Before there was ice cream cake, there was a time when we had to face one of the world’s toughest choices—ice cream OR cake? Fortunately for us, someone came up with the genius idea of combining the two into one fantastic package. What can be better than that? This was our exact reaction after riding the Redshift Switch, a replacement seatpost and quick-detachable extension system for your road bike that turns it into a tri bike in a matter of seconds. For those on a budget, this could very well be your triathlon “ice cream cake.”
The Switch system is comprised of a switchable seatpost, a pair of extension mounts with a quick-release mechanism, and optional BTA cage system or computer mount. Now, it’s true that switchable seatposts are nothing new; but Redshift has gone that extra bit further to make the seatpost switchable on the fly. The cam mechanism allows you to dial in your road position in the “back” setting, and then simply pull the saddle forward on the cam until it locks into place for your tri position. The saddle angle in the aero position is even adjustable 5 degrees up or down from your road position via an Allen bolt on the forward cam, so that your tri position can be as aggressive, or not, as you would like.
Moving the saddle between the positions is a simple affair; you just pull forward or push backwards. The saddle will lock securely in either position. And for those worried about it shifting on you mid-ride, don’t worry; it takes a significant amount of force to get it to move. So it isn’t likely to change on you as you’re riding, unless you want it to. The arc of the change also helps this, as it moves up and forward/back in a circular arc. Pushing directly forward or rearward on it will not move between positions, especially with the weight of a rider on it. So even those with aggressive aero positions should be just fine.
Mounting the extensions to your drop bars is so simple that we wish we’d have thought of it first. There is a mount that stays permanently attached to the bar, and contains no mechanisms of any kind. The extensions have a collar on them, and it mates to the bar mount via a spring-loaded retention system and a cam lock, just like you’re used to for wheel skewers. So you pull up on the skewer, slide the extension collar over the bar mount, release the skewer, and it sits in the notch on the bar mount. Pull down on the cam skewer, and it securely fastens into place, locked by both the friction between the cam lock and the bar mount, as well as the spring lock on the bar itself. Redshift has made certain that your contact point will not fail on you by, essentially, ensuring that if either safety system fails, the extension isn’t going anywhere. That kind of attention to detail is worth calling out; well done, Redshift.
In full disclosure, we tried to get the extensions to release without disengaging both systems intentionally. If the spring tension system wasn’t fully engaged, but the cam lock was, the extensions were still solidly locked to the bike. If the cam lock wasn’t fully tightened, but the spring lock was, then the extensions were still secured, but the mounts rattle together audibly, letting you know that the cam isn’t properly engaged. Either way, they’re not going anywhere.
Swapping between road and tri positions with the Redshift is shockingly easy. Pop on the extensions, lock them down, and go for a ride. When you’re ready to drop into the aero position, you simply pull the saddle forward and then ride in the extensions. With the saddle coming forward, the Switch system raises your effective seat height, as well as places you forward of the bottom bracket, just like a real tri fit will. The extensions even have risers, if you require a more upright position than a normal set of clip-ons would give you. The arm cups also feature generous fore/aft, as well as width travel, meaning that you’re not locked into whatever width the mounts dictate on your drop bars. The net result is a ride surprisingly similar to a “true” tri bike – shockingly close, in fact. We have always recommended a good fit as being the single most important thing a triathlete can have, but Redshift has gone and proven it for us.
The highest compliment we can give is that riding the Redshift Switch Aero System is as close to a tri bike as you’re going to get without dropping the money for a fully dedicated TT/Tri machine, and that’s exactly what they’ve delivered. If you’re a triathlete on a budget, or only want one bike to do it all, then this is the system for you. At $319 for the full system, it’s possibly the cheapest speed you can possibly purchase. The Switch Aero System is a tremendous bargain; if you’re racing a road bike and need to go between road and tri, this should be in strong contention for your next purchase.