FIRST LOOK - 3T Ventus II Aerobar
Sep 15, 2011
article & images by Nick Salazar
By introducing a tri-only, road-illegal bar, 3T has made a statement of committment. They want to build products for triathletes. And given the heritage of the Ventus, they have a tall order in making its successor. So how did they do?
Well, for the most part, 3T retained the features that made the original Ventus so popular. The bar is very thin, and very long, forming an airfoil well in excess of the UCI's 3-to-1 ratio limit. I'd guess parts of this bar approach 5-to-1 or even 6-to-1. The extensions mount via some pretty minimal clamps that bolt onto the top of the bar. It's how the previous Ventus worked, and how the Speed Concept bar works as well. The internal cable routing is very clean, and drops the cables out at the very back of the bar, right next to the stem. The brake handholds are flat, with no upturn. I happen to like grips this way. The overall aesthetics of the bar are great, just like its predecessor. But this bar isn't a carbon copy - things have changed.
The Ventus Strikes Back
The biggest two changes are first, that the integrated brake levers have been removed. This is a good thing, because it means you can add Di2's fantastic shift-levers. And it appears that the bar has been built with that in mind, because the cable ports on the back are elliptical, with more room than necessary for standard brake housing. It looks big enough to also fit a Di2 shift wire. The flat handholds are a bit short, on account of the bar's forward sweep and deep cross-sections, but it should be big enough to grip with a Di2 lever attached. If you use 3T's own levers though, which sit further backward because they clamp the bar itself, your handgrip may be a bit awkward.
The other major change to the bar is the drop. Normally, a bar with this amount of downsweep wouldn't be considered aggressive, but because the 3T's armcups sit so high above it, the end result is a distance from cups to brake levers that's probably close to 8-9cm at MINIMUM, with no spacers beneath your pads. That's quite a bit, and will leave you very low when you go to grab the brake levers, assuming you're sufficiently low in the armcups. That, I'm not really jazzed about. I wish 3T had produced the bar flat, or at least with less drop than they did. As it is, it's still perfectly rideable, but know what it's going to do if you start going that low, especially if you add spacers beneath your cups.
And, of course, the bar has an integrated stem, meaning you'd better know that the reach is appropriate for you, or you'll have a very hard time adjusting to your position. But with those provisos aside, the bar is quite a sexy bit of kit. There are some other little updates to shape, and the fact that the bar is now all-carbon, without the aluminum stem clamp of its predecessor.
The fact that 3T made this bar at all means they're dead serious about the tri market. Why? Because you will NEVER see this bar beneath a UCI team. The ruling that came out a couple years ago mandated that all aerobars meet the UCI's rules regarding airfoil ratios, so long, thin bars like this are illegal for a Pro Tour team. So 3T made this bar specifically for triathletes, who can use it in nearly every non-drafting event in the USA. It's an exciting step for the company, and I only hope they keep producing product just for us.