Back a number of months ago there was a Kickstarter campaign for the Switch Aero System, which takes the clip-on aerobars concept to a more flexible place. Previously clip-on aerobars weren’t actually as ‘clip-on’ simple as their name implies, as anyone who’s installed a set will tell you. The installation may be straight forward, but it’s not something you’d want to take on or off for a given ride (i.e. turning your road bike into a triathlon bike).
Further, clip-on bars don’t really solve the seatpost position problem, which is a large piece of shifting a bike position from a road bike fit to a triathlon fit (amidst other items).
With that bit of background, I got a chance to go hands-on with the new Switch Aero system that aims to solve both pieces. During their Kickstarter campaign they sold about 230 of the units. The system has two components; the aerobars, and the seatpost. Let’s start with the aerobars, and then I’ll cover the seatpost as well as a short video with them in action.
The Aerobars are designed to snap in and out of locking mechanisms that you can pop quickly on or off in a few seconds. They’re also a fair bit more configurable than some clip-on bars as far as being able to move forward/back and change position of the pads.
Below you can see the first portion of the locking piece. This is what the bars settle down into (the groove). On the right side you see the unit already locked in place. If you look at the front of that side you’ll see a little silver knob which connects to the quick-release lever on the back side – forming a locking system very much like your front wheel release skewer.
Here’s a look from the front of your bike. The silver knobs clearly visible, are spring loaded to keep them locked even further in place.
The system also has an optional water bottle mount. You can see the mounting plate coming out from the left aerobar below. On top of it is the default included water bottle cage (not exactly the most visually appealing), but you can swap it out for anything you’d like.
Next up we look at the seatpost portion. The seatpost allows you to shift forward (or back) with a simple push. Well, a bit of a hard push, as it requires upwards movement and then forward/back movement to lock it into place.
If you look you can see you’re able to adjust the angle of the seat up/down as required, using the screws visible going vertical towards the seat.
Below, you can see the back position, and then the next photo shows the forward position.
While the system stays in place quite well, my only concern is that it actually is kept in place by your body weight – meaning that there is no mechanical lock available that keeps it there permanently. In my playing with it, it’s certainly not going to flop forward/back as it requires an amount of force to ‘push it over’ to the other position. So my final opinion will depend on a bit more outdoor riding to see how it shakes out in the real world with impromptu sprints and the like.
Here’s a quick video showing how the two components of the systems lock in place, both the aerobars and the seat post:
As for shipping and pricing, the individual units are $125 a pop (aerobars or seatpost), and together as a pair $225. Shipping will occur to Kickstarter backers in early December, and then once those orders are shipped they’ll start fulfilling retail orders. They also have a carbon aerobar version as well for about $65 more.
As we get closer to availability I’ll be giving the system a whirl on my newly acquired road bike, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it shakes out.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to Interbike week! This week during Interbike 2013 I’ll be tweeting from the exhibition show floor quite a bit, as well as posting frequently. Here’s a quick and handy link to all Interbike-related posts.
Did the seat shift seem enough? I can see they mention it can be customized, but just seeing on pictures, it doesn’t seem much of an aggressive shift.
Otherwise interesting products, and the price seems right there.
Guillaume – I’m one of the creator’s of the Switch Aero System. The seat shifts forward 50mm, which changes your effective seat tube angle by approximately 3-4° degrees. It’s not quite as steep as a dedicated triathlon bike geometry (since the steering of a road bike can be sensitive to having your body weight too far forward), but it’s enough to letsyou get in a comfortable, efficient aero position on a road bike.
For non road racers, (not doing rides where aero bars are disallowed) why would you want to take off the aerobars? I don’t race at all (tri or road) and I just leave my aerobars on all the time. Even when I’m not in them its nice having them there to hold the cue sheet and bike computer out ahead. (important to have aerobars where the elbow pads are on springs to lift them off the handlebars so I’m not restricted with how I use the handlebars)
I think if you’re only doing non-draftings you’re better off with an actual TT bike, this system is for people who do both drafting and non-drafting competitions. I think.
Say you aren’t an incredibly serious racer, or at least not serious enough to buy a TT and normal road bike. (pretty sure that is who they are marketing and based on what I see in DC there are a large number of them) Lets also assume you only plan to race in races where aerobars are allowed but still also plan to do lots of road biking. (seems like there are lots of people who do tri races but don’t care for road bike racing) To me it would seem like the seatpost is useful so you can get a better fit but there is no reason for taking off the aerobars.
