Bontrager's Race Lite Aero Clip-On Aerobar is easy to adjust across a wide range of positions and a cost-effective way of getting some extra speed if you want to dabble in time trials and triathlons.
For those looking to take part in time trial events or triathlons, aero bars are a relatively inexpensive way of adapting your riding position and improving your times. Compared to the outlay of an aero helmet, deep-section wheels or a full time-trial bike, a set of clip-on aero bars can offer appreciable time savings for little outlay. Bontrager have s-bend, ski-tip or straight bars available; in this case I was using the former.
The most noticeable thing about the Bontrager Race Lite bars is the range of adjustment. The simple bar clamp (fitting for 31.8mm bars) also has a clamped connection for the main bar extension. The bar length can be easily moved and tightened into place with a pair of allen-key head bolts.
The arm-rest and pads are connected to the bar extensions, again with a sleeve that's tightened by and allen bolt. As a result the pads can be easily moved in relation to the main bar clamp, for those that want the pads further back from the main handlebar, or rotated in relation to the s-bend.
Underneath the Velcro-secured pads is a further set of allen-key accessed adjustments, allowing the horizontal position and rotation of the arm rests to be modified. This is very helpful in terms of getting the pitch and angle right for different shoulder widths and fore-arm lengths. The arm-rests and pads are quite low-profile.
Once installed, the bars are very straightforward to tweak.It was useful to have the correct size allen-keys with me on rides for minor adjustments as they felt necessary. The main clamp was sturdy enough not to require too much additional tightening.
The Bontrager bars are suitable for incorporating many of the common further additions. Aero-shaped drinks bottles fit with the appropriate base adaptor, plug-in bar-end shifters can be fitted (and the bars allow for concealed cable runs) and there are also 22mm diameter Garmin mounts if the position of your GPS device is important to you.
Being able to adjust the bars so widely reduces the compromises of riding position. Clip-on aero bars are not a complicated item, but the difference between a good set, with the range and adjustability that these offer, and a more 'budget' offering, makes the extra cost worthwhile.
Entry-range clip-on aero-bars, offering excellent adjustability and ideal for those looking to add a simple time-trial or triathlon position to their road bike.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager Race Lite Aero Clip-On Aerobar
Size tested: Black
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?
Triathletes, time-trialists – more likely to be those just starting out in either activity. It claims internal cable routing and a 'gentle' clamping mechanism. The clamping system is simple and unlikely to cause great damage to bars, but I still prefer to wrap the bar with something protective.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The bars are individual, full length, with end caps but are not joined. They would not be appropriate for a draft-legal triathlon. Each bar is assembled from three parts – the bar clamp, extension bar, and arm pad. The pads and support are quite low-profile which can help get the rider lower at the front end.
All the elements are well made, solid and straightforward to use/adjust.
The design is simple and easy to tinker with to get a comfortable position.
There have been no issues of wear and tear.
As an entry-range unit the bars are inevitably heavier than the carbon Race X-lite model.
Arm rest pads are thin without being uncomfortable. It is probably advisable to fit bar tape to the extension (not included). Are a time-trial or triathlon supposed to be comfortable?
At approx £80 they are a fairly inexpensive way to get a very adjustable time-trial type position on a road bike. Cheaper options are likely to be less adjustable or heavier.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The bars performed very well – I appreciated the shallow arm rests in getting my position lower at the front of the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Wide range of adjustability made the addition of the bars feel less like a compromise of position than some aero-bars do. There was a feeling that the bars could be fine-tuned more to the riders' shape.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The adjustability means it took me a few days of short rides to work out a position I was completely happy with – bar and pad rotation was one area I struggled to get right. If the pads are positioned back from the handlebars then made sure the main clamp is well tightened!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Allez Sport 2008 My best bike is: Moda Tempo 2010
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, Triathlon