We’re going to spend some time this week on comfort. For me, comfort trumps all. It’s more important than aerodynamics, weight, shifting speed, tangential Q factor or newton pascals of rotating torque coefficient on brake rotors. When I’m not comfortable all that other stuff just flies out the window.
I’m not talking about comfort in the abstract, but comfort in the context of equipment and today I’m writing about Profile Design’s Wing 20C pursuit bar and you might want to know why. Especially because the pursuit bar has very little to do with comfort. It’s not a contact point!
What are contact points are Profile’s 43ASC extensions (pictured here) and before you private message me no, I don’t know when you’ll see these. February perhaps. Yes, a shipment was supposed to arrive this month but I’ve heard the OEs (bike makers, Quintana Roo perhaps) bought them all up. Anyway, yes, these are cool and I don’t know if you noticed but about three-quarters of all the pros in Kona were on some form of aerobar that allowed them to rest their entire forearm, from elbow to wrist. This translates to comfort. Is that style of bar more aero? I don’t know. But it’s dang sure more comfortable and that means staying in the aero position longer, and that is for sure more aero.
What I want you to understand is the modularity of these extensions. They’ll slide into just about any bracket, including a couple made by Profile Design and I want you to see that you don’t need to buy an entire $1,000+ system to get these. They’ll sell for around $300 a set and you can slide them into most aerobar systems, whether Profile or any other company. If you can take a set of extensions out, you can slide these in. Let’s look at a pair of bracket systems Profile makes, and you can see that there is not a lot of difference in them.
First, there’s Profile Design’s Wing 20C+ and because Profile is a partner here on Slowtwitch I’m seeing ads today on our site for this very pursuit bar. What I’m writing about today is the wing 20C and the “+” is all about the bracket system. I’m showing this pair of pursuit bars side-by-side in the images, each with a bracket, and each with a set of 43ASC extensions. About the only difference between them are the brackets. The Wing 20C+ has the bracket built into the pursuit bar. It’s pretty slick; the bracket is stealthy; the aerobars rotation independently of the pursuit bar; and it’s got a lot in common with other bars made by other companies (PRO comes to mind).
The Wing 20C is just your garden variety pursuit bar. A very nice, very aero pursuit bar, but not a "super" pursuit bar. It's the same basic shape as the Wing 20C+, but with no bracket built in. So, how do you attach the armrests and the extensions to this bar? The best way is using Profile’s bracket which is variously called the J5 and the Supersonic (pictured above). I’ve waxed enthusiastic about this bracket system before. It’s a bike fitter’s go-to bracket because it’s easy to swap extensions in and out. It’s rock solid, and it’s got plenty of adjustment.
Profile’s aerobar systems consist of 4 pieces: pursuit bar; bracket; armrests; extensions. If you buy a Profile Wing 20C+ you’re kind of buying 2 of those sub-assemblies (pursuit bar and bracket) smooshed together into one product. If you go Profile Design’s site you won’t find that pursuit bar for sale by itself; but only in a complete system, with extensions and armrests. Right now it’s selling with a set of pads and extensions for a very reasonable $725. I say “reasonable” because here’s a Cervelo P-Series I built up a couple of years ago with an Aeria Ultimate from Profile and that bar and this are very similar. But that Aeria Ultimate would’ve cost you $1,100 or $1,200.
The thing is, depending on the parts you have laying around in your garage you can get pretty close to this very bar for yet less money. I happen to have a few Profile Design brackets, armrests, bolt sets and pedestals left over from former builds. A Profile Wing 20C pursuit bar and a set of new 43ASC extensions (when we can get them) cost, total, maybe $600 in new purchases. These plus my accumulated orphaned hardware, give me the set up you see here. Very little difference in appearance and functionality I think; look at the images above and you tell me.
What I don’t know, because I haven’t tried yet, is what other armrests might mate well on these Profile Design systems using that 43ASC extension. What you see here is a Race+ armrest kit from Profile and it’s very comfy (I took a pic of one armrest with the pad on and the other showing how it attaches to the bracket). If I wanted to tilt the front end of this system up quite a bit – which seems to be the thing nowadays – could I put something like TriRig Closed Back Carbon Arm Cups on a Profile J5 bracket? Are the holes in the right place? Does that armrest protrude too far forward? I don’t know. (I’ll report back when I do know.)