As someone who currently just has a road bike for both road and tri riding I would love the availability to pull my clip-ons off (while maintaining the contact point) when I’m just doing road riding. With standard clip-ons its a pain to get them set in the same position with each removal/reattachment. Its probably a comfort/preference thing.
link to velominati.com
While drafting someone or behind someone in general you shouldn’t be in the aero bars, true. Having them, who cares
This is fantastic. Glad to see they are at interbike. This is a huge problem for me because aero position was hard on my knee right after my accident/surgeries. First time back on my bike cruiser position was the only thing that was really comfortable. Every ride I try to put more and more time in aero, but I can’t do more than 30 min in tucked position. 30 min with my seat in a bad position probably makes it even more difficult, but that seat switch is so fast I could switch back and forth as needed.
Thanks again for these rapid fire posts during interbike. Are you going to test any of the mountain bikes? Not really interested in the reviews, but test driving (trying to break) the mountain bikes was one of my favorite parts the one year I was able to go (~10 years ago…)
That looks awesome. Will need to find out if a seatpost will fit my S5 frame.
Will – Unfortunately, it won’t work with your S5’s seatpost. We’re working on a solution for riders with non-standard aero seatposts, but for now, it’s only compatible with standard round seatposts.
Have it mount to the existing post like a seat and have another clamp on your unit to attach the real seat on top?
Has anyone heard a ‘time frame’ of when the non-round seat post compatible version will be available?
Trying to find a shim for my aero seat post (Scott Foil) seems more difficult than finding a manufacturer to make a small run of 500 :p
Ray – Thanks so much for stopping by yesterday, and thanks for the great post. If anyone has any questions about the system, I’ll do my best to answer them.
Hey Ray & Stephen,
Thanks for sharing this with the world; LOVE the concept.
Are there any weight specs for the aerobars? Looks like quite a bit of hardware.
(Currently I ride/race on a Scott Foil and would love a quicker way to remove my bars to open up some hand positions for when on road rides without the few mins to remove aerobars)
SamD – Glad it caught your interest. The aerobars (uncut L-bend extension, no stack spacers) weigh approximately 675 grams. By comparison, a set of Profile T1 bars is listed at 503g (per their website) – approximately 3/8 lb difference. We think that the added convenience is worth the extra grams, but also understand that everyone has different needs for their bike. Hope that helps!
Hi What is the weight of the seat post carbon. Thanks Lee.
Lee – We currently do not offer a carbon seatpost. It’s only available in aluminum. The “Carbon System” has carbon aerobar extensions, but the seatpost is still aluminum (and weighs 400g for reference). We’re currently developing a carbon post, hopefully for late 2014/early 2015.
Thanks Stephen. I will wait for the carbon seat post which will hopefully be lighter and absorb more vibrations.
How much is the seat height/knee flexion affected by changing between the two fore/aft settings?
Adam – The post is designed so that bottom bracket to saddle height stays constant in both positions, so your leg extension stays very similar in the road and aero positions.
Nice, i ordered just the carbon tri bars… hoping they arrive before january for my first 70.3
I’ve ordered both the seat post and tri bars in carbon. My road bike is an ex-pro race bike which has been set up perfectly for me on the road – I’m getting leg cramps when using my tri bars competing in duathlons which I’m certain is related to seat position. I just can’t get forward enough and I really don’t want to keep changing my perfectly set up seat position (on the road) so this could be a perfect solution for me (of course would need it set up). Re the tri bar comments – I’m not allowed to use tri bars at bike coaching and certain sportives so have cheap removable ones using an allen key. Not a huge pain but this system looks an even better solution. Can’t wait to get them!
Has anyone received these yet and therefore had a chance to test them? Thoughts?
Mine should be arriving today at my US forwarding address, so hopefully by next week.
Any chance there’s an update on this?
Yup, they just came in this past week here (there was an issue with the first shipment that was supposed to arrive where they sent the wrong package to me). I’ll probably poke at it tomorrow.
I am looking forward to see what you think. I saw one in the wild at a DC Tri Club race and I am hoping that this product is a good option for those of us who can’t talk the wife into letting me buy yet another bike.
Was one of the first recipients of one of these seatposts and have been having a blast with it. Can’t wait to see your take on the product, but so far I’m loving it!
Hey DC, any update since receiving your system?
I’m impressed thus far. When I first unboxed it, judging by the sheer quantity of parts I thought it was going to be a pretty messy install. But the vast majority of parts are actually optional/extras.
