Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade Cover NSMB Andrew Major
TEARDOWN | FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Aenomaly Constructs SwitchGrade Saddle Angle Adjuster

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (Unless Noted)
Date Nov 7, 2022
Reading time

Adjustable Attitude

The SwitchGrade is uniquely imagined and elegantly shaped. Its aluminum components are machined in Whistler, it's assembled in Richmond, and the design was conceived around the steep climbs and descents that make the 'wet coast' of BC world famous for mountain biking. It follows the history of products born here from Roach armour, to eNVy Inner-E chain guides, and Ralph Schoepper's telescoping seat posts. These were products that immediately made sense for riding the North Shore and were easily adapted to many other locales.

Like those examples - pedaling in pads, manually shifting between the grannie and middle chainring, and adjusting saddle height using two quick releases - the Aenomaly Constructs SwitchGrade adds another level of complication and cost to riding your bicycle in the woods. If the thought of an on-the-fly adjustable saddle tilt makes you want to throw your hands up and switch to riding rigid single-speeds, I completely empathize. But before you jump down to the comments and proclaim that Aenomaly is solving a problem that doesn't exist, well, you're wrong.

Go to any North Shore trailhead, check out the bikes in for service at any North Vancouver bike shop, heck, peruse the NSMB Dream Builds articles and it will be readily apparent that more than a few local riders tilt their saddle noses downward. SwitchGrade is taking this trend and adding two other positions. Now the rider with their nose angled down can quickly adjust their saddle flat for rolling terrain, removing a significant amount of pressure from their arms and hands,* and when the trails get steep there's a third position that pops the nose up.

*As an added bonus, that flat saddle is much easier to steer on descents

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade CTD NSMB Andrew Major (1)

Climb Mode is -10°.

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade CTD NSMB Andrew Major (2)

Trail Mode is flat.

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade CTD NSMB Andrew Major (3)

Descend Mode is +12°.

The prior art that gets dangled for derision as soon as SwitchGrade enters the conversation is Specialized's WU dropper post, but the WU has three issues:

  1. It's limited to 150mm of travel which is less than many riders want.
  2. WU automatically angles the saddle nose up when you lower the post, even though this position is only desirable in steeper downhill terrain.
  3. WU is a Specialized Command post. Many riders do not like the mechanical locking feel, even with 14 distinct positions.

SwitchGrade differentiates itself from WU in a number of ways that can all be summed up under the heading of choice. The system is available in four configurations that fit most droppers with two key exceptions: RockShox's Reverb AXS and Wolf Tooth's new Resolve. Aside from OneUp's dropper post, with its patented drop clamps, the Aenomaly system adds about 1cm to the height of your post. So if your bike currently allows one more centimeter of insertion depth (or two with the OneUp), you can keep running the same amount of travel you have and just lower the whole assembly. Otherwise, it's a win to you for buying a post that's travel adjustable. Just knock it down 10mm.

Another element of choice is that the saddle angle is completely independent of saddle drop. There are many trails where I like to have my saddle down, usually slammed, but prefer it flat as opposed to nose-up. Likewise, as someone who is happy climbing with a flat saddle and will pop up to pedal when the going gets really steep, I only use the nose-down climb mode on the steepest sustained singletrack climbs. All good. Within ten minutes of riding, I was competent at clicking the lever under my saddle and switching modes on the fly.

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade NSMB Andrew Major (1)

Climb Mode.

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade NSMB Andrew Major (2)

Trail Mode.

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade NSMB Andrew Major (3)

Descend Mode.

Made In BC

From the first engagement of the under-the-saddle lever, which can be oriented fore or aft, the quality of the SwitchGrade is obvious. The system is spring-loaded and snaps into place. On that note, while the system is most likely compatible with your favourite dropper post, it may not be compatible with your preferred saddle. Currently the system only works with 7mm tubular saddle rails but Noel at Aenomaly told me he's working on a clamp set for oval rails like those found on the BikeYoke Sagma saddle.

I couldn't resist taking the system apart to see how it works and I will note a degree of folly here. I was stoked to see that every piece is easily replaceable, and it's really quite intuitive how it all goes together, but getting the spring seated while pressing either side of the assembly together requires a bit of dexterity. I'm positive there's a technique to it but I didn't ask before taking the system apart so reassembly took longer than I'd care to admit. The tilt mechanism is robust and the product is still fairly fresh, but I'd like to see a how-to service video added to the website.

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade NSMB Andrew Major (4)

Bolt length is important. In fact, let's just say reading the installation instructions is important. Too long and they can interfere with the system.

Aenomoly Constructs SwitchGrade NSMB Andrew Major (5)

I enjoy this new age where companies just use more responsible packaging because it's the right thing to do, and don't make a huge deal about it.

