Getting out on your road bike can reveal all sorts of discomforts, all of which can be solved with a case of beer and a recliner attached to a pallet with wheels. Yet, you may actually want to save the inebriated lounging about for after the ride and instead look into tools that will make you as streamlined as your freshly shaved appendages. The Switch Aero System from Redshift sports is a fresh new product launching on Kickstarter today with a simple switch and loads of adjustment on two key bicycle components that aims to increase comfort and efficiency. We talked with the crew to find out what makes it different.
Switch your ride
People have a tendency to be very picky about their bicycle components, whether it’s just brand loyalty or using a seat that doesn’t leave them numb after 40 miles of 20% grades. Speed becomes important as well, along with components that allow you to shift from a road posistion (sitting up) to an aero position (leaning over) depending on your ascent, descent or level of exhaustion. Stephen Anhert, co-founder of Redshift, got into bicycling and soon started exploring ways to go faster. The cost of upgrades and modifying existing solutions in search of faster speeds resulted in having to decide between either a road position or aero position–There wasn’t an economical solution that provided both. The Switch Aero System changes that.
Using SolidWorks, they designed an adjustable aerobar and a two-position seatpost. Separate they provide a lot of flexibility for your ride. Together, they give you the best of both positions without having to compromise on your existing set-up.
“We’re a small group of engineers who love cycling and doing triathlons.” Says Trevor O’Neill of Redshift, “We did a few triathlons individually and as a group and we wanted to take our normal road bikes and make them more aerodynamic, which would make us faster during a triathlon. Triathlon rules favor a more aerodynamic position than what is found on a normal road bike which people typically own. Purchasing a new triathlon specific bike is expensive and current products on the market required semi-permanent changes to our road bikes which made them uncomfortable to ride outside of the triathlon position. So we wanted to come up with a clever design that would allow us to retrofit a normal road bike and allow it to be quickly reconfigured between a road and triathlon position.”
Challenge: Design a two part system that allows quick attach and release the aerobars (bars mounted on the handlebar) and move the seat back and forth between two positions smoothly. Blend the system as seamlessly as possible into the minimalist look that road bikes naturally have, especially with the aerobars removed.
How they approached the design: The aerobar device needed to be easy to attach/remove using no tools but also completely secure. The seat device needed to move the seat between the front and back positions without tools and keep the seat secure in those positions. End goal? Make both the handlebar clamps and seat mechanism as invisible as possible on the bike and make the entire system as light weight as possible.
What Makes it Different/Better?
Beyond its simplicity and being able to dial in the comfort and fit of the product, there are three aspects that stand out with the design of the Switch Aero system.
Versatility – You get the speed and efficiency of a triathlon bike without giving up the climbing, maneuverability, and comfort of a road bike. You can choose the best position for each part of the ride and change between the on-the-fly.
Speed – When riding at speed, more than 75% of your energy goes to overcoming wind resistance, and the vast majority of that resistance is caused by your body. Using the Switch Aero System on your road bike can save you more than 3 minutes during an Olympic distance triathlon, and more than 13 minutes during an Ironman-length race.
Value – The single most cost-effective way to reduce drag is to improve your body position on the bike. The Switch Aero System lets you ride faster without having to buy an entire new bike.
Since this project just launched, you can still get in on the early bird backer awards. A pledge of $109 gets you either the Switch Aerobars or the Switch Seatpost. They’ll go for $125 a pop after the early bird specials. Early birds can also pick up both of the components for $199; $225 after those are gone. They’ve cleared 15% funding after just a few hours, so they’re headed toward reaching the $20k goal. Snag yours and catch more detail, drag reduction graphs and all the reward packs on the Switch Aero System Kickstarter campaign page.