Aero Handlebars on mountain bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Aero Handlebars on mountain bike?

    Hey guys, I'm thinking of getting some Aero Handlebars for my mtb. I use it to commute a lot, and would love to hear any reviews, opinions on what it's like with Aeros. How effective are they?

  2. #2
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    When you say aero bars, are you talking like from a tri/TT bike? Because that's what the term "aero bars" refers to. Or do you mean drop bars like on a road bike? Either will make you slightly more aerodynamic. Handling the bike is a bit tougher with true aerobars, whereas that will not be the case with drop bars. Unless you have a long commute with a lot of high speeds, you won't see much difference. If it's a city commute, there's really no point. Also, depending on the setup you're looking for, you may need new shifters/brake levers. If you're just going with those add-on aerobars you don't, but with drop bars you should use STI style.

  3. #3
    Wierdo
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    I generall agree with what Straz says, except the part about it being slight more aerodynamic. Aerobars can make you considerably more aerodynamic. Head over to bikecalculator.com. Enter your information and then while holding the speed constant, switch from "bartops" to "aerobars" and you will see a dramatic drop in the power output needed to maintain speed.

    But, as Straz says, if you have a short commute with a lot of stop and start, the impact of Aero bars won't be that great.

  4. #4
    CB of the East
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    I have and they help out quite a bit. I talk about them starting here: (Click the little blue arrow and it will bring you to the post with a picture)
    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    I had a pair of tri-bars lying around not doing anything so I put them on the commuter so I could get low. Along with the bar ends I already had for alternate hand positions it looks like I'm riding a 4 point buck. They work pretty well for getting out of the wind. Not nearly the control as normal hand positions, my peddling efficiency is lower, at least until I build up the right muscles and the rider-seat interface is a little stressed in that position. Oh, and I had to take off my convenient coffee cup holder.

  5. #5
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    I had a set of Bontrager Satellite Elite aero bars fitted for about eight months.

    Bontrager: Satellite Elite Carbon Trekking (Model #04996)

    They have a normal riser bar position and then a narrower set of aero extensions built in. The narrower position improves aerodynamics by bringing your arms closer together, similar to the old Cinelli Spinaci bars. You can ride on them with a relaxed upright position or alternatively tuck down with your arms in tight.

    The aero extensions provide a noticeable improvement in straight line speed over riding with your arms out wide on the grips. They're not as fast as full tri bars unless you tuck right down but you're also less stretched and more comfortable.

    What you have to consider though is how much time you would actually spend on the aero extensions. You can't safely use them in heavy traffic (where you need to be covering the brakes), in strong crosswinds or at low speeds (below about 12mph) as the bike isn't stable enough. I found that I didn't use the aero extensions as much as I thought I would. I was probably only using them for 15-20% of the time which wasn't really enough to provide a significant time gain.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Aero Handlebars on mountain bike?-2012_epic_new4.jpg  


  6. #6
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    You could mimic the position of those Bontragers by sliding on some L-bend bar ends inboard of the shifters/brakes.

  7. #7
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    You could use a set of bar ends on standard mtb handlebars to get the same position. It would provide the same benefit of bringing your arms closer together, which reduces your frontal area.

    The difference from just using bar ends is that because the Bontrager bars integrated extensions are flat without any clamps your palms are supported on a wide smooth surface, which makes it more comfortable to ride on the aero extensions for longer periods of time. The standard riding position is to have your palms resting on the widest part for maximum control, where the extensions merge into the normal riser bar.

    I haven't got those bars fitted anymore. I overtightened the stem clamp by mistake and damaged them. User error on my part.

  8. #8
    since 4/10/2009
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    Like this? Aero Handlebars on mountain bike?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1340514348.889303.jpg

  9. #9
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    WR304, those look nice. That's a really sweet bike! I'm having a hard time envisioning how they would be comfortable though. Wouldn't that put just a lot of pressure on your back, since you're leaning forward more, but there's nothing to support your forearmes like on the typical aeorbars, to lean on. ?

  10. #10
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    just my 2p's worth

    when using aero bars dont forget to take into account your bikes geometry.

    A full on TT bike has a very steep seat tube that allow you to get your back flat down on the bars with out your knees/thighs hitting into your chest/stomach. Road bikes have a slacker seat tube angle giving a more upright position so need a lot less extreme set of aero bars to a TT bike. Mountain bike is slacker again so a more upright position again is required.