When actuating the system in my hands, the snap of the three engagement points is impressive. A long-term test is really required here to see how the system will wear but there's no shortage of material. Without the teardown, I think I would have wondered about the option of having smaller changes between each of the settings but it's clear here that the aluminum 'teeth' need to be robust enough to handle the load of rider-on-saddle. The pins, internal surfaces, and spring were very well greased, as you'd expect from a company testing its products in a rainforest.

I'll pull it apart again to look at for any wear or play when I write up my review after a winter on the SwitchGrade system.

Installation

In my case, the installation of Aenomaly's saddle construct was what I'd call the worst case situation. Most folks will be able to lower their current dropper post by about 1cm, bolt up the SwitchGrade following the instructions, and go ride their bike. Aside from potentially swapping out the seat post bolts to ensure the maximum number of threads are captured without interfering with the system - using the included bolts - the installation process is so quick because tilt is independent from saddle retention. Bolt on the SwitchGrade, then bolt on your saddle and tighten it in place with a single bolt, and then adjust your tilt.

My Marin Rift Zone has a kinky seat tube and I had already reduced travel on the Manitou Jack dropper post I'm testing to the nearest 5mm of travel that worked for me at climbing height. This meant lowering my post another 1cm to accommodate the SwitchGrade. Aside from the bit of time invested, I think this actually is a great scenario as I've found myself using the nose-up DH position on the steepest tracks to enhance bike-body separation but the 170mm of drop with the saddle flat is perfect for most trails with the saddle level, and also what I run on my hardtail.

Easy Recommendations

At first glance I figured I'd be among the worst choices out of the whole NSMB.com readership to be reviewing this product. I run most saddles almost perfectly level from tip to tail and any time the trail gets too steep to just slide up the nose a bit, I prefer to stand and crank. I'm also loathe to add a layer of complexity to any of my rigs, never mind paying money for the privilege. Further, the bike I've been riding where this product makes the most sense is the We Are One Arrival 152, which rewards seated climbing in all situations and uses a Reverb AXS dropper which is one of the few that isn't compatible with the SwitchGrade.

What I discovered in running the SwitchGrade in the nose-down climb mode is that there are steep climbs where it's not just more comfortable but I feel I have more power as well. It's also easier to restart and move around the bike with the saddle nose out of the way. My issue with leaving the system in climb mode is that on flatter terrain it moves a ton of pressure on to my arms, wrists, and hands and when descending the saddle is in an awkward positing to steer.

That leads to the conclusion that any rider who is currently riding their saddle with the nose down and optimized for our steepest climbs is going to appreciate the extra support, and getting weight off their upper body, by being able to nearly instantly level their saddle for flatter terrain. I ride with multiple folks for whom this could be the best upgrade to their riding experience since dropper posts themselves, especially when they take their bike off the Shore to ride areas that have more rolling terrain.

DSC01793-denizmerdano-dreadnaught-dreamrides.jpg

It didn't take much of a dive into the NSMB Dream Rides archive to find some sweet machines that would be potential candidates for a SwitchGrade. Here's Mike's frisky Forbidden. Photo: Deniz Merdano

DSC04095-alexsinanan-geometron-dreamrides.jpg

Another sweet ride with the nose pointed down is Alex's Geometron. Please note, I'm not telling any rider they 'need' a SwitchGrade. But if your saddle nose points down then I'd highly recommend trying one. Photo : Deniz Merdano

First Rides

I'm not telling any rider they 'need' a SwitchGrade but it took only a couple of minutes of playing with the system on my favourite steep single track climb before I had a list of folks I've ridden with who'd be prime candidates. If your saddle nose points down, and you have the budget, then I'd recommend a closer whiff of what Aenomaly's cooking.

I use the climb mode infrequently, but when I am spinning up something steep on a different mountain bike, I lament its absence (although I haven't caught myself reaching for an adjuster that's not there, yet). I very much like the DH mode and if I'm going to be leaving my saddle down for a length of time, I'll put it into that mode and leave it. I predicted that the dropped tail would cause more contact between my butt and rear tire but that hasn't been the case.

I'd be quite keen on a two-position SwitchGrade that just had the descend and neutral modes, and I can imagine riders who'd prefer a two-position setup that just had the climb and neutral modes. In both cases that would make slamming the system in the neutral center position faster and more intuitive. I think the easy solution here would be for Aenomaly to make a plastic spacer that could be pressed into the SwitchGrade that could lock out the front or back setting.

My favourite thing about the SwitchGrade is that it exists. Noel, the owner of Aenomaly Constructs, is a long time mountain biker who developed the SwitchGrade because he wanted one. I've met a lot of would be Noels with a great idea but few that were willing to turn their imagination into a usable product and then place a bet on production with the belief that other riders would appreciate their widget to the same extent. There are some prototype photos on his About page and it's neat to have a window into how he arrived here.

