FastTT Is the Best Aerobar You've Never Heard Of

We’re living in the second mass expansion of aerobar options since the invention of the lay-down handlebar. The first big release of new product came after the Scott patent expired in the mid-2000s. Prior to that Scott and Profile Design waged a bitter and expensive patent battle and few companies wanted to test those waters. Vision did, and Syntace bought a license from Scott. But that was it. Those 4 companies – Scott, Profile, Vision and Syntace – were your aerobar options from 1987 until well after the turn of the century.

None of the principals making those 4 aerobars is a player today, that is, yes, Vision and Profile are major aerobar makers but they're now owned by extremely capable factories that make their own stuff. Scott ceased making aerobars. (Ironically, it was the aerobar idea that got them into cycling in the first place.) Syntace makes an aerobar but it’s pretty much the one they made 30 years ago. Over the past 15 years the list of aerobar brands has jumped from 4 to 40 (or more), including bike companies that make their own aerobars, like Trek and Cervelo. But all these 40 or more brands made a broadly similar design.

Then came Speedbar, which made a bar unlike just about anything else (except perhaps Xentis,15 years ago, but that's another story). Since Speedbar the mad dash is on to make a full-forearm aerobar that everybody wants to ride. The most cost-effective version has been the Metron TFE Pro from Vision, ridden by (among others) the Jumbo Visma cycling team. Its one limitation (for certain riders) is its length. It’s made in S, M and L but functionally it’s more like XS, S and M. We’re awaiting the true size L. But it’s a great bar.

Few bike brands are making their own full forearm aerobars for their own bikes and that means we’re back to buying the bikes that we want, and bars that we want, and then we try to make everything work together. I’ve got many or most of the bars the pros are riding these days in my workshop. Among those aerobars I’ve been aboard this one I’m highlighting today is – to my taste – the most ergonomic and comfortable.

Sometimes I ask myself when I test bikes, saddles, handlebars, or wetsuits, or running shoes, “Do those folks who design these products actually use them?” While the question should be rhetorical the answer is not and you’d be shocked at how often the answer is, “No, they don’t.” This is why shoes run badly, bikes don’t fit, and contact points are uncomfortable. If the designer doesn’t use – really use – the product then is it any wonder why the product just doesn’t work?

I write this because the designer of the FastTT aerobar obviously rides his own product. He’s Wayne Attwell, a high-ranking masters TT racer living in the middle of New Zealand’s north island. If this idea of a lone Kiwi carbonsmith sounds familiar, yeah, Wayne does conjure in my mind Graeme Pearson (Pearson Composites), who infamously charged to the front of races on bikes of his own design going back to the 1990s. (Follow that link to some wild looking bikes.)

Wayne has made a set of aerobars that aren’t pocket change to buy, but they’re quite affordable for what they are. These bars will cost about US $995 for a set, and they include some pretty innovative plates to interface with various brackets. But let’s stop there and talk just a bit about brackets because this is a thing you need to understand with these bars.

Historically, before the Speedbar, almost all commercially available aerobars consisted of 3 parts: the bracket or clamp; the armrest (pad + cup); and the extensions. The bracket married everything, with the cups bolting to the bracket, and a round hole to accept round extensions, and then a second round hole for the pursuit bar. You can see which bracket I’m talking about in the image below. It’s the Profile Design J5, aka the Supersonic bracket, and this is (and has been) the state of the art for mounting traditional aerobars and extensions to standard pursuits bars. It's still a bracket you can use with full forearm laydown extensions if you use the right extension, like Profile Design's 43asc.

What’s changed is that today’s new full length forearm systems often consist of one single piece that extends from the elbow to the hand-hold, where the shifters plug in, and nothing about this is round. Accordingly, the bracket that accepts this is no longer the bracket of old. The FastTT bars belong in the same family – stylewise – as the Vision TFE Pro and for that reason the bracket that works well with the FastTT is the Vision Metron TFE Pro Adapter (the other bracket in the image above). However, for the FastTT bars that you see in my images the bracket I'm using is from Culprit Bicycles, though I don’t see that bracket for sale on that company’s site.

The FastTT’s included brackets, plates and pedestals and sub-assemblies appear to me to be industry leading, or at least on a par with what’s out there. Look on the additional photos provided on the aerobar page for the mounting and adapter options. More on bracket styles (because the one bracket not included is the one that affixes the aerobar to the pursuit bar): The Vision Metron TFE Pro Adapter is the bracket best for one-piece full forearm aerobars like the FastTT here. But there’s another way to talk about mounting systems. The “standard” pursuit bar of which I speak has a round section for attachment to the stem, and that round section extends on either side of the stem far enough so that these brackets discussed above can bolt to that 31.8mm round section. But there is another kind of aerobar mounting system.

Some pursuit bars have the mounting system embedded. One example is the Profile Design Wing 20C+, and this is the basis for the Aeria Ultimate aerobar system. Another is the PRO Missile EVO and just above you see the FastTT aerobar mounted to this pursuit bar. (One side is mounted so that you can see what the other side of the pursuit bar looks like.) When I’m dealing with these new full forearm systems I’m usually rooting around the workshop for sub-assemblies but in this case the FastTT has enough hardware so that, combined with the PRO bar’s hardware, you can wrestle this thing down. Just, there’s not really a standard that I can identify for pedestal shape, bolt size, and even bolt head (e.g., flat head, button, socket cap). As we do not yet enjoy any handshaking or conformity among hardware brands, my approach is to hoard all leftover parts from every system. Keep all the parts you don’t use.

This bar is flat out comfortable. It’s the very best. However, there are some challenges. Wayne Attwell is not a triathlete; he’s a time trialist. As such, he’s made a great system for what he does. What the FastTT bar does not have, so far, is a range of front hydration options. Of course, what full forearm system does? But I will say this: The bracket and mounting system creates the impression that FastTT pays attention to user friendliness. Therefore, one expects some accommodation for front hydration. This may exist already. Look here, and you’ll see this front bottle cage adapter. But I don’t have this product in my workshop, and I don’t see it on a bike in a pic integrated with these aerobars. Yet.

You see the computer mount. I normally ride with a Wahoo ROAM but I show this bar with a Garmin as well and these big Garmins like the 1030 don’t quite fit (when you try to get the head unit on and off the mount). There is a pedestal available for this bar, where the head unit sits higher and that will certainly make these large head units fit. But I have hopes for a BTA system with these bars and if my hopes are realized I wouldn’t want to create a new clearance problem, so I like the head unit right where it is.

Besides comfortable, these new systems are light. The FastTT aerobars, which include extension and armrest, along with the head unit mount and the shifters (SRAM Wireless Blips) and shifter mounts (provided by KÚ Cycle) weigh in at 13 ounces. That’s a tad more than your running shoes.

The only other thing I can tell you and it’s true with Aerocoach, Drag2Zero, or any of the new full forearm systems: Think about the bracket. If you want a clean system, that doesn’t have an empty hole for a nonexistent round aerobar extension, you’re looking at something like the Vision bracket. There are few designs of this type that I’ve seen. Whether it’s FastTT or any other brand, see if they’re sending a bracket that mounts to a pursuit bar. If not – and the answer is that it’s likely not coming with a bracket – you’ll need to procure this yourself. Here’s where you can see and, if desired, obtain these aerobars.