We may earn commission from links on this page. Our editorial is always independent.

Clip-on aerobars: 8 of the best reviewed

Often the easiest way to shave off seconds on the bike is with a set of clip-on tri bars. We test and rate 8 of the best drag-reducing aerobars…

tribarsh2himage

Aerobars, which are also known as triathlon bars, are handlebar extensions with padded forearm rests  that allow the rider to get into a more aerodynamic position by drawing their body forward into a tucked position, with a dropped torso.

Advertisement

If you want to make your bike faster, tri-bars should be one of your first purchases. Here are our top eight…

Best clip-on tri bars

Zipp Vuka Clip

  • £233

Zipp’s Vuka Clip bars are available in aluminium or carbon – we tested the luxurious latter version, weighing 218g per bar including the clamp. The standard 31.8mm clamp makes it suitable for use as a clipon with drop bars, or on a full tri rig with Zipp’s own Vuka Alumina Base Bar or Vuka Bull.

Extra wedges are included to increase the armrest angle by up to 15°, which you’ll appreciate if you favour a ‘mantis’ position. It also supports internal cabling to route gear shifters through if you intend to use on a tri bike.

Set-up is simple with two T25 bolts either side to tighten the extension clamp to your drops, and another two T25 bolts on top to tighten bars to the clamp.

There’s a handy key on the bars to dial in the fore/aft of the extensions. Carbon assembly paste is included to prevent slippage between the clamp and base bars you’re mounting to.

Zipp say that the Vuka Clip was born out of ‘data compiled from thousands of fit sessions’ to help riders maintain their aero tuck for longer, and it shows in how ergonomic the extension is.

The bend and the shape place the wrists in a highly comfortable position, and coupled with the wide, dense arm pads, we felt like we could stay out on the aerobars all day long.

Verdict: expensive, but brilliantly ergonomic and lots of adjustment on offer

Score: 90%

Profile Design T5+ Aerobar

Credit: Profile Design
  • £109.99

Don’t be concerned by the relatively low price and the simple appearance: Profile Design’s T5+ Aluminium are a reliable pair of aerobars.

Unlike the other bars on test, the mounts for the armrest and the extensions are independent, meaning that you can move the pads back from your handlebars and tilt them without affecting the angle of the ski arms.

Installation is very easy; all you need is a 5mm Allen key and a torque wrench. The extensions have a classic appearance with a subtle 15º bend and, like the other test bars, have ports for internal cable routing.

But there are questions about the long-term durability of the pads, especially if being frequently used indoors on the turbo, and, despite being tightened securely, when riding over potholes the bars tended to move slightly.

Verdict: ignore the lack of glamour, these are a good option without breaking the bank

Score: 77%

Vision Trimax Adj TT

Credit: Tredz
  • £179.95 

The highly-adjustable Trimax certainly live up to their name. With 40mm of lateral movement you should be able to find a comfortable position for the armrests.

If you’re a fan of a slammed stem, or like to hold the tops of your handlebars when taking a breather, you’ll appreciate the height offered by the Trimax’s bracket and stack spacers.

Yet this bracket is quite substantial and contributes to the Trimax being the heaviest bar set-up on test (claimed weight of 667g).

Once the mount and pads are installed, you slide the alloy ski arms in and fix them in place. Although tightening the extension bolts is a little fiddly, even when at the recommended torque under force they rotate and the white decals don’t last long.

The shallow J-bend bars really do look the part and allow you to get a good position, but for longer rides we’d prefer thicker pads.

Verdict: a solid set of clip-on bars, but for £180 they’re behind the competition

Score: 70%

Van Rysel LD Tri Extensions

  • £34.99

These no-frills bars from Decathlon aren’t the comfiest, lightest or most adjustable, but for under £35 they’re a cheap way to upgrade your road bike.

The clamp will fit 31.8mm or 26mm drop bars and the aluminium extensions have a measuring scale etched on so you can note your preferred length if you need to remove and reaffix.

There’s also some armrest adjustability to achieve your preferred forearm position. We found the position we dialled in comfy enough for short efforts.

