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Aero is everything — though often it is neither comfortable nor safe. So maybe aero isn’t everything, or at least it wasn’t until Speeco developed its Aero Breakaway Bars (ABB). The ABB is an integrated handlebar and stem with comically long reach between the bar tops and the hoods. It’s meant to accommodate the aero breakaway position so many riders employ. So maybe now aero really is everything, but the ABB’s price tag means you might still not be as aero as you can be.
My friend James Huang (read: Arch-enemy!) over at CyclingTips broke the news about the ABB yesterday. The ABB accommodates a riding position most breakaway riders are already familiar with: the forearms resting on the bar tops and the hands over the hoods. This gets the rider low and aero. Of course, such a position is hardly lauded for its stability and safety, leaving much of the rider’s weight resting on the forearms and wrists rather than on the hands, the latter of which can react more quickly should a rider encounter an obstacle.
So the ABB extends the hoods further out from the bar top, giving the rider ample space to rest the forearms while still allowing the rider to grasp the hoods for better control. To counter the extra length, the ABB’s integrated stem is significantly shorter than most road setups these days; it’s more akin to a long-ish mountain bike stem at just 70mm.
The ABB accommodates internal cable routing, as well as integration with Wahoo head units. The rest of the ABB is customizable to your specifications. All length beyond the 70mm stem gets added to the extended bar tops. The photos on Speeco’s website show an extremely narrow setup, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise; it almost mirrors the position of a TT rider.
It sounds nifty and looks interesting, if not a bit goofy. But here’s the rub: the ABB will cost you a cool €1500 (about $1,825). That’s about the same price as a decent carbon wheelset, so the ABB is likely still out of reach for everyday racers on a budget. Speeco also doesn’t mention how much the ABB system weighs, which is of course nightmare fuel for weight weenies.
The ABB system is also UCI-legal, according to Speeco. Will we see the ABB make it to pro bikes at the top levels of the sport? Perhaps, but the UCI may have something to say about it before it even gets that far. Keep your eyes peeled.