    Your likely to only get benefit from short stubby aero bars and very unlikely to be able to get down on your elbows TT stylee without your knees banging off your chest negating any benefit as well as being very uncomfortable.

  11. #11
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    A flexible person without a gut can still pull into a pretty tight tuck on something as slack as a road or mountain bike. I think my effective seat angles are about the same, FWIW. And aero bars are narrower than flat bars regardless of how low the rider gets.

    I think there'd still be a fair benefit to aero bars even if someone has them set up pretty high. Maybe not as much as on a tri bike, but it wouldn't compromise handling as much either - there'd still be a nice, "normal" riding position.
    Last edited by AndrwSwitch; 06-24-2012 at 04:27 PM.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son_of_thunder View Post
    WR304, those look nice. That's a really sweet bike! I'm having a hard time envisioning how they would be comfortable though. Wouldn't that put just a lot of pressure on your back, since you're leaning forward more, but there's nothing to support your forearmes like on the typical aeorbars, to lean on. ?
    The normal riding position on the Bontrager bar's aero extensions is the same as with bar ends, just with your hands closer together. You're still fairly upright and your body weight is supported on your hands and the saddle, rather than having your forearms parallel to the ground and resting on pads as with full tri bars.

    You use that for longer distances but can also tuck in with your hands close together and drop your elbows for a position that's more like a traditional tri bar position. It's only comfortable like that for shorter periods but is useful for maintaining the speed on fast sections when you're trying hard.

  13. #13
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    Are you in traffic? Then you won't be able to use the bars safely.
    Are you wearing a backpack? Then you won't feel comfortable in that position with the weight on your back.
    Are you even slightly fat? Then you won't be able to hold that position.
    What's the rush? You're commuting. Do you really need to time trial to work and show up soaked in sweat?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Are you in traffic? Then you won't be able to use the bars safely.
    Are you wearing a backpack? Then you won't feel comfortable in that position with the weight on your back.
    Are you even slightly fat? Then you won't be able to hold that position.
    What's the rush? You're commuting. Do you really need to time trial to work and show up soaked in sweat?
    Maybe he just lives somewhere with lots of wind?

    To the OP: go check out some of the Tour Divide racer's bikes, lots of them have MTBs set up with aero bars to duck out of the breeze.

  15. #15
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    Great topic

    Indeed very relevant for MTB as well
    I currently ride allot with my elbows
    On the handle bar- i think just a proper slick elbow grips would do for me.
    Just need to find em.
    www,chernibikes.com

    HAND CRAFTED RIDING MACHINES @ Face Book
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  16. #16
    CB of the East
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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    Are you in traffic? Then you won't be able to use the bars safely.
    Are you wearing a backpack? Then you won't feel comfortable in that position with the weight on your back.
    Are you even slightly fat? Then you won't be able to hold that position.
    What's the rush? You're commuting. Do you really need to time trial to work and show up soaked in sweat?
    Talk about raining on the parade!
    You forgot "You'll look like a dork"

    I've found mine to be very useful.
    - I have long stretches of rural road.
    - I wear a fanny pack for my incidental stuff.
    - I guess I'm not slightly fat, although my belly is the fattest thing on me. I'll stay in that position for a mile or 2.
    - Sometimes riding 12 miles into a 25 MPH headwind just isn't high on the list of fun stuff to do and it would be nice if it were easier.

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I think there'd still be a fair benefit to aero bars even if someone has them set up pretty high. Maybe not as much as on a tri bike, but it wouldn't compromise handling as much either - there'd still be a nice, "normal" riding position.
    I suspect that too, just wish there were an easy way to measure.

    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    Talk about raining on the parade!
    You forgot "You'll look like a dork"
    And that`s a bad look?

    My commute is too short to worry about it, but since this subject came up I`ve logged a lot of revs with my forearms on the bars on long highway stretches, and it seems to help. Again, no way to say how much, and I might be fooling myself comletely. Hunching way down with my arms parallel to the ground is out of the question except when I`m coasting, but I can ride fairly comfortably by pulling my elbows as close together as possible and leaning down as far as necessary to get my arms to the handlebar. I usually ride with a front bag and feel more in control if I use it to steady my hands- either lay my hands on top if it or grab the sides.

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