For years, the Profile Design Carbon-X was the gold standard in aerobars. It was one-piece, at the time light at 1,000 grams, and was aero. Met all the criteria. Peter Reid and Normann Stadler rode to Ironman wins on it. Of course, that was before there was much stock put into fitment of the aerobar as a construct with the bike. The extensions could be placed above or below the basebar, and there was a bit of pad width adjust, and… that was it. If it was too long at about 100mm, too bad. Too short? Too bad.
Then came the 3T Ventus one-piece aerobar, which was probably one of the most frontally-aero bars to ever see the light of day. But it had probably the least adjustment of any aerobar
Times have changed. Not not only do we have better-fitting tri bikes, but the forward thinking manufacturers are realizing that no matter how well the bike fits, a bad aerobar with limited to no adjust can and will compromise that fit. Never mind all the cool stuff being placed at the aerobar with between-the-aerobar hydration systems, along with ride data delivered via power meters, GPS coordinates. It’s a nerve center.
Earlier this year, Zipp debuted the Vuka Stealth, a one-piece aerobar with three length options, additional reach adjust within that and heaps of pad, extension and adjust.
Happily, with the differences in aero shape and design nonwithstanding, the aerobar adjustability trend continues at Eurobike.
A visit with Profile Design, a company with an excellent history of designing aerobars was a reminder of the great adjustment capabilities. Designer Mark Vandermolen cued us to the vertical adjust, which is works in concert with aerobars like the 3T+ Carbon on 31.8 diameter basebars. Profile Design has for years been a standardbearer in fitment range.
The new 3T Vola, available nearly next year, is a new alloy clip-on aerobar is on it face a great cost-effective offering. While much of the brand’s line is loaded with carbon fiber offerings, this is an alloy entry-level debut that will price complete (basebar and clip-ons) at around $250 with a hydroformed 42mm wide basebar that looks remarkably close to the brand’s carbon fiber bars like the Brezza or Aura. It also comes with a set of ski bend extensions, with option for some of 3T’s other extensions like the shown wrist relief versions.
But it’s the pad adjust that impresses; the pads themselves run a width range gamut of 220 to 305mm in width from outside to outside. Additonally, the pads can be stacked above the aerobar with a spacer kit that sends it up from 10 to 30mm in range.
Finally, we had a look at the new ENVE SES aerobar. We were actually privy to the prototype testing on an early version of the bar a year ago, and that time recommended a greater level of adjustability. The new bar that we finally saw for the first time today delivered, with a bar that ticks the aero parameters that aerodynamics expert Simon Smart set forth, and incorporates adjustment cleanly.
Mounting to a standard stem with a 31.8 clamp, the basebar is flippable with gentle plus/minus 21mm of drop or rise. The set of extensions that come with a compete kit are three-in one, cuttable to any of three options: j-bend, s-bend or straight extension.
And while we didn’t get a measure on pad rise or reach, you can see the variablility between the two bars shown; extension can be mounted either below or above the basebar, and those forearms pads can stack high off or flush with basebar, and have massive width option, going from super narrow to super wide with inboard or outboard extension placement as well.
Further, the pads themselves are set on a two-bolt carrier that allows the user to adjust the pad with 15 degrees of fore/aft pitch, eliminating hotspots at the back or front of the pad. Incidentally, the pad itself is
Oh, and there’s just one tool that adjusts any part of it: a 4mm hex.
Hopefully this trend continues, and the fixed old one-piece aerobar becomes a classic relic.