Some of the greatest inventions have been born out of necessity and Noel Dolotallas, the founder of the SwitchGrade, has developed his product out of what he has seen as a need for not only himself but other riders as well.
Dolotallas had begun noticing a number of riders who were riding with a nose-down saddle position to help on steep climbs in his area of Western British Columbia, including the Sea to Sky area, North Shore, and Fraser Valley. Alas, at a height of 5'7" (170cm), having the rear of the saddle in the way, "blocking re-entry" as he says, was less than ideal for descending. This led to him frequently readjusting the saddle nose up, prior to descents. It was time-consuming and unpleasant, but the extra room was a huge help. Specialized's Command Post WU did something similar, but it came and went, never really catching on.
In thinking of an innovative way to solve the issue, Dolotallas contacted an engineer and industrial designer to help develop a proof of concept and create some prototypes. He claims to have even gathered some inspiration from Mike Kazimer's opinion article, "Why Is Everyone Talking About Seat Tube Angles?
" and the discussion following it which helped his team validate their hypothesis and continue with development.
This video shows the action of how the SwitchGrade works.What Is It?
The SwitchGrade is a simple, patent-pending mechanism that replaces a rider's seatpost rail clamp. It's made to be compatible with a wide range of fixed and dropper seat posts. It is built from a piece of solid 6061 T6 aluminum billet and features three locking positions. The positions are indexed, separated by 10°. The key benefit claimed of the SwitchGrade is that it provides riders the choice to optimize their saddle positions for each of the three major trail features they encounter on rides - climbing, descending, and flat.
For climbing, the SwitchGrade is claimed to improve biomechanical efficiencies for grinding out long, steep, or technical uphills by moving the rider forward and over the bottom bracket. According to Dolotallas this is a similar benefit to that of riding with a steeper seat tube angle amplified by the stable push point afforded by the saddle tilt which negates the climbing grade. For descending, riders can flip the lever which instantly creates more room to maneuver about the saddle. For undulating terrain, riders can choose to keep the saddle flat and adjust it as needed.
Dolotallas also believes the SwitchGrade will be helpful for adventure cyclists and bikepackers who spend hours on the saddle and want to ease pain and discomfort from pressure on the perineum and sit bones.
The team is in their final stages of refining its prototype in preparation for launching it this spring. For more information, check out their website, aenomalyconstructs.com