Should aero bars be used in gravel? Unbound racers debate

Kiel Reijnen using aerobars on the gravel in 2019
Kiel Reijnen using aerobars on the gravel in 2019 (Image credit: Wil Matthews)

Last week an email chain circulated among most of the Unbound Gravel favourites in the men's race. The goal was to find some consensus on the use of aero bars. "We're trying to talk, those of us who do have a small position in this sport at this moment, we're trying to help steer it in the way we want it to stay," said last year's third-place finisher, Peter Stetina

One side is in favour of a communal agreement for those planning on riding in the front pack to not use aero bars. While it's likely true that most gravel pros would prefer that no one in the front group uses aero bars, they recognize that as soon as some do, others follow. And apparently, some top contenders have sponsorship obligations with yet-to-be-released bars that allow different aerodynamic combinations.

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Marshall Opel started out as a young road bike racer in Montana, and found success as a junior racer for both the junior and U23 US National team. He has swapped racing for writing, and has covered gravel rides across the US extensively in the past three years.