I really enjoy the DH mode and I'll be interested to see if I'm using the Climb mode more frequently by the time I follow up with a full review. It will also be interesting to see how the system holds up now that we're having some proper weather. Will it be worth having for a generally saddle-flat rider who loves the DH mode?

For you nose-down riders, even after only a handful of rides, being able to easily level your saddle to give your upper body a break, to get a better descending position, and to still hit your happy spot uphill, makes the SwitchGrade something worth looking at. Made in Canada, combined with its serviceability and small parts availability and the potential to change your on trail experience, the 284 CAD price tag is justifiable for those with the cash. Head to Aenomaly Constructs for more information.

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Comments

derek.richards
derek.richards
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+5 Andrew Major Noel Dolotallas Cr4w noel@aenomalyconstructs.com bushtrucker

This setup could be quite  beneficial for taller folks. I’ve struggled to find a comfortable balance of seat angle vs weight on my upper body as I have bad wrists from past injuries. Thanks for sharing Andrew.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

It’s interesting you mention height. I see quite a few medium and shorter folks with their nose tilted down but anecdotally I’d agree it’s a proportionally more common setup with taller folks.

I wonder if this is somewhat do to short stack heights and larger saddle-to-bar drops?

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 derek.richards bushtrucker

100%. Ties right in with your bar height article from last week. When I added 20mm of bar height I found I needed to adjust my saddle angle. It was noticeably down before; now it's just about level.

I'd like to try this thing but will admit I'm hoping for a more affordable alternative.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com cheapondirt

I’ve fully co-opted Cooper’s use of the word ‘justified’ for these situations. When you see the quality of manufacturing and materials - designed and manufactured in BC - it makes sense why the SwitchGrade costs what it does, but at the same time it’s a lot of money to try something. 

But, I do think it will make enough difference to the ride experience for folks who are already running their saddles significantly nose-down that knowing that they’ll be able to justify the investment. For example the flash rigs in the Deniz photos I used above.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

I agree there. Nothing wrong with the price, just like many other high end things it doesn't fit my budget & priorities!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 cheapondirt

So because I think riders who drop their saddle nose for steep climbs would be very well served by having the saddle level (and weight off their hands) for longer flatter efforts I’ve been trying to dream up a budget compromise between getting out a hex/Torx key and adjust your saddle on a ride and SwitchGrade.

Saddle clamps don’t have to be torqued that much so maybe QR bolts that can be opened and quickly adjusted? Ugly, ungainly, risk of catching myself. 

I haven’t come up with a cheaper solution yet and looking at SwitchGrade I think any properly-cheaper knock-off is going to be shite. Comparing stem costs between nice Canadian machined units and nice Taiwan machined there’s not much difference so I assume it would be the same here. 

Although I’ve had it pointed out to me that it’s an ideal upgrade for e-bikes, where riders sit static much more, so maybe with the uptick in BroPeds on the trails the product isn’t as niche as I make it out to be?

noel@aenomalyconstructs.com
noel@aenomalyconstructs.com
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Andrew Major derek.richards

Absolutely! One of the most common use cases is from our taller customers. What the SwitchGrade does is counters the negative effect caused by a long dropper at full extension which places the rider further back and, for bikes with short chainstays, makes for a very unweighted front wheel not conducive for climbing.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
2 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

Love mine!

reached out when I first caught wind of the product, and have been very impressed from the moment I opened the cardboard box.

The lack of garish plastic packaging was appreciated (arrived in the mail box that the bank manager usually checks). And all components looked very well, if not enthusiastically over built.  There’s an SL version hiding inside this unit for sure, and I keep threatening to get out the deemed to start trimming it away for fun.

Takes little time to get used to, and I’m not sure there’s a need for a 2 position unit, as going back and fourth from climb to neutral is dead easy.  

I will note, I actually got it for the decent mode more than anything (Transition Sentinel V1, lots of post sticking up when slammed) and the seat was always in the way on real steep stuff.  But the nose down climb position, is friggin great, and gets used more often.

Since switched to a Spire, and the decent mode is a non-issue, so I go from climb to neutral.

To anyone giving it a think, my suggestion would be to give it a go, it’s a good investment in climbing comfort and power, 

On the rivet they say

Reply

DaveSmith
Dave Smith
2 weeks, 6 days ago
+4 Andrew Major Lu Kz Noel Dolotallas Endurimil

I've had mine for a few weeks and while I haven't mastered the adjustment on the fly quite yet, I am quite the fan so far of the hay Noel has made with his first product.

Sidenote: Anyone who has left their bike in Wade Simmons care while fetching a coffee or beer will know what it's like to return to find their saddle adjusted into what Aenomally has replicated in their descend mode. If memory serves it used to  come with a few choice words from the Godfather about how you've set your bike up wrong and wanting a thank you for correcting your mistakes - Noel has fixed this part too

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 6 days ago
0

Prior to having the quick-adjust option did you run your saddle more level or nose down?

