My Aerofly handlebar showed up weeks early on Friday so I obviously got my bike over to the shop to have it installed… Immediately.
After the first 20 miles I can say this, carbon bars are a lot more comfortable than aluminum. As you would expect if you’ve ridden both aluminum and carbon fiber bikes, the carbon bar absorbs road chatter while aluminum transfers everything right to your arms and hands. Now, please consider that I’ve got upwards of 15,000 miles on three different aluminum drop bars. In other words, I know what aluminum bars feel like and carbon feels much better. While riding I couldn’t help but think someone with arthritis in the hands would love a C/F bar.
Additionally, I’d love to tell you that I’ve maxed out my potential as a cyclist and I actually need the extra 26 seconds over 40 km Specialized advertises is saves compared with a standard drop bar and that’s why I plunked down the three hundred bucks for the bar – but I’d be lying. Here’s the truth:
I bought the bar because it a) looks awesome and b) would make my already awesome aero race bike awesomer. And aeroer. Um, yeah, that. In other words, will I notice a difference if I’m riding just barely under one second per mile faster? Of course not.
On the other hand, when you consider time savings for the bike and bar I’m looking at 1m:11s over 40 km – now that’s something (Specialized says 45 seconds on the Venge over a Tarmac and 26 on the bars). Do the math, on a century that’s five minutes!
Still, it just looks cool on the bike.
UPDATE 2016: Okay, I’ve got six or seven thousand miles on the Aerofly handlebar and I still love it. I’ve got an aluminum drop bar on my Trek and the carbon bar is absolutely more comfortable over the long haul. HOWEVER, riding on the bar tops just doesn’t feel right. I still can’t get used to it, especially climbing. That said, it’s still a sexy handlebar, well as sexy as a handlebar can be. I’d buy it all over again, and that’s what matters.