What exactly are compact bars, and why does Aru prefer them? Broadly speaking, there are three types of road handlebar: traditional, compact and ergo. A traditional handlebar features a fairly deep drop (around 130mm from top to bottom) and a gentle curve, which will get you aero; compact bars have a shallower drop (125mm for Vision’s range of handlebars) and a more pronounced bend and are highly versatile; ergo bars are a sort of middle ground between traditional and compact, where the drop doesn’t follow a traditional bend, but instead has a flatter section beneath where the levers mount.
Aru tends to choose compact because he finds the shape eases him into a position where he’s more accurate around corners. Like many recreational riders, Aru also finds it most efficient to place his hands atop his handlebars when climbing. That’s why Aru will benefit from all three bars, as each features a 10° forward bend to increase comfort.
“Keep a low profile. Feed. Keep a low profile. ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK!” (ok, we’re paraphrasing quite a lot, but it’s what we want to see)
Tune into the Giro on 23 May 2017 and you’ll see Aru nestled atop his Vision bars as he does battle with the Stelvio – one of the most iconic climbs in all of cycling. At 2,758m, Aru will require maximum efficiency and comfort – something assured from his Vision bars.
Before the Giro, all three bars will be an option for Vision-sponsored WorldTour teams Cannondale-Drapac, Astana and Lotto-Jumbo at the spring classics and their famous cobbles. Each bar features reinforced carbon construction for excellent durability, albeit here at Vision we’d recommend an extra wrapping of bar tape for added cobbled comfort!
As you can see, like Aru and his professional contemporaries, there’s a Vision bar to maximise your sportive efforts in 2017. But what if time-trial is your cycling genre of choice? Don’t worry – there’s a Vision bar for you, too…
Cannondale-Drapac’s Ryan Mullen will inevitably pitch for Vision’s Trimax Carbon Si J-bend bars, which will ease him into a sustainable, aerodynamic position on which to better his impressive fifth at the 2016 world time-trial championships. Last year he was only 11 seconds shy of a bronze medal; in 2017, he’ll look to podium on Vision bars in Bergen, Norway, in September. Why Mullen and thousands of cyclists around the world go for the Trimax bars is down to numerous reasons including: the range of adjustability and semi-integrated design; lightweight carbon extension; and slider length, that stretches from 230mm-290mm depending on your aerodynamic preference.
Of course, if you just have the one road bike and are seeking a more flexible option, you can go for the J-bends in clip-on form. These come in 250mm, 270mm and 290mm lengths, and feature six-position arm rest adjustments for total versatility.
Just remember that whether you’re Aru, Mullen or a willing recreational rider, your bars and you will benefit from a bike fit, be that road or time-trial/tri. In fact, in many ways this is even more important for us weekend warriors, who need to maximise each and every pedal stroke.