Critique (roast?) my DIY TT position with Redshift aero kit on road bike

TLDR - is my fit in photos below reasonable or ridiculous?

I’ll preface this with I have zero real TT experience - but getting comfortable in lower position on my road bike the past year and spending more time in drops, including on training intervals has given me a lot more speed.

So, on a lark, I picked up a used redshift system - for those not familiar, it’s nicely adjustable quick-release aerobars + a seatpost that you can snap forward or back on the fly, and when forward, it also rises up to get closer to a TT bike geometry while keeping the distance to bottom bracket constant. Perfect for non-committal roadies. Very cool kit - @dcrainmaker has a great review of it.

Goals - something different to mix up training, get used to more aggressive positions that I can rotate between on long fondos, chase some of the longer TT segments for fun as part of TR outdoor intervals; maybe someday try a sprint duathlon.

Since this is a bit of a random exploratory gateway drug for me, didn’t commit to a real fit yet - just took a stab setting this up based on what feels OK, and a few things I read online like considering a slight upward tilt on the bars, elbows just off the pads to avoid jarring, ~90 degrees on arms… for my grip, I just rotated the S-bends to where they feel comfortable on my wrists to hold - they are turned slightly inward.

I’ve ridden this a few times for 20-30 min at 90-92% and it’s felt pretty good.

So with that - here are some photos - interested in any feedback from more experienced folks if I’m doing something wacky or leaving something on the table that I should consider w/r to position.


As a point of reference - below is where I’m at with the seat in normal road position (from a professional fit that has worked well for me, but I no longer live near that shop).

I am tempted to try going a bit lower on the stem, and maybe a bit longer reach. The rides I’m most interested in are ~70-100 miles and I’ve found that small improvements in aero add up over time. So far, comfort has not been a problem. I also feel that after riding the aerobars, it almost feels bunched up in the drops so I was also thinking of going 10 mm longer - but not sure if that is advisable or not. The drop bars also feel crazy wide when coming back to them off the aerobars!



Looks like a fine start with one place I would adjust.

  • It looks like the S-bend extensions are pointing mostly up (maybe out too, but that could be the camera angle).
  • I like to roll the extensions inward, such that your hands are just about touching. It closes off the opening a bit and directs the air away from your chest.
  • Another goal is to make this an inverted ‘V’ with your hands as the point, and the elbows the outer wing. I feel it helps air flow.

Currently on the trainer, so I hope that makes sense.

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Yes, totally makes sense. I have the front of the “S” rolled inward just a bit (about 30 degrees inward) but I only put that rotation in because it felt better than having them straight. What you’re saying makes sense regarding closing it off and now I do recall reading things like that.

The main issue that may limit me is that the S is very “shallow” if that makes sense - so even if I rotate them 90 degrees, I don’t think I’ll be able to close that gap, but I will try it and see both how close I get and how it feels - thanks!

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I’d want my hands narrower and elbows wider. For me (now 42), if my elbows were that much inside my shoulder capsule, I wouldn’t be able to hold that position comfortably.

Otherwise, the side shot looks pretty damn good to me.

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Right, with the short S, there isn’t a ton of roll. Just make sure you have your base clamps snug against the stem. And he roll as much as you can do while still keeping a height you like.

I have the same setup (original RedShift KickStarter backer :slight_smile: ) and here is the width for mine.

And as Nash said, I like the wider elbows, so consider your arm pad placement too.

You need to learn to rotate your hips…in both positions. You are very upright in your road position and basically in a road position for your TT position.

Your sit bones are planted in the saddle, which is causing you to sit upright. If you rotate your hips forward, you can get both longer and lower.

Good bike position starts with your hips…before you start to worry about your aero bar position / setup, you have to get that sorted.

I am not a fit expert by any means, but I don’t agree with rolling his hips forward to close off the hip angle. If anything, he needs to let comfort be his guide, and in this case if he starts rolling hips forward he is probably going to open the door to a host of other problems until he gets a proper TT fit. And even then, I’m not sure I’d have him roll his hips forward much.

That’s my $0.02 and I’m happy to read vehement disagreement so I can learn.

