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The Death of Anything but Ski Bend
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Seems as though the ski bend aerobar is the go to for most triathletes. 95% of bikes I see are equipped with them now, am I losing something with my s bend? Are they history or do people still use anything other than the skis?

Thanks!
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [swim_corey_run] [ In reply to ]
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just switched from skis to lazy s - profile T4+ I think they are. I didn't know what I was missing but can't imagine going back. Do what works for you.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [mattyboy] [ In reply to ]
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Agreed.

While I like ski bends the best, do what's right for you. I have a pair or two S bends sitting at home cuz I don't like them.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [swim_corey_run] [ In reply to ]
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I can recall back in 2005-2006 the S-Bend was considered the fastest extensionrelative to ski bends and everyone switched. Now with more people testing in facilities like wibd tunnels the ski bend and tilted up extensions are nowxall the rage but have the data to back it up.
When ski bends started to make a comeback 2 years ago I switched from S-bends as they helped lick me in my position better, with the S I was always creeping too far forward on my saddle and was a little crooked.

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Last edited by: Bryancd: Mar 21, 17 5:26
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [Bryancd] [ In reply to ]
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Bryancd wrote:
I can recall back in 2005-2006 the S-Bend was considered the fastest extensionrelative to ski bends and everyone switched. Now with more people testing in facilities like wibd tunnels the ski bend and tilted up extensions are nowxall the rage but have the data to back it up.

S bends test faster without rider. But put a rider on and all bets are off. Often hands can be below elbows in S bend directing air up into your chest (bad, I see tons of pics of people in this type of riding position).

Personally, I hated the S-bends my bike came with. Tried them for a few months and switched to ski-bends. For me it was a comfort thing as I could stay in aero longer with the ski bends and actually get my body lower with the same stack (turtle shrug).


"Perhaps I'm chock full of inner demons"
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [Chri55] [ In reply to ]
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Chri55 wrote:
Bryancd wrote:
I can recall back in 2005-2006 the S-Bend was considered the fastest extensionrelative to ski bends and everyone switched. Now with more people testing in facilities like wibd tunnels the ski bend and tilted up extensions are nowxall the rage but have the data to back it up.


S bends test faster without rider. But put a rider on and all bets are off. Often hands can be below elbows in S bend directing air up into your chest (bad, I see tons of pics of people in this type of riding position).

Personally, I hated the S-bends my bike came with. Tried them for a few months and switched to ski-bends. For me it was a comfort thing as I could stay in aero longer with the ski bends and actually get my body lower with the same stack (turtle shrug).


I always thouught that the big scoop position HAD to be slower. Never went to S bends because they logically made no sense to me. Downhill skiers from the 1960's knew that the narrow elbow high hand position was fastest and these guys have a built in wind tunnel on EVERY descent. Boone Lennon invented the aerobar from DOWNHILL skiing!

How can this position possibly be any good (Jan Ullrich 2003 Tour de France)



When all the downhill skiers always go with this position for the human body when they can:



Ray Browning sets the Ironman New Zealand 1989 course record on a Quintana Roo Superform (first ever tri bike) emulating the above skier position and taking a 20+ minute lead into T2



By 1992, this position was refined and Mark Allan went sub 8:10 in Kona



Why any of you ever used straight bends is beyond me. Not a single downhill skier would ever position their upper body like Jan Ullrich and those guys have a built in wind tunnel on every run.
Last edited by: devashish_paul: Mar 21, 17 5:42
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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But, there must be something to low hands, though:

http://keyassets.timeincuk.net/...4704-008-630x421.jpg

http://www.cyclingfans.net/..._armstrong_gold1.jpg

https://coresites-cdn.factorymedia.com/...rial-pic-Sirotti.jpg

http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/...oad+fslOBvE-Kell.jpg

http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/...65005e759?width=1024

https://keyassets.timeincuk.net/...SON_00004703-005.jpg


Yeah, there are a few like Tony Martin, and Tom Dumoulin with hands slightly above elbows (and, Martin's position has changed greatly over the past 5yrs.).
But, there must be some other issues which mitigate what looks to be a less-than-optimal hand position if the fastest WT riders have wrists below elbows, eh?

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Last edited by: philly1x: Mar 21, 17 6:13
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [swim_corey_run] [ In reply to ]
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the vuka evo style is where it's at now.

