Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On: First Impressions
Farr’s Carbon Aero Bolt-On provides an additional hand position and accessory mount for your favourite flat or drop bar handlebar, all in a super lightweight and easy-to-install package. Here are Miles’ first impressions after his first few rides…
Before actually installing Farr’s updated Carbon Aero Bolt-On, I may have rolled my eyes at the idea of clamping this thing onto my mountain bike’s bars. I’m not usually one to talk about aero anything. I mean, my bars are 800mm wide and my tires are 27.5 x 2.8″. My setup doesn’t scream aero in the least. However, once installed, it didn’t take long to recognize its value, and had me rethinking my initial reaction. I’ve now gotten out on a handful of rides using the Carbon Aero Bolt-On, on a mix of gravel and paved roads, and am ready to share my first impressions.
On-bike comfort is likely one of the most discussed topics among bikepackers, and for good reason. If you’re distracted by a sore neck, hand, or bottom, you’re likely not enjoying whatever is around you. That leads us to contact points, the most important ones being your bum and your hands – what you’re sitting on, and what you’re holding onto. Outside of material choices and ergonomics, having more positions is a great way to decrease the likelihood of having hand issues on a long trip. This is why a lot of riders prefer drop bars over flat bars; there are more places to put your hands. Farr gave us another.
The Carbon Aero Bolt-On V2 is a bolt-on carbon extension for both flat and drop bars with a 31.8mm clamp size, offering an additional hand position as well as the opportunity for a more aero tuck position. In short, it’s a tiny bolt-on aero bar that weighs just 98 grams. There’s also a spot up front to mount a bike computer or light, should you need the extra real estate or some clearance over your front handlebar bag. As expected, the Carbon Aero Bolt-On installed in under a minute, and after tweaking the angle, it was good to go. Up until this point I was still a little skeptical, but as soon as I hit a smooth section of road and got into position, I started to get it.
First off, the Carbon Aero Bolt-On isn’t particularly long. It’s 5.7″ (144mm) long, to be exact, which didn’t throw me into a surprising position. It’s all the aerodynamics I need on a mountain bike, and could see riders participating in mixed-surface events benefiting from something similar where a true aero bar setup would be overkill. The surface is ergonomic, and is comfortable enough to give my wrists a break while riding smooth, straight terrain. The new graphics and finish on the latest model are clean, but I did find my hands slipping a bit when wet, sweaty, and while wearing fleece gloves with no grip. I wonder if a little texture on the surface could help prevent this. For reference, I have medium/large hands and I felt there was just enough room to be comfortable. Those with smaller hands won’t have a problem, but those with particularly large mitts might not love the fit.
The standard Carbon Aero Bolt-On retails for $155 USD, which is the major curveball for this component. Considering it doesn’t provide a spot to rest like a true aero bar setup, it’s hard to imagine forking out that much cash for a position that comes close to what the Jones H-Bar offers. Although, it’s hard to compare this bolt-on version to something with more adjustability and features like the options from Profile Designs or Redshift. If the black matte carbon finish isn’t your thing, the Carbon Aero Bolt-On is also available in white or green for $165, and an oil slick finish for $195.
- Lightweight. Weighs just 98g (3.5oz)!
- Easy to install. Quick to adjust and remove.
- Another hand position for both flat and drop bars.
- Accessory mount puts light or bike computer in a great position.
- Oddly expensive. $155 USD seems high.
- Gets slippery with sweaty hands, fleece gloves, or when wet.
- Might be small for some riders.
- Material: Carbon
- Weight: 98 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Price: $155 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: RideFarr.com
The Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On makes a lot of sense to me. It’s a clever way to add a hand position and is simple to install, adjust, and remove. At $155 USD, the price tag has me a little confused, however. You can purchase one of their mountain bike or gravel handlebars for just a little more. Perhaps this little addition is best suited for riders who’ve already found a bar and grip setup that works for them, but want to experiment with an aero-like position without adding much weight or clutter to their cockpit. In any case, I had a positive experience giving it a try, and wouldn’t be surprised to see some riders giving it a shot at mixed surface and gravel bikepacking events next season.