Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Finding the right bar for me.

No no... not that kind of bar. (Bonus Points if you know the name of the bar above)
Aerodynamics. Terribly important to some, somewhat important to most. At a certain point (in triathlon especially) you reach a place where safety and handling are compromised at an unacceptable level. There's also the line of thought that at "extremes" you sacrifice more speed in power output than you gain by being more slippery (although Boardman and Obree both seemed to do fine in extreme positions) in the wind.

The key, and my quest in my P3 build is to find the absolute line and straddle it. So, let's look at what we "know." (or at least what we think we know)

- Lower in the front is usually faster.
- Narrower shoulders is usually faster.
- Less surface area (the bars) is usually faster
- bigger than 3:1 shapes are usually faster
- FOR ME (from the tunnel) 25° of tilt is faster than flat (mantis'ish)

This is (not an exact quote) something I remember Dr. Coggan saying on getting a "fast" position a long time ago.

Drop the elbow pads to where the shoulders were close to level with the hips, move the pads in to where the arms were as narrow / narrower than the thighs, tilt the aerobars up slightly, and ride hard to find where the saddle needs to be.

So. Back to the bars. The first thing to do is come up with a list of what bars are "fast," and start the process of elimination.

- 3T Ventus
- USE Tula
- Vision Trimax
- The older HED 1 piece bars
- Zipp Vuka Aero
- Felt Devox (4:2:1)
- 3T Aduro

There is, unfortunately, a common theme amongst these bars. While all of them are slippery, they sacrifice a LOT of adjustability. The 3T offerings are pretty much totally static (what you buy had D@mn well better work) And although the other bars have a bit more room to work, none of them are going to let me get here...
Possibly still not low enough.
... without a ton of work. Even Tollakson (the "mad scientist" of triathlon) is using a 3-pc setup much like the one above.  Both Specialized and Bontrager have started incorporating tilt adjustments to their bars, but the Speed Concept bars (at least the 9 series... the ones I'd want) are proprietary and the Specialized look like they have excessive stack to get all the parts in there to let you adjust them.

Man... I remember when bike stuff was easy.

So, that leaves some options...
1.) Stick with my current setup. Not sexy, but it works.
2.) Buy one of the fast bars and buy aluminum / pipe bender to make extensions with a deep enough bend to "emulate" 25° tilt.
3.) Make my own bars

Or... Throw caution to the wind and go full on Aero or Die...

Scott 100k bars
 The Good stuff
+ Let me have any angle I want
+ Very little frontal area
+ Low stack
+ Look awesome
+ Aero

The Bad
- Require some "interesting" brake options (I think I prefer CX brakes over Vision Crab Claws)
- No basebar probably takes some getting used to
- The Die part in "aero or die"

Of course, being the kind of guy that has a soft spot for "sweet" things, (And these are sweeeet) I immediately bought a set on ebay.  As soon as they come in I'll be installing them and trying to dial in the fit... after that... we'll put their name to the test before it gets too cold out. Plus, being from Knoxville, I kind of have a little hero-envy of Mr. Bostick

Riding a Hooker... a man after my own heart. Also... 650 front 700 rear and a sloping top tube... awesome way to get drop.

Wish me luck!

Speaking of aero... What about Castroviejo's position from the TT Championships?
Would really like to see his Cda vs. being up just a little bit.
He actually looks (from this angle anyways) like he is bending back down past a flat chest.  While he wasn't close to the top of the group presented... he was still plenty fast.

And while we're talking about fast

Imitating Cadel Evans "Scoop"???
Holy #%^*!& Tony Martin was INSANE. He would have been competitive in the TEAM time himself. What a beast. Not that Wiggo and Fabio weren't also very impressive (and I thought Phinney did pretty well despite the fact that he seemed to not be happy with 5th. He's a good TT'er but I'm not sure he's on the same level as the big 3 yet.)  So of course that settles all the debates... the Shiv is the fastest bike, and Clincher Zipps are the fastest wheels :) Right?

Anyways, hopefully next week I can have some pictures of the Aero or Die setup, and maybe a little thought on bike fits.

Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate it immensely!

- Christopher Morelock

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