Is this where we go Slowtwitch and tell him his seat is too high? :laughing:

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Ok, I’m going to check that bar width measurement tomorrow as well as proximity of the bar mounts to the stem. I haven’t played with the elbow pad positions at all yet either so I’ll also see how it feels if I move them out a notch relative to the bars.

The comment from @Power13 about sit bones being planted in the saddle is interesting as I do think about this regularly after endless prompts in the TR text! So I thought that was something to aim for.

To imcrease hip rotation, I am not sure how to accomplish more without lowering and/or extending the stem, which is certainly on my mind. I assume I’d also have to tweak seat angle a bit if I try that to maintain good contact?

I do feel a bit more hamstring fatigue riding in the aero position so I’d want to ease into it a few mm at a time, same as I’ve done working down the 15mm of spacers that were once under the stem.

Is it reasonable to keep pushing a few more mm in this direction - particularly for the road position, less stem rise, more reach?

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What little bit I’ve read of that site seems like 50% out of control ego maniacs and 50% flame wars - hence I didn’t take these questions there yet :grinning:


That sounds about right, yeah.

I would say your hip rotation looks OK. Not rotating your hips enough leads to a more curved back which can put a lot of strain on the lower back muscles which in turn can lead to discomfort and loss of power. Your back isn’t that curved, it looks quite close to a neutral position to me. Maybe scope for a bit more rotation, if you do want to get lower at the front end then it would help with that. What saddle are you using? Lots of TTers and triathletes are on split nose or cut-off saddles where your sit bones are close to the front of the saddle (still well planted!), enabling you to rotate forwards without increasing pressure on delicate parts.

Overall it looks a fairly strong and comfortable position to me, which is a good start. And backed up by you being able to hold decent power for long intervals with no issues. I think there’s scope to get lower and more aero, but in doing so I would try to keep the relative body angles the same. The way to look at it is keeping the same position but rotating the whole thing forwards around the BB (i.e. just get that photo and rotate it anti-clockwise…). So as you lower the front end, you also move it forwards, and also bring the saddle forwards (and/or sit more on the nose of the saddle in it’s existing position) to maintain the same reach and hip angles. A steeper saddle position (whether from moving the saddle or moving your butt on the saddle) also reduces effective saddle height, so you might also need to raise it slightly. The key is making incremental changes and giving yourself time to adjust to them before doing further tweaks. Even small changes can make big differences.

Great info above with one note.

That is already handled by the RedShift seatpost that moves forward and up when it is shifted into the aero/TT position. It may not be the ideal adjustment but it is massively better than a fixed setup with clip-on in either road or TT biased, fixed position.

No, if you are closing the hip angle, you aren’t rotating your hips, you are just bending over at the waist…they are not the same thing.

If you properly rotate your hips, your angles remain largely the same, but everything rotated forward. This allows you to then use a lower stem position and often a longer stem.

A lot of people will tell you that the “proper” saddle is necessary to achieving hip rotation…while it can help, riders ave been roasting their hips forever using old Rolls and Regal saddles. BUT, a good modern saddle (Specialized Power, ISM, etc) can certainly help in getting good rotation.

Yea, you are definitely closer - mine are 2 7/8" apart at the inside (with thicker tape), you’re at 2 1/4."

It’s still the stock saddle that came with the bike - Bontrager Affinity. I have over 20k miles on it so it’s probably due to be replaced, and I was thinking about exactly the type you suggest based on what I’ve been reading. I’ve just been delaying this because I expect it’ll be a time consuming iterative process to get right, but winter is probably a good time to experiment.

Yea, what I’m thinking here is that if I tweak the stem parameters, I’d adjust everything first based on optimizing the normal road position, including adjusting seat in the redshift mount as needed - and then trust that the additional offset applied for the forward TT position would still be appropriate for the seat, and finally fine tune the bars relative to that as needed. End of the day, I’m not (yet) committed enough to get into more elaborate seat post/bars/stem swaps between the setups (the whole point of the redshift is to make it easy) so my priority is still the road position and then making the best aerobar setup with that + the forward/up seat adjust the redshift allows.

