difference in your posture, stresses, and comfort levels. Making this small adjustment to your bike will, in fact, give you less of a chance to develop back or neck conditions that can come from cycling in a weird or awkward position.
One of the primary qualities of aero bars is how much grip action it gives you. This quality, in itself, makes it safer for a cyclist to increase their speed without losing control on bumpy or unleveled roads. Many times you hear about bicycle accidents that professional racers encounter during a fast-paced marathon; aero bars may just be the ticket in preventing an accident from happening.
What are other essential features to consider?
The ergonomic armrest needs to be adjusted to fit your arm’s length for better control and comfort. If you have it aligned correctly, it will reduce your pressure points and give you a more comfortable ride. It can also keep the numbness from occurring during a long extensive journey.
If you don’t have the proper adjustment on the aero bars, it could be uncomfortable or make it difficult for you to control the steering. J4 bracket adjustments are for the appropriate rotation and extension length of the aero bars. Having the ability to adjust the J4 bracket can allow you to accommodate multiple users more easily.
Having elbow pads will help to absorb the potential road shock you can get from rough road surfaces. It is essential to have the right amount of padding for your elbow shape. Elbow pads will also enhance your comfortability while riding in those long extensive rides and prevent your elbow from the types of damage that are associated with vibration.
Using a clip-on method can speed up the process when installing or removing aero bars, especially if you use more than one type. Even though they are considered as a clip-on, they are firmly attached with a screw.
There are two different types of basebars: the standard where you grip the bar in front of the wing section and the reverse basebars where you grip behind the wing section. Both are good to give you a narrow position, but the reverse basebars give you a better grip action and keep your hands from slipping forward.
The Adjustability Aspect
Adjustability on your aerobars will help to ensure that your ride is comfortable. By adjusting them, you could alleviate a good bit of the pressure and strain that is associated with bicycling. Being in the right position will benefit your speed and performance.
Other Important Things to Consider
There are many things to consider when you’re thinking about utilizing the benefits of aero bars. One aspect you should think about is how long the benefits will last. If you’re looking to take a long, athletic ride or racing in the next crosswind, you will need aero bars that will give you the benefits of aerodynamics, speed, and comfortability, which will come into play on the course that you’re racing on. The right aero bars will help you complete the course with ease.
Next, make sure the extension rods can be adjusted to your arm’s length. They are typically connected to the front of the bicycle and are made of aluminum or premium carbon. These extension rods can be adjusted to the rider by dropping it down some or angling it in a way that benefits the rider. If speed is what you’re looking for, look at the weight and the material that they are made out of such as aluminum or carbon.
The lighter the aero bars are, the faster the rider can achieve. Keep in mind that these aero bars also need the strength to hold up the rider as well. As a general rule, efficient aero bars typically run in the range of 400 to 600 grams. If you like a more relaxed position, then you may want to consider aero bars that have base bars.
These bars give you a more relaxed position for those long extensive rides. Located slightly out and directly below the extension rods and are found on the Zipp Vuka Aero and the 3T Revo Team. For the proper amount of comfort on your elbows, be sure that your pads have the right amount of cushioning for your comfort.
In fact, it’s known that manufactures and cyclist alike focus their attention on the features of aero bars such as aerodynamics and the weight. Sometimes this one particular feature seems to either be ignored or forgotten about: how it fits the rider. Meaning, if the aero bars can’t place you in the right position, they’re useless to you. The proper fit is what gives you the benefits that you’re looking for to achieve comfort on long rides, the extra power and speed, and the aerodynamics.
There are a couple of ways to be sure your aero bars are the perfect fit, and that’s by adjusting the elbow reach and rotation. You also will want to adjust the extension’s width, stack, and position. By making these adjustments, you will have a more secure and comfortable fit.
Another thing that people forget to check is if their bicycle can be placed into a triathlon-type position. Plus, your size also will have a role in whether or not aero bars will work for your particular bicycle. Some bikes have saddles that go further back near the pedals, and the bigger they are, the harder it is to get to this position.
Most Frequent Asked Questions
Why should I get aero bars for my bicycle?
You should get them because they are unique bars that will assist you with improving your aerodynamics, narrowing your position, and giving you the ability to draw your body forward into a tucked position. They are easy to install and some have a clip-on feature to make it even simpler. They also are known to have a large amount of adjustability for multiple riders.
