Allaphilipe's round non aero bars

Is Allaphilipe so strong that the claimed 7 watt saving or whatever don’t matter to him (no) or is something else going on? I wonder if real world drag reduction of aero road bars iss negated by the fact that behind the aero bars are very un aero bodies and knees. You could imagine air flow round most other components not really being impacted by the rider so much as I imagine you get air flow between legs. I’m sure he’s been in the wind tunnel with his road bike. I can only imagine that there can’t have been any noticeable saving from the aero bar or he’d be using one. Thoughts?

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I can of course not prove otherwise but I am not convinced that the claimed watt savings for so-called aero bars are relevant when a rider is present. In particular my understanding is that the bars are tested without a rider. Furthermore the latest Ribble aero bike with “bumps” on the tops of the bars claims that this is better aerodynamically when a rider is also present.

That being said, it is mostly my feeling and speculation.


I’ve wondered this too! One thought of mine is that “Pro riders are finnicky and dogmatic, they just don’t like change,” but the other thought is “Julien is spending thousands of hours on a bike every year, he probably knows what he’s doing.” It’s also not just him. If you look at the peloton, aero bars haven’t been universally adopted.

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Yes, generally pros in any field know a LOT more than reviewers know.


His bars look pretty narrow with the hoods turned in. Maybe he’s able to get a more aero position on the traditional bars than the aero bars, negating the saving in watts? Maybe he’s not comfortable on the aero bars? Maybe he doesn’t like the way they look? Maybe the traditional bars offer more varied positions? There’s probably good reasons why he rides what he does…


The watts savings is a function of speed and other parameters. Saving 7 watts is probably at like a speed of 35mph (when your sprinting and 7 watts is trivial relative to 1000w avg). It’s not like his ftp is increases by 7 watts as people tend to assume with these ‘watts savings’ statements.


This has always bugged me about such claims…you are still putting out the same amount of watts, but you are just going faster. I’d rather it be presented as “XX secs faster”, but that starts to be subjective to conditions, etc.

I’m pretty sure that Specialized tests their stuff with riders aboard the bikes.

But hand position almost certainly plays a role in what watts are saved and when. If you are riding on the tops, obviously any aero advantage is negated. Not certain what hand positions are tested with aero bars (but I would assume in the drops).

What @KWcycling wrote. The way cycling markets aero has always bugged me.

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Maybe that given the time he spends with hands on the bar he likes it round? The other thing, and it is only my personal experience, top representatives from different fields does not care so much about every technical detail rather in terms of numbers rather than overall feeling of things.

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He also likes them pointed down quite a bit, so the aero profile would work against you.

Aero bars are more bendy side to side, and he’s someone who likes to use explosive power to separate himself from the next guy. Stiffer bars would give you a bit more instantaneous leverage to send torque to the pedals.

He’s also fairly small dimension-ally, so the aero part of the bars is not as significant as it would be on a wider set of bars. (there’s a big difference in aero benefit vs round frames in size 52 vs 60). These are fairly narrow too - going a size narrower is about the same benefit as going with aero profile bars.


The only rational conclusion we can draw is that the aero advantage of aero road bars is overstated or (dare I say?) completely fictional.

Also, note that Julian road away from Van Baarle, Stuyven, Valgren, and Powless. The only rational conclusion we can draw from this is that riding in a group also provides no aerodynamic advantage. So Alaphilippe is really turning cycling science on its head. :smiley:


I ride flat-top aero bars because they are more comfortable to rest my hands on than round bars on long, in the saddle climbs - but they are also more difficult to grip and actually use as a hand position when riding in groups or riding aggressively… maybe that is part of the pro’s decision calculus on what bars to run?


After 160 miles :wink:


Yeah I think its that in a true race of attrition like that was these marginal gains just don’t matter in terms of who is the winner or not. They prob have much more of an impact in a TT tho

Is the wink disguising the out of context quote?

are also more difficult to grip and actually use as a hand position when riding in groups or riding aggressively

I would never ride on the tops in those situations, aero or round.


On a triathlon recently, an elite woman finished top 3 OA. She was riding a road bike, and not a tri bike.
I think i read she taped a bunch of gels to the handlebar.

Point is: The rider trumps over all aero benefits. The aero benefits will only help on the very tip of the best… and even then…maybe it doesnt matter much.

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Check out Ribble’s new bike. Can’t say that this is what’s going with JA, but aerodynamics are weird. Always take aero claims made by bike manufacturers with a grain of salt anyway…

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And had she been riding a tri bike that was better optimized, she may have finished 2nd…or won. Or 4th and lower were just not in the same league.

Sure, the rider is the most critical component, but think that aero only helps at the very tip is just not correct. I can’t match the raw power of a lot of my riding buddies (both in pure wattage and w/kg)…but I am aero AF and can routinely put the screws to a lot of them.