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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 05-16-10, 01:32 PM   #1
GLA
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Thudbuster... or not

I'm thinking of getting a thudbuster for the stoker as the suspension post that came with the bike does not seem to be great. Can anyone give advice? if you think they are good, long or short travel. If not a thudbuster, other suggestions on suspension seat posts?

thanks
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Old 05-16-10, 02:30 PM   #2
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Yes. Get a fixed seatpost, and call out bumps for you stoker. If your stoker really wants supsension, and it get them riding then get a suspension seatpost.

If comfort is the number one priority get a suspension seat post.

However, realize that they are heavy, affect bike fit, andtake away a protion tof the energy produced by the stoker that could otheriwse go into making the bike going forward.
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Old 05-16-10, 05:21 PM   #3
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Agree with Merlin, above.
Stoker Kay has never used in suspension seatpost on our personal tandems in 225,000+ miles.
We tested the original Thudbuster and others (years ago) and found that the Thudbuster was the best over all in suspension seatposts. However, ultimate comfort was when we tested the Alsop carbon fiber beam when they first came out on Burleys and Co-Motions. Sadly the beam is no longer available.
Try a few hundred miles without suspension and call out the bumps/rough road.

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Old 05-16-10, 07:03 PM   #4
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Good advice above. OP, what type of riding do you and your stoker do?


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Old 05-17-10, 04:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. We've been riding just under 12 months. Have done around 3000km on the bike, so just beginners - keen to learn. We love riding the tandem. Generally we do 60/70km ride, some of them up and down some serious hills.

Shortly (2 weeks!!!) we're heading across to Switzerland for 4 weeks of touring. My solo bike is getting very lonely in the garage
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Old 05-17-10, 05:24 AM   #6
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I joke to my wife about how much $ was spent to keep her bottom end comfy.

Both of our off road tandems have Thudbuster long travel posts. These work pretty well in the dirt for most bumps, but I still call out many things we are riding over.

The Thudbuster LT is nice also on account of being able to dial in spring rate and preload of the elastomers.

Shifting over to our road tandem, our first road tandem was a Co-Mo Speedster, it has a steel frame. On that bike we ran an aluminum seatpost and let the frame absorb road smootness, and called out the other stuff. That was a very smooth bike. Very nice.

As nice as the Seedster was, my wife never enjoyed our heft flexing the frame vertically at speed on flat ground. We then went with an aluminum framed Co-Mo Roadster. This bike had aluminum seatposts. We tried that and it wa ok but a little buzzy letting her feel the rolling road. To dampen this one of my mtb sacrificed a Dean Titanium post. This has proven to work well for us.

I guess the moral of this story is as others said, rider comfort. Because we had them in other bikes, our road tandem could be fitted and tested with a variety of different seatpost setups. The stoker made her own choice for each bike.

If you do go with a Thudbuster, be aware that with a rack or bags, the seat will move af and down to funtction. Also, unless it is plug and play for seattube diameter, buy the Thudbuster seatpost shims. They are and work best and are not cost prohibitive.

A lot of this decision will be based on what your frame is made from, how "textured" the roads are, and how sensitive your stoker is, plus how well you manage callouts. I would say Merlin hit it on the mark.

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Old 05-17-10, 09:30 AM   #7
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Our tandem came with a suspension post that was a bit noisy and stoker did feel that she was losing power from it. We sold it to some friends we ride with who used it to pummel us repeatedly on all the hill climbs, so it doesn't seem to be causing too much power loss for that stoker. Removing the post did drop some weight off the bike, however I let the stoker decide. I don't sit there so I don't make those decisions. The rear saddle looks like a tiny toilet seat (SMP TRK) but it's what makes her happy.
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Old 05-17-10, 09:41 AM   #8
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My wife has a Thudbuster ST on the back of our tandem, plus a Terry Butterfly saddle. She's never been entirely happy with it and cannot get as comfortable as on her single road bike, which has a seemingly lower-quality saddle that we bought quite randomly because it was on discount at a local store several years ago (plus rigid seat post). I'm now going to suggest that instead of changing the saddle on the tandem, she tries using a carbon seatpost rather than the Thudbuster - doing so may be MORE comfortable based on my experience this weekend:

I bought another Thudbuster ST for my cyclocross / go anywhere single bike last Fall and used it a lot over the winter. I have a Fizik Aliante saddle on that bike which I got to match the one I use on my main road bike, although there are very slight differences in the two saddles. I've always found the saddle on the cyclocross bike to not be as comfortable as the one on my road bike, causing slight discomfort on 2+ hour rides, and had put this down to the very minor differences between model years and saddle rail material in the two Aliante saddles, although it seemed odd that such subtle things were making any difference. This past weekend, I took the Thudbuster seatpost off the cyclocross bike and replaced it with an aluminum post (Ritchey Pro) and it seemed to make a big IMPROVEMENT! I did an 8 hour road ride on that bike yesterday, and never felt my butt at all, it had suddenly become as comfortable as the Aliante saddle on my road bike is. Since the Thudbuster is the only thing that I've changed, I've now decided that the Thudbuster is probably what is causing my discomfort!

The Thudbuster seatpost certainly absorbs impacts well, which is handy on really rough terrain, but it seems that it makes sitting on the seat for long periods less comfortable. I'm still not exactly sure why this is, so I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences.

GLA - Because of this, I'm not planning to keep the Thudbuster SL that I had on my cyclocross bike, and will probably be trying to sell it. I live in Switzerland (Lausanne to be precise), so you could pick it up at the start of your tour in four weeks or I could send it to somewhere that you're staying at the beginning. If you're flying into Geneva then it would be very easy to sort something out. It may even be possible to rent it from me for the four weeks, and send it back from the other end of the country if you're not happy, or buy it if you are. It's still in almost perfect condition.

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Old 05-17-10, 10:30 AM   #9
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My wife has a Thudbuster ST on the back of our tandem, plus a Terry Butterfly saddle. She's never been entirely happy with it and cannot get as comfortable as on her single bike, which has a seemingly lower-quality saddle that we bought quite randomly because it was on discount at a local store several years ago. I'm now going to suggest that instead of changing the saddle, she tries using a carbon seatpost rather than the Thudbuster - doing so may be MORE comfortable based on my experience this weekend:

I bought another Thudbuster ST for my cyclocross / go anywhere single bike last Fall and used it a lot over the winter. I have a Fizik Aliante saddle on that bike which I got to match the one I use on my main road bike, although there are very slight differences in the two saddles. I've always found the saddle on the cyclocross bike to not be as comfortable as the one on my road bike, causing slight discomfort on 2+ hour rides, and had put this down to the very minor differences between model years and saddle rail material in the two Aliante saddles, although it seemed odd that such subtle things were making any difference. This past weekend, I took the Thudbuster seatpost off the cyclocross bike and replaced it with an aluminum post (Ritchey Pro) and it seemed to make a big IMPROVEMENT! I did an 8 hour road ride on that bike yesterday, and never felt my butt at all, it had suddenly become as comfortable as the Aliante saddle on my road bike is. Since the Thudbuster is the only thing that I've changed, I've now decided that the Thudbuster is probably what is causing my discomfort!

The Thudbuster seatpost certainly absorbs impacts well, which is handy on really rough terrain, but it seems that it makes sitting on the seat for long periods less comfortable. I'm still not exactly sure why this is, so I'm wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences.

GLA - Because of this, I'm not planning to keep the Thudbuster SL that I had on my cyclocross bike, and will probably be trying to sell it. I