51 Speedshop: What the Pros Prefer
Regular readers of our blog know that we espouse the “High, Relaxed Hands” position for Triathlon/TT bike fits. Angling the hands up in rider’s cockpit makes for a more relaxed torso AND a more aerodynamic position. It’s such a win-win that pretty much everyone who comes to see us leaves with that tweak in place. Mat Steinmetz of 51 Speedshop has used the same approach with the professional athletes he fits, and these days you can see his influence on bike positions throughout the professional field. 51 Speedshop released their first round of products earlier this year, and we were lucky to get our hands on several of them. We now stock the 51 Speedshop aerobar extensions and aerobar arm-cups, all ridden by professional such as Heather Jackson, Sam Appleton, Joe Gambles, Luc Van Lierde, Paula Findlay, and Luke McKenzie (among many, many others).
At present we have two of the aerobar models in stock, with more arriving in the near future: the 51-ski and the FSM. We’ll start with the 51-ski.
Riders who want a high hand height, or have bikes that don’t allow for their cockpits to be angled up (I’m looking at you, Giant Trinity), should look at the 51-ski extension (it’s going on Chris’ bike as soon as he returns from skate skiing all over Colorado). Using the 51-ski gives the rider a “high target” for his or her hands, which in turn relaxes the torso and provides for a more aerodynamic position.
Riders who don’t need or want as much hand height as the 51-ski provides should look at the FSM. This is Heather Jackson’s bar of choice, allows for maximum arm-pad contact, and the same relaxed torso of the 51-ski bar. For riders who will compete at UCI-legal events (and many USA Cycling events), this is your bar, as it conforms to their 10-cm vertical limit from arm cup to extension peak.
Most arms cups are just bonkers, seeming to satisfy a visual design goal rather than a sensible, anatomical support. The 51-speedshop arm cups solve that problem, giving the rider excellent support for their elbows and forearms, while giving the fitter a galaxy of positions where the cups can end up due to the number of bolt holes drilled into the cradle. The foam of the pad has been thoroughly thought-through, too, giving you light weight and resilience all at once. You will wonder how you rode before on your previous cups and pads, and thank yourself for making the leap to the new system.
51 Speedshop products work with almost every bike on the planet, and swapping is pretty easy. If you’re looking for a simple upgrade that’s going to improve your comfort and performance, this is an easy call. Book a fit with us to get faster in 2019, or book a follow-up if you’ve seen us already to get these products installed.