Tuesday, February 9, 2010


As mentioned in my previous posts, one of the upgrades that I had recently installed on my bike was the addition of a set of clip-on aerobars. I did a bit of research, and found a number of different models that I liked - but in the end it came down to what was available locally. The HED Clip-Lite would have been my selection from a simply technical standpoint, but I wasn't able to find it locally. I could have bought it online, however for an item as sensitive to fit as this I wanted to stick with brick and mortar shops.

The Profile Design offerings were the next on my list, and I was going back and forth between the Magnesium T-Mag and the Carbon Fibre T2+ Cobra. The former had the advantage of being about 120 grams (~1/4 pound) lighter, whereas the latter were a little more sculpted to the hands and looked a bit more comfortable. After stopping by my normal bike shop and discussing the matter with their fitter, I ended up going with the T2+ Cobra model as he felt it would be a better fit for my setup (as the T2+ bars are overslung, whereas the T-Mag has them underslung so the height relative to the base bars is a little different).

I finally got around to heading down with the bike and getting everything installed/fitted last week and I've now had a couple of short rides with them. One of the big benefits with this design that I didn't anticipate is that the shoulder cups are high enough that I can squeeze my hands under them to use the tops of the base bars. I had all but resigned myself to the fact that, without flip-up cups like the HED, adding aerobars was going to mean losing that position (typically used for hard climbs) so I'm pleasantly surprised on that front ;) As such, I now have four major positions I can assume on the handlebars (drops, brake hoods, tops and aerobars), which gives me a good deal of versatility.

In addition to the aerobars themselves, I also got a Triathlon-specific saddle and some hardware to allow me to rapidly switch between positions. My bike has a reversible seat post head that allows it to provide either a 73 (road) or 76 (TT) degree seat tube angle. The geometry and bottom bracket of the bike are also designed with this in mind (see this article on a similar model for more detail), and as I got the shop to do a professional fitting in both configurations it gets me reasonably close to optimal positioning. Naturally, a dedicated Triathlon bike would be better, but that isn't really in the cards at this point so this gets me as close as humanly possible.

Right now there are a few more spacers in there than there should be (30mm), however the fitter suggested leaving them in there for the time being to let me get used to the new position. I can head back into the shop after I've ridden it for a while, and they'll pop some of them out and re-do the fitting for a more aggressive position. As I'm going to be on the trainer for that time, there really isn't a huge downside (aerodynamics don't mean much when you're not actually moving).

After riding on them I was surprised how comfortable it was being in that position. I was a bit concerned about the lower position putting more stress on soft tissues, but between the increased padding on the Tri saddle and the fact that a lot of weight is now shifted from the saddle to the handlebars that doesn't seem to be an issue. It is going to take some getting used to as the muscle groups in use are very different, however my power levels appear to actually be up on the whole so it looks like that is also progressing well.

I'll write up a bit more on these aerobars when I get some more experience with them, but wanted to write down my first impressions so that I can look back on the matter. I'm also planning on making a first impressions post of the Edge 705, but I'm going to have to play around with it a bit more as there is a lot to figure out.

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