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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [philly1x] [ In reply to ]
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Probably because their extensions have to be horizonal. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable as other people here, but I believe that's a uci rule for time trialing.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [imswimmer328] [ In reply to ]
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UCI: there's no rule about extensions being horizontal AFAIK; the rule dictates maximum extension of shifter beyond bottom bracket and/or tip of the saddle, IIR.

no sponsors | no races | nothing to see here
Last edited by: philly1x: Mar 21, 17 6:24
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [philly1x] [ In reply to ]
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Is that a straight line from the BB or the seat? Or is it a horizontal line?

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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [Sean H] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe see pp 32-34 here: http://www.uci.ch/...1.01-ENG_English.pdf

But even w/in the rules, there seems to be rider positions w/ hands below elbows.

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Last edited by: philly1x: Mar 21, 17 6:37
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [philly1x] [ In reply to ]
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The thing is that skiers have a windtunnel test pretty well on every run and they were doing this for 30 years before cyclists who did not even know you could ride in the skier position. Now cycliists go and try to re invent the wheel, but realistically skiers are going 80-150 kph relative to wind, cyclists are going 30-100 kph relative to wind, but because skiers always are in a timed sport solo, they inherently can tell the difference between very small variants in upper body position for a given set of snow conditions and lines through the course. Relative to skiers, cyclists don't know what they are doing (at least they are 30 years behind). There are no shortage of stupid positions in the world tour because of rules, misguided team managers, or poor equipment pushed by team sponsors or rules or a combo of all of those things converging to sub optimal choices. Ski races that are decided at the 1/100th of a second level, these guys are all converging to the most slippery positions through the air. They are testing on every run with every possible variant in gear. Pretty well ZERO skiers are using the Jan Ullrich position at any point. Just stick a bike under the skier and have the optimal position for a cyclist and then modify that so you can actually pedal and put out power. Boone Lennon figured this out in 1986.

Read this 1986 NY Times article with Boone Lennon:

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/21/sports/for-cyclists-arms.html


FOR CYCLISTS' ARMSBy Barbara LloydPublished: November 21, 1988
A new device for cyclists turns standard handlebars into an arm rack extending over the front wheel. The advantage is added speed and comfort while riding, says its inventor.
The DH Bar, produced by Scott USA of Sun Valley, Idaho, was developed by Boone Lennon, a company designer. Introduced to the market last year, the DH (downhill) handlebar is being bought mostly by bike racers, particularly biathletes and triathletes. Joe Kratovil, executive director of the United States Biathlon Association based in New York, says that ''anyone who is serious about their racing is using one.'' Several companies have introduced hybrids of the Scott bar this year.
Lennon, a cyclist as well as former United States alpine ski coach, says he reasoned that the low, narrow crouch of a downhill skier made sense for a cyclist. The dropped handlebars on road bikes create what Lennon calls a ''parachute'' effect - a gap created by the upper torso and arms that slows down the racer. The DH Bar allows a biker to draw his elbows close together in front of him for the desired aerodynamic effect. Wind tunnel tests indicate that a narrow body stance is more important than a low one, says Lennon.
A second generation DH Bar that clips on to conventional racing bars comes with a continuous, rounded end.
The bar also is destined for the mass bike market, says Mick Metzel, a spokesman for Scott. The company claims that the bar makes for a more comfortable long-distance ride. The bar is designed with eight places to place the hands and arm. In traffic, or in situations where close maneuvering is critical, the bar is made to be held in a position closer to the brake. ''It's a matter of style and thinking,'' says Chris Grant, owner of Ultra Sports, a cycle store in Dover, N.J. Grant says that road racers, who tend to be more traditional than triathletes, are slower to accept the concept.
Scott, which plans to introduce a bar next year for mountain bikes, markets the DH through bike shops. They range in price from $50-$75.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [swim_corey_run] [ In reply to ]
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I am a big fan of shallow angle ski bends, my favorite was the Oval Concepts ski with, as I recall, a 20 degree bend. I like to have my mechanical shifters in my hand while in the aero position. Sometimes, depending on gear selection and lever position, I ride with the shifter between my index and middle finger. It locks me into a positon as I can't creep forward and I don't have to move to shift. I run my pads low on the bars with no risers and don't want too much vertical gain in the extensions grip, with my hands slightly higher than my elbows (about 6 degrees or about 2 cm from top of the pads to the top end of the extension).

