Aero/Tri bars for a shorty

grant.smith Posts: 42
edited May 2008 in Road beginners

I have found many discussions on aero/tri bars, but none seem to address my issue. At 5' 4" you could say I'm quite short, well, for fear of being accused of short man syndrome, it's a fact!

I've never ridden with aero/tri bars, but would like to give it a go to see if it improves my times, I certainly feel very comfortable and fluid on the drops so aero/tri bars seems the next logical step.

I have a Specialized Allez Triple 2007, size:52cm. So ideally I need bars which are quite adjustable. As always I'm on tight budget, but saying that I also don't want to spend loads and then find I prefer being on drops.

Product suggestions from other vertically challenged people would be gratefully received.

Thanks again



  • BeaconRuth
    BeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    Are you planning to race in time trials or triathlons? If not, then I wouldn't advise tri-bars. They're an aerodynamic aid that need setting up properly, make you less stable on the bike and make your stopping time longer because your hands aren't near your brakes. In my opinion you'd be unwise to use them for general road riding which is the impression I get from your question.

    But if you are going to get some, then the important adjustability you need is the height of the arm pads relative to your handlebars. Many tri-bars are designed so that the arm pads are a good few inches above your handlebars, so that when you go down into the racing position, your torso is hardly any lower than if you're on the drops. The benefit is therefore minimal. For people of your height (I'm about the same as you) the problem is to get the front end low enough - you need tri-bars where the arm pads are virtually on the handlbars, and you probably need a sloping-down stem too. A horizontal stem and tribars an inch or two higher than that will have you sitting upright and catching all the wind with no benefit whatsoever.

  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    Profile T2+ (£45 at Ribble) are very adjustable and sit low to the handlebars. I would second everything that Ruth says re using tri bars.
  • Mark Alexander
    Mark Alexander Posts: 2,277
    I use the Profile Jammer GT ... jammer-gt/

    they are infinitely adjustable and if you remove the spacer betweeen the rests and the frame, they're very close to the bar. I have very short arms and am a shorty too (Ican't wear long sleve base layars even!!) I find them excelent and very comfortable

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    John.T wrote:
    Profile T2+ (£45 at Ribble) are very adjustable and sit low to the handlebars. I would second everything that Ruth says re using tri bars.

    I use these, but I wouldn't recommend them. The pads won't stay on the arm rests (either the old sticky pad version or the newer velcro version) and the arm rests tend to slip on the bar if you place any weight on them.

    If I could find something better I'd ditch them pronto.

    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • drenkrom
    drenkrom Posts: 1,062
    Unless you get into the high-end one-piece carbon market, most models can be cut down to be made shorter. I haven't done this in a while, but all the Profile models of a few years back could be cut. The extenders are usually metal tubes that are locked in place by a shorter inner tube protruding from the clamp. If you take off the outer part and cut it down, it can be refitted over the inner part. I did this for most of my triathlete friends when ITU Elite bike regulations were amended and tribars couldn't protrude past the brake hoods any longer. Now, those are short tribars!

    Be absolutely certain of what you're doing before putting the saw to the metal, of course. :wink:

    Arm pad height is the other adjustment you'll have to be careful with. If the model you choose leaves little place to tinkering in that department, there is a workaround. Most armpads are fixed to their mount by one screw. Home improvement stores are a great source for clamps that'll fit around your handlebar (or the tri-bar extension itself) and have a screw hole you can fix you armpad into. You'll have to dig around, but they exist, in different shapes that can give you some fore-aft offset as well.

    Happy tinkering!
  • grant.smith
    grant.smith Posts: 42
    Thanks for all the advise everyone.

    Sorry should have mentioned that my main sport is triathlon, however I also love doing bike time trials.

    The Profile Jammer GT look perfect and it's a bonus there draft legal, I've found them on wiggle for £53 so I will probably go with them.

    Thanks again...
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    I have done 4 events so far this year on the T2+ and nothing has moved at all. All have been on 'Sporting' courses with some poor road surfaces and some in very wet weather. Max speed while descending on them was 46mph and I would not be doing that if I did not trust them. Perhaps you have not set them up right nmcgann.
  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    At 5' 4" you could say I'm quite short, well, for fear of being accused of short man syndrome, it's a fact!
    Hey shortarse, you're still taller than me. Nowt wrong with being compact, anyway :)

    52cm frame sounds quite big for your height, I'm running a 42cm Giant SCR, a somewhat inappropriate name for such a small bike, I know.

    Good luck with your aero bars, please let us know what you think once you've used them a few times, I am considering a set (did my first 10 mile TT on Tuesday, will be doing more).
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.