If you haven’t already, you need to invest in clip-on aero bars to move on to the next level as a cyclist. Whether you are looking to beat your PB on your local loop, compete in a triathlon, or have signed up for a time trial event.
Clip-on aero bars were invented to improve your average speed and increase your comfort while on longer rides. By keeping your arms in the middle, you are reducing the resistance you have to fight against, compared to cycling upright.
This results in faster average speeds and a more consistent comfortable riding position.
The likelihood is that you have already bought a top of the end bicycle, which has shaved weight and is aerodynamically designed to ensure that the power you are putting into the pedal strokes converts into high speed and efficient riding.
However, there is a simple and often affordable option to help you increase your speed on the bike and improve your comfort on longer rides. The addition of clip-on aero bars has been shown to increase the average speeds of a club rider by between 5 – 10 kph.
Clip-on aero bars are an economical way for you to reduce wind resistance. No longer do you have to roll your shoulders and precariously balance your wrists in the middle of your handlebars or spend thousands on a high spec TT bike, in order to beat your PB. They are a favorite for triathletes and time trial (TT) specialists.
When every second count, with just a few minor adjustments to your riding position, you can achieve a competitive advantage over your personal best and your competition.
Clip-on aero bars are functional and easy to install, you don’t need to buy a new bicycle to beat your PB or compete with the best.
Here is a quick round-up of the top 5 clip-on aero bars on the market, which will help you to choose the right bars for you:
Token TK9741-2 Aero Clip-On Bars
Best on a budget
If you are looking to try out the riding style without breaking the bank, this is the perfect clip-on aero bar for you.
With a simple design and easy clip system, using a 5mm Allen key, they are perfect if you only want to have the bars on your bike for the occasional ride. With their built-in elbow pads, they are surprisingly comfortable for the price.
They have alloy armrests and clamps with sponge elbow pads, they are not the lightest in the market, but at this price, they are an affordable option for you to explore the positive impact that clip-on aero bars can have on your performance.
- Cheap, but not low quality
- Comfortable, with built-in sponge elbow pads
- Made of alloy, they are one of the heaviest on the list
- Limited adjustments to maximize comfort for your riding position
Deda Carbon Blast Clip-on Tri / Time Trial Bars
Best for those looking to save weight
As with most things in life, clip-on aero bars come in all shapes and sizes, this is a perfect example of why size is not everything. They are smaller than most on the market, but this is not to the detriment of performance.
They are super lightweight, weighing in at only 226gs. Made from strong and lightweight carbon monocoque, these little bars increase your aerodynamics, without adding too much weight to your bike. If you have already had a pair of clip-on aero bars and are looking for an upgrade, then these are bars for you.
Although they are small, they manage to remain more comfortable than other bars at the same price on the market, due to their ergonomic design. These are the perfect clip-on aero bars for you if you want top-quality and price is not a factor.
- Lightweight, only 226 Grams
- Surprisingly comfortable considering the shorter than average length
- Top-quality carbon fibre materials and ergonomic design
- Pricey, they are expensive for their size
- Without any padding, it does take some getting used to, to find the perfect riding position
Profile Design Sonic Ergo 45AR Aerobar
Best for stability
Since 1988 Profile Design has been creating innovative cycling components, designed for speed. Although they do not fit the conventional mold for clip-on aero bars, these are a great option if you are looking for something to help improve your performance on gravel tracks or roads.
With a unique loop design (connecting the 2 bars), you feel more stable when you rest your arms on them.
This design also gives you a lot of flexibility. The elbow rests offer a large range of adjustment in every dimension, enabling you to optimize the comfort of your riding position.
- Increased stability and control, due to the loop design and position of the armrests.
- Unique design allows for optimal comfort on gravel or road
- Adjustable elbow rests allow for the perfect riding position for you
- Any TT purists will question the design
- You will not be able to attach gear levers to these clip-on aero bars
Redshift Quick-Release Clip-On Aerobars – Aluminum Extensions
Best for quick release
No need to carry tools with you, or fuss over screwing and unscrewing multiple bolts to get the bars in the same position they were when you took them off.
This tried and tested design removes pressure from hands and wrists, extending comfort for long bike rides and alleviating hand numbness. If convenience and versatility are your priority, this clip-on aero bar is certainly worth considering.
