BreezeBlockers AeroBlade  £24.99

7/10

A lightweight, inexpensive, effective solution to cold digits, which limits hand positions slightly.

Weight 44g   Contact www.breezeblockers.com

by Leonie Jennings   February 11, 2011  

BreezeBlockers AeroBlades are handlebar-mounted shields to protect your hands from the chilling effect of the wind. Motorcyclists will be familiar with the concept, but they’ve seldom figured in the chilly weather plans of cyclists, especially road riders. Until now.

These lightweight plastic shells are shaped to maximise wind protection while simultaneously aiming to keep wind resistance to a minimum to prevent handling problems or drag. BreezeBlockers have a variety of designs. Some aim to offer more protection but are a bit heavier, whereas others are lighter and slightly less protective. All designs are clearly marked as to what they work best for, and what bars they will fit to. Six out of the eight designs work with drop bars, and there are also a couple that fit flat bar commuter-style bikes and even one for mountain bikes. I tested the AeroBlade, a style that sits in the middle of the range for weight, thermal protection and resilience.

Fitting the AeroBlades was a doddle, with a simple tie-wrap attachment at each side. It’s best to fiddle with the positioning a bit before you pull them tight, however, as it’s tricky to move them once in position. The tie-wraps are the re-useable type, so it’s easy enough to remove them and re-fit as needed. (Once removed, you’ll see grooves in the bar tape from the tie-wraps but, depending on the tape, these do fade.) When fitting, it’s important to position the ends of the tie-wraps and the slightly sharp corners of the shields away from where you are likely to brush them with your hands. It’s not tricky to do this.

In use, the AeroBlades were surprisingly effective, keeping hands free from wind-chill to the point where I was able to ride for a couple of hours at around 6 degrees in just track mitts rather than long-fingered gloves. I normally suffer badly from cold hands, so was impressed. There was no noticeable problem with drag or wind resistance, although without a wind tunnel and computers it would be hard to explore the company’s claims that the drag is less than it is with gloves.

What you do notice is the warmth compared to wearing just gloves. Where my gloved hands often leach heat to the point where I have numb fingertips in all but the warmest gloves, there was no such chilling effect with the AeroBlades. The absence of wind (or rain, since they are water shields too) does have a marked effect on hand temperature and comfort.

While the AeroBlades work at keeping hands warm, they limit your ability to change hand position a lot. Once your hands are inside the shields, it’s reasonably easy to pull them out quickly to brake or change gear, but psychologically it doesn’t feel as easy. So a ride is not quite as relaxed as it is without hand shields. found myself riding quite a lot with my hands outside the shields, especially in towns or traffic. But even though I wasn’t using the AeroBlades all the time, my hands still remained warm in track mitts as they weren’t being constantly chilled either.

Cyclists with narrow and compact bars may find that there’s little spare bar space after fitting the shields, but they are still useable. Aesthetically, even with the faux-carbon option, it’s still an addition to the bike that does mar the clean uncluttered lines slightly, although it’s a penalty that’s possibly worth paying for a winter training bike. BreezeBlockers would be useful year round, especially in spring, autumn and winter.

Verdict

A lightweight, inexpensive, effective solution to cold digits, which limits hand positions slightly.

road.cc test report

Make and model: BreezeBlockers AeroBlade

Size tested: Carbon Fibre effect AeroBlade

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Aerodynamic shields to prevent windchill to a cyclist's hands.

Most models suit road style dropped handlebars.

Lightweight

Easy to use/fit

Do what they are intended to do quite well.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, although I didn't feel quite as relaxed riding with hands inside the shields.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, probably.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, especially those suffering from cold hands.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,

13 user comments

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Quote:
psychologically it doesn't feel as easy

That would be because it really isn't as easy, physically. Likewise, I am sure getting out of wetsuit doesn't feel as easy, psychologically, as getting out of a t-shirt, and eating a light bulb doesn't feel as easy, psychologically, as drinking a glass of water.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
11th February 2011 - 17:00

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Apart from pedantry your point is? The meaning of what she is saying is quite clear

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [138 posts]
12th February 2011 - 12:46

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looks like some dutch person has left their carbon clogs on your bars. Big Grin

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1070 posts]
12th February 2011 - 13:42

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I must say, I do enjoy Leonie's reviews, they're well considered and very personal. I'm not sure why she appears, throughout her contributions, to have suffered at the hands of one or two unfair 'smart alecs' (@handlebarcam) who've taken pleasure at having an unnecessary pop at her. I wouldn't like to think it's because she's a woman.

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
12th February 2011 - 13:50

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These things are as mad as a bottle of chips - I think I'd sooner spend the cash on thicker gloves, and or liners.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

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posted by John_the_Monkey [410 posts]
14th February 2011 - 8:13

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As comical as they may look as a long term sufferer of cold hands I reckon the only problem with these is you cant ride on the hoods with them oh and the carbon effect, tacky. Being able to use your hands as a variable heat sink depending on where you put them sounds pretty good to me

Trev Allen's picture

posted by Trev Allen [161 posts]
14th February 2011 - 9:06

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Not bad. Though not for me at all. I'd rather wrap up with some extra covers and/or material on the gloves (this article reminds me to do just that!).