With that said, why wouldn’t you want to have a more productive and safer ride with aero bars? They also are great for preventing injuries and accidents as well.
Do aero bars come assembled?
They do come assembled; however, it will need to be installed on to your bicycle. Aero bars are typically connected to the bike with one bolt with a clip-on feature. Others fit nicely around the handlebars with a bracket and two screws. Either way, they both are relatively easy to connect to your bicycle.
Can the elbow pads be rotated or adjusted?
Yes, most elbows pads can be adjusted, but there are some that do not flip up. It’s a fact that adjustability is a feature that should not be overlooked, and aero bars took it one step further -- their adjustability gives you comfort, speed, and better aerodynamics.
How much momentum can you gain from using aero bars?
Typically, it depends on the cyclist’s energy level and their positioning with the aero bars; it helps a cyclist to achieve the average speed of 40km/h. If you choose aero bars that have a narrow basebar, it is possible that you may gain some extra momentum than with the wider basebars.
How do aero bars give you a narrow position?
The positioning of aero bars allows you to put your forearms closer together, and as you lean forward, your torso cradles into the small opening between your forearms. This technique will give you the narrow positioning you’re looking for and allow for better aerodynamics.
How do I know which aero bars style is right for me?
To determine this answer, you will need to know a few things about where you intend to ride, the length of your ride, how you want to position yourself, and the amount of speed you wish to gain. After making these decisions, you will be able to make an accurate choice by looking at the features, ratings, and reviews of the aero bars available today.
Are reverse basebars better than the standard basebars?
On reverse basebars, you grip it behind the wing instead of the front this gives you a better grip and keeps your hands from slipping forward while you ride. Also, the steeper the angle of the wing, the better your aerodynamics will be.
Do aero bars have an excellent gripping ability?
Yes, they have good gripping systems which give you better control over your bike. The reverse basebars mentioned above is known for its gripping ability.
Would it be safe to use aero bars in a crosswind race?
Yes, it would be safe because it will narrow your body position and give you better aerodynamics against the wind especially if you’re the one playing the role of the attacking rider. It will benefit all the riders through this type of event. However, it is vital to get correctly fitted to your aero bars, know the course, and have the confidence to fly down a steep hill.
Which are better carbon or aluminum aero bars?
The main difference between the two elements comes down to their weight. The lighter of the two is typically the carbon aero bars. However, for some reason, the aluminum is slightly cheaper. Of course, the final decision may be also be based on how fast you want to ride your bike. For those who like the wild fast pass ride, then we would suggest purchasing the lighter of the two.
If I use aero bars, will I still be within ITU/UCI guidelines?
Some of the aero bars are within ITU/UCI guidelines such as the Vision Team Mini TT Handlebar. Most marathons do permit aero bars within their competitions; look at the rules to be sure it is allowed.
I have a giant TCR advance electronic shift; will aero bars fit the handlebar?
It should fit most standard size handlebars. Measure your bar diameter first with a string that will make it easier. Aero bars have cable openings on the tubes remove the caps and feed the wires through than any appropriate adjustment. Another option would be to run them all the way through and use the adjustments parts to make the aero bars snug.
What size of Allen wrench do all the bolt clamps require? How many bolts in each dimension are there?
Four bolts hold the clamps onto the handlebars, and they all require a 5mm Allen wrench. A 4mm wrench will be needed to make the rotation and extension adjustments. This answer is for all standard sizes.
I have carpal tunnel! Will it be difficult for me to use aero bars?
No, it will not be difficult for you to use aero bars; in fact, the positioning of many aero bars gives added comfort to the wrist and hand area. For instance, the Redshift Quick-Release Aero Bars remove the pressure from your hands and wrist, alleviates hand numbness, and extends comfort for long bike rides.
Can I purchase additional parts for my aero bars?
Yes, there are many brands available today, and you’ll have an easy time finding additional parts. One exciting new feature to add to your aero bars is the flip up bracket. This bracket will allow you to keep the aero bars on your handlebars even when you’re not using them. After you install the bracket flip the bars up out of your way.
In this guide, you have seen that there are many different styles of aero bars. Each one can make your ride more comfortable, gain speed, and performance. If going fast is for you, then there are several choices for you to pick. Who knows what advanced aero bars will come out in the future, but for now, all of the aero bars mentioned in this guide will fulfill the need for speed.