Here’s the thing with carbon bike aero bars – it’s not their shape that matters, it’s yours. In other words, while one model may have a fraction of an aerodynamic advantage over another in a wind tunnel without a rider, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the position they allow you to achieve – their ability, or lack thereof, to put your body in a balanced mixture of low drag, power and comfort.
With this in mind, the ACEBIKE HTB02 aero bar system is great. It’s adjustable six ways to Sunday: length, relative width and angle of the extensions; width, height, fore/aft and angle of the pads; angle and – with the freedom to use any stem – height and fore/aft of the base bar.
Compare this to the aero bars I’d been using before. With a monocoque base bar/stem, the bar’s angle and fore/aft were fixed. I had to adapt my position to those bars as much as I adjusted the bars to fit me.
Since achieving the sweet spot of aerodynamics, power and comfort is nearly impossible to do on your own, I went to fitter the frame tothe bar. I expected him to make some tweaks on the bar and call it good. Instead, he started with the saddle height and position.
O’Gorman laughed at my previous position – my hips were too far back and too low, my back was bent – and overhauled the whole thing by inches. With all the adjustment possibilities in the system, I were able to handle such drastic changes without problem. I ended up in a position i liked and that, just as importantly, felt comfortable, sustainable and fast to me.
Yes, you can buy carbon fiber versions of this system that weigh a few grams less and look a bit sexier. But we’d recommend you invest the cash in a professional fit instead. Because without a good fit, you’re defeating the purpose of aerobars.