Editor’s Note: Over the final days of 2012, we’ll be featuring our favorite 12 stories of the year, as voted by the Velo edit staff. First up is Lennard Zinn’s VeloLab seatpost test, which first appeared in the June 2012 issue.
Getting the Most from your Post
Being in the saddle for hours, particularly on bumpy pavement or dirt roads, can be a real pain in the ass. Literally.
Altering the saddle, body position, tire pressure, frame material and design can all reduce this, but what role does the seatpost play in your comfort, or lack thereof? We set out to answer this question by testing 14 seatposts of different materials, setback and design philosophy. At Boulder’s Microbac accredited test lab, we measured vibration damping over small bumps with an accelerometer, and we measured linear deflection (flex) under body weight in two dimensions.
The Test Subjects
We tested carbon, aluminum and titanium seatposts. Some were straight (having zero offset), and some had setback (measured in millimeters relative to the axis of the seatpost). All of the straight models were paired with a setback version of the same make and model to compare the effect of setback on bump-damping performance. Additionally, two of the setback seatposts (Ritchey WCS) were of the same design, one being carbon and one being aluminum, to compare the effect of construction material on vibration and bump performance. Two of the carbon setback seatposts had design features specifically intended to smooth the ride (Specialized FACT with Zertz elastomer inserts and Cannondale Flash with SAVE flattened section), and one of the aluminum setback seatposts (Cane Creek Thudbuster/ST) had a parallelogram suspension design with an elastomer spring in it. All of the seatposts measured 27.2mm in diameter.
We tested the seatposts with each saddle mounted in exactly the same position relative to the cranks and handlebar on the bike. We used three new Fi’zi:k Antares saddles with tubular steel k’ium rails in order to speed setup of successive tests while ensuring accuracy.