How often do you come across a new invention and say to yourself, "I had that same idea!" SwitchGrade creator, Noel Dolotallas, didn't sit on his hands when he envisioned the idea to build a manual seat angle adjuster. The SwitchGrade is an aftermarket component that grants three positions of angle adjustment: -10, 0, and 12-degrees. Noel and his team at Aenomaly Constructs set to work to build the SwitchGrade at home in the greater Vancouver area and spent countless hours adapting the gadget to work with a variety of popular dropper and fixed posts
Aenomaly SwitchGrade DetailsAdjustment:
3-positions (-10, 0, +12 degrees)Compatibility:
Fox/Race Face*, OneUp*, PNW, RockShox*, TranzX, X-Fusion, and moreWeight:
170 g w/hardware (claimed & actual)Colors:
$284 CADMore info: aenomalyconstructs.com
You may remember seeing the theory before on the Wu Post that Specialized built back in 2017, but that complete unit was limited by a 34.9 mm diameter seat tube and 150mm of drop. The SwitchGrade mounts to an existing post and saddle without any hydraulic mechanisms. A spring-loaded lever found under the nose of the saddle requires a slight unweight from the seated position to change positions. This increases the rider's clearance of the seat while descending in the positive position, and can increase the effective seat tube angle by up to 1-degree while climbing in the negative position.
Construction and Features
The SwitchGrade replaces the fixing clamp on a given post, and is cut from solid 7075 and 6061 T6 aluminum with stainless steel mounting hardware and. In order for the SwitchGrade to work with the largest cluster of posts available, a certain "type" will have to be chosen based on the compatibility guide listed above. For example, if you wish to fit the component to a 2021 Fox Transfer, you will need to purchase specific barrels and hardware for an additional $10, which will soon be available in a black anodized finish. OneUp's dropper post will require a second "type" selection for the stock alloy air cap to be replaced with a low-profile nylon one. These workarounds are effective in reducing the SwitchGrade to just one unit in Aenomaly's catalogue.
Hidden from plain sight, a mechanical spring pushes the grooved lever back into the resting position after firmly engaging the angle of choice. That lever is short enough to keep out of harm's way when the saddle is set farther back on the rails and reachable when the saddle is slammed forwards. Off the bike, the "Blackout" anodized finish of the SwitchGrade is subtle and visually the stack is barely noticeable. The stack height will vary from 5-15 mm depending on the post - our 2021 Fox Transfer sat near 14mm, but the SwitchGrade's adjusting angles allow for more wiggle room.
In the descending positive, you can gain as much as 35mm of "functional drop", as Aenomaly puts it. Inversely, 20mm of saddle height can be gained in the negative position for climbing. There are a lot of sizing factors at play, but the main point is that, despite the increase in stack, a rider will recover more saddle height adjustment from the same length dropper post. Depending on the distance between the saddle and tire at full bottom out, double checking the clearance of the positive SwitchGrade angle would be a smart idea too.
Mounting a SwitchGrade is straightforward, or even easier that a traditional saddle, thanks to the clear instructions with specified torques and online video guidance. There's less juggling required than normal as the post head acts as a third hand to hold the new pivoting unit in place while the saddle slides into the rail clamps. Ride Impressions
From the start of the first ride, the SwitchGrade's benefits were quickly recognizable while climbing a steep road and technical trail. Aenomaly's claim of increased dropper post range showed immediately and lowering the post in the frame due to the taller ride height of the negative saddle angle was a requirement. This position also promoted more relief on the important body parts, even with a saddle that I previously felt comfortable on. The weight was focused further on the sit bones and highlighted how wrong a neutral saddle angle was for climbing. It actually makes riding the neutral setting unpleasant for climbing as you get the feeling of sliding off of the saddle.
Although you can offset the saddle fore and aft adjustment on the rails, keep in mind the steeper effective angle will reduce the effective top tube length. That -10º uphill position does push more body weight onto your hands to influence quicker steering and is therefore best left for mega-steep or long climbs. To take the SwitchGrade even further, an adjustable angle setting or more purchase options could work for everyone's preferred saddle angles. I'd lean closer to 7 or 8º, since moving the neutral angle is contrary to the idea of having the negative adjustment in the first place.
While meandering along undulating trails with short ups and downs, setting and forgetting the SwitchGrade in the neutral position is the way to go. Navigating precarious objects one-handed isn't ideal and you could find yourself pushing the saddle from negative all the way through to positive in the heat of the moment. Learning how to weight the saddle and depress the lever to change settings while seated can be done with practice though.
On the descents, not only does the +12-degree sloping saddle lend valuable real estate to move around the bike, it also provides a more inviting angle should you contact the saddle. Let's keep sharp edges away from that region. The positive sloping seat angle makes total sense for descending since it closely matches the pitch of the trail, keeping you from sliding forward, should you need to rest or reset.
The system as a whole is highly beneficial, given the rough weight increase of 100 grams. Starting with a comfortable saddle is always crucial, however the SwitchGrade opens the door for more specific use case angles, highlighting the major importance of a negative rise for climbing without the drawback of descending against a sharp edge. An increase in performance on the trail would be tricky to quantify, but as far as comfort goes, the adjustments in either direction are more than welcomed.