Noel dropped off this SwitchGrade on your birthday. We’d never met before but when he mentioned he’d dropped in on you we had a good chuckle about what perfect weather you received - damp, dank, raining sideways, and dusky at 1pm.

Reply

DaveSmith
Dave Smith
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Andrew Major noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

I'm a seat level kinda guy. Per Noel's suggestion I've got it set to -3 thanks to seat level app but i've found myself wanting it to be more neutral.

For me, The test of when I really need the nose all the way down is if my hands are heavy on the bars in P1 then I move it back to neutral and take the weight off my hands. I haven't found it really necessary except for the punchier parts of GSM and that one sustained dick punch on old buck. 

And yes. Noel is an old riding buddy. Stoked to see him making something from scratch and it being well received.

Reply

finbarr
finbarr
2 weeks, 4 days ago
0

What's seat level app?

Reply

DaveSmith
Dave Smith
2 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Saddle Adjust

Reply

craw
Cr4w
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+4 LWK Velocipedestrian Endur-Bro noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

I always thought this was a neat idea. Never thought particularly about getting one for myself but since you pictured my bike as a use case example maybe I should :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Hahahaha. I just went looking for the sweetest rigs in the archive with the saddle noses tilted down.

Reply

Friday
Friday
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 T0m noel@aenomalyconstructs.com bushtrucker

I think the most interesting thing about the switchgrade is how people who ride it for a bit seem to really dig it, but then everyone who's never touched it hates the idea. Kind of falls in line with lots of other now standard innovations in mountain biking. 

Anyways, when are we getting an article on the new Rift Zone? It seems like every part on that bike has been very specifically chosen.

Reply

LWK
LWK
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

not totally sure I'd agree with this. I havent tried one and dont think its super applicable for my riding.  Certainly not a "must have". 

But I also think its kind of ingenious and could certainly see its use and appeal.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com bushtrucker

I think where I agree with you is that most folks who are likely to spend this amount of money to try something will have a good sense that it is going to work for them. That is, I'd bet most folks who have tried it / love it either already had their saddle nose pointed quite downwards or would have liked to but for the lack of support on flatter trails. 

I find a lot of folks who dislike a product/concept without trying it are justified in the sense that they know something is not for them - the failure isn't in keeping an open mind for their own needs but in keeping an open mind that other riders may need something different. 

For example, I'm very much enjoying it - especially the DH mode - but I wouldn't call it a 'must have' product for me at all. I tend to run my bar quite high and I'm happy with a flat saddle most of the time. 

------

The Rifty is my own rig that I use as a mule for component testing. With very rare exceptions like AJ's Geometron and my Walt V2 we don't write up personal bikes at NSMB. Happy to leave a few notes and answer any questions. 

The dropper post, fork, and shock are all review products. Same with the Bontrager rubber. The shock is especially neat as it's a well-used generation one Cane Creek DB Inline that's been fully serviced and upgraded to the current DB IL spec. 

I built the wheels and swap between these (dual 29") and a mullet setup depending on my mood. The cockpit is an NSB Overlord stem with an SQlab 30X aluminum bar which is my go-to combo. Aeffect R cranks - I love the value, CINCH, 24mm spindle, they're my favourite. The Chris King 24mm BB has been in a pile of bikes over the maybe 15-years I've owned it.

The brakes are neat. It was a pair of MT Trail brakes from Magura that I reviewed years back but I swapped out the rear 2-piston caliper for a used MT 7 4-piston caliper that I had that I bought used off my friend Dan years back when he moved to Japan - it would have been one of the first pairs of the new MT series brakes to hit Canada. 

Oh, and the Manitou 'Magic Toothpick' (review pending) is mated to a -2° Wolf Tooth angleset so the HTA sits somewhere between 63.5/64° with the 29'er wheelset. It's fun!

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I'm curious what the adoption rate would be for an offshore manufactured version of this would be. a scenario where i applaud the local manufacturing, but ehhh, too rich for my blood to give one a go. i imagine one could profitably pump these out (in volume, offshore) for half the price, and at that point would be a no brainer.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Not saying something like this couldn’t be made cheaper, or that a SwitchGrade made in much larger numbers (here or elsewhere) wouldn’t be less expensive but using stems as my example the difference in a nicely machined piece from overseas and from here isn’t anywhere near as large as it used to be. 

I’ll hold out judgement for down the road when I write my review after a proper winter on this thing, but the potential for unbearable slop in a shitty knock-off is high. 

In terms of doing a nice mass-produced version, I don’t think the demand is there now and I wonder if it ever will be? The nose-down saddle setup seems to be fairly geographically concentrated. If the product isn’t going to be in demand in California, Germany, the UK, or etc it’s probably destined to small-batch niche production.