I’ve been looking at a 110 mm stem (10 mm longer) and 5 degree which would enable me to do a few incremental steps by flipping up/down with spacer under/over it.

Is it typical to tilt the saddle a degree or two to account for rotating everything forward or is the idea you should be able to rotate on the sit bones, but same saddle angle? That might start to get painful on the front.

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Usually a question of personal preference…some do, some don’t. I prefer a horizontal saddle, road or TT. Going with noseless or stubby saddle will help alleviate “frontal pressure”…

for years, I have gone contrary to the trend and used a Profile Stryke tri saddle…which is actually significantly longer than a “normal” saddle (and WAY longer than a noseless saddle). Done two full IM’s and a lot of 70.3’s with it and never had any issues.

From my experience, having a slight tilt down can lead to constantly having to shift backwards on the saddle because you creep forward…if you ever used a typewriter, it is like a “carriage return”. :rofl: Google old videos of Contador on his TT bike circa 2009 to see what I mean. But again, it is personal preference.

ETA - I use a Specialized Power saddle on my road bike and have been very happy with it. COuld be a great compromise saddle for what you want. Would bridge the needs of both a road and TT position.

Shows exactly how personal saddle choice can be! I tried the Tri Stryke and just couldn’t get on with at all. If I perched on the nose I got numb, if I sat a little further back the width of the nose meant I got chafing on my thighs. Did a 70.3 on it about 12 years ago, was walking around like John Wayne afterwards, took it off the bike in disgust afterwards and it’s still sitting in the garage somewhere (less than <1000km on it, so if you ever wear yours out and need a replacement let me know…). Switched to the original ISM Adamo and loved it from the first ride, as they brought out other models I ended up with them on all my bikes.

Totally agree with you on the horizontal thing though, never could abide having any kind of tilt, always felt I was slipping off.

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LOL…I guess my decades of roadie life allowed me to use that saddle. I tended to sit back a bit on it, with “the boys” in the “valley” of the saddle.

I actually just swapped out the saddle to a Sitero. I have been using my TT bike for the TBMV1 program, but I raise my front wheel up a fair amount so I can get in aero on the trainer…but that effectively tilted my saddle up, which was too much pressure on the old “brat and potatoes”, so I swapped it out.

Conversely, I have never gotten on with ISM saddles…

Truly personal preference…

I still don’t think I agree with that recommendation in this case, but I would caveat that with “it depends on the event”. Specifically, he’s on a road bike, so making major adjustments to optimize a TT position on a modified road bike doesn’t make sense to me. Aero may not be the primary target of the fit on that bike in the first place.

On my tri bike, I had my hips rotated pretty far forward and liked to ride the nose of the saddle. That resulted in some serious discomfort, and frankly I think finding a saddle that allows you to ride in that manner is just a band-aid for what is an improper fit. I think I was sacrificing power. I’ve since switched to a stubby nose saddle with a cutout on my road bike, and I strongly prefer that. When I slide forward on the saddle during longer road events, I’ve found it more comfortable, but I’m always working to keep sit bones engaged on the saddle and perineum unloaded. The cutout just helps with that; it’s not the solution.

Again, this is all IMO. There are a whole slew of different philosophies on fit, and what works for one may not work for another. Perhaps I haven’t found a good saddle combo, but rotating my hips forward for tri events resulted in discomfort and affected performance negatively.

Anyway, I’m derailing the thread for a Slowtwitch-style philosophical fit discussion, so I’ll stop now. :grin:

I’ve done Merckx class TT (no aero bars), and a lot of aggressive aero position riding into strong headwinds. My Trek has an endurance geometry, and I’ve ended up riding everywhere with a nose down position on my split saddle:

works for me.

When its time to replace saddle I’d love to try the ISM PN 3.0 or 3.1.

Just to clarify, my comments really aren’t meant to “optimize” a TT position. Any TT position on this bike is going to involve a compromise (even using the Redshift products). I would argue that the OP is too upright in either his road or TT position.

For example, his position in the drops, IMO, is the position he should be in while on the hoods…

As I look at this more, I actually wonder if the bike is too small for him. I would say that the OP definitely needs a longer stem. It looks like he is pushing himself back in order to get enough reach.

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