Never Decide between Road and Aero again, with Switch Aero System

Switch Aero QR aerobar system

Thanks to Redshift Sports, triathletes can have their cake and then ride it off in either the aero or road position. When it comes to bike set up, many triathletes who are limited to one bike are stuck between having a bike set up for tris or for group training rides. Many group rides don’t even allow bikes with aerobars, so what is a triathlete on a budget to do? Redshift may have the answer with their aerobar and seatpost system that is adjustable on the fly.

As far as Kickstarter projects go, this looks like it could be one of the better ones. Read on to find out why.


While you probably won’t remove your aerobars mid ride, the ability to adjust the seatpost by simply standing on the pedals and flicking it forward is intriguing. The adjustment seems like it would open the door to the possibility of creaks and developing play, but if it is engineered correctly it could be very useful. It seems the only thing holding the post in each position is an internal spring loaded stop which is what allows the post to be adjusted so easily.

Switch Aero Seatpost

Redshift specifies that the seatpost will fit standard 7mm rail saddles and frames from 27.2 to 31.6mm – but it isn’t clear if that is with an adapter shim all with a 27.2 post, or if there are actual seatpost sizes. Built with all the adjustability of a traditional seatpost, the post also has a clever additional adjustment that will allow you to tilt the saddle forward up to 5° while in the aero position. Made from 6061-T6 alloy, the seatpost is a claimed 60g heavier than a traditional post.

The big news here is the quick release ability for the aerobars. Anyone who has ever installed a set of clip-ons knows how potentially frustrating and lengthy the process can be – so for most consumers once they’re installed they are not coming off. Having the ability to quickly remove them while preserving your perfect set up for the time when you need them again would be awesome. The only part that stays clipped to the handlebar are the quick release clamps which fit 25.4, 26.0, and 31.8 bars. In addition to being quick release, the aero bars are also quite adjustable. The bars will be offered with either L-bend, S-bend, or straight extensions meaning you should have no problem dialing in your fit.

Switch Aero Bottle and Computer mount

Redshift is also offering an integrated computer and water bottle cage mount to make going aero as easy as possible.

Pricing of the bars and post are very reasonable with both starting at $109 as long as there are a few early bird deals left. Even then, it only goes up to $125 each, with options for the whole system at a discount and more. After just two days, Redshift is more than halfway to their goal of $20,000 so this one is a safe bet for funding.

 

Comments

Anonymous - 06/04/13 - 1:04pm

I see several problems with this:

Installing a set of clip on aerobars only takes a few minutes, but provides a more secure attachment than a quick release. Given that a large portion of most riders’ weight is on the elbow rests, I don’t understand the benefit of the quick release aerobars at the risk of having one separate mid-ride.

A rider’s optimal saddle position would be somewhere along the edge of a circle that is centered around the bottom bracket with the radius being the rider’s optimal leg extension. In theory, this seatpost can move your saddle from one point on the circle to another. However, the seatpost’s two positions are placed based on an assumed radius of that circle. This is a problem because if a rider’s optimal leg extension length is shorter or longer than your average, only one of the positions will be correct while the other will place their saddle either too close or too far from the saddle. In doing so the rider’s position is less than optimal, and they are basically throwing away any power gains they would have by being in their most efficient position. I’ve never met anyone who would throw away free power on race day.

In addition to changing the saddle-to-bottom bracket distance, having a non-adjustable change in fore-aft position means that the rider can only use their optimal saddle setback in one of the two positions. This is nearly as important as leg extension so again the rider is basically throwing away free power in one of their riding positions.

Due to the rotation of the hip necessitated by the change in upper body position and the change in the spacial relationship between the saddle and pedals, many riders will use different saddles for their road and triathalon/tt setups. Bearing that in mind, what is the benefit of being able to swap positions on the fly when having a second saddle and seatpost with a tt/tri specific saddle would be much more comfortable and would fit better based on my previous two points? Swapping saddles takes, what, 5 minutes at the most assuming you’ve marked your seatpost like most racers who travel do?

dale - 06/04/13 - 1:11pm

While I agree with anonymous, I also think this could be a neat tool to just show some road riders the benefit of a forward pos. There’s no way it could be ideal though.

My ideal road saddle is either the dash stage9 or the adamo breakaway. The adamo lets me get in both positions on a road bike. It’s really helpful on a long pull or, (no pun) a breakaway. You just have more positions to switch to. I find that on a long power push I can inch up to the tip and recruit muscles that are not cooked yet. Of course you can do this on a regular saddle like an antares, but I think the dash and adamos allow this even more.

Gravity - 06/04/13 - 1:15pm

Oh god. Make this go away.

Vincent - 06/04/13 - 1:16pm

This saddle mount is not new. It has been used on cheetah bikes (from swizerland) for years already.

ant1 - 06/04/13 - 1:22pm

take that, campy!

