Dutch aero fabricator, Speeco, has released a unique looking handlebar called the ABB (Aero Breakaway Bar) which promises new levels of aerodynamic efficiency.
It was designed to make the popular “aero-hoods” position – where the forearm is held parallel to the floor with the elbow bent at 90 degrees – more bearable for long periods of time.
The long extensions provide a rest for the forearms – similar to a set of tri-bars – with the result that less stress is put on the wrists and core muscles when holding the position.
This set up is widely held to be one of the most aerodynamic, as less surface area is exposed to the wind when the forearms are in line with the wrists.
Although the reach of the handlebars may be unusually long, Speeco has reduced the length of the stem to 70mm, so the location of the hoods is in largely the same place as on a traditional set of bars.
Although the effective reach figures might not be too far from usual, the width at the hoods measures a tiny 32cm. The drops are, however, quite flared so as to provide more stable handling and to mitigate issues with hitting your forearms against the underside of the drops – but even then, they are still only 37cm wide.
As you would expect from a bar that is so optimised for aero, custom mounts are produced for keeping your bike computer flush.
As a custom bar, the price is expectedly high, costing €1,500 and being available to pre-order with a €500 deposit. Given that the UCI typically takes a dim view of handlebar innovations, banning Graham Obree’s ‘superman’ position just a month after Chris Boardman used it to set the hour record in 1996, you might want to let the dust settle before stumping up the cash.
Designed in collaboration with Jan-Willem van Schip, who made flared bars famous on the road, these arguablymark an improvement over his previous setup.