The foam padding doesn’t cover much of your arm, so for middle to long distance, where you’ll often be in a fixed position, you might prefer bars that have larger, comfier pads.

They weigh 490g for the pair, not even the heaviest in this test, although the extensions are quite short. Overall, it’s another bargain from the French brand.

Verdict: Extensions that do the job impressively at a jaw-droppingly minor cost

Score: 85%

Vision Trimax Clip-on

  • £209.95

For the price, you might expect carbon on Vision’s Trimax bars. However, the aluminium extensions you do get have a pleasing shape in their J-bend formation (S-bend and JS bend options are available) and include everything you need for a high-end tri-bike set-up, or to attach to your road bike.

For the former, there’s an adjustment guide on both ends to dial your position and do any necessary chopping if you need to route shifters through.

There are also gaps for routing electronic gear cables. We ran the bars on our road bike and found the range of adjustment impressive.

A removeable 10mm of stack came with the bars to lower or raise the forearms, and there’s plenty of adjustment at the armrests. The foam on the pads is large and will cradle your elbow and some of your forearm, ideal for longdistance tri.

Verdict: Plenty of adjustment, but expensive compared to the rest and uses aluminium instead of carbon

Score: 76%

Prime Noosa Carbon Clip-on 

  • £119.99

These bars aren’t the best for non-drafting racing due to the reduced length and aero benefit, but we think they’re ideal for the job they’re intended for: draft-legal tri and long-distance cycling.

At just 280g, they fit standard 31.8mm bars and the extensions are made from vibrationdampening unidirectional carbon.

The pads are small and not very plush, but for short bursts on a draft-legal course this is all an elite triathlete needs. The extensions are cut away on each side so your thumbs sit comfortably, which is highly ergonomic.

The narrow width means you can’t run a conventional out-front computer mount, so you’ll need a direct under-stem mount instead.

The Noosa is also a great option for longdistance touring trips where you want a different position, and a riser kit is available to make this even more comfy.

Verdict: Super light and draft-legal bars that are highly ergonomic and represent great value

Score: 88%

Profile Design Sonic Ergo 45/25A

  • £129.99

The Sonic Ergo from Profile Design is available with a number of different extension options; the 45/25a here features an S-bend bar that curves upwards.

We weighed each bar plus its clamp at 284g each, not a great deal heavier than the carbon Zipp bars. Profile Design claim it’s ‘the most adjustable clip-on bar on the market’, with a huge number of configurations possible thanks to the risers and 15 different positions for each arm pad. There are also inserts for internal cabling.

Getting set up on your drops or base bars is very easy, with just a 5mm hex key needed to screw the single top bolt down, and two on the underside to secure the clamp.

The bars are 40cm long, which should be enough even for super tall riders who need lots of reach, and there’s a scale on the underside to mark your ideal bar length.

We found the pads on the firm side, so not the most comfortable on a longer ride; we’d probably put some bar tape on the extensions for anything longer than a sprint.

While the Sonic Ergo costs significantly less than the Vuka Clip, it loses out here due to the middling levels of comfort and standard round aluminium extensions, plus the Vuka’s option to adjust the armrest angle with wedges

Verdict: a more basic set of clip-ons with some notable extra features

Score: 80%

Bontrager Race X Lite

Credit: Bikester
  • £159.99 

You’d expect a set of clip-on bars with carbon extensions to be light and, with a claimed weight of only 425g, this offering from Bontrager is noticeably the lightest on test; and at a competitive price, too.

With measurements on the extensions helping you to get the desired position, setting up the bars is straightforward, but a torque wrench is a must when pairing alloy and carbon!

The ergonomic-shaped ski arms start straight and have a short kick up for your hands to rest at a comfortable angle, without having to over rotate your wrists, but those with larger hands may need to grasp the end of the extension.

The pad stack height of only 43mm lets you get a low profile and the position of the armrests are easy to alter. Yet a minor gripe is that, to stop them moving, it feels like you’re at risk of over tightening the bolts.

Verdict: sharp and light bars, but the profile won’t suit all

Advertisement

Score: 82%