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What do we even call this thing? A saddle-tilting mechanism? An angle dropper? Maybe it’ll forever just be called a “Switchgrade,” because there has never been anything quite like it, aside from the short-lived Specialized Command Post Wu, but let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about this.
The Switchgrade is the debut product from stylishly misspelled brand, Aenomaly Constructs, and it is now officially out of the prototyping stage. Starting Friday, June 25th, Aenomaly will begin accepting pre-orders for the Switchgrade and, with an asterisk warning of the sorts of delays we’re all used to now, they expect to be shipping in 6 to 8 weeks.
Announced this past January, the Switchgrade replaces the top half of the saddle clamp hardware on many popular two-bolt infinitely adjustable seatposts like RockShox, Fox or Oneup. With the use of a spring-loaded lever that extends an inch or so ahead of the saddle clamp, it allows you to alternate between three saddle angles: level, for traversing flat or frequently undulating terrain, nose down for climbing steep terrain or nose up for descending.
If you already understand why this could be a brilliant idea, skip to the bottom of this post for info on how to put in your order. But if this seems like a lot of fuss for something you never asked for, let’s talk about saddle positioning. The prevailing wisdom says that flat is best, and for many riders, it is. But if the bulk of your in-saddle time is spent going uphill, your saddle is actually not flat. Many of us simply deal with the pain of climbing with a saddle that’s sitting at a 7-percent grade because that pain just gets absorbed into all the other pain we’re experiencing while climbing. And besides, tilting the saddle nose down causes other comfort issues when pedaling on flat terrain, including forcing us to put extra pressure our hands and arms to keep from sliding down onto the top tube. So, many of us just keep it flat. But then, when we go downhill, it’s not optimal either. For anyone who’s never ridden a BMX or DH bike, this may be a bigger logical leap than the Switchgrade’s nose-down feature. There’s a few reasons all the steezy kids ride their saddles nose-up. For one thing, it essentially gives you more clearance than if the saddle were flat because the part of the saddle that’s wider and closer to you is lower than the rest of the saddle which is probably at a carefully chosen height to be ready to lean against a leg to add stability. But also, interestingly, a nose-up saddle will rest more naturally against your nether-regions if the two ever meet, whether in an attempt to ride out a landing that was too harsh for your feet to stay on the pedals, or you’re just sitting in the lift line. With your knees high and bent, your pelvis rotates back, and a nose-up saddle is actually more ergonomic. The Switchgrade gives you access to all three positions with the touch of a lever that sits just between the forward end of the saddle rails. You set the saddle to the optimal height when in the flat position, so in the nose-down position you get that optimal angle and, as a bonus, a very slightly steeper effective seat tube angle. In the nose-up position, you get a little extra drop and that more ergonomic position.
The device itself looks surprisingly compact and robust for what it does. The videos Aenomaly has shared proudly feature loud, satisfying “clicks” as the saddle slips into its three positions. The saddle rails are forced to sit a few millimeters higher than they would using the post’s stock hardware, so those with droppers that are slammed to the collar will need to sacrifice some travel, but not a lot, considering how much is going on inside the Switchgrade. Nobody outside of Aenomaly’s product testing team has gotten their hands on one yet, so we’re only guessing right now, but if you have about 15 millimeters of room to drop your post, you have room for a Switchgrade. You just need to check the long (and growing) list of compatible seatposts that Aenomaly provides.
So, starting Friday at 8 AM PDT, pre-orders will be accepted at aenomalyconstructs.com. Until Friday, July 2nd, pre-orders will get a 5-percent discount, putting the price at $245 USD, $284 CAD, $310 AUD, £170, and €198. Prices do not include import duties. There’s also a handful of limited edition colors that may only be available at preorder.