BooneLennon developed the first aero bar for Scott USA in 1986 and, ever since, it has become the defining feature of triathlon bikes. Clip- on aero bars were designed for athletes who want to ride regular handlebars but still get the benefits of an aero position on the bike when time trialing or doing a triathlon. They’re also the first step you’ll take to turn a regular road bike into a tri bike. The improved aerodynamics of the aero position will lead to faster tri times.
The advent of draft-legal racing in the early 90s created a need for a slightly different type of aero bar. To ensure safety in pack-riding situations, itu rules require that the aero-bars used in draft-legal
P. R.O. events don’t extend beyond the brake levers and are bridged. These shorter aero bars don’t need to be the exclusive domain of elite and junior racers. For those who usually ride in a group, but want to use an aero position on occasion, the shorter bars are a nice compromise.
The other advantage many people find with clip- on bars is their versatility. Many will mount either above or below the handlebars, allowing for a higher or lower position. Typically they’ll also allow for much more width adjustability, allowing you to dial in the optimal arm position for long days in the aero position.
We had a look at two models of each style of bar.