Reply

Friday
Friday
2 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

Awesome, thanks for all those details! My fiancé has a rift zone, so I am always interested in others builds. Are there any specific adjustments you do to set it up mullet mode, or does the bottom bracket play nice?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 4 days ago
0

I don’t know that any modern dedicated 29’er plays really nice with a mullet conversion unless they have BB height adjustment - like the Banshee Titan I reviewed - the BBs are just too low. You can over-fork 10-20mm and the STAs are steep enough that it’s usually fine (~1/2d from 27” wheel + ~1/2d from 1.5cm travel increase = ~1d slacker STA). 

I always run 175mm cranks so that’s an extra concern as well. I have to really focus on pumping over pedaling. 

In mullet mode it’s total shenanigans and much more universally rideable than my SB102 Before Brunch Ride but I don’t think I could run it as a mullet universally unless I bumped up to a 140mm or 150mm fork. Then it would have a HTA around 62d (hahahaha).  

———

What shock is your fiancé running?

Reply

trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 kcy4130 Andrew Major cheapondirt

I'm old / sad enough to remember these:

https://www.retrobike.co.uk/threads/sold-campagnolo-euclid-27-2mm-seatpost-%C2%A352-50-posted.341087/

I think Suntour made one too?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 silverbansheebike trumpstinyhands

Mind. Is. Blown. I have never seen that before online or in person.  

It's sort of the same basic concept as the AXS Reverb where you loosen the bolt that clamps the saddle and then you can adjust the bolt that controls the tilt. 

Actually, I can envision a tool-free adjustment kit for the AXS Reverb head. Replace the hex-head on the side with a long sleek QR lever and then when that's open a little knob is all that would be needed to adjust the tilt. I think the QR would be adequately tucked under the saddle to avoid snags? 

HAHAHAHA. Look out SRAM. 

Reply

trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Ha ha, yeah just after I posted this I started wondering if you could do this on an X-Fusion HiLo type clamp. Might just need to strap an enduro-mallet to the top tube in order to free up the mechanism once the QR is released :D

Reply

mnihiser
mnihiser
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Bumped thru three pages; maybe it's still available!!

Reply

tashi
tashi
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I’ve come across a version with a super long adjustment slot combined with the QR - I think it was a SR?

Reply

trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Yep, that was the other one that I remember but I don't know when SR become Suntour or what the connection was.

I also have vague recollection of a bike in Mountain Bike Action that had a quick release seat tube!! The whole thing pivoted on the BB. I think the idea was that you move the seat tube forward for climbing / back for descending. This would also angle the saddle in the same way as the Aenomaly. I can't believe it never caught on ha ha.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Not sure if it was Suntour or SR Laprade that made something similar but with a really long offset "tray". 

This one. https://www.ebay.com/itm/255499853218

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com Andy Eunson

I've always wondered why folks had their saddles pointed down. Thanks for the explanation. This isn't a product I need, but it's great to see local folks design and build something that works well for its intended purpose. I appreciated the tear down so I could see the internals.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

I notice it being more common on longer travel rigs with steeper STAs but also with friends who mainly do steep pedal-and-plunge riding, so I wonder how often you’d see such a setup outside of places like the North Shore, Whistler, Pemberton, maybe Sedona? Much of the riding in the Alps? 

I expect Noel @ Aenomaly will pop up with other interesting products as well. I’m genuinely surprised how many SwitchGrades are around already given the cost and niche nature.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I also had a dream about trying this with a fixed post on my one speed for XC riding. Like, would DH -mode get the saddle just out of the way enough for more comfortable high-posting. 

I won’t be giving up my 170mm dropper for on the #1FG anytime soon. But some folks riding a fixed post already may get just enough extra separation to make it worthwhile?

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Dogl0rd noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

It'll be interesting to see how this concept develops. I can imagine angular adjustability becoming more refined and more common.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

I was going to write a section on future applications. Bar remote? Hydraulic? Integrated into a post? 

But I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t want it auto-tilting with post height, and I don’t see it being universally desirable to the extent that SRAM is going to make an AXS version tied into their Reverb battery.

I can clearly see cheaper versions coming available but the rotating play in worn dropper posts is annoying enough, I can’t imagine getting used to fore-aft play. 

Anyway, prediction time? Where do you think tilt-adjusting will go? Niche or mainstream?

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+5 Dogl0rd T0m silverbansheebike Endur-Bro noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

If it's as useful a some of the early reviews make it out to be I could see it becoming nearly as mainstream as droppers if it can be implemented inexpensively and so as to minimize drawbacks (which is a big IF). I could even see it catching on in gravel/touring/bikepacking circles. Gravel people and the like talk about wanting drop bars because they offer a multitude of hand positions and postures to keep from getting too fatigued in a single one for long days. I could see being able to adjust saddle tilt in 1 or 2 degree increments having a similar effect but probably less so.

