Bicycle aerobar – types, how to install

Tribar, aka aerobar, aka “layback” and split handlebar are all names for a special overlay that is used to optimize the aerodynamic properties of the cyclist while riding. The scope of use – long-distance triathlon competitions, races on the highway with a split start. This accessory allows the rider to take the most comfortable position, which, in addition, allows you to increase and maintain the speed of the bike.

What is an aerobar

What is an aerobar

Simply put, an aerobar on a bicycle is a special handlebar cover that provides an aerodynamic seating position for the cyclist. It can be made in one piece or consist of several components.


There are only two:

  1. special handlebar;
  2. removable grips.

You can also distinguish the classification of bicycle aerobars depending on the materials of manufacture. This can be the notorious carbon, aluminum alloy and other composite materials. As for everything else, some types of aerobars can also be distinguished depending on the shape of the sticks:

  • S-shaped;
  • J-shaped.

S-shaped designs are considered the most common, although J-shaped poles are considered more comfortable because the cyclist’s wrists are in a natural position rather than bent forward. But it depends on the specifics of the sport.

Aerodynamic properties

The main purpose is to reduce the intensity of air resistance while riding at high speed. For this purpose, the athlete’s landing becomes as low and narrow as possible. Ideally, the athlete takes a completely horizontal body position and presses his elbows tightly together. With a conventional handlebar design this position is extremely difficult: firstly, it is uncomfortable and secondly, it does not allow you to breathe with your full chest. By choosing an aerobar for MTB, the cyclist finds a kind of compromise between aerodynamics and comfort.

Installing the aerobar on a road bike

Installing the aero bar on a road bike

First of all, you need to fix the bike so that the steering part of it remains stationary, but it was comfortable to work with it. You will need a set of hexes and mounting bolts to install the pad. Some thick grease may also come in handy.

Read also Bike handlebar horns – what they are, why they are needed, how to install them

Sequence of actions

Let’s consider in more detail the process of installing a sunbed on a road bike. Step by step instructions:

  1. Well clean the surface where the aerobar for triathlon will be installed.
  2. Thoroughly lubricate the bolts that will be used to fasten the pad to the handlebars of the bicycle.
  3. Measure the distance from the mount to the handlebar stem. This is to ensure that the handlebar is level and symmetrical. Tighten the bolts carefully without using too much force.

Now it remains only to adjust the design in width so that the elbows are placed in a comfortable plane. We should dwell a little on this point: too narrow position does not increase aerodynamic properties, and too wide – allows the oncoming wind stream to “fly” through the arms and crash into the chest and the belly. Accordingly, it is necessary to determine the “golden mean”, focusing on the comfort of the cyclist.

Adjustment and seating

airbar landing

The placement of the recliner should be such that the angle between the shoulder and forearm and between the body and shoulder is 90 degrees. The cyclist’s back should be tilted slightly forward and ideally should be in a horizontal position, but not tilted downward.

There are several variations in the adjustment of aerobars (the types of construction do not matter here):

  1. Length of the recliner. This is probably the most important setting: if you lie stretched far forward, your position will be extremely uncomfortable, which, in turn, will harm your back and muscular corset.
  2. Height of elbow pads. This parameter determines how close to a horizontal posture your body will take during acceleration and holding speed. Most cyclists prefer a higher fit because a low fit makes it difficult to breathe and cramps movement.
  3. Distance between elbow pads. It makes sense to put them a little wider so as not to squeeze the rib cage. You can place the arms close to each other and not to constrict the breath, you can put the parts in V-shape.

Professional models allow you to adjust the positioning of the recliner as comfortable and ergonomic as possible. The height of the elbow pads and the distance between them, the angle of the sticks and the pad, and sometimes – all at the same time. It makes sense to put an aerobar on a flat handlebar when it is necessary to improve aerodynamic properties.


To summarize, we should pay attention to the advisability of installing an aerobar. If you are a professional athlete or aspire to this title, then the aerodynamic properties cannot be ignored. That is, the use of a special overlay is due to the specifics of the sports discipline. Along with this, even a professional aerobar (“decathlon”, for example) noticeably reduces the controllability of the bike, because the aerodynamic fit shifts your center of gravity forward, and in combination with a narrow grip handlebar it becomes especially noticeable.

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Comments: 1
  1. Mary Wells

    Great article! As someone who is new to cycling, i found this post very helpful in understanding the different types of bicycle aerobars and how to properly install them. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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