The new Morf Tech aero handlebar folds up any UCI rules and throws them out the window. Using a series of locking pivots, the bar transforms from flat bullhorns to aero extensions, leaving nothing to catch the wind once you’re in the tucked position. Besides being ultra aero, it also positions the brakes and shifters in easy reach in both positions. Here’s how it works…

morf tech folding aero handlebar transforms from flat bullhorns to aero extensions for triathlon

The Morf Tech bar is made of aluminum with two locking hinges per side. This lets it rotate the arms forward while the ends rotate outward to form a straight extension. The result is both traditional triathlon and TT hand positions, but without the drag created by the unused portion.

morf tech folding aero handlebar transforms from flat bullhorns to aero extensions for triathlon

Given that your weight is bearing down on the handles in the “touring” position (bars set wider, as bullhorns), we asked the inventor, Frank Springget, how they would handle the stress. Here’s his response:

“As for wear and tear in the connection, the bars are manufactured from hard anodized billet aluminum. Hard anodizing brings the surface hardness to 55-60 RC which resists wear in the connection. The pinned connections were oversized to reduce stresses which also reduces wear. Finally, the locking mechanism is engaged at the inner most joint. The first prototypes had the locks located in the outermost joints. This resulted in more components in the load path and more play in the system. By locating the lock at the inner most pin, the affect of tolerance stack on multiple components is minimized making for a stiffer connection over time. We are testing, and continue to cycle test the bars to understand the affects of wear and tear on the system.”

morf tech folding aero handlebar transforms from flat bullhorns to aero extensions for triathlon

As for aerodynamics, they’ve done preliminary testing at Faster Wind Tunnel in Arizona. As you’d suspect, it showed major drag reduction, but they’re planning more testing to develop numbers for marketing and verification. In the meantime, they’ve been testing with pro triathlete Antony Costes, who also has a Ph.D. in Biomechanics and has been giving them very detailed feedback.

morf tech folding aero handlebar transforms from flat bullhorns to aero extensions for triathlon

An additional benefit is that it lets you position the bars at extreme angles, independently adjust the elbow pads, and still fit an aero hydration bottle between them.

morf tech folding aero handlebar transforms from flat bullhorns to aero extensions for triathlon

THE SPECS LIST

  • Fits standard 31.8 (1-1/4″) Stem
  • Used with standard Aero Bar Shifters, including DI2, eTap, XShifter, etc.
  • Mechanically Synchronized Right and Left Bars for Stability
  • Dual locks in the Touring (Braking) position, two levers must be moved in order to release from touring position for reduncancy
  • Integrated Brake Lever Assemblies Included
  • 3rd party brakes, both mechanical and hydraulic can be accomodated
  • Precision Machined from Hard Anodized Billet Aluminum
  • Current weight ~940 grams including brake assembly.
  • Flexible Bar connections which can accommodate any 3/4″ ID bar including straight, bent, road bike horns, etc.
  • Flexible Bar angle allowing for flat to extreme aero bar angle accommodating mantis-type aero positioning

This video illustrates two more advantages: Speed and safety. It appears faster to switch positions here than actually moving your hands from one grip to another on a traditional setup. And, because your hands are always on the grips, you have immediate access to the brakes in an emergency…and no more wobbly transitions from one position to the other. They say it’s approved for USAT and Ironman competitions, and they’re working on additional approvals for use in competition.

The product was successfully crowdfunded and is in production now. Check out their timeline and prototype photos on their website.

Morf-Tech.com

36 COMMENTS

  1. Damn that’s sexy. But if there’s even a little slop in the pivots, that would feel pretty gross. And the inventor’s response makes it sound like customers are going to be beta testers. It would have been better if he had talked about the FEA results and how they compare to standard bars.

    • I think you are right. Customers are going to be the “beta” testers. However, that is sort of true with any product.

      What makes you think they’ve done FEA here and what do you expect you would learn from the finite element analysis?

    • I was one of the original testers. The bar was delayed by close to a year so that people like me could be the beta testers. You can read about my quick/dirty test at A2 (on my own dime+time) here:
      http://forum.slowtwitch.com/forum/?post=6247199#p6247199

      Regarding deflection of the bar, it’s basically solid billet aluminum. I’ll send a text to Frank and ask him to include that in a white paper. I can’t detect play in the joints fwiw.

      Also, I don’t have any financial stake in the company. I’m just a gear junkie who happened to reach out to Frank early on (funny enough I tried to buy the patent from him… no dice).

    • Having used them and seen them grow, I can be the first to tell you that the beta period is long over. They’ve actually been in use for a few years and the new mechanism has no play.

  2. After watching the video, color me impressed! Definitely thought this is ridiculous at first but having seen how fast they expand when needing to brake or make a sharp turn, it’s a very well-executed idea. The transition seems very fluid.

  3. Aero yes, safe no! That would take too long to switch over in an emergency. In an emergency a rider would need to take their body weight off the handlebars, pivot handlebars, then brace their body weight again into the new position.

    • Not so DJ, I have ridden these, the transition is much faster and since the brake lever is always at hand you can be feathering the brakes until you get upright for a more stable stopping position.

  4. DJ: wrong, in the case of an emergy stop you already have your hands on the brakes even in aero position. Half a second won there can save your life…

  5. I picture slower reactions times and novice Tri’ers crashing. Probably great for non technical, fast courses, and experienced racers. Personally, not sure I’d want to have variable steering leverage during the sweep if I needed to come out of a tuck on a non-straight section.

    • The bar locks back. I actually think these bars are ideal for technical courses and most of the other people who’ve demoed them (you can find a gaggle of us on slowtwitch) would agree. I reached out to Frank early on because I saw these bars as being ideal for one of the races I do every year: St. Anthony’s Triathlon. That course has something like 26 turns in 25 miles. I didn’t have them in hand for this year’s race but I will for next year’s race.

  6. I’d use it on a tour bike or commuter so it packs smaller into bags/trains/etc.

    At first when I saw the “there has to be a better way” I thought yes there is, mountain biking. But know clearly I’m not the target market.

  7. Awesome. A disrupting innovation when we all thought the next phase of aero would be only marginal gains.
    The designers seems to have addressed (or is working on) most safety issues and is using pros and beta users to source further feedback. I’ve got no argument at all with how they’ve gone about this.

  8. Love all the traditional haters of new inventions that have never ridden the product. Not safe, liability etc…. 940g for this bar with break levers is very reasonable given that the ENVE carbon tri bar is 800g for $1,050 without brake levers. Plus the triathlete is not a weight weenie like the road cyclist so this to me is a wash in terms of weight for this customer. I think the biggest hurdle for this invention is to be able to try it out. You will have a hard time convincing potential new customers of how this will work/feel in real life situation. Maybe a dummy bike set up in store on a trainer? Good luck guys and thanks for thinking outside the box.

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