- Quick and easy attachment and release. No tools required
- Ergonomic classic aero bar design
- Relatively heavy weighing in at 600 Grams
- Before leaving your tools at home, ensure that all the screws are tight, to ensure that the quick-release design does not buckle under pressure
Profile Design Sonic Ergo T5 Aerobar Extensions black
Another entry from Profile Designs and for good reason, we have saved the best until last. There latest “entry-level” clip-on the aero bar, Sonic Ergo T5, has set the bar high.
The Sonic Ergo is designed to reduce your frontal area to create as little aerodynamic drag as possible. The main purpose of a clip-on the aero bar is, of course, to get you into a fast position.
Despite a fairly minimalist appearance the Sonic/Ergo offers a comprehensive fit range for exactly this purpose. These bars manage to do that at the same time as offering over 100 different riding positions.
With a 13° ski-bend design, you have the flexibility to choose the angle that most suits your riding style.
They also have padded elbow rests, to add to the overall comfort of your ride, they also have 7° of rotation, so that you can adjust them to find the perfect balance between speed and comfort.
- Versatile design
- Built for comfort, with speed in mind
- Top quality Aluminium build, from a market-leading manufacturer
- Weighing in at 554 Grams, they are not the lightest. But if comfort and aerodynamics are your priority these extra 200 Grams will not be noticed
The question is not whether to buy clip-on aero bars or not, it is which ones are right for you. As with many bicycle accessories, it can be easy to be sucked in by big branded names or the latest most expensive material.
If you are new to these handlebars you will need to make sure that you are able to ride safely while using them. The first on the list Token TK9741-2 Aero Clip-On Bars are the perfect first set of clip-on aero bars.
They will allow you to get used to the riding position, without having the fear that they will snap off, due to their robust and quality feel.
If saving weight is a priority for you then you should go for the Deda Carbon Blast bars. You still benefit from the aerodynamic benefits of being more streamlined, without the comfort of having support for your whole arm. They are great for shorter time trials or rides that involve some serious climbing.
The compromise is that on longer rides, they do not give the same level of comfort as some of the cheaper more robust alternatives.
The Profile Design Sonic Ergo T5 bars are exactly what you would expect from such a well established and quality brand. These bars do not break the bank but give good value for money.
With the angled design and number of different adjustments, these are the clip-on aero bars that will go the distance.
Clip-on aero bars is for you if you:
- Enjoy riding long distances and want to cover more distance comfortably
- Want to try Time Trial races without the expense of yet another bike
- Simply enjoy riding fast
Cover your handlebar with electrical tape to prevent scratches.
Invest the time to fit them properly before setting off on your 100 km ride. If you have a turbo trainer, perfect, get used to the position while spinning.
If not then you should make sure that you can comfortably rest your arms and hold the bars, before attempting to do so on the road.
Tighten them properly so they can take downward pressure, the last thing you want is them to drop mid-ride and you to lurch towards your front tire. You should consider adjusting your saddle slightly, to compensate for your body weight being further forward than usual.
As you have found if you have had your bike professionally fitted, there is no one size fits all, so trial and error are the best options to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
Be safe and look up the road. You need to be even more aware of your surroundings than usual. You will have to move your hands to your normal handlebars to change gear or brake.
It is recommended to do this one hand at a time and with plenty of time to spare, especially when it comes to braking. Preempt the obstacles and get ready to brake before you have to.
Clear the bar! Before you go and buy a clip on aero bar, you need to make sure there is enough room on your handlebars. Most road bike handlebars will have ample space, you may just need to move your light or GPS to make space.
Prioritize comfort rather than reducing weight. From experience, your time is more likely to be negatively affected, by you being uncomfortable in the saddle for hours on end, rather than having to carry the extra weight of a couple of mars bars.
Whether you are here for some inspiration on what clip on aero bars to upgrade to or are looking to purchase your first set. We all have one thing in common as cyclists, we want to maximize our chances of winning.
Either against ourselves or our fellow cyclists. Once you get used to these bars, they are a great way for you to reduce aerodynamic drag and get the most out of your leg power and training.
Before I bought into the hype and got my first pair, I always struggled with aches and pains in my shoulders/wrists and numb hands on longer rides.
However, once I got my first pair of clip on aero bars, I no longer had to worry about cutting my ride down due to discomfort, at the same time as increasing my average speed by 7 kph on my local 50 km loop.
Few of us are going to go on to compete in Le Tour de France, but we should make the most of what is in the market to reach our full potential as cyclists.
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.