While touring through some cycling forums, I ran across a discussion about the impact of aerobars. Did you know that aerobars can actually slow you down and require more power than without aerobars to maintain the same speed? Indeed! If you have aerobars on your bike but sit up with hands on the hoods, you'll be slower than having no aerobars at all! :-)
Obviously that's not the way aerobars were designed to be used. But take a look at most riders (with possible exception of the pros and top age groupers). We're not consistently in aero! (which clearly means a wasted opportunity). What if we were to maintain a safe aero position - what difference would it make? BIG! No - I take that back. "Big" would be an understatement. Here's the overview:
Output required to sustain 45kph (27.9 mph)*
Stevens San Remo 'normal' road bike with hands on hoods: 465 Watts
Same bike, hands down on the drops: 406 watts
Same bike, Easton Aeroforce aero bars: 369 Watts
Same bike Triathlon position (5.5 cm lower bar, saddle forwards): 360 Watts
Same as above, with 2 tri-spoke wheels: 345 Watts
Cervelo tri bike + Tri spoke wheels: 328 Watts
Cervelo tri bike + Tri spoke front + disk rear wheel : 320 Watts
Same as above with Giro aero helmet: 317 Watts
Same as above with speed suit: 307 Watts
Summary? Sit up with hands on hoods requires 465 Watts. The SAME PERSON in the SAME CONDITIONS on a Tri bike in the aero position requires 360 Watts, or a 23% reduction in required power to move at the same speed!!
Nothing more needs to be said. Let's get Aero!!
*This data is compliments of a writer who pulled from a PDF here: http://www.tour-magazin.de/ and posted the outcomes here: http://www.cyclingforums.com/t/466001/drops-vs-aero-bars