REVIEWED: Ride Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On 

The Ride Farr bolt-on 'aero' bar is an interesting handlebar accessory that looks great, but is it a case of form over function?

By Jon Minster |


Ride Farr is an Australian brand founded by ex-Saffa Victor Momsen, who now lives in Perth. Farr’s original focus was on endurance off-road riding, and they invented a whole range of accessories to make that kind of riding faster and more enjoyable.

Even though their product offering has since expanded to include frames (a pump track frame and a radical double down-tube creation called the Twin-T) as well as an interesting moto-inspired twin-clamp stem called Headspace, endurance remains a core focus. 

The Ride Farr Carbon Aero Bolt-On is a sleek handlebar accessory that looks great on any bike. It was a particularly fetching embellishment to the Easton cockpit on this titanium Acme BAR.

The Carbon Aero Bolt-On was one of their first products and it remains their most popular. It’s a compact accessory that you bolt to your handlebar on either side of the stem, offering extra hand positions to reduce fatigue, and also giving you the option of getting into an aero tuck position (in theory) without the need for dedicated aero bars.  

The Bolt-On has seen a few design updates over the years: The one we’ve been testing is version three, with new graphics and grippy patches where you put your hands (more on that later). It’s a beautiful piece of engineering, weighing less than 100g (including the four bolts) and it looks great on your handlebar. But what’s it like to use?

It’s not aero, but it doesn’t matter

The Aero Bolt-On takes less than two minutes to install, just make sure you use a torque wrench and be careful not to tighten the bolts to more then 2-3Nm. It only works with 31.8mm handlebars – modern mountain or drop bars, in other words. (You won’t be able to use it on older bars with a narrower diameter without a shim.) It’s a sexy product. The matte carbon looks great, and the curves are just right. You want to try it out.

The Bolt-On has been doing duty on our commuter bike for a few months. It offers an excellent mounting point for our daily safety light – a Lezyne Connect Smart 1000XL – with space underneath for a Mango Time bar bag.

And here’s where it gets interesting, because the Bolt-On is not immediately as exciting to use as it is to look at, especially in the beginning when you’re still trying to get used to controlling your bike with your hands so close together! The rough hand grip areas definitely help, however, and once you get the hang of it, you find yourself using those extra hand positions more than you thought you would, especially on long (boring) sections of tar and flattish dirt.

Because of how short the Bolt-On is, you end up sitting quite upright when you’re using it. This is contrary to its aero aspirations… If you want to get into an aero position, you have to tuck your chest right down onto your arms, which is easier said than done and not very comfortable for extended periods.

But having the option of another hand position – aero or not – is a pleasure on long rides. It allows you to stretch your shoulders a bit, reduce hand strain, and try something different every now and then to make the road less tiresome.

But it’s more than an extra grip…

It might not be an easy aero enabler, but the Bolt-On remains a brilliant cockpit accessory, especially when you look at its uses beyond extra hand positions. Mount a light on the front, for example, and that light is in the perfect position to illuminate the road. It’s also out of the way, giving you more space on the bar. The same goes for a GPS. Any light or GPS that uses a rubber strap can be mounted this way, but if your device uses a bar clamp it gets a bit more complicated…

The problem is that the front mount isn’t 100% round. It has a flattened underside, which adds to the sleek look of the product but makes it impossible to use a clamp designed for a round handlebar. Maybe Farr did this deliberately because they offer their own bespoke GPS mount for the Bolt-On, but it would be great to see a future version with a 31.8mm round front end…

The swooping carbon design offers a comfortable resting place for your hands, but we would have preferred a fully round “nose”. The flattened underside of the mounting point is fine for a light or GPS that uses a rubber strap, but it’s not compatible with a bar clamp.

Speaking of other Farr accessories, they also offer an arm rest kit, helping you hold that tricky chest tuck position for longer, and you can attach the Bolt-On directly to their funky Headspace stem for a very unique cockpit… They also have a top cap GPS mount, which allows you to mount your device above the Bolt-On, leaving the front free for a light and the sides free for your hands. So many options!

Price and availability 

Farr products are sold in South Africa through Two Wheels Trading. The Carbon Aero Bolt-On costs R2 595. It’s not a cheap upgrade, but it does a few jobs really well, and it definitely gives your bike a fresh look. You’ll have to decide if the expense is worth it. 

If you’re looking for something that offers similar practicality for less, they also offer alloy gravel handlebars in various widths with an “aero” section out front; and an Alloy Aero Bolt-On that is solid but much more rudimentary in appearance. 

At the end of the day, you can’t help but applaud Mr Momsen for relentlessly trying to improve the cycling experience, or at least make it more fun and exciting. There’s a great sense of playfulness at Farr, and an emphasis on individuality and creativity – refreshing in an industry that too often relies on cookie-cutter copying.

Follow them on Instagram to see how people around the world are using Farr products. 

READ MORE ON: aero bars farr local is lekker new products

Copyright © 2024 Hearst