Thursday, October 11, 2012

Triathlete On Budget : Homemade Aerobar Forearm Pad

"Don't be a cheapskate", I can almost hear some of you say as you wonder what I will be "improvising" today. For myself, it has always been about getting the best deal. So, when the foam forearm rest on my aerobar (fitted on my tri-bike) disintegrated after all the years of riding (and neglect), i was not ready to spend RM50 at least to replace them.
Easier to just change the whole Delta wing?
I was preparing the bike for my Desaru Long Distance Triathlon (or they call it the "Desaru 116") and there was an urgency to replace it. I was in the midst to re-organise my racing items (which ranges from technical rope items down to spare parts from the very first bike i bought with my own savings, believe it) and I found some foam/sponge typically used to wrap aircond pipes. They are known as Insulflex (a brand actually) which are used to insulate the brass piping. I knew these balance from the last home renovation will come in handy.
What You Need
The foam, scissor, contact adhesive and the old pad as template
1. You can get the foam from hardware store, or you can be nice to some aircond technicians and get them FOC. If you have to buy it, just get a foot of them for less than RM5. The Insulflex i have has a 3/4inch inner diameter (ID) which is typical.
2. The contact adhesive (CA) can be purchased for about RM4/can. You would not need a lot and the balance can be used for multiple usage. 
Your possible total investment could be just RM4 for the CA. Mine - they are all there for this project (because i am a closet hoarder)
How To Do It
First, cut the foam length-wise. When it is spread open, it should give you enough surface to work on.
Next, use the old pad and press it firmly against the new foam. You then trace the outline with a pen.
 You then repeat the step above for the other pad.
Original on right vs freshly cut foam on left. Appears to be bigger, but you can trim something bigger later.
Ready. New replacement pad.
What you do next requires some understanding on how CA works. You need to ensure the surface is clean and grease free. I suggest you clean up any old glue residue, rust and sweat (mark). Give it a good cleaning and ensure that the screw are not rusted away. If you can remove them, do it now and add a drop of oil into the screw thread. Once done, you apply a very thin layer of CA onto BOTH the surface that will come into contact.
Here is a tip: use the balance of the foam that was cut away to apply the glue. :) No need any paintbrush.
The foam could be tricky to apply the CA, so get some help. I choose to use the inner curve surface to be in contact with the forearm rest. You can use the other surface of course (but I do not guarantee it will work - i only have this much to experiment with :))
Helping Hand
Sticky Hand. Notice the thinly spread CA.
Leave the surfaces with CA for about 20minutes to 30minutes. Then, say a little prayer and stick the two surfaces together and give it a firm pressing at the edge. You officially made your own aerobar forearm pad replacement - for perhaps, FREE.
The sides need to be trimmed...
The replacement pad were tested on the 92km of Desaru 116km Triathlon race last two weekend. Verdict comes back as very good. The padding actually provided a softer area for the forearm to rest and absorb some shocks. Fantastic!


  1. I just bought by first road bike, and one of the foam pads was missing completely. Being a closet hoarder myself, I also have some foam pipe in the closet and it is a perfect fit. Hopefully this leftover epoxy from another project will do the trick!

  2. Nice one Stupe. I can't find replacements for mine and came across this post. Will make my own tomorrow. I have the insulation pipe and contact glue so looking forward to getting my own free aeropads. If I could have found them to replace they would have cost me over RM150.