Aerobar Arm Pad Width
A version of this article was originally
published in Triathlete Magazine
I have a question RE: aerobars. When using them, should your elbows be shoulder length apart or closer in?
Las Vegas, NV
Proper aerobar width is determined by a combination of comfort, ease of oxygen transfer (breathing), and aerodynamics. For most riders, the balance point is found when their elbow width is placed so that the upper arm shields, but is not wider than, the thighs and hips. Aerodynamically, if your arms are wider than this, your body will act like a parachute and grab the wind – which will slow you down. On the other hand, if your arms are narrower than your hips and thighs, the wind will go around your arms and run directly into your midsection causing turbulence, which will also slow you down. Going too narrow can also place a lot of strain on your neck and shoulders while restricting your breathing significantly as well, which (you guessed it) – slows you down. So shield, but don’t parachute, and enjoy the extra speed properly set-up aerobars can create.
Ride well and comfortably.
Originally published May 2002/Copyright © 2002