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 T0m noel@aenomalyconstructs.com kcy4130

This thing is wonderful and I'd love to see some form of it come on bikes. Mine has worked flawlessly for months already

Reply

AverageAdventurer
AverageAdventurer
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Dogl0rd noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

I'd be on board for a two position, climb/neutral one for sure. I think descend mode I'd be buzzing my saddle more often than I'd like.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 T0m

I thought I’d be buzzing my tire - being medium height and riding a 29’er - but that hasn’t been the case. 

But I’d still love to see a press-in spacer that makes swapping between two modes more intuitive. Getting from climb to neutral without ending up at descend is the trickiest move on the fly.

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I have this thing and I 100% agree with you. I don't use the descend mode at all. I run my saddle just a tiny bit up in neutral, and then use the climb mode when I need it. Works perfectly.

Descend mode is annoying if there is any point on the trail where you want to take a rest for a sec or sit to pedal

Reply

silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com bushtrucker

As a pedal and plunge rider who still uses their QR seatpost clamp a few times each ride, the idea of a tool-free angle adjust is incredible! I'd consider one of these before a dropper. My seat angle is in a compromise of a position unless I'm going to be in the bike park or riding XC for an extended period. So cool!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 silverbansheebike

I certainly spent time wondering if for XC use the DH mode would be enough to get away with a fixed post. Always thinking of ways to simplify my 1FG. I don’t think I’ll give up my 170mm dropper for around here, but I’d certainly be curious enough to spend some time on a rigid post, SwitchGrade, and I already have a QR on my own bikes.

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C.C.
C.C.
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Andrew Major noel@aenomalyconstructs.com

I have recently returned full swing back into mountain bikes.  My last bike in 2015 didn't even have a dropper post!  

That being said, I'm fully immersed in 2022 bike gear and have been using a SwitchGrade for the last six months.  It's been ridden in some nasty conditions with plenty of rain and mud, to the point where I have had to replace my saddle due to permanent creaking.  So far so good in terms of durability.  It continues to be solid, with satisfying audible clicks.  

In terms of function, I've never felt the need to tilt my saddle nose down.  That is until I started riding a more modern geometry bike with a steep seat tube angle.  With my weight further forward, combined with a longer reach, the saddle nose tilt down creates a more comfortable position for sustained uphill climbing.

I only use two out of the three available settings.  A slight nose tilt down for flat and uphill climbing and a slight nose tilt up for descending.  As a smaller rider with a corresponding inseam, I like having a slight nose tilt up for descents and getting low on my bike.  Also as a smaller rider, the actual seat tube angle isn't as slack as taller riders with their seat post 210mm fully extended out.    

Overall I'd say it's a worthwhile product for those who like to have a more defined climbing and descending stance, or for those who need a bit more adjustability and comfort over varied terrain.  Is it worth the full price of admission?  It's a pay to play market, and small volume/ high quality product doesn't come cheap.

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Cydwhit
Cy Whitling
2 weeks, 4 days ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major

*Reads Review*

*Opens door to garage, sees that my saddles all point down*

*Swears under breath while clicking over to the the Aenomaly website*

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Cy Whitling

HAHAHAHA. I was saving the cost analysis for the full review. You know - "what if I have more than one bike and all of them are setup nose-down?"

But here's a thing I was thinking about. Folks talk about how an AXS Reverb could pay for itself because it's SO FAST to move from bike to bike. But really, if you had a remote and cable rigged up on all your bikes, and they had the same post size (which would be the same condition for the AXS to be swappable) how long would it take you to swap a dropper?

  1. Loosen remote
  2. Slide cable through frame
  3. Pull out post
  4. Unhook cable (no tools required on most posts)
  5. Reverse process on other bike. 
  6. Reset saddle tilt

I'd bet realistically it's a five-minute job. In fact, I'm going time back and forth a couple of times.

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Cydwhit
Cy Whitling
2 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 bushtrucker

Yep! I've had literally that conversation. IMO the question is: can you hook/unhook a cable faster than you can unbolt and re-mount an AXS shifter? Everything else is basically equal, so I bet it's a tossup. And sure, your bike won't make robot noises, but it'll do what it needs to do.

Realistically, right now I have one bike where this makes sense, my 180 mm winch and plummet/shuttle/bike park rig. And I'm about to ditch that in favor of a trail bike and a DH bike, so I don't actually need one. But I love the idea, and the execution.

