I have wanted a set of these bars ever since they were released. They match my colour scheme, are a nice raw carbon where not painted just like my TimeMachine TMR02. They are aero, which may or may not be relevant and are also light and a little bit flexible, both of which are characteristics I was looking for.
The roads in my part of Cornwall are rough, Very rough. The council seems to like repairing parts of the road nobody uses, but the main roads that would need traffic management are left to steadily degrade. Drive them and you feel it. Ride them and you definitely feel it!
Given how stiff the BMC is, it wasn’t the best bike for these roads, but it’s the bike I have. I already run my tyres at only 90 – 100 psi to help with buzz and I needed something else. Which is where the 3T Aeronova Team bars come in.
To the bar
The 3T Aeronova Team bars are a compact drop bar made entirely of carbon fibre. With an aerofoil top section with a round part in the middle for the stem, these bars will work well on most bikes. The drops are nicely shaped too, offering a very comfortable position when getting down low.
The unidirectional weave offers a lot of strength for only 205g. The finish is raw carbon with a couple ofdecals and a nice glossy lacquered finish. Overall, the bars look great.
To help with the aerodynamics, cables are routed internally. There is a small hole just behind where the shifters sit and another underneath, close to the rounded part for the stem. In theory, this allows for minimum wind resistance. In practice, they are very tidy and do look great, but a pain to set up.
It took me an entire afternoon to thread my four Jagwire cables through the inside of the bar. In the end, I had to bend the end of each cable outer to 45 degrees, painstakingly thread it through the bar and then cut off the bent end when it came to connecting up. While the end result looks great, be prepared for some swearing to get it looking like that!
Another thing to note is that the drops are quite long so your reach in the drops will be increased. They sit 1cm longer than the standard alloy bars that came with the BMC, so be prepared to use a shorter stem. I actually found myself more comfortable with these fitted but you may not.
Riding with the 3T Aeronova Team bars
As these are my first set of carbon bars, the first ride was a voyage of discovery. After spending a good three hours tuning the setup on my turbo, I was ready for the road. I rode my usual route which is very hilly and uneven. It includes very rough roads, some smooth sections, steep climbs and descents and also a lumpy fast section.
Despite being carbon, the 3T Aeronova Team bars don’t flex as much as I thought they would. They do however eliminate a lot of road buzz from rough surfaces which was one of the reasons I bought them. Getting into the drops I found a comfortable position with elbows bent that seemed to encourage relaxed arms. This is something I usually have to concentrate on but for some reason, I now find myself doing naturally.
Despite being narrower than my old bars, I liked the position and the control. Riding with hands on the tops takes a little getting used to as there is a rounded ridge for the cables that flattens out into the aerofoil so there isn’t quite as much room to put your hands. If you climb with a narrow grip, you’re out of luck there too as the flattened profile doesn’t lend itself well to that style of climbing. I don’t, so only had minor adjustments to make.
The only downside of the bars was cable rattle. Over rough terrain, the cables in the right side of the bar rattled annoyingly. No amount of pushing or realigning of the cables did anything to alleviate this. Fortunately, it was quickly remedied by stuffing strips of washing up sponge into the recess when I got home. An old trick I had used before with internal cable runs.
So aside from getting used to the new shape, there are very few downsides to the 3T Aeronova Team bars. Are they faster? No idea. The combination of aero shape and my narrower position probably has helped shave a few seconds of my route but it’s the comfort and aesthetics I was looking for and comfort and aesthetics is what I get.