Best way to start using aero bars?

I’ve never used aero bar’s before but I’ve got plans for a long ride next year and I think they would help, at least being able to change positions.

Any advice on what bars to get for normal handlebars as well please?

A long time since I first used clip ons but IIRC the advice was to keep them at a wide spacing until you are used to them. You probably want to keep them wide for long rides. I had Profile Design ones IIRC and on later bike I was forced to get Profile Design ones again to fit the bars (they were only round at the stem and oval until the drops). But I think clip on manufactures are much of a muchness get the ones that suit your bars, suit you and are available.

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Consider also if you want height to be configurable. For long distance rides being too low might strain your neck.

I myself am using:


I was in your position this time last year and ended up with some Deda clamps, profile pads and 3t extensions (with 3d printed shim for the Deda odd sizing)! I’d keep an eye on eBay for random bargains.

When it comes to getting used to them I used a local shared-use path that is sheltered from gusty wind and would get into them for brief slowish periods when it was quiet. I now feel confident with them and just spend time in to build up the muscles and practising a good position.



I would probably pay a fitter to help me evaluate what my position should be and then go from there.


Good idea but @Pipipi if you go this route be clear you’re looking to start with a comfortable and stable setup, as I think a lot of fitters will default to an aggressive aero position which will be the fastest but not necessarily the most stable.


Since you say it’s for a long ride and not a TT the focus needs to be on adjustability and comfort. And not office-chair-comfort but big-leather-recliner comfort.

Not sure about where you are but in the UK Profile Design are the easiest brand to find parts and accessories, so I’d start out by looking for a secondhand set from them. First accessory purchase is a really tall set of risers - 40-60mm could be an OK place to start depending on your flexibility and how aggressive your current bike fit is. If you can afford it then plan to try out a few different sizes til you find something that just feels easy and restful.

Wider probably is better but unfortunately for me, when I started out with clip-ons all my bikes already had handlebars with really small clamping areas, so I was never able to try that. I do still wish I could go wider though, so if you’re buying new drop bars for this bike then clamping width might be a good thing to consider. Maybe also worth noting if you have a choice between different types of armrest mounting mechanisms - some have more scope for widening the pads without widening the clamps than others.

The extensions are pretty universal so you can always buy/borrow/return different shapes from whatever brand you can find cheap. Straight and J-bend seem to work best with bags and accessory mounts. I have some ergo-bend ones that are like a ? and the extra hook before the rise makes it really difficult to fit all my ultra-accessories, so I wish I’d chosen something simpler rather than getting the fancy carbon ones I found on eBay for cheap :grimacing:

If you train indoors then do your initial fit on the trainer and start out trying the bars for periods of time during your endurance rides, then progress to the longer rest periods between interval sets (but not between the intervals themselves). IME there’s no point training hard efforts in the aerobars for ultra-distance riding - they’re mostly there to rest, so you need to be able to do high z2 in them, not threshold.

Once you’re happy with some indoor trialling then start to take them outdoors and only use them in really safe situations to start. You may find you need to change your fit to feel more stable, especially if you’ve gone for a really high starting point. As others have said make sure you start out just using them in predictable and calm road/wind situations before progressing to things like cornering and crosswinds. If you start this journey now for an event 6 months out then you’ve got plenty of time to ease your way into using them without ever having to take major risks.

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Best advice I’ve read and received was to set the aero bars up so that you’re in the same body angle / position as in your drops. This is why most ultra / rando types have 50 mm spacers under their aero bars. (Age and associated lack of flexibility are also a reason.)

It’s probably not the most aero position, but it’s super comfortable and gets your arms out of the wind. The biggest advantage (for me) is that it takes the weight off my hands. When doing 18 hour days in the saddle, I previously had loss of feeling in my fingers after multiple day events, but that’s been eliminated by spending a quarter of that time on the aero bars.


I think too much is made of trying to “adapt” to aero bars, etc. sure, there is an adjustment period, but I don’t think you need to go to extremes of finding low-traffic bike paths and riding slow while you “adjust”, let alone going to a bike fitter.

Put them on, go for an easy ride. Use them in areas where you feel comfortable trying it. Adjust from there.


If you don’t tell the fitter your goal that’s on you.


Definitely :+1:

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Corollary - if your fitter doesn’t ask what your goals, you need to leave immediately.


Do the profile design ones have elbow pads/arm rests that twist slightly? I’ve got quite wide shoulders and I’m pretty sure that ‘straight on’ just won’t work.

And thanks for the replies and advice from everyone.

As in, to angle your forearms so they’re pointed at each other a bit?

I don’t think PD arm pads do this but I also don’t think I’ve seen another brand that does (short of going full-custom 3-D printed etc.).

My experience is pretty limited but as far as I can tell nearly all of these entry and intermediate-level clip-on rigs stick to straight elbow pads with relatively shallow cups so that you’ve got a fair bit of flexibility in how your arms rest in them. It’s really the shape and positioning of the tips of the extensions that is going to determine your arm angle/rotation more than anything else.

I do suspect the tradeoff is that you’re limited to steering almost entirely with a fully engaged hand-forearm unit and I’ve considered buying a set of high-sided pads (like the ones from Aerocoach) to see if they enable me to steer primarily with my arms and relax my hands even more. Sounds like that definitely wouldn’t be for you given your description, but it’s probably not a starting place anyway - those high-side cups are really expensive!

EDIT: I just went back out of curiosity to remind myself just HOW expensive the Aerocoach armrests are and I see they have angular adjustment built in: AeroCoach Align Wing carbon arm rests
Had a quick look elsewhere and seems like Vision trimax bars will do angular adjustability. I’m sure there are others too but as far as I can tell most of the other usual suspects for an entry level all-in-one purchase don’t do that. Can always be done as a separate purchase/upgrade later on though.

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When I first set up my ‘preying mantis’ position I used the pads and clips off cheap clip ons but I did use 45deg aerocoach aluminium poles to bring hands in at the top.

Whilst it did get me my fastest time for a 25miler (56:59 nothing special on the F2A/25) when I decided I liked the position enough. I got new clips capable of taking those aerocoach angled wedges, revolver cups (I wanted closed back) aerocoach 35deg carbon poles and have for now some spacing between my thumbs. I might revert next season but the new set up feels incredibly comfortable.

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Thanks for the extra detail there.

Looks like I’ve got some shopping to do!

Profile Designs pads do allow for this… Their “cups” are slotted both for aft, and laterally. Most of their systems in the last few years use two bolts on each “cup”, with a bolt in each of those oriented slots, and as such, allow for probably 20d or more of angle…


Some alternatives if you dont get used to aerobars:

Sorry off topic.


That just looks ridiculous

I mean, no socks? What were they thinking?