New bike and new aero bar (Zipp Vuka Aero) last year (end of 2015 beginning of 2016) left me looking for a suitable replacement.

I tried the TriRig Gamma with a 16 degree bend, but was less than impressed with the irregular inner diameter of the bars for mounting mechanical shifters and frankly questionable construction, and moved on to other manufacturers.

I opted to try the Zipp Ski bends but found that the 40 degree angle was too steep for me and that they put the shifters in and my hand position in a less comfortable orientation. HED Ski tips are about the same. Profile has a 30 degree bend but it was significantly higher rise than I wanted and it had a funky tip that I was not sure I could trim. USE is the only other manufacturer that makes a 20 degree bend extension, but I had difficulty sourcing some at the time. I then moved to the Zipp Vuka Race (again this was before the Vuka Evos were released) and found that this was the most workable solution.

I don't think the anything but ski bend is dead, Zipp with their Vuka Evo seem to be rolling more S bend options out.

However, I do wish there were more options of angles of ski bends available however.

Suffer Well.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [swim_corey_run] [ In reply to ]
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I know when we test in the tunnel S bends are slower the majority of the time vs ski bends.

of course it's not all the time so ymmv

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
twitter & IG = @accelerate3
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [philly1x] [ In reply to ]
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philly1x wrote:
But, there must be something to low hands, though:

http://keyassets.timeincuk.net/...4704-008-630x421.jpg

http://www.cyclingfans.net/..._armstrong_gold1.jpg

https://coresites-cdn.factorymedia.com/...rial-pic-Sirotti.jpg

http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/...oad+fslOBvE-Kell.jpg

http://cdn.newsapi.com.au/...65005e759?width=1024

https://keyassets.timeincuk.net/...SON_00004703-005.jpg


Yeah, there are a few like Tony Martin, and Tom Dumoulin with hands slightly above elbows (and, Martin's position has changed greatly over the past 5yrs.).
But, there must be some other issues which mitigate what looks to be a less-than-optimal hand position if the fastest WT riders have wrists below elbows, eh?

Each of your links is from a Time Trialist limited by UCI rules regarding positioning, not triathletes. UCI rules state that the handlebar must not exceed +/- 10cm from the support of the elbows/forearms. In cases of some riders like Tony Martin switching to the "praying mantis" type position last year the caveat is that his elbows are way behind his pads and his hands wrap around the extensions at the end. For anything over an hour ride this seems like it would be terribly uncomortable.

The fact that pro cyclists are doing stuff like this to achieve, to the best of their ability, a higher hands position, is basically proof that in the wind tunnel they've tested high hands and discovered it to be faster. Just check out Tony Martin on these prototype extensions. His race position was a lot more conservative, indicating that this position wasn't UCI legal.



Since triathlon doesn't conform to the "10cm" rule it make sense that we see a lot more "praying mantis" and "high hands" positions.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [Bryancd] [ In reply to ]
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Bryancd wrote:
I can recall back in 2005-2006 the S-Bend was considered the fastest extensionrelative to ski bends and everyone switched. Now with more people testing in facilities like wibd tunnels the ski bend and tilted up extensions are nowxall the rage but have the data to back it up.
When ski bends started to make a comeback 2 years ago I switched from S-bends as they helped lick me in my position better, with the S I was always creeping too far forward on my saddle and was a little crooked.

I think your post touches on a lot of key pieces here. One thing we often overlook in the name of aerodynamics is comfort, and having your wrists cocked down with an S-bend is going to put strain on the rest of the chain up to the neck. There is a lot to be said about neutralizing and relaxing that part of the body on the bike. This goes back to being comfortable enough to ride the entire distance in the aero position versus losing all gains because you have to sit up and shake it out. I've had customers whose hands go numb because of the aerobar arrangement.

I think we also are to the point where we need to look beyond the aerodynamics of the cockpit itself and look at the greater system: the cockpit and upper body. When you look at jacked up wrists/forearms on S-bends, is that system really more aerodynamic than a ski bend with a relaxed forearm and wrist? It's hard to quantify and very individual, but worth considering.

