A few weeks ago, we added an initial review of the Profile Designs Century Aerobars. Before we proceed, here’s a bit of background. Profile Designs makes many different versions of aerobars and are the most popular manufacturer of aerobars for Ironman Kona competitors. Profile makes bars from aluminum and carbon and they are available as two separate bars or as a looped single bar. Basically, you can choose to spend as much or as little on a set of Profile bars as you’d like.
We selected the Century bars because they’re accessible to beginners. If you’re just getting started in triathlons, the low MSRP of the Profile bars is appealing. In most cases, you can pick the Profile Century Aerobars for less than $50, as we did.
The bars are made of aluminum and have fixed arm rests. Some of the more expensive Profile Designs aerobars have pop-up rests, a nice feature if you have standard shifters and brakes. The Century bars fit 26.0mm and 31.8mm bars with the use of shims included with the bars.
As we mentioned in the original post, it’s important to get the fit of these bars exactly right, or you’ll miss most of the advantages of using aerobars. It took me a few times to get the location set perfectly. To make this easier, I brought my allen keys with me and didn’t hesitate to stop to adjust my bars and my seat on my first and second ride.
For the first review, we used the bars on three separate rides and reported that the bars performed well, but seemed a bit short for riders over 6 feet tall or with long arms.
After an additional two weeks with these bars, our opinion hasn’t changed. The bars install easily and don’t slip or move around on the test bike. The arm rests are comfortable and don’t get slick when you sweat. We recommend using cycling gloves to keep the actual bars from getting slick, or using some bike tape to wrap the bars for comfort.
One interesting result of installing the bars was realizing that our handlebars weren’t very tight. The aerobars serve as a fulcrum and caused our handlebars to rotate down a bit. A quick tightening prevented this from happening again.
After 10 rides with these bars, we remain convinced that these are well made and sturdy aerobars. However, as we noted in the original review, the bars are a bit short for riders with long arms. Your reviewer has tried many different arrangements and angles and the bars remain a bit too short for real comfort. That said, the more time we spend testing these, the more we adapt our aero position to make the bars comfortable. If these are your first aerobars, you will probably get used to the length, but after switching from a longer set of bars, it’s an adjustment.
Though we’ve had to alter our aero position a bit, we’re happy with the performance of the bars. They allow us to tuck into a respectable position and are comfortable. The longest distance we’ve gone aero with these is about 14 miles and we didn’t have any discomfort.
We will continue to test these bars for a few more weeks and provide a wrap up soon.