Aero bars are popular amongst racers because it helps them shave a few seconds from their race timings. In races, even a micro second matters a lot. In such a scenario, if you can shave off a few seconds from your timing without spending extra energy, it is definitely a big plus.
How do aerobars work?
Bike Aero bars are light weight additions to the handle of your bike which lets you reduce air resistance and improve aerodynamics while riding your bike. Aerobars make this possible by reducing air friction when you are riding at high speed. This is simple physics at work.
Aerobars seek to achieve two things
- Reduce wind resistance when cycling
- Ensure that maneuverability of the cycle is not affected.
What is the point of shaving a few seconds of your timing if you are unable to control the bicycle using the aerobar? There is no doubt that controlling your bike using normal handles and controlling your bike using aerobars are two different things. For starters, you rest your elbows on the aerobar and grip its end using your hands. This automatically forces you to bend over. You will assume the posture that is very commonly seen in bike races. Making sudden left and right turns will not be easy if you are on your aerobar. However, it will not be easy until you get used to them. Once you learn how to maneuver your bike using your hips and your elbows instead of the traditional hand grip on your handlebar, you will discover that using aerobars is not as difficult as it was made out to be.
Use of aerobars on cycles has helped triathlon participants improve their timings. Earlier, metal aerobars were used to improve timings. However, this aerobar led to an increase in the weight of the bike. The rider then had to put in more effort to maintain the same pace. This problem has been addressed with the invention of carbon aerobars. These aerobars are lightweight and sturdy. They are easy to grip and do not cause any problems when riding the bike. Resting your elbows on the aerobars for long periods may be very painful. The use of carbon aerobars and cushions has ensured that there is no extra discomfort from the use of aerobars.
For maximum benefits from your aerobar, you must have it positioned properly on your bike and also you should assume the right posture. Your elbow positioning, sitting posture and the extent to which your body is stretched all add up for a faster bike ride.
Even though aerobars were designed primarily to help triathlon racers improve their performance, it has found cross over use on mountain bikes too. It has caught the popular imagination.
However, you should use aerobars only if you are comfortable with them and remember if well installed, you should not have any problems as far as posture is concerned.
Simply by installing two stubs of carbon aerobars on your bike, you can easily use physics to your advantage to increase performance.