Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review! The 3T Ventus

In true Wit fashion... this review is for a set of bars that have been out for years and aren't even currently in production (screw you Ventus 2) nonetheless, I feel like enough people seek them out that a review is in order. And the whole "my sandbox" thing...

Bonus! It looks sort of like a Star Wars fighter :)

When it comes to aero fanboy pron (did I just invent a new term?) there are really only a few bars out there that inspire true lust like the original 3T Ventus bars. Sure, I'll grant you the USE Tulas, Tririg Alpha's and some "lesser known's" (The original Speed Concept 9 bars, the Felt Devox UCI illegal setup.) are certainly sexy bars... but I ended up choosing the 3T for a couple of reasons.

1.) It's fast. One of the fastest bars ever tested.
2.) It's sexy. Yes, that's a good reason.
3.) It looked like the -17° version would be a good fit on my P3sl.
4.) I am an ebay sniping addict and won the high bid way cheaper than I expected it would go for...
5.) Did I mention it was sexy?

Ok, so after the initial "ooh" and "ahh" phase wore off, it was time to get the bad boy installed and go for a ride. Due to my "want" for a higher hand position and the lack of adjustability on te Ventus, I chose W-bend extensions. (also known as Vande Velde extensions... searching for W bends won't find much in google.) Now after a few months on board the cockpit of Zeus, I feel like I can go over the good and bad.

On to the Review!

The Good

- Installation, mainly credited to the proprietary nature of the bar, is simple and straightforward. Bolt goes here, don't tighten beyond X, cables run smoothly through the internal liner, bingo. Done. Actually, I'd say that these were probably the quickest to setup bars I've ever messed with.

- The Ventus comfort pads/cradles are a thing that every other company in the aerobar market should get their hands on, study and then shamelessly copy. All set up I'd say it's on par out of the box with my old setup that I had to piece together to get "just right." (Oval cradles, Ceegee pads, 3T - mistral - mounts.)

The front of my P3alu. Note the deep bend W-extensions and my cabling skills.

- The attention to detail that 3T went to is worth calling out. "Crab Claw" like brake levers may not be for everyone, but they are slippery in the wind. A flat "wing" shape and no bend at the end of the base bar assures you that this thing was made with speed in mind as it's first priority. I've always appreciated that kind of "all in" attitude.

The Bad

- Adjustability. Now, if you're in the market for a Ventus, you should have some idea of whether or not it's going to work for you or not. You get two stem options, the +6° and the -17°. The negative is harder to find, but even it isn't a very "low" bar. (When I think low bars I think the Devox, or even the 3T Mistral.) With the bars and pads mounting above the base bar, it's completely possible it won't be aggressive enough for a lot of people, especially if you aren't on a terribly low bike to start with. Buyer beware.

Just a little curve in the cable breaks up an otherwise really smooth front profile.
Also a good representation of the stack height of the pads.

- I already said the thing was slippery. Well, let me reinforce that statement, except this time in regards to "when you have gotten water/sweat/whatever" on the basebar. The actual "wing" is slick as ice, and the stock grips on the brake extensions are terribly inadequate. Also, that lack of upturns at the end of the brakes may (may) be more aerodynamic, but it further reduces your grip on the bullhorns... especially going downhill.  To combat this, I ended up removing the stock grips and re-wrapping them with my preferred (tennis) tape, and then adding some grip tape (skateboard/boat) to the back of the wing (where my palms usually end up sitting.) it's not the most elegant solution, but it's functional and I feel a lot more in control.

Solution inspired by a post on Slowtwitch. It's actually pretty functional, if not beautiful.

- Crab claw levers have always suffered from not having a return spring, causing some people to complain of "squishy" braking. I've had visions, these and the "add on" 3T levers and have never experienced any "bad" braking (on Shimano, Simkins or Omega brakes) but it does take a little more time to adjust them "just right." Also, I've seen people complain over the years that they don't like the "feel" of those kind of levers either... to each their own I suppose.

- The internal routing, while not a problem for 99% of the population, is a real annoyance for those of us who like the "reverse" (or motorcycle) brake setup. (Right hand - front brake) I know there wasn't much way around it when they were building the thing (I mean... just fishing the cable through that bar would be a nightmare.) but it was something I didn't count on and had to work around. My solution isn't elegant but it's acceptable.

My solution to the front brake cabling and a view of my cheap zip tied solution...


First... I'd think you would want to try the Ventus before laying down the cash (they are still pricey... especially if you aren't an ebay sniper.) but of course that's not an easy thing to do. Most shops don't have *NOS aerobars in the $1k price range just sitting around for you to play with... so you need to at least be reasonably sure that you are ok with the Ventus' fit constrictions. (The stem length/angle and the height of the extension/pads) or willing to gamble / resale if it doesn't work out.

It's not the everyman cockpit. It's not even the "most" guys (and gals) cockpit. It's the setup for the rider who wants one of the fastest front ends out there and is willing to sacrifice some comfort (mainly the braking area) to squeeze out every hundredth of a second. Or if you just want to add some drool worthy bling to your ride.

I guess I'm saying that the Ventus does what it was designed to do very well, with the sacrifice of some of the creature comforts we've come to expect from aero cockpits. Personally... I love it.

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

Soon to come... The Rejuvenated Zipp 2001!

- Christopher Morelock


  1. Greetings! Question about your Ventus/VV-bend combination. How much of a height difference is there between where the extensions insert into the bar and the extension ends where your hands grip?

    1. Hey Gene,

      From center to center of the extension there is just shy of 3 1/2 inches rise.

      Hope that helps