A lightweight, highly integrated, adjustable aero bar.
A completely flat option without the upturn at the brake extensions.
If you have the funds, this bar has the goods. A great example of refinement and simplicity done right.
One of the most anticipated products of the 2013 triathlon season for us at TriBomb comes from the carbon fiber madmen over at Profile Design. The all new Aeria promises to deliver an adjustable, lightweight, user friendly design in a very aerodynamic package, that is of the UCI 3:1 compliant variety. The Aeria is Profile's flagship aerobar and builds on the success and design of previous models. We've used a number of Profile Design bars over the years and the Aeria is easily the best to date. This bar is a good example of the evolution in aerobars we've seen over the years and is sort of a 'hybrid' bar that we're seeing more and more of from various companies.
The aerobar is one of those unique pieces of bike gear in that it's one of the few components that actually comes in contact with your body. The Aeria is a bit of a combination of the old school base bar and clamp on extension design mixed with the new school sleeker, more integrated one piece design. The great thing about the separate base bar/extension setup is the inherent amount of adjustability that comes with separate components. The major drawback with the design is the added weight and bulk of all the brackets and hardware.
The one piece carbon bars that replaced many of these aerobars solved a lot of the problems that the separate components created. By replacing the bulk of the hardware with an integrated system, aerobars became lighter and more aerodynamic. The main sacrifice with this type of design was in the adjustability department. Many of these bars had very little adjustment, which was fine, IF the geometry just so happened to fit your body and specific bike setup. Otherwise, you were left to force yourself to fit the aerobar, rather than being able to tweak the bar to fit you. The Aeria attempts to give you the best of both worlds by combining a very streamlined design that also allows for a wide range of adjustability.
Construction: High-modulus carbon wing, Forged 6061-T6 AL J4 Brackets, T2+ Carbon Extensions, UD Carbon fiber F25 armrests
Width: 42cm (center-to-center)
Extension Drop: 0mm
Center Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm
Armrest Width: 155mm-203mm
Color: UD Carbon
We've got your integration right here
If there's one word that has been used, maybe even abused, to describe all things triathlon as of late, it would have to be the word integrated. Pretty much everything is more 'integrated' these days and the Aeria design is certainly in keeping with that concept. Not that we're complaining, we're all for this approach, especially when it all comes together as well as it does with the Aeria. The Aeria is about as integrated as an aero bar can be while still preserving the adjustability factor.
As you can see, the Aeria presents a very minimal frontal area to the wind. Especially when it's combined with a bike that has a fairly integrated front end, like the BMC pictured below.
Top off the minimal profile with pre-drilled ports that allow for clean cable routing and a variety of path options, the end result yields a pretty freaking uncluttered front end.
Which leads us to the extremely clever design element of the Aeria that largely allows for such a tidy design, the integrated brackets used to clamp the extensions. It's actually a patent pending design that allows you to simultaneously clamp your extensions as you attach them to them to the wing from underneath. Standard sized aero clamps will accommodate a ton of extensions so retrofitting the Aeria with your favorite extension is easy if you choose to do so.
These brackets may very well be the best part of the design, as it not only simplifies things with less 'moving parts' but a by-product of the design is also ease of adjustability, less weight, and the above mentioned overall cleaned up aesthetics. You'll truly appreciate the simplicity of the design when it comes time to adjust the setup for your own unique position. With two simple bolts, well concealed underneath each side of the bar, you have the ability to not only adjust the position (fore/aft) of the extensions, but also the height (via supplied risers) of the arm pads.
Using the supplied stackable risers and specified bolts you have a range of adjustment from 55 to 110 mm (in 5mm increments).
We like this approach overall, as it allows the base bar to remain low in relation to the bike itself. Any height adjustment achieved through the risers shouldn't sacrifice much in the way of aerodynamics. Especially compared to the traditional bar which forces you to bring the entire bar up and away from the bike with spacers. In fact, some data suggests that a low base bar and a relatively high pad height actually produces lower drag numbers than a more moderate setup where the pad height is in the middle of the range of adjustment. If you find yourself in the middle of that range, you'd likely be better off keeping the bar very low and getting the stack adjustment you need solely from the risers, even if you end up with something that looks like this.
In other words, the Aeria should allow for a faster setup even if you aren't able to ride as low as you would like to up front, compared to a traditional aerobar at least.
This approach also makes it very easy to customize your bike setup based on the course itself. Riding a bit a more upright for iron distance racing or slammed to the max for shorter races for example. Possibly another by-product of the design, but since the base bar remains in place and only the armrests and extensions move, tweaks can be made without the cabling issues that can sometimes hinder such adjustments with typical aerobars.
As for the arm cups themselves there are three options with respect to width adjustment and a couple of options in the way of fore/aft placement.
We feel like there are enough options for most people to find a position that works for their setup. However, if you ride with an extreme spacing, your options will be somewhat limited with the Aeria. This is one area where the highly integrated design might be viewed as a hindrance for some, but is a big improvement over a bar like the Volna, and will accommodate the masses for the most part.
The outer extensions of the Aeria actually have a minor amount of rise at the front. While we can appreciate this from a comfort standpoint we'd like to see a completely flat section here like the Svet Zero bar which is completely flat. We get the idea and can attest that the upturns may be a little more ergonomically correct for long stints out of the aero position. It seems like a flat section here would lend itself to be a bit more aerodynamic. Which in our opinion at least, is paramount over comfort in this area, especially when you should be down in the aero position anyway. That being said, it's a minimal upturn that isn't likely to impact aerodynamics all that much. Maybe we just like it flat for aesthetic purposes more than anything, but to us, this bar just screams for a completely flat profile, which you almost get.
One of the less obvious things we think triathletes will appreciate about how the Aeria has been refined, beyond the aerodynamics, is from a maintenance standpoint. There's very little metal exposed to the elements, not to mention, sweat, gel, electrolytes and all the other substances that that can corrode, gunk up, and otherwise funktify your ride.
The bulk of the clamp is well concealed underneath the armrests and the hardware bolts from underneath the base bar, so you do not have the usual nooks and crannies that attract and hold moisture and dirt which are also a royal pain in the ass to keep clean.
Overall we really like this bar and what PD has done to address the big picture of making a modern aerobar, as well as paying attention to the subtle design details that really put this bar over the top. The end result is a lightweight, aerodynamic, and comfortable aerobar that will accommodate the position of pretty much any triathlete.
You'll have to dig deep if you want to rock the Aeria, it retails for around 900 big ones, which is in the same neighborhood as many other top end bars out there.
TriBomb Bottom Line
Sleek, sexy, carbon pimpness. One of the best bars we've tested, and a pretty flawless example of a bar that's highly integrated while remaining highly adjustable. The weight, simplicity, and ease of use for the end user make the Aeria a force to be reckoned with in our opinion.