Review: Zipp Vuka Stealth Aero Bars

Never before has an aero bar come with an iPhone app, of all things, but that's only one way that Zipp is leading the advent of fit within their integrated bar.

For years, an integrated bar (a base bar and stem combined into a single construct) equaled poor fit. You couldn't adjust the bar's length, and the pad and extension adjustment was minimal or nonexistent. The result was that many riders adjusted their fit around the aerobar—backward thinking that resulted in compromised fit.

The drawback to the "one size fits all" aero bar (like the Profile Design Carbon X and the 3T Ventus II) was that if it didn't fit you right, you compromised, not the bar. Pad adjustment, bar length adjustment, extension choice be damned—the Ventus, for example, was so wickedly thin and aero, buyers were willing to rearrange their fit to accommodate the bar.

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The ideal bike fit brings the bars to the rider, and this is where the Vuka Stealth shines. For starters, the bar comes in three sizes, with a short, medium or long integrated stem. Each bar also comes with 10 mm of length adjustment by way of a stem spacer.

Adjustment goes deeper with Vuka Fit: pad rise, pad fore and aft, extension choice, and pad position in relation to extension all can be self-determined through Zipp's Vuka Fit iPhone and iPad app. Enter your fit stack and reach, your existing or preferred armrest width and spacer stack, then select an aerobar extension style. Instantly, out of nearly 2,000 fit variation options, your Vuka Stealth size and fit appear, with your optimal pad and extension placement. Armed with 10, 25 and 50 mm pad stack risers, you can set up your own cockpit.

For years, I eschewed integrated bars, but with the Vuka Stealth optimized to my existing fit parameters, I was able to build the bar to their recommendation, add a 10 mm length spacer and voila: a perfect copy of my existing setup from another bike. I raced it in the fall and it was nirvana: no hot spots, perfect steering axis, ideal reach and space for my between-the-aero bars bottle. After five or six hours in the saddle, the bar is less about the bar and more about you on the bike and the bar's place therein.

What's not to like? Well, it's expensive ($1,070). It's carbon with titanium and aluminum hardware, and features cable guide clips on the base bar's trailing edge for clean cable routing from bar to frame. When it comes to clean, aero design and adjustability, this bar is in a league of its own—and that goes for the price tag too.

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About the Author

LAVA magazine Senior Editor Jay Prasuhn has served as a technical, feature and destination writer for more than 13 years, covering and photographing events including the Hawaii Ironman, the Olympic Games and the Tour de France, as well as IndyCar and NASCAR motorsports events. An Ironman, ultramarathon and Leadville 100 MTB finisher, Prasuhn makes his home in Encinitas, Calif. You can follow him on Twitter at @jayprasuhn.

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