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el_jefe
el_jefe
2 weeks, 3 days ago
0

You guys can't be serious, hahaha! This sounds like AXS Reverb hater rationalization taken a bit far. It would take about 60s-ish to swap my AXS Reverb setup into my other bike if the other bike didn't have a post in it. And I recently f*cked around with installing a OneUp that took for-fkn-ever because of where the internal routing tube ended etc... So maybe 5 min or so if the bike in question had perfect routing; no cable issues, fray etc etc. The ease of AXS Reverb switching between bikes certainly puts it over the line of "I wouldn't mind taking a min to swap the post to the other bike" but I'd never consider doing that with a wired dropper, that's for damn sure. Each to his own I guess as to if you think it'd be worth the time for a wired dropper - I expect you don't think it's worth the time if you aren't doing it already ... But I'm a fan of the AXS stuff, generally (SRAM needs to put out a longer AXS dropper....)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 3 days ago
0

"But really, if you had a remote and cable rigged up on all your bikes, and they had the same post size (which would be the same condition for the AXS to be swappable) how long would it take you to swap a dropper?"

I'm not suggesting swapping the housing from bike to bike.

If you already have the cable and housing run through the frame and a remote rigged up and all you're swapping is the seat post - unhook the post / unhook it to the other bike. Or, even if you want to use a single remote but you already have the housing routed so all you're doing is firing a cable through how much work is it really to swap a dropper? 

It's nothing against the AXS Reverb, it's simply a fact that what's sometimes touted as an advantage of the system (how fast it would be to swap the post and remote from bike to bike) may not actually be that much faster or more work than swapping a much less expensive cable-actuated post setup.

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UFO
UFO
1 week, 6 days ago
0

I'm late to the party, but this brings me back 20 years when I had a separate set of Marz  crowns installed in my 243 and VPS and could hot swap the fork between those 2 (bikes also shared wheels)

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rolly
rolly
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Interesting idea, but at that price, just can't see it.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I think at the current price - while justifiable as a nicely made small-batch BC product - the market will mainly be people who know it will make a difference versus folks just trying it.

That said, I’ve talked to a few folks who have said where it’s been best received is for eMTB where you’re sitting static a lot more. I can’t comment on that except to say that if it’s the case a SwitchGrade isn’t adding much to the purchase price of most BroPeds I see on the trails.

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zigak
ZigaK
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Speaking of wu, I have to share this hilarious writeup by Mark Alker from 2017:

So according to Specialized the word ‘Wu’ is a noun that is used to describe the tilt of your seatpost. For example..
“I say old chap, the nose of your saddle is tipped back at some considerable angle beyond the natural horizontal.”
..is more commonly translated on the trail as..
“Yo bro, you are rockin some serious wu on that saddle, dude. Yeah!” #doyouevenwubro

that out of the way, I really liked the idea that tilt is coupled with the drop of the saddle and was waiting for a post with more drop, unfortunately, nothing came out of  it. Although the aenomaly - your favourite droper combo gives you more options, I wonder if a lot of the riders really need these options? I think the decoupling of the functions (tilt/drop) is just the consequence of a small manufacturer that can't (as of yet) produce the w(u)hole package. Perhaps it 's even protected by spec with a couple of patents?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

WU was only one way though. I guess the way to do a one-push dropper + SwitchGrade would be to have the initial travel only moving the saddle from nose-down to level and then once level the post would start dropping?

I like the DH mode but I’d guess the vast majority of folks buying from Aenomaly are keenly interested in the climb setting.

That said, from my perspective there are many times I like to have my saddle dropped where I don’t want the nose up (I climb quite a bit out of the saddle and also prefer flat-saddle/seat down for flat log rides/ladders) but I can appreciate where other riders would want a one-push option.

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zigak
ZigaK
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 T0m

Oh I didn't realize it was just two positions. I guess it would be almost impossible to couple the climbing tilt with the drop, but the neutral and dh mode would be doable and (imo) feel completely natural. 

For me, the part I'm after is climbing mode, apart from tilt it would be interesting to also push the saddle forward. Maybe this could be accomplished by putting the centre of rotation lover down the seat tube. I don't remember correctly, but I think I read some research by Borut Fonda, where he developed a saddle post that adapts to steep grade climbing 

Found it

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 T0m

The saddle does feel like it moves forward as it tilts down. 

SwitchGrade, yet another item that belongs in a test library with saddles and bars.

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roil
roil
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Cool product but it also highlights some of the issues I have with seat design in general. Why are seats shaped the way it is? They seem unnecessarily long. I am not putting any weight on the forward half of the seat and it only serves to potentially poke/catch you on the descent. One of the guys I ride with uses particular woman's seat (specialized but I can't recall the exact model) as it's shorter.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 T0m

I generally already run a shorter saddle in the WTB Koda (originally marketed as a women’s saddle) or BikeYoke Sagma and that works great for me. 

The Sagma doesn’t fit (oval rails) and I lent my Koda to a friend for his wife to try (struggling to find the right seat). 

Everyone’s sit bones and contact points are different and I know a fair few people who tried shorter saddles and didn’t like them. SwitchGrade is also more than the nose falling away - the tail of the saddle is tilting so your sit bones are still supported similarly to how they were with the saddle level on more level terrain.