I get the point of them. There seems to be a real need when it comes to wind and the elements of your poor hands, knuckles, and fingertips. It's even in carbon -- people are still loving the 'it's got to be in carbon' phase for bike bits. That's fine.

HOWEVER, here's the thing/rub. And this is not to say it's a gimmick in any way, but a few things to think about:

a) some (many?) might think the tops of handlebars are best left free and open for quick ease of access from tops to hoods, under and over, left and right, and other indescribable frontal movements made when the hands are in that area lol. I think they could pose a slight problem or obstruction if you needed to move your hands from inside the covers to the tops for a sudden movement for braking or any other sudden reaction.

b) they might get broken sooner or later as they are 'there' (garage, children, you!, something resting on them or pressing against them... [please add your own potential favourites to this list.]

c) like gloves, you could always, you know, lose one! (I'd rather lose one glove -- I could find another one than have to fashion a new piece of engineered plastic -- than misplace a breezeblock ("Ok, very funny, which smart alec's nicked me breezeblock!")

posted by eirerider [1 posts]
14th February 2011 - 13:37

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I didn't know the reviewer was a woman when I posted my comment, but I'm sure she is grateful to have big strong men rushing to her aid.

My point is that I think products are the opposite of people, in that if you can't bring yourself to say something bad about them, without dancing around the issue, then you shouldn't say anything at all. These things are dangerous. If anyone turns up at a club ride with a pair of them fitted, I'll make damn sure they never end up immediately in front or behind me. But then I can say that because I don't have to worry about distributors sending me more stuff to review.

Before I get accused of scaremongering, as well as sexism, I'd say a certain level of risk in cycling is unavoidable, but it is minimal. That is unless you start attaching things to your bike that actively make them more dangerous. In a time when people are trying to compel cyclists to wear helmets, it seems odd that companies are allowed to sell products that sacrifice road safety for mere convenience or comfort. In that group I'd include over-bright lights and satnavs - either on bikes or stuck to the inside of car windscreens (try commuting to a location that is not yet on the electronic maps, and you'll see what I mean.)

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
14th February 2011 - 21:20

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Well, I'd have no problem trying them - in fact we've got some more so I will be cos I suffer really badly with cold hands. Also looking for the US product that goes over your levers, very similar to something you can get for motorbikes. The point here is that on those long flat stretches or when it's safe to do so you can keep your hands out of the wind and let them recover. This winter we had some weeks where on one of the long descents on my ride in to the office the windchill was so fierce that even with my thickest gloves not only could I not feel my hands i could barely make them work well enough to operate the brakes. I'd trade a bit of handlebar real estate for a little more hand sensation in a situation like that. The potential problem I could see for the winter commuter is accommodating lights on narrower bars.

I take Leonie's point - you're going to be aware of them but you'll also get used to it. She rode with them a lot and she's still here. She wasn't dancing around the issue she was telling it as she saw it. These aren't a particularly new idea

As for worrying about what the distributor might say? Why handlebarcam I've never been so insulted… (okay maybe a couple of times) believe me if it was crap we'd say so, the distributor would take it on the chin. End of.

We're not in the business of giving good reviews, we're in the business of giving honest reviews. You might not agree with them but that's another matter. Contrary to popular opinion most distributors or manufacturers don't have a problem with bad reviews, what they don't like are bad factually incorrect reviews and it certainly would do us no good with our users, or believe it or not the manufacturers or distributors if we went soft on stuff that we felt wasn't up to the mark - to them we're only as good as the trust our users have in our reviews. Equally we're not going to rubbish something just for the sake of it either. Which is a long-winded way of saying that while you might not agree with Leonie's review it is her honest opinion.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4076 posts]
14th February 2011 - 22:47

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Comfort before handlebar funiture anyday, sod the stylemasters.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [840 posts]
15th February 2011 - 9:48

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I'm not sure whether I want these on my bike, but they have convinced me that I'd like to date a woman with carbon fibre breasts.

Cool

posted by BigDummy [254 posts]
15th February 2011 - 10:31

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I genuinely do not feel that these were dangerous in any way. I think it's simply a case of a modicum of caution needing to be in play for high traffic situations etc, and consequently I'd probably not recommend them for a race or sportive situation.
BUT for training rides and recreational riding, they do the trick really well. I was trying to convey that some may find the inability to move your hands around a bit troubling, rather than trying to 'hedge my opinion' or sit on the fence.

And yes, they do look like something from Madonna's carbon fibre phase.

posted by Leonie Jennings [297 posts]
9th March 2011 - 10:16

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I can just imagine Eric Estrada having these fitted to his handlebars. Go CHiPs....personally I think they would have some danger attached to them....winter trainer or not...how many times have you had to quickly go from the tops to the brakes...and obviously there is that comedic Boudicea element..fnar fnar.. Confused

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

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posted by The _Kaner [272 posts]
10th March 2011 - 15:48

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