Too Fat for Aero?


I am trying to work myself into being comfy in my aero position on my Tri bike. The fit is pretty good, and the handle bars are for sure not slammed. But I am finding that once i start to lean forward into the aero bars my belly will hit my legs at the top of the of my pedal stroke, and then force my legs outwards making pedaling very strange.

Obviously i am trying to loose my belly as fast as i can (but it never seems fast enough lol). For context i am 5-10" and 220lbs with a rather athletic build (think hockey player with large legs)

Does anyone else have this problem?

I am wondering if there is a way i could get some spacers to raise my aero bars up but i do not know if they exist for my handle bar (3T)


Your issue is a common one that I have seen in various fits. It was even a specific topic taught in the Body Geometry program during my original fit training. The knock out of the legs is called a “wood-chop” and the belly is a common cause for it.

Not much to do other than keep the upper body up or lose the belly. If you can live with the wood-chop, you can go as low as your are comfortable, but be cautious about possible pain on the hips and knees. That extra lateral motion can lead to repetitive stress injuries.

Maybe you can snap a pick or get the model of the aerobars and someone can help find what options you have?


They are the 3t Vola Pro (Alloy) Base bar with 3t Clip ons. I see that there is a 10/20/30mm Riser kit for the areo bars. Maybe that might help reduce the amount of “wood-chop” that is happening, by bringing my torso further up.

But good to know i am not a special snowflake and this is common, and can be dealt with. (aka stricter on the diet)

My setup looks similar to this with Ski-Bends instead of wrist relief.



Yeah, the spacers could help. Additionally, depending on your bike setup, you could also consider a stem that is taller (or raise it up with spacers, if you have a longer steer tube on the fork). There could be more than one way to increase your height other than the pad/extension spacers.

Another thing to consider is general bike fit…

I don’t have significant weight issues, but my seat WAS a bit too low.

Pro fitter raised my seat a centimeter or two, and I had WAY more room to bend down deep in an aero position without my torso impeding my legs. A slightly shorter crankset would accomplish the same thing…moving from say, 175mm to 170 would give you a full centimeter more clearance at the top of your pedal stroke if you adjust seat position accordingly.

Maybe, maybe not. A shorter crank will absolutely reduce the overall motion of the leg. But…

  1. Remember, if you go from a 175mm crank to a 170mm crank, you MUST ALSO RAISE the saddle 5mm to adjust for the “higher” position of the pedal at the bottom of the stroke. This matters because of point 2 below.

  2. Then consider if you do (or don’t) adjust for the front end.

    • If you don’t adjust the front end to match the 5mm saddle height increase, you effectively lower the front end by 5mm (it’s original height). This means you close the hip angle at the top of the stroke.
    • So, in order to get the advantage of the shorter crank, you nearly always want to raise the front end to match.

So, it’s not as simple as the crank difference by itself. It is extremely rare in bike fitting that you can change a single dimension and not impact others along the way. Crank length changes are often missed for the complexity that they really add to a fit.

Well of course…if you’re going to assume the ideal fit, yea you would need a 5mm spacer under the stem.

But again…saddle goes up 5mm, pedal goes DOWN 5mm at the point clearance is an issue.

The real question is whether it’s worth futzing with all that to gain a CM :slight_smile:

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Thanks all good idea,

As for the cranks i have a Stages PM so unless i am willing to buy a new one my Crank length is pretty much set. I will have a look at the saddle height but i think i am pretty close to a good spot. (Un-clipped foot on the pedal, leg is almost straight at 6 -o’clock)

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Too Fat for Aero

I love this post title :rofl:. Thank you, I needed that today. Oh, and good luck on your weight loss :confused:.

I knew a big belly dude years ago who was a fearsome tt rider on flat courses, he referred to his stomach as his speed dome!


I’m a similarly “horizontally challenged”. I personally:

  • get my workouts up to 5-6/week
  • book an event
  • start focusing more on diet

Slowly the weight goes, but only once the star above start to align.

Right now I’m only doing #1 and #2 well.

Good luck

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Didn’t they ban wearing Camelbaks in the front because the “belly” gave an aero benifit? I think I saw a video about that on GCN or somewhere. So the belly is a CDA bonus!

I too am a little chubby around the waist and do a lot of TTs. I swapped down from 172.5, to 170 and now 165mm cranks.

All I did in the last step 170-165, was simply raise the saddle 5mm and raise the bars 5 mm, so I am in exactly the same position, just 5mm higher on the bike and my legs are much free-er to move without hitting my stomach.

Once I was happier with that, I then started playing around with the front end. All I am saying is that the adjustment for a change of crank length is actually quite simple, keeping the rest of the body geometry basically the same. (Yes I know raising the saddle 5mm should incrementally move it forward cosine(70) degrees x 5mm, but as cos(70) =.34. we are talking a 1.7mm move fwd in the saddle, assuming a 70 degree seatpost.)


@Murph333 I once weighed in for a 120kg weightclass event & missed weight. By a lot. :pig2: So I can sympathize!

I used profile design aerobars (I think T3). You can get riser kits that will raise the pads/extensions up to 80mm. That’s quite a bit. It makes a big difference in leg clearance but also it might help open up your diaphragm and improve your oxygen uptake.

I felt like I was giving up some aero but got it all back in improved ability to breath. As I dropped down to under 85kg it was simple and inexpensive to just buy shorter and shorter riser kits.

As I’m sure you’ve already seen, a little extra around the waistline can be an aero advantage:


Thanks for all the advice, I have ordered the 3T riser kit. So lets hope another 5-10lbs less and those will help.

Also GCN video is awesome,

Do a youtube video for the biggest loser and ironman, that guy had set up about being narrow but not low

in a similar boat myself so looking at riser stems first. then trying to bring it back down. so maybe was thinking about an adjustable one for the turbo. till i dial in the measurements then just purchasing one for real life which matchs