Finally, I think we also need to consider the Z-axis. The distance between the hands, between the elbows, the width of the shoulders, and how those are aligned. This is both biomechanically and aerodynamically intriguing.

Travis Rassat
Vector Cycle Works
Noblesville, IN
BikeFit Instructor | FMS | F.I.S.T. | IBFI
Toughman Triathlon Series Ambassador
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [jarret_g] [ In reply to ]
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The fact that pro cyclists are doing stuff like this to achieve, to the best of their ability, a higher hands position, is basically proof that in the wind tunnel they've tested high hands and discovered it to be faster.


It's specific proof that it worked on them, not general proof.

A lot of teams will just do velodrome testing as well and there is often a significant CdA difference between high hands on the velodrome and high hands at yaw in the wind tunnel....ask me how I know.

Of course they guys are very low yaw riders, so for them it may be a moot point. For the mere mortal triathlete who isn't blessed with a 5.2+w/kg motor, we've seen as much as a 15-17w drag increase at yaw with high hands and often see 8+w increase in drag at 0.

I would personally encourage anyone in my age group to go with the high hands position especially on days with a breeze.

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
twitter & IG = @accelerate3
Last edited by: desert dude: Mar 21, 17 18:14
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [jarret_g] [ In reply to ]
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In my experience, "high hands" tests faster on some people and not others. It's not a panacea. I'm not sure anyone understands exactly why. My theory is that it has more to do with what it does to your shoulders than the actual blocking of wind by your hands, though it is probably a bit of both. If it helps get your shoulders narrow, then it works. If having your arms flat is better at getting your shoulders out of the wind, then that's better. That's just a theory, though. I can say for sure it does not work for all riders. Maybe about half?
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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I agree that Ulrich's position is/was baffling, but I think there's also a bit of a distinction to be made between hand/wrist position and forearm angle. First guy is in more of a tilted up s-bend position. Second guy is flatter ski bend.







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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [swim_corey_run] [ In reply to ]
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I remember after that one episode of the lance chronicles (where his team made various clip-on bars for him), he eventually went with what Steve Hed made (although I don't even think he did the uphill tt with any clip-ons). After that all the triathletes adopted it and profile released their own version. Hell lance even somewhat started the aero helmet craze (again), problem is when he was wearing just the giro fairing, the only thing triathletes could get their hands on was the lg prologue.

I still ride syntace. The dimensions happen to fit me perfectly and their super-comfy. I have s-bends that I'm may give away to some friends.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [Travis R] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
One thing we often overlook in the name of aerodynamics is comfort, and having your wrists cocked down with an S-bend is going to put strain on the rest of the chain up to the neck. There is a lot to be said about neutralizing and relaxing that part of the body on the bike. This goes back to being comfortable enough to ride the entire distance in the aero position versus losing all gains because you have to sit up and shake it out. I've had customers whose hands go numb because of the aerobar arrangement.

What about those of us who find s-bends comfortable, and skis really not? I've tried a lot of skis, and they're all been very upright and I find that they cock my wrist up into an uncomfortable position. I think Felt's f-bends are probably the best extensions known to mankind because they have enough upward travel to almost replicate a pistol-like grip that you can rest the pad of your hand on the bend and sort of align your fingers along the "slide," to continue the metaphor.
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [duckies] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that ski bends are the answer for everybody and S-bends are evil. I worded that poorly.

What I was trying to say is that the goal should be a comfortable, neutral upper body from fingertips to shoulders, and the most comfortable position has the potential to be aerodynamic. I have about a dozen different bends in the shop, including the Profile Design T+ series, which have 4 different flavors of ski bends, and one S-bend. Any of those can be appropriate for the right person.

The Zipp Evo bars are very intriguing, as they are factoring in a third dimension. The wrists have 3 planes of movement, so finding bars that support comfort in all of those planes makes me happy.

Travis Rassat
Vector Cycle Works
Noblesville, IN
BikeFit Instructor | FMS | F.I.S.T. | IBFI
Toughman Triathlon Series Ambassador
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Re: The Death of Anything but Ski Bend [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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desert dude wrote:
I know when we test in the tunnel S bends are slower the majority of the time vs ski bends.

Even with exact same body position? I wouldn't have expected that because the ski bends tend to leave a round tube hanging out in space. While straighter tubes seem to be tighter to the arms.
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