SWijland - 06/04/13 - 2:09pm

@Anonymous: Since when is a quick release not safe? I am not sure about you, but my wheels are fixed to my bike with quick release skewers for as long as I remember…

Concerning the rotation around a circle, if you look closely then you will notice that the tilting section is tilted slightly upwards, which should result in to a rotation in the circular motion you are referring too.

Finally you comments about the non ideal positions, saddles, etc. Obviously no serious triathlete is going to trade in his dedicated bike for this piece of kit. However, for those of us who don’t have the cash for two separate bikes this can be pretty ideal.

Dave - 06/04/13 - 2:26pm

The idea in principle is good, giving an option to set a bike up as more of a dual purpose bike, but unless they are custom made for every single customer after a thorough fit for both aero and road, they are not a good option.

drider - 06/04/13 - 2:41pm

From the article, “Made from 6061-T6 alloy, the seatpost is a claimed 60g heavier than a traditional post.”

OK… To me, a Thomson Masterpiece is a “traditional post”; is this thing a “claimed 60g” heavier than that, or are you talking about some 350g post from FSA.

Joel - 06/04/13 - 2:41pm

Sweet! The PowerPost is back, but this time for the road.

Mr. P - 06/04/13 - 2:44pm

What a great solution for the enthusiast who likes to ride the occasional different disciplines with a quiver of one.

P

batson - 06/04/13 - 2:51pm

My head just exploded.

Redshift Sports - 06/04/13 - 2:53pm

To repsond to “Anonymous”
The quick-release mechanism is super secure (same general principle as the quick-release on your wheels). In addition, there is a secondary safety mechanism whereby the “skewer” is spring loaded into a channel in the mount. This keeps it from being able to slide off even if the clamp lever is completely loose. In order to slide the bars off, you have to pull up on both sides of skewer/lever assembly and then slide the bar horizontally. We’ve actually gone for entire rides with the clamp completely loose.

You’re absolutely correct, there may be a small difference in bb-to-saddle height for very short or tall people, but the difference is on the order of a millimeter or two which shouldn’t be noticeable for most riders. The power loss related to a slight difference in saddle height will be substantially outweighed by the aero benefits of being able to get into an aero position.

We’re targeting athletes that are trying to make the most out of their road bike, not necessarily people who are trying to duplicate the exact setup of their Tri/TT bike. There’s a lot of value in being able to access an aero position on a road bike. There are many age-group triathletes who compete on road bikes in a standard road setup. Or with clip-on aerobars but no forward seatpost setup. If you can afford a Tri/TT bike and you’re able to focus your training, a dedicated Tri bike would be a better solution.

While swapping a saddle or seatpost is not a huge operation, it’s a hassle for a rider who wants to be able to alternate the kind of rides they’re doing with any regularity. And the ability to change positions mid-ride opens up a lot of functionality.

jon thomas - 06/04/13 - 3:22pm

Hip rotation is what keeps me from loving my gravity dropper.
What I want is a post that can change the seat angle/height and BB position for climbing and descending… but not a
on a road bike!

RCSpeed - 06/04/13 - 3:26pm

Interesting idea but not so easy.
Anyone who has had a bout of neurosis with dialing in thier fit can attribute that moving the saddle forward by 30+mm will also require cleat adjustment, typically moving them back toward the heel. (anonymous taps into other problems with this design as well)
Furthermore the stack and reach of the said riders road handlebars could need to be altered greatly considering you now rotated the body forward to be supine and rest on said handlebars.
So again, not so easy…especially if we are talking about the purpose of the product-convienience.

Duh - 06/04/13 - 4:56pm

Don’t you mean: Decide all the time!

bbb - 06/04/13 - 7:10pm

I like it. I would consider it for long distance commuting.

Steve - 06/04/13 - 8:32pm

You guys are getting way too technical, remember who the “target” group is. Triathlon has grown exponentially in the past 5 yrs, with most starting out doing sprints with their road bikes. As expensive as the sport is, I think it is a great and innovative product that will be very popular! I can’t wait to get my set!

Chris - 06/04/13 - 9:27pm

Now if we can get some system to quickly switch out the rider from a triathlete to a road rider, the bike will be suitably safe to ride in a bunch.

Maxwell - 06/04/13 - 9:40pm

@ Chris, Lulz

Redshift Sports - 06/04/13 - 11:29pm

@RCSpeed

Your point is valid. This product is not meant to replace a properly-fitted dedicated tri bike.

