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Member Question: Using the Profile Design Fast Forward Seat Post
Would it be a simple and advisable to swap back and forth between the road seat post with no aero bars and the tri seat post with aero bars?
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Question from ScudRunner
"I see the Profile Design Fast Forward seat post purporting to allow those who own a road bike to alter the geometry so that they can use aero bars and have the same seat angle as that of a "true" tri bike. I am new to cycling, and plan to spend some time just riding in the road position, but the only reason I am cycling at all is for triathlons. That said, I have also read many articles talking about the training benefits of riding in both road and aero positions.
So, my question is this: Assuming that I had a good fit done on my new road bike for the road position, and then went in with something like the Fast Forward seat post and got a good fit done with that and also a set of aero bars, would it be simple and advisable to swap back and forth between the road seat post with no aero bars and the tri seat post with aero bars? At this point, I really can't afford more than one bike, but I'd like to get the most out of training with it, and be able to set it up for maximum success when it comes time to race."
Lead Fitter at Fitwerx, MA
Compared to a road position, a proper tri position typically involves moving the saddle further forward, shortening the reach to the aerobars, and lowering the front end of the bike. The forward saddle position opens up your hip angle so when you’re in the aerobars you’re able to maintain your same comfort and power level you could sustain on the road setup. The shortened reach promotes better skeletal support through your upper arms since more weight now rests on your elbows. The lower front end of the bike will result in a more aerodynamic position. When positioned properly you’ll be able to maintain comfort and power in this more aerodynamic position.
When making these changes on a road bike, you’ll typically use a forward seatpost like you suggested. The forward seatpost kills two birds with one stone by moving your saddle further forward in relation to the bottom bracket, and also shortens the reach to your aerobars. Depending on the individual, you may need a different length stem or adjustment in your aerobars in order to accommodate your ideal reach to the front end once the saddle is in place.
Lowering the front end of the bike can be as simple as removing spacers from underneath the stem. When there aren’t enough spacers to move, then a stem that’s angled down more is the next best step. If you’re still stuck and can’t set the bike up in your ideal tri position, then I recommend considering aerobar models that position your elbows lower in relation to the handlebar. Hed and Vision aerobars both effectively position your elbows 2-3 lower than popular models from Profile or Syntace. Choosing the right aerobar that best suits your ideal tri position is also something an experienced bike fitter can help you with.
As you can see, changing from your ideal road position over to your tri position will often times require more than just changing out a seatpost and clamping on aerobars. Most riders will need to change seatposts, clamp on the aerobars, remove spacers from underneath the stem, and possibly change the stem. When you consider these changes, it’s not something you’ll want to be changing back and forth all the time. Some triathletes in this situation will change the bike over to a road position during the winter and early spring months, and then over to the tri position during the summer racing season.
Considering you’ll be racing in the aerobar position, there’s isn’t any downside of doing all your training in that position during that time of the year. We’ve worked with many triathletes that train in their triathlon positions year round as well.
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