The New 3T Ventus integrated aerobar.
Nice packaging for what is essentially an aero cockpit "kit" as opposed to an aerobar. With a number of options and universal diameter for the aero extensions the Ventus system can be configured many ways depending on your resourcefulness. You can install ski bends, "S" bends, virtually any standard alloy or carbon extension. Our test bar was supplied with straight extensions that look racy but make for difficult steering and poor fore arm comfort.
Remember when you built model airplanes? Either you or your bike builder will have some time into building and tuning your Ventus cockpit. This is where the opportunity for good fit and position is: Custom tuning the set-up, particularly the extensions.
The strength of the Ventus cockpit is the skinny aerodynamic profile. One pad/extension mount is shown in this photo. Note that no hardware protrudes from the underside of the base bar.
The brake levers are skinny and the base bar grips miniature. This makes for a tentative grip on a long, fast, winding descent. These bars would be great for events where you are in the aero position most of the time. The base bar grip and brake levers are enough to control speed and steer but probably aren't enough for a lot of hard cornering and braking. There are no return springs so turn up the spring tension in your brake calipers and be sure your brake cable housings are cut precisely and routed cleanly.
Clean hardware minimizes parasite drag along with good internal brake cable routing. This cockpit is intended to be ridden almost exclusively in the aero posture as evidenced by the thick, cushy elbow pads and minimalist base bar grip and brake lever. This is the ideal aerobar for Ironman Florida, Kona or any flat to rolling course where you'll be camped out on the extensions. If you have a lot of climbing, cornering or braking this bar will be uncomfortable- it's built for the aero posture.
Using round headset spacers is a big aerodynamic mistake. The 3T bar is supplied with a nice set of airfoil shaped spacers to adjust cockpit height and maintain aerodynamics. This will be particularly important on super-aero bikes like Cervelo's P4 that feature finely tuned aerodynamics and a low front end.
There is no stem length adjustment since the stem is integrated into the base bar and only one size is available. Most of your sizing adjustment will come from "telescoping" your aero extensions in the round clamps to the desired length. Done correctly, the bend and shifters should fall directly in your hands. There isn't much adjustment to the position of the plush elbow pads either, so if the top tube length of your bike is wrong (or perhaps more correctly, the length of these bars is wrong for you), your elbows won't land on the pads in the right place.
A view of the integrated stem and wing base bar with one pad and extension clamp mounted. I put the effective stem length at around 100- 110mm effectively depending on how you decide to measure it.
Our sample was supplied with straight extensions. These are uncomfortable and unfunctional but can be easily replaced with any standard extension from 3T or another manufacturer for a custom tuned fit.
It will take some work to get the 3T Ventus to fit you but the result will be a well tuned, low profile aerodynamic handlebar system that compliments a nice aero frame and will likely shave seconds from your bike split.
Since the elbow pads are big, round and soft you can locate your elbows anywhere for a decent position. These pads are very thick and soak up road shock along with sports drink and perspiration. You can peel them off and toss them in a washing machine to freshen them up.
Our production bar was 19 grams heavier than 3T's claimed 995 gram weight at 1014 grams (note: we zeroed the scale for the little jar the bars are sitting on so that weight wasn't included in our total aerobar weight). This is competitive with other integrated aerobar systems such as Hed and Zipp. you don't buy an integrated aerobar system for weight savings though, you buy it to improve aerodynamics.
Lightweight, modular, reasonably adjustable and very aerodynamic the 3T Ventus is an excellent offering in the high end integrated aero cockpit category especially if you are willing to do some extra work sourcing more comfortable extensions to fine tune the fit and position. These bars will be an advantage on courses where you will stay aero most of the time- it's like race wheels for your elbows!