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Endur-Bro
Endur-Bro
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 noel@aenomalyconstructs.com T0m

I was a big WTB Deva guy back a decade ago.  Tried out a Chromag Mood as the length was similar to my road bike saddle length/width. Big win as I like the extra length for more body english on seated climbs.  

Currently run my saddle tilted down on my squish bike so this looks to be an item added to my new build coming spring '23. 

Really will be going with a one bike to ride 'em all. So it'll need to do "pedal n plunge" and bike park duties from a single bike.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 T0m

So here’s the follow up question. If Aenomaly made two versions, which would you choose for your do-it-all build?

A) This unit with C.T.D. Modes

B) A version with just Climb and Neutral - but it’s more intuitive to select them on the fly

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roil
roil
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Morgan Heater

Matching your sit bones to your saddle is key! I asked my friend, and he runs the Specialized Power Pro Mimic.

I know SQLabs has some saddles with stepped profiles for climbing. Seems like a simpler solution than the SwitchGrade.

If the SwitchGrade also shifted the seat forward to put you mover over the BB when climbing, I would be all about it.

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noel@aenomalyconstructs.com
noel@aenomalyconstructs.com
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 T0m Pete Roggeman

Sit bones to saddle are definitely key factors for comfort, 100%. SQ Labs makes some fine equipment, looking to try one of their 611 Ergowave's on my ride soon.

Hey Noel here from Aenomaly. 

The SwitchGrade features a forward offset pivot which moves the rider forward roughly 10mm as it rotates along an arc. This arcing action steepens STA by slightly more than 1 degree while simultaneously moving the seated point on the saddle forward, effectively moving you over the bb for climbing. The benefits being climbing with a more open hip and torso angle for improved biomechanical efficiency hence why it's easier to 'sit and spin,' not to mention an open diaphragm for better breathing. While we haven't conducted lab tests to confirm power increases from negative saddle tilt, many riders claim to experience it which is also backed by research papers.

The major shortcoming of relying on a saddle only (not to say it's not useful, just that we'd say it's only one part of the system of efficiency and comfort) is that because its sits fixed in place and runs parallel to the ground, as you climb, the saddle tilts in concert which produces a range of undesired effects like:

  • arched back trying to evenly distribute weight between wheels
  • premature upper body fatigue as we grasp at our bars to prevent sliding off the back of the saddle
  • increased pressure on the perineum (groin region more or less) as the tip of the saddle pushes up into our privates (which gets worse the steeper it gets)

Cheers, Noel

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roil
roil
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 Andrew Major noel@aenomalyconstructs.com bushtrucker

Hey Noel! 

Very cool to hear from you. I didn't realize the SwitchGrade shifted the seat forward. I watched Paul Aston's video, albeit quickly, and couldn't see the forward shift when he toggled between settings. 

My bike has an 80° effective seat tube angle, and I run the seat pointed slightly down. I totally agree with the benefits you've outlined.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 T0m

I’ve ridden most every SQLab saddle - love the 611 Active and very much like the 60X Active on steeper STA bikes like my Rifty, in the photos above. Certainly not the same thing as SwitchGrade. Which completely drops the nose out of the way or indeed like riding a short nose saddle (my favourite saddles being the Koda & Sagma). 

If you get a chance to try a SwitchGrade it may very well not be for you, but I do think you’d agree it’s not like anything else currently on the market.

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roil
roil
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 kcy4130

Maybe I just need to take this to the logical conclusion and just buy a noseless bike seat. 

I had no idea these were even a thing until this evening.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 roil bushtrucker

High crimes against bicycles.

That’s a gorgeous looking steel Bianchi. It NEEDS a sweet classic Selle Italia or similar.

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 weeks, 4 days ago
+2 roil Pete Roggeman

Good lord that photo is traumatizing!

el_jefe
el_jefe
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

I thought of this SQLabs reference pic when I saw Andrew's seat angle - he's actually running his tip-up compared to SQLabs recommended neutral level (if the pic isn't fooling me). I'm running a 6OX SQLabs seat with my Switchgrade

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I've run all my SQlab saddles slightly nose up from recommended (so good eye, but it may also be the photo). I start with neutral position and then tilt up maybe a 1/4 turn at a time until I find the right spot for me. Same with the Sagma actually.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 roil

I love the specialized power saddles, but would take one even shorter, for sure.

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JVP
JVP
2 weeks, 4 days ago
0

These SQ labs saddles are brilliant... until they cause a bruised tailbone from that bumped up back. I had to ditch mine, though I could probably go back now that I've let the tailbone heal up (about a year).  Everything has pros and cons.

If I lived somewhere I had to pedal flat road to get to the climb trail, I'd buy the Aenomaly tomorrow. Good lawd that flat road pedaling is uncomfortable for us taller guys who do mostly steeper climbs with a nose-down saddle.

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