Carbon Wasp might not be the first name for the Yorkshire-based company that has been producing high-end carbon-fiber components for many of the current time bikes of current WorldTour teams since 2018 already. However, the brand has only recently started making in-house products under the Carbon Wasp moniker. The result is the bar system you see here, designed to unlock better performance and on-the-bike comfort for both non-UCI and UCI-sanctioned events.
The Carbon Wasp Aero Bar has not been tested for any drawbacks. Read on for the final verdict.
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Visually, the Carbon Wasp Aero Bar system makes a convincing case for itself. It’s bold and stealthy, utilizing the raw carbon-fiber weave to maximum effect, and will complement most bike colourways as a result. The in-your-face, yellow Carbon Wasp logo may not be everyone’s taste and, while it’s obvious branding exercise to help build awareness, we would have much preferred a less brazen, black-on-black treatment.
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Specifications and installation
For many triathletes, time trialists and track racers, aerobar adjustment at 15-degrees rise). Available in two distinct options – Non-UCI and UCI-compliant, the Aero Extensions fit flush against the basebar, and provide superior ergonomics and leverage while closing the gap between the hands and head. Manufactured from different types of pre-preg, both high strength standard modulus (Toray T700) and 2×2 twill weave, the extensions are incredibly strong but also provide some degree of compliance which aids in comfort.
Carbon Wasp offers it in both off-the-shelf and fully customisable option. The system pictured here is the regular off-the-shelf Non-UCI specification package, complete with U-shaped armrests. It weighs in at 850g including all the hardware. My time trial bike’s Vision Metron TFA cockpit utilizes a layout quite specific to its proprietary spacers and extension system that made things a little tricky in terms of installation. Thankfully, the spacer extrusions were flat enough to play nicely with the Carbon Wasp wedge anchoring brackets which are secured in place from below the bar. From there it was just a matter of sliding the extensions onto the wedge anchoring bracket and fastening the screws. (I suggest tightening one at a time to get the desired rise, which I found was 18-degrees for my particular set-up).
The balance of the installation is pretty straightforward. Fitting the Shimano Di2 shifters was easy and, despite some excess carbon inside the extension itself, the wires plumbed through without any hiccups. (They are also compatible with SRAM shifters and the eTap blip box will easily fit the extension). Once you’re happy with the placement of the U-shaped armrests, the last thing you need is to cut the foam adhesive to shape before sticking it in place. It’s a very intuitive installation process even though you are getting your local bike shop to help install the system if you are unsure in any way.
Pro tip: It’s worth cutting the holes into both foam pieces so you can remove the armrests without ripping the foam.
Before I drill down into the performance details, it’s worth mentioning the range of adjustability this system brings to the experience. The extension length is adjustable by over 90mm from the rear base bar bolt hole to the end of the tips, while the angle or tilt can be adjusted from 0-30 degrees. Not only can you manipulate the ‘toe-in’ which can arrange the bars from a parallel position to tips touching, but the armrest cups also offer 15mm of fore-aft travel. That’s what allows you to streamline and settle on a position that works – for me, it was about closing the gap between my hands and face without interfering with anything else.
Out on the road, the system feels rock solid. Even over expansion joints, bumps, and road imperfections, everything stays in place, which is reassuring when you’re moving at high speed. The U-shaped armrests were a huge upgrade coming from more traditional flat-shaped items. This arrangement allows for greater stability, less core compensation, and allows you to remain focussed on holding your position. The only issue I got came from leaving the armrests to apply the brakes, which required me to pull up rather than slide out.
In terms of the arrangement itself, I’ve managed to close the gap between my hands and face quite significantly. While managing the Carbon Wasp Aero Bar system, I’ve managed to produce the same performances over 10- and 25-mile time trials using similar watts than before. This equates to savings of around 5-9-watts over 25 miles. For me, though, it’s more the comfort and trust afforded by the adjustability and strength of the carbon-fiber construction that makes it a clear winner in my eyes.
At £ 795 / $ 1,050, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this is a pricey system. That said, all time travelers – regardless of ability – will know how deep the aero rabbit hole can get, and find a system this adjustable and compatible is like old’s teeth. Based on that alone, the Carbon Wasp Aero Bar System makes it so easy to invest: a one-off purchase that you can easily move from bike to bike.
The beauty of this system is the wide range of adjustability and the ease with which you can tweak things without it becoming overly complicated or restrictive. So forget that wheel upgrade is no longer a bad bike situation.
|Aesthetics||Beautifully designed, featuring raw carbon weave. However, the visual package would look more refined with black-on-black Carbon Wasp logo||7/10|
|Compatibility||Compatibility is the Carbon Wasp Aero Bar system’s USP. It plays nicely with all stock base bars. Full marks here||10/10|
|Adjustibility||With myriad adjustment points spanning fore / aft for both armrests and extensions, not to mention 0-30 degrees of tilt, the Carbon Wasp Aero Bar system is the most complete item||10/10|
|Performance||Rock solid stability coupled with top-drawer ergonomics makes this a no-brainer system for the ardent time triallist||9/10|
|Value for money||At £ 795 / $ 1,050, it’s certainly not the level of adjustability, comfort and confidence afforded by this arrangement puts it head and shoulders above all stock set-ups. We’d prioritize this over a wheel upgrade||7/10|
Tech Specs: Carbon Wasp Aero Bar system
- Price: £ 795 / $ 1,050
- Weight: 850g (including all hardware – screws and armrests)
- Colors: Raw carbon, yellow logo
- Length: Over 90mm, adjustable from 280mm – 374mm
- Angle: 0-30-degrees
- Armrests: Two positions (or custom drill to fine-tune)
- Computer mount: Garmin or Wahoo