Review: Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

Convert a road bike with easy-to-remove aerobars and dual-position seatpost

Aero Parts
Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

Installing the aerobars is relatively straightforward.

The Lowdown: Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

The Redshift Sports Switch Aero System is designed to make it simple to convert a road bike to triathlon use with easy-to-remove aerobars and a dual-position seatpost that allows the rider to get into the more forward “tri” position. The seat post can switch positions on the fly, giving you a full 50mm of fore/aft adjustment. The aerobars are comfortable, though slightly wide because the bar mounts are outboard of the quick release mechanism. But the bars still felt good and there were no creaks or slippage, and the pads were very good. Bottom line, Redshift provides a compelling, easy to install and easy to use solution for roadies who dabble in triathlon and new triathletes who don’t want to spend a fortune on aero gear.

Stat Box
Seatpost: Dual-position, 50mm fore/aft Bars/Seatpost MSRP $299
Bar attachment: Quick-release clip-on w/mount kit Bars MSRP: $169
Extras: Computer mount and hydration kit Seatpost MSRP $159
Seatpost Weight: 400 grams Rating: 4 Stars 4 out of 5 stars
Bars w/ Fittings Weight: 630 grams Bar Rating: 3.5 Stars 3.5 out of 5 stars
Clip-on Mounts Weight: 83 grams Seatpost Rating: 4.5 Stars 4.5 out of 5 stars
Complete MSRP: $339

Pluses
Minuses
  • Price
  • Weight
  • Innovative design
  • Ease of use
  • Position variability
  • Allows for more confident descending

Full Review: Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

Redshift was founded in 2013 by a group of mechanical engineers applying their passion to cycling components. They had some cool ideas and leveraged Kickstarter to fund the Switch Aero System. The Kickstarter response was impressive; they sought to raise $20,000, but ended up with nearly $50,000.

Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

The seat post allows you to switch position on the fly, providing a full 50mm of fore/aft difference.

The Redshift Sports Switch Aero System is designed to make it simple to convert a road bike to triathlon use with easy-to-remove aerobars and a dual-position seatpost that allows the rider to get into the more forward “tri” position.

I was initially more interested in the concept of quick-release aerobars than a reversible seatpost because aerobars are the biggest aerodynamic advantage you can add to your bike. The idea of quick release aerobars is even more appealing because I like the idea of reducing weight when riding “road style” without aerobars, but like the flexibility of adding them easily. Plus, being able to remove aerobars is very convenient for putting a bike in the trunk of a car or travel case.

On my Cervélo R3, I use a Ritchey Superlogic seatpost that I flop between rear-biased road riding and forward-biased triathlon riding, so I didn’t think this seatpost would be that that much of a revelation. Further, I assumed that the 400-gram seat post would be excessively heavy and I assumed that you’d have to reinstall the saddle for forward or backward-biased position.

Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

The articulated linkages maintain the exact same seat height (relative to the bottom bracket) whether forward or back.

Turns out my assumptions were off base. The seat post actually allows you to switch position on the fly, providing a full 50mm of fore/aft difference. This means that if your seat tube angle is 73 degrees, you’ll be able to achieve 77 degrees in the forward position (tri bikes typically offer 76 to 80 degrees). The Ritchey seatpost I use offers only 25mm of offset so it really doesn’t get you in to the steep tri position. This is not a new idea. During the heyday of triathlon technology in the late 1980s and early 90s, there was a product called the “Seat Shifter” popularized by pros like Mike Pigg. It allowed triathletes to scoot the seat back and forth via a cable.

So what exactly is the benefit of shifting the seat? On a road bike, with slacker seat angle, you can climb using a balance of your leg and glute muscles. The aero position forces more focus on the glutes and hamstring. The more forward position also opens up your hip angle letting you ride more comfortably while bent over the aero bars. It also positions your upper body weight more evenly over the aerobars so you are using your skeletal system instead of your muscles to keep upright.

Additionally, while going downhill, the more laid back road bike position biases weight toward the rear of the bike providing more control versus the front-heavy triathlon angle which can make for more tentative descending.

The Redshift Dual-Position seatpost is a modernized execution of this concept of shifting the seat position. The articulated linkages maintain the exact same seat height (relative to the bottom bracket) whether forward or back.

Installing the aerobars is relatively straightforward. Simply attach the 83-gram bar mounts to the handlebar. Then, following the directions carefully, you essentially tug the quick release bar up on both ends while sliding the bar on to the bar mounts. Tighten the quick release and then push down. It’s remarkable how rock-solid the bars feel with the quick release engaged. There’s no play even though the quick releases are easy to clamp down.

Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

The bars with fittings weigh 630 grams.

The seat post is also pretty straight forward and easier to work with than a lot of seat posts out there. You just need to fiddle with the seat angle and position. I also installed the optional cyclometer mount, which mounted easily to the bar mounts using a longer and supplied bolt. (I did not install the water bottle mount that fits in the aerobars but it seemed simple enough.)

On the road the aerobars were very comfortable, though slightly wide because the bar mounts are outboard of the quick release mechanism. They felt solid and there was no creaking or slippage and the padding was very comfortable.

The seatpost, however, was a revelation. It was easy to shift from “road” to “tri” position by giving a tug or a push with your hand on the nose of the seat. This was welcome relief to be able to swap these positions. As a tentative descender, I particularly liked being able to push the saddle back on steep descents. In the aero position I felt as if I was on a proper tri-bike.

Riding the bike with the bars and the seatpost on a stationary trainer also worked well. Because the seat is so easy to move backward and forward, it makes riding indoors more interesting because you can easily switch from tri to road position to work different muscle groups. It also keeps your mind more engaged because of the different riding positions.

Redshift Sports Switch Aero System

The optional cyclometer mount easily attaches to the bars.

Bottom line, if you are a weight weenie, these products aren’t likely for you. At 630 grams, the aerobars are on the heavy side. Comparable Profile bars are about 100 grams lighter (though, of course, can’t be removed and reinstalled quickly). And comparably priced seat posts are also about 150 grams lighter, but, of course, they don’t allow on-the-fly position changes.

But if you care less about weight and more about aerodynamics, convenience, and a reasonable price, this is a great product. 
If you are a roadie who dabbles in triathlon, these are absolutely for you. If you are a triathlete who is tentative while descending, this system might also be for you. And if you are an ultra distance cyclists, these might also be an interesting solution that allows you to change your position easily, recruiting different muscle groups.

For more information visit www.redshiftsports.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Twain Mein

Twain Mein is fascinated with the technology and gear aspect of cycling, and is a longtime product reviewer. Twain has been doing triathlons since 1987 and has been ranked in the Top 50 U.S. National Age Group on numerous occasions.


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