Farr Alloy Aero Bolt-On: First Look
The new Farr Alloy Aero Bolt-On provides an additional hand position for long rides at a more affordable price point when compared to the carbon version we reviewed earlier this year. We took one on a scouting trip in Kamloops, BC, for this exclusive first look. Find that, plus our thoughts on their new pint-sized Bar Bag Mini here…
Earlier this year, Farr released their Carbon Aero Bolt-On, which provides an additional hand position and an accessory mount for a light or GPS device. Our first impressions article gained a lot of attention—particularly in the comments section—but there was some confusion about the $155 USD price tag, and for good reason. The new Farr Alloy Aero Bolt-On serves a similar purpose, but costs considerably less and is made from aluminum instead of carbon. We had one sent over for a first look prior to today’s launch and I took it along during a recent scouting mission to Kamloops, British Columbia, to see how it performed.
As a more affordable alternative to the carbon version, the Alloy Aero Bolt-On is noticeably less sleek. Where the Carbon Aero Bolt-On used elegantly shaped carbon to achieve its ergonomics, the alloy model uses custom bent tubes. The new shape moves the hand position further out from the bar, eliminating compatibility issues found with the ‘wings’ on the carbon version with certain bar / stem combos. It uses a standard 31.8mm clamp size and should be compatible with most flat and drop bars out there. As there’s no right or wrong angle to install it, though I angled it slightly upwards and it seemed to do the trick.
All things considered, it felt pretty comparable to the Carbon Aero Bolt-On while riding. It put me into a slightly more tucked position and tucked my hands and elbows neatly in towards my stem. As mentioned above, my hands sat a touch further out from the bar due to the position of the ergonomic bend, which actually felt quite natural when paired with the higher than average front end on the Trek 1120 I’ve been riding recently. Due to its size, and perhaps the size of my hands, I wasn’t left with much room on the front for mounting a light or GPS. This wasn’t as much of an issue on the Carbon Bolt-On.
Although the shape of the Alloy Aero Bolt-On might look odd, I actually found the ergonomic shape to work pretty well and I think I might try wrapping it a layer of bar tape for some extra padding. By themselves, the alloy tubes aren’t incredibly comfortable, but the shape is dialled so there’s potential.
In use, nothing was terribly surprising about the Farr Alloy Aero Bolt-On. The only quirk I’ve noticed see is that my forearms ended up right where I normally mount my Garmin eTrex 30x while bikepacking, forcing me to slide it out closer to my brake lever. Not a huge inconvenience by any means, but for some people with lights, larger GPS units, or a generally busy cockpit, it could be a little annoying.
Farr Mini Bar Bag
Farr also sent their new Mini Bar Bag, which is a tiny burrito style handlebar bag that is designed to elegantly blend into your aero ethos. It’s made from a water-resistant Jacquard material, uses two velcro straps to attach onto your bar, and provides about 1L of storage—perfect for your keys, phone, snacks, or tools. I brought it along during a recent bikepacking trip and it held my Sawyer Mini Squeeze water filter, Hydrapak Stow 1L bottle, and two Snickers bars. I see this being more useful for commuting or day rides than bikepacking, but it’s so cute that I decided to share it here as well.
- Fewer compatibility issues than the Carbon Aero Bolt-On
- Quickly adds an additional hand position
- Easy to adjust, remove, and install
- Ergonomic shape is well executed
- Not as comfortable or ergonomic as the Carbon Aero Bolt-On
- Accessory mount feels cramped
- Cheaper than the carbon version, but still pricey
- Material: Alloy
- Weight: 133 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Price: $95 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: RideFarr.com
Those who read my review of the Carbon Aero Bolt-On likely already have a good idea of what the Alloy Aero Bolt-On is all about. It’s a clever little addition that’s compatible with most 31.8mm handlebars, gives you an extra hand position, and a touch of aero for those tackling long days or looking for a little advantage over the competition. As noted above, it’s not nearly as comfortable as the carbon version, but it’s $60 cheaper, which is definitely more reasonable—but still oddly expensive in my opinion. In the end, I like the overall concept and I think there are lots of folk out there who will as well.