Installation was quick and easy. I’ll do my first ride tomorrow, but I’m very happy with how sturdy it is. Far more than I expected actually. It’s just as rock-solid as my Cervelo bars from a ruggedness standpoint.
My only complaint thus far is that one of the screws that goes into one of the pads and then down into the clamp stripped really easily. Not at the point of attachment to the hex wrench though where you’d normally strip something, but actually down inside on the screw threads. As such, it’s not tight in the hole anymore. I’ll follow up with the Redshift guys here in a second for their thoughts.
But, in the grand scheme of things if a single easily-replaceable screw is my only complaint, that’s not bad. More to come…
Have you done a in-depth review on these yet? I can’t find it on your website but was interesting in getting your thoughts while I’m considering these or other options for clip-on bars.
Not quite yet. Usually I use products for some time before posting a review. As noted above, I had to swap out one of the screws on the aeropads – so that’s held things up slightly.
Thus far though, I’m overall quite impressed.
I plan on getting a set for my new folding road bike. I thought about having A Bike Friday Pocket Rocket built to match my tri bike(Lynskey T230) but finally decided on going with a road geometry. Seems like this offers the option of getting in some aero position training while out of town.
Rich – Interesting idea. The one thing that comes to mind is stability. With the smaller wheels, I don’t know if the forward position might feel too twitchy? I’ve never ridden a Bike Friday (or any small-wheeled folding bike for that matter), so I’m just speculating, but I thought I’d point it out. The geometry of the system means that it doesn’t compromise handling too much on a regular sized road bike, but we’ve never tested it on a folding bike. If you do end up using it in this manner, I’d be very interested to hear about your results.
I’ll let you know how it works out.
I have completed two rides with newly installed R.S. post and tri-bars. Absolutely no stability issues. Will follow up after completing more rides of greater distance(50 mile+).
So far, I am really happy with the setup.
The only issue encountered was an initial inability to position the aero bars such that they mirrored my tri-bike setup. Once I realized I would require one riser, that allowed for rearranging the hardware. I swapped the left and right dovetail clamp assemblies and reversed the left and right extension clamps. This achieved a bar separation very close to what I am accustom to. My Bike Friday Pocket Rocket uses split handlebars which require a wider than normal stem. I’ll send images to anyone wanting to see how to rearrange the parts.
Rich – Great to hear. I’d certainly be interested in seeing some pictures – you may be the first person to install the system on a folding bike. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will do ASAP, My custom light weight stem is on the way from BK.
Once that is installed I’ll send pictures of the final configuration.
Late reply here and a bit off topic. What gearing do you have on your PR Pro?
Sorry it’s a bit late. I also have a pocket rocket and consider adding aerobars so I can use it for half iron or ironman races. Could you also share how you setup the aerobar? my email is email@example.com. Thanks! Also, are you using Capreo rear hub, or did you change to a regular 11 spd hub?
Love your blog!
Quick question: I had aerobars on my bike (a modest Synapse – Cannondale) but i could not find the right position, so I sold them back. As I’ll do mostly olympic distance triathlon with no drafting, what do you suggest : To buy new (used one of course) TT bike, or does redshift new system worth it ?
Thx Ray !
That’s a tough one. If you’re not super-serious (not front of the pack) I’d go Redshift. Same goes if you enjoy your road bike as-is most of the time.
If however you expect to get more serious and/or go to longer distance races, then I’d get a dedicated tri bike.
Nathan – What model year is your Synapse? In 2014, Cannondale switched the Synapse to a 25.4mm seatpost, so if you have the most recent version, the Redshift dual-position seatpost will not be compatible (since it’s 27.2mm). 2013 and earlier models appear to all have 27.2mm posts, so that would work fine.
Thanks Ray for your answer … Now I’ve to see what I want to do …
Thanks also Stephen. It’s an old one (2012 I think) so it will work (as you say). Do you know how much will be the import duties (more or less) for France ?
Hi Stephen, Just to clarify. Do ship to the UK?
Lee – Yes, we ship to the UK. You’ll just need to select international shipping at checkout, which will add $40 USD. Please keep in mind that you will be responsible for any import duties required by the UK.
Hey. Do you ship Denmark?
Peter – Yes, we definitely ship to Denmark. You’ll simply need to select “international shipping” during checkout. Please note that you may be responsible for paying any import duties required by Denmark in addition to the shipping charge.