We could debate the price all day, but the value is evident. If you were given a SwitchGrade at no charge, I'd go all in and bet that it would remain on your bike. To think that riders scoffed over the cost and function of dropper posts years ago now seems silly. The functional gains and compatibility of the SwitchGrade are huge talking points that are backed by solid performance.DURABILITY
Through plenty of bike washes and gritty winter conditions, the SwitchGrade remained impressively silent without any rattles or creaks, even on the Fox Transfer post with plenty of interfaces. Although my preferred saddle position was quite forward on the test bikes, shielding the SwitchGrade under the wider portion of the saddle, the width of the system stayed out of harm's way and never showed any signs of wear from muddy pants chafing the anodized surface. All of the hardware stayed tight throughout testing, but I would have preferred to see Loctite applied from the factory, preemptively securing the bolts.
Simple mechanical design+
Fits a wide range of dropper posts+
Incredibly useful for long climb/steep descent-style riding
Requires coordination to adjust on the fly-
Some riders might find the negative saddle position too aggressive
|The Aenomaly SwitchGrade is a clean and effective component that maximizes matching the angle of the saddle to the functional post height. Returning to a fixed, traditional clamp leaves much to be desired, like the first time you tried a dropper post - you don't know what you're missing until it's taken away. The price may be a bit rich for those on a tighter budget, but the mechanical system is transferable across a broad range of posts and has proven to be quiet and flawless through winter grit. |
All body types will benefit from the improved ergonomics when climbing and feel less vulnerable with a seat in a friendly, positive angle while descending. The -10 negative climbing angle may be a touch aggressive for some riders' tastes, but the advantage of more clearance for descending could outweigh that slight drawback.
— Matt Beer
34.9 seat tube is not weird, it's the future.
Good that it's a high quality part, but that has nothing to do with how it's different from the Wu Post.
*only came in 34.9 post diameter, while being the best size for droppers, it was then (and probably still, unfortunately) not nearly common enough to be the only size available
* only came in 150mm drop exactly at the time that longer posts (with shorter stacks as well) were growing in availability, popularity, and install-ability (meaning more bikes would take a long dropper)
So it just didn't fit a lot of riders and fit even fewer bikes.
* it was also limited by the mechanical locking system that only provided full up, full down, and 14 individual intermediate settings. I've ridden both the Fox DOSS and OG Command Post with only 3 positions, and the latest Command Post with the 14 positions, and the discrete positions can be kinda nice since they make it easy to find that 1/4 down "rolling trail pedaling" position. But the mechanical system just doesn't feel as nice to use as a good hydraulic system, and most people have become quite used to the infinite positioning on modern posts.
Why over-complicate a seat post when you already have a quick release lever you can use at the top of the hill?
I can't say I have any use for this. I never feel like I need to tilt the saddle forward. But I also live in an area where most of my pedaling is climbing. I don't ride on flat ground very often.
to a different gear at the top of a hill?
little more... www.instagram.com/p/CZaASnjP_k9
I followed the same path and, back when freeride was just getting started, many bikes on the shore had positive tilted saddles because let's face it, we ride mostly to enjoy the downhills.
@nskerb I wrote a blog about this that you might find interesting www.aenomalyconstructs.com/blogs/news/how-to-make-better-use-of-your-dropper-seatpost
Then they’re are suddenly fine with it being made overseas.
This device is definitely not a must have and I also consider this to be a premium item (hence premium price). In order to target that market, you keep prices high and have a higher profit margin. Given this companies scaling, I am not sure what type of model they are running, but definitely not targeting the low end market.
@TW80 the problem with thinking this way though is that you never know if you won't be the overseas worker of someone else someday.
Also thank you for not making an overpriced, over engineered, CNC flat pedal or stem.
…. This little gizmo is worth it 100 percent now that we pedal small dh bikes for hours to ride dh style trails.
I’m hyped to get the funds together to pull it off.
Expensive -yes, but:
and comes in colors
and solves a problem that many taller riders (myself) have
and can be mounted on many future different bikes?
And made in Canada!
How many boxes do these guys have to check off to get a pass here?
And you're bang on with respect to how it positive affects contact points - in fact one of the most key benefits of the SwitchGrade. Cheers!
Also I feel like its a cool product in the sense that say you have an older frame you really love, but the seat tube angle is uncomfortably slack, boom problem solved. This thing isn't that expensive if it you combine with the an angleset on your "outdated" frame. Modern geometry frame for only a few hundred dollars!
You would definitely lose that bet.
I cannot see the need for this gizmo for any of the riding I do. My seat drops low enough on the descents that it is completely out of the way, and I don't have the need for negative angle for the climbs. Not to mention the extra saddle stack height it adds would make me have to look for a shorter dropper post.
Would be the nice to have a cable actuated version, sure, but do I want another cable....no. That being said I don't find myself changing it often enough to warrant it. Tilt forward, go up. Tilt back go down. If I'm on undulating terrain I leave it neutral. Pretty simple. I'll never not have one.
