Aero bars do not seem like they are placed in the most comfortable position on bikes. So, if you have asked yourself why people still go ahead and install them, you are most probably not alone.
For sure, the experience on a road bike with and without aero bars is markedly different. And while aero bars might not seem comfortable, they come with their own benefits. So, if you come across a road bike with aero bars, the bars are most likely a boost to the experience of the bike owner.
You might be asking yourself in what way can aero bars possibly make a road bike better. Well, in this article, we share some benefits of aero bars on road bikes.
Benefits of Aero Bars on a Road Bike That You Should Know
Aero Bars Make It Easier to Get Into the Aero Position
Going by their name, it isn’t surprising that aero bars help road bike riders settle into the aero position with relative ease.
With aero bars on your road bike, you can readily lower your upper body and bring your head down between your shoulder blades. At the same time, you can pull your arms towards your torso and roll your shoulders in.
The ease with which aero bars allow this position is unmatched by other types of handlebars.
Ultimately, these lower the pressure you feel in your hands and wrists while in the aero position.
Since you can adjust aero bars over a wide range of bar separations and heights, you can always tune the alignment until you find what works best for you.
The ease aero bars afford in the aero position allow riders to go long distances this way.
Aero Bars Improve the Rider’s Air Penetration
With the aero bars helping riders get into the aero position readily, air penetration is markedly improved. In the aero position, riders lower their upper body and head while tucking their arms in. By doing this, they expose less body surface area to air.
With less body surface area exposed to air, there would be less air drag on the rider’s body. And with less air drag on the rider’s body, air penetration will improve.
Aero Bars Make Road Bikes Faster
This is perhaps the prime benefit of installing aero bars on road bikes. Aero bars get you into the aero position readily and keep you comfortable in this position. When in the aero position, you create less aerodynamic drag with your body.
There are various estimates of how much aero bars can make road bikes go faster. Some sources say they can raise your top speed by up to 2 mph. Others say they can help bikers gain 100 seconds over 25 miles.
Aero Bars Help the Rider Conserve Energy
Aero bars can help you to conserve your energy through a reduction in aerodynamic drag. When you are in the aero position, the reduction in air drag reduces the resistance to the forward movement of the bike. Consequently, you will not have to pedal as much to keep the bike moving.
Aero Bars Are Relatively Inexpensive
To get an aerodynamic advantage, people sometimes opt for aero wheels. But compared to aero wheels, aero bars are inexpensive. You can get 5 to 30 aero bars at the price of one set of aero wheels.
You Gain a New Technique With Aero Bars
When done correctly, the aero technique is almost like balancing a glass of water on your back. Obviously, this can be challenging to pull off. But aero bars can make it a bit easier.
The comfort aero bars offer to bike riders in the aero position makes the challenge of getting the aero technique easier.
Downsides of Aero Bars on a Road Bike
Braking and Changing Gears Is More Complicated
The brakes on a road bike remain on the handlebars even when you install aero bars. This means that you have to switch your hands to the handlebars to apply the brakes. Of course, you have to be extra cautious while moving your hands to the handlebars, or you may lose control.
Like the brakes, the gear shifters remain in the same place even when you add aero bars. So, you have to let go of one of the aero bars to access the gear shifter. This can be pretty complicated on a mountainous or rough route.
The aero position involves you lowering your upper body. But while this reduces drag, it may also minimize your vision field. In the aero position, it may become harder to spot potholes and similar barriers on the road.