If you're new to time trialling then a set of clip-on bar extensions is the simplest way to get a more aerodynamic position on the bike. These Ritchey Prologue bars should fit the bill very well: they're a comfortable, adjustable system that won't break the bank, and aside from the extra weight that they carry they perform as well as other more expensive options. They also offer a useful extra position on training rides if you don't want to keep fitting and re-fitting them.
Fitting is straightforward, requires very little bar space (the clamp sits right next to the stem and is about 1cm wide; there's a shim for standard bars) and there's a wide range of variables that should allow you to find a comfortable position. The extensions sit below the bar with the armrests on top and the extension length can be changed, as can the armrest width (though I would have liked them a bit closer together than is possible) and angle. You can also rotate the extensions so the upturned end sections are pointing in or out; as you can see from the pic I'm more comfortable with them facing in. The fittings are good quality with only the bolts holding the armrests to the clamp giving me any trouble: I found them quite easy to round off and they need a bit of care.
Once everything is done up nice and tight they feel sturdy. The armrest pads are well shaped to hold your arm and the padding is nice and deep meaning that road irregularities don't throw you off your stride. I've ridden short ten-milers on the Prologues and also spent a three-hour training ride almost exclusively on the extensions to see if they'd beat up my arms over a longer ride but they were extremely comfortable, so much so that I'd consider having them on the bike full time to give myself an extra position; the only downside of doing this is that the armrests don't fold up, meaning you can still ride on the hoods but not the tops.
at 640g the Ritchey Prologues aren't the lightest option out there but as an introduction to time trialling they're good value and will certainly last until you start looking lustfully at disc wheels and teardrop helmets. Getting aero is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your performance in the race against time, and the Prologues score very well for comfort, adjustability and build quality.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Ritchey Prologue clip-on TT bar
Size tested: n/a
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? To a TT novice, certainly
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.