Clip on Aerobars for your Road or Mountain Bike

Issues to consider when buying clip on aero bars + Brands available

This page shows some of the areas you will need look at if you are buying clip on bars for your road, time trial or triathlon bike. We look briefly at the benefits, the range of bars available and some issues around clamping onto existing handlebars.
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Benefits of using a clip on bar

Generally these are more versatile than a one piece aerobar and also less expensive. A good one will allow various adjustments, which makes it much easier to get a good fit with you and your bike. The stem, base bar and extensions are all separate and often available as individual add-ons, if you want to keep your existing base bar.

The disadvantages are mainly in the area of aerodynamics because a one piece aero bar can be designed from scratch with wind performance in mind. This might only concern you if you are in the top levels of your sport though.

The range of bars available

For convenience and when you don't want to start with a completely new handlebar, a clip on aerobar is ideal. They range from simple styles with fixed extensions all the way through to combinations where all the parts of the bar are adjustable.

These give you the use of an aerobar without having to start changing the bike handlebars, but nevertheless there are quite few styles and shapes to choose from. The extensions are very important and even if you are just starting out with aerobars, its worth having some ability to change the length of the extension.

Also have a good think about the shape of the end of the bar. Are you going to be pulling on the bar to accelerate rapidly or are you likely to stay down in the aero position for a long time. If possible try someone else's bike that has an aerobar, just to get a feel for what is going to suit you best.

There's a big difference in demands placed on a clip on tri bar compared to one that you might use for TT races.

Clamping and bar sizes

In general, clip on bars are made to fit a wide range of handlebars of different diameters around the clamp area, but make sure you check yours before buying. Many road bars also taper just near the clamp area and may be tight to start with and then the clamp works its way along the bar, making a mess of the surface.

If the aero bars are going to be used in anger frequently, then also check whether the clamp is reinforced, as it will take up a lot of force. You'll find that there are stem clamps available from some manufacturers that allow secure bolting around the existing stem. Various extensions can then be fitted onto the clamp.

If you have an existing carbon handlebar and are intending to clamp on an aerobar, then be very careful. Some carbon bars are not made to take the clamping forces you will apply and others are not made to allow sufficient grip to stop the bar rotating. The last thing you want is a moving bar or a fracture to happen mid ride.

Models available

Most of the major brands make clip on aerobars, for example: the Bontrager X Lite Carbon... Deda Elementi Tri Bars... Easton Aeroforce Carbon... Oval A700 and A900... Profile Air Stryke... Vision Carbon Pro... Zipp Vuka