I’ve been considering a set of TT bars to try out to have a different back position during long rides and to rest my hands. I suffer from an auto-immune disease giving me a chronic stiff back and numb hand. Being able to have a different position could help. But, on the other hand, my back is not the most flexible. I have a comfortable bike position now and my back normally doesn’t trouble me anymore. I still doubt if I could ride in the TT position though, it’s something I would have to try.
The problem is that there’s only one that fits my handlebar (vision 4d flat) and it’s quite expensive (300 euros), which to me is quite much just to try it out.
Are there people with experience in this, to what extend could you ride a tt bar with a troubled back? And does it help to switch to this position?
I’ve never used TT bars, but I do often rest my forearms on my bike like the pros used to do before it was disallowed by UCI. (I only do it indoors—feels to unsafe for outdoors.) if you haven’t, I’d try that first, maybe using a towel to pad your bars. If you like it, maybe then try out the TT bars.
It is an adjustment to riding in aerobars, and there is only one way to get accustomed to it, ride in that position. Do factor in seat angle to avoid squishing areas and becoming uncomfortable in the nether regions, nothing drastic in lean angle is required, I based my seat angle on feel for when I am in the aerobars and for the majority of time I am not. Would hate to be sliding forward or putting pressure on the hands when not in the aero bars. A shorter nose saddle is preferred, one does not need a TT saddle.
Do you ever ride in the drops? Start your position for aero bars at the same height, i.e. install extensions to the aerobars to effectively rasie your position. I have found my optimal aerobar height to my saddle height is with 40mm extensions on the handlebars. I started with 70mm. I definitely do not have the traditional look of arse up and hands down, but it is more aero than riding in the hoods and tops. I would say I am 10mm lower in body height when in the aero bars than when in the drops. I use aero bars purely for allowing another riding position, save the hands/give the hands a rest.
I use my aerobars for multiday trips trips and when rides exceed 350km. The additional riding position does save the hands. I do ride IDT sessions with my aero bars keeping me in tune to that position, despite those sessions being no more than 1-4 hours.
If you’re not in any particular discomfort now, I’d be really cautious of causing problems by moving to aerobars. You need some decent core strength and training in the position to make it work without causing problems. If you do want to experiment with it to help the numbness in your hand then do so carefully and gradually.
A thing to consider is the hip angle. As you lower your shoulders into a TT position, the hip angle becomes more acute. On TT bikes, the saddle is positioned further forward to lessen this effect. (UCI limits forward positioning of the saddle, but sanctioning organizations don’t). Of course lowering the shoulders is intended to improve aerodynamics by getting your torso closer to horizontal. If you are using aerobars more as an alternative position rather than for aero improvement, they needn’t be so low.