If you ride relatively low-angle terrain and don't ride aggressively, you may not notice a big difference. But there is a reason downhill racers don't nose their seats forward even though they run their seat as low (or lower) than the height you can obtain with a long dropper post. Go tilt your seat back before your next decent, then come back here to delete your comments!
I don't know I would use this all the time, but I have often thought about how useful it would be for pure DH situations where you want the saddle angled up for better clearance. For reference I am 5'10" riding a 210mm dropper. Yes I could use more room.
This looks like a great (if expensive) option that means I don't have to compromise any more
But, my JRA saddle position would be quite flat, but for steep uphills, of which I have a lot, tilting the saddle down at the front would be an awesome way to get better seated for the tricky stuff uphill, but not absolutely knacker one's taint area and nerve bundles by mashing it into the nose.
I tend to run my saddle favouring steep climbs, so the benefit here to return it to nice and flat for Just Riding Along is something I've been thinking about for some time.
- provides support because the rear of the saddle is raised and effectively negates the grade
- steepens effective seat tube angle >1 degree due to rotation
- lifts the rider an addition approx 20mm again due to rotation
Hope this sheds additional light on the subject.
I appreciate the little tweaks the SwitchGrade does to the saddle position via the rotation, but it's not going to affect the fore-aft position of the clamps at neutral vs a longer dropper.
With respect to fore-aft position, as the saddle rotates with the SwitchGrade it will lift up roughly 20mm and forward roughly 10mm which, in effect, alters the ending position of the saddle to mimic that of moving forward on the rails but with the added benefit of proper seated support. Moving one's saddle forward on the rails for improved climbing position is a band aid in our opinion because it creates issues in other areas (eg. groin pain, discomfort).
Appreciate the opportunity to converse on this topic.
So unless you're saying that with the SwitchGrade people tend to run a lower max saddle height in neutral, the fore aft position at top out of the dropper is not going to change. The fore aft position at _bottom out_ will change with a longer drop, but forward, which is generally ideal.
Taller riders don't just rely on taller droppers, they need a taller post overall, and that's why they "get the shaft", not just because of more drop.
If that package could match the $$$ of an internally routed dropper it could find a decent market, but operating a lever on the bar and then a lever on the seat when you change incline might get annoying... Would be interesting to test it.
My saddle is set for optimal climbing at max extension and it's perfect 95% of the time. "Nose up" might look cooler when the saddle is lowered but until that action is tied into the lever actuated dropper movement like the WU post it's a non-starter for most riders.
Not one of those guys Btw just point out who this meant for.
"As a doctor of physical therapy who regularly treats individuals with back pain, and a lifelong mountain biker, I'm digging the concept of SwitchGrade. A nose down saddle position increases what is called anterior pelvic tilt. This promotes optimal lumbar spine alignment which can help prevent or alleviate lower back pain in many cases. I can also see the obvious performance benefits that could be had on long, steep climbs in the saddle." - Dr. Josh Harris DPT, Dip Osteopractic
Read more on our website.
I am working in product development for 20+ years and done blood flow testing and pressure mapping for chamois and saddles i worked on. Based on what i learned i can not recommend riding nose up or nose down for extended periods of time.
Simply said Nose up, even slightly, applies excessive pressure on the perineal area, nose down causes the rider to slide forward which in turn reduces the available area and therefore increases pressure where its not wanted.
Especially for females this could cause lasting damage since the tissue in the area in contact with a saddle is quite different than that of males.
That said every combination of rider+saddle has a different sweet spot.
Really cool idea and it's awesome that it was brought to market.
I tried to ask this question before like when specialized launched WU... no answer / reason revealed itself yet though...
What a great not-answer.
I though you are a physical therapist with orthopedic knowledge so I would hope to get an explanation of the mechanical advantage over a saddle set up as intended by the developers of said saddle.
Because if i observe pro downhillers i do not see them use a saddle the same way my the same way the guy who buys this. Especially not after smoking some weed at the trailhead…
That would make my XC race bike the perfect candidate. It has an 85mm dropper, so not all that much. I do most of my riding on it; everything from flat gravel to steep techy ups and downs. I've never had a problem. If you feel like you need to adjust saddle tilt to climb, you've more than likely got the wrong saddle and setup. You need to get a proper bike fit from a qualified professional (no, that doesn't include measuring your "sit bones", which is a complete nonsense).
The biggest issue I have is that, given it's adjustability, it is unlikely that, when you want it in the seated position, it will be in the exact same position as last time. That is, if you have had a proper bike fit, as everyone should, the saddle will almost never be where it should be if you endlessly adjust it on the trail.
Ironically, I seem to be the only person that doesn't have a fundamental problem with the price. I subscribe to the theory that something is worth what somebody is willing to pay for it, and clearly people are willing to throw money at this company. The only price niggle I have is that it is very steep for somebody who likes the idea, but would like to test first. I'm not saying £50 is throw away money, but at least then it probably wouldn't be the end of the world.
I also don't agree with the idea that you can't critisise if you haven't tried. I don't need to test a fat bike to know that I wouldn't benefit from one.
Bikers feeling like they're being bled dry yet?