Profile Design Fast Forward Seat Post

This seat post is described by its manufacturer, Profile Design, as follows:

The Fast Forward Aluminum is a triathlon and time trial specific seatpost that, when used with a standard road geometry frame, allows the rider to obtain a position commonly found with steeper seat-tube angled triathlon and time trial bikes.

This is pretty-much exactly what it does. I fitted the saddle from my mountain bike to it, installed it ensuring the saddle-to-bottom-bracket distance was the same as usual, and this is the result (in front is my normal saddle/seatpost in its normal position):

Saddle position comparison

So it works then? That depends on what you mean by “works”. It gets your feet and bum into the position they would be in on a time-trial bike but if you were expecting it to give you the time-trial body position you will be disappointed. Assuming your road bike was set up correctly fitting this seat post will make you slower if you make no other changes: your cross-sectional area will increase and so will your aerodynamic drag.

I found that I needed to bring the handlebars about 70mm closer and drop them about 100mm in order to get my body into a good TT position with bolt-on aerobars. Unfortunately I couldn’t do this with the amount of spacers in my stack and the stems I have lying around in the garage: I could bring them 70mm closer but could only achieve a relative drop of 25mm. The solution I came up with was to bolt the aerobars onto the handlebars upside-down and back-to-front. This put the aero extensions in roughly the right place but of course meant that the elbow pads were unusable. For the sake of completing the experiment I removed the pads from their supports and taped them to the top of the bars.

This setup worked really well in the turbo trainer: the position looked good from an aerodynamic point of view, I was comfortable, and my power numbers remained good. But time trials are not contested on turbo trainers, so I went for a road-test. Getting into the position was no problem, looking ahead when I was in the position was easier than I expected, but getting out of the position was positively dangerous. The problem was that I could not move my hands to the hoods or drops without hitting my wrist on the brake hood on the way. If I could get the handlebars low enough not to need to fit the aerobars upside-down it would have been fine.

To do that I would need a very extreme stem, one which I am fairly certain does not exist: 120mm long and a drop angle of 71°. The most extreme I have seen available is this adjustable stem from Deda which can reportedly be adjusted to an angle of 55° at its most extreme. The 80mm version of this, which I cannot find for sale anywhere, might be close enough. But it wouldn’t be perfect.

Another solution is a different handlebar with a drop. Then I wouldn’t be hitting my wrists on the hoods because there aren’t any. But unless you are also going to change your shifters, brake levers and cables every time you want to setup your road bike for time trialling it isn’t very practical.

If you want a road bike six months of the year (winter training) and a TT bike six months of the year (summer competing) this seat post, combined with an alternate stem, handlebars, brake levers and shifters gives you that possibility. The cost would be less than buying a dedicated TT bike; probably £500 once and then a cable change every six months (which you should do anyway). But unfortunately that’s not what I need: I need a TT bike on Tuesdays and a road bike the rest of the time.

It was a worthwhile experiment and at £51 from eBay not one which cost me so much to run. But for now I shall leave my road bike as a road bike and ride my time trials on that setup unless/until I can afford a full-on TT bike.

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