What it does offer riders is a significantly improved aerodynamic position on their road bikes at a fraction of the cost of a tri bike. In addition, you get the flexibility to choose the right setup for the right portion of the ride.

bk - 06/05/13 - 12:00am

It’s on Kickstarter? Well then it must be an awesome investment and proven to be an awesome addition to my cycling lifestyle….just like the SICC Carbon Rotors from the preachers over at Kettle Cycles that promised improved braking performance to only deliver the inability to stop our (“our” as in every reviewer and user you’ll find on the inner web) bikes.

@anonymous: thank you for your valued and legitimate comments.

Moving forward I’ve banned myself and friends from using Kickstarter.

Jeff - 06/05/13 - 12:31am

Well done Redshift. I know several riders in my area that go from group ride to time trial, and vice versa, day after day. All of which they do on the same bike and go through the hassle of taking their aerobars on and off for every necessary occasion. Obviously it is naive to think that this would turn a road bike into a well fit TT/tri bike. But for those that need a bike to do double duty, this is a great way to make it better.

BikeArmsRace - 06/05/13 - 7:23am

What’s the delta in the seatpost positions? As a Specialized BG a fit technician, I set up road bikes and TT bikes slightly differently. Whereas road bikes get setup with Knee over pedal spindle, TT bikes are setup with 40mm AHEAD of KOPS.

Eric - 06/05/13 - 8:10am

I wish aerobars would go away forever.

Redshift Sports - 06/05/13 - 11:10am

@BikeArmsRace

The saddle travel is 50mm. The rearward setback is 16 mm resulting of a forward offset of around 34mm when you switch positions.

This is not designed to replicate the exact setup of a TT bike, due to the inherent geometry differences of a road bike frame. It gives riders access to an aero position on their road bikes when they want it, without compromising their normal road setup.

Thanks for the comment!

john - 06/05/13 - 12:45pm

buy this thing and make sure you will never leave the start line of a TT using a UCI gage check system, good luck… simply not uci compatible

Jacob - 06/05/13 - 1:16pm

this guy is riding on on of my favorite roads neer conshohocken, pa. Its also a great idea for us poor triathletes who simply cant afford a second bike for racing road vs. tri. Might not be perfect, but i’d love to give it a try.

will - 06/05/13 - 1:19pm

Redshift Sports- Dont be discouraged by the insane over thinkers like anonymous and john who dont see the value in this system and who its designed for.

The travel in the video looks like there is more rearward offset than forward offset. Is the 16mm/34mm backwards in your comment above?

Chader - 06/05/13 - 2:08pm

@ will
If you look at the animated gif on the KS site, hold a straight line along the axis of the seatpost, then watch the center bolt that clamps the rails. The distance to the center axis of the post while in the rear position is noticeably shorter than in the front position.

I believe the 16mm Rear / 34mm Front numbers listed look accurate.

Chader - 06/05/13 - 2:13pm

@ Will,

If you look at the animated gif on the KS site, hold a piece of paper inline with the center of seatpost. Then watch the gap between the paper and the center mount bolt.

The gap in the rear position is shorter than the gap in the front position. I think his numbers are correct.

BikeArmsRace - 06/05/13 - 11:44pm

@Redshift Sports

Although you don’t claim to replicate a TT bike, having the delta reduced to 40mm (instead of 50) allows for the rider to be perfectly positioned over pedals (regardless of TT specific seat angles). This allows for a perfect fit road position (in the hoods/drops) of a tradition road bike…and the perfect TT position when in the aero bars. Of course, the aero bar fit is specific as well, but this allows for the best of both worlds.

Forget the UCI…for a racer, they can power in the road position during the hilly portions of the race…and switch to the aero position with no penalty. Most triathlons are not UCI sanctioned anyway.

I also find layback seatposts with high offsets (greater than 30mm for example) frustrating for those with long femurs. This would be great mounted 180 degs.

JimmyZ - 06/07/13 - 2:48am

Triathlons should combine downhill MTB, wild boar hunting with dogs (take the boar with a knife, not a gun or bow and arrow), and whitewater kayaking or rock climbing. Not running, swimming, and road biking.

reall triathlon - 09/24/13 - 1:54am

25 years ago we had a seat post slide adjusted with handlebar adjust on the go worked well but heavy. This looks good. Handy if your riding to event, travelling and having a one bike set up. What’s the uci got to do woth it ?

Julio Andrade - 10/23/14 - 12:16am

Do people not understand the gist of this and the intended target?? It’s not to replace a true Tri bike and obviously may not be UCI legal. Again that is not the target audience. This is a GREAT alternative for enthusiasts who can’t afford or may not want to spend on a tri bike but like to ride a tri once in awhile like me. I’m a road cyclist and own three road bikes and just sold a cervelo p3 simply because found myself not riding it much. I mainly rode it because I liked riding in a tri aero position. I was not a triathlete by any means. I miss that type of ride and the quickness of putting on and taking off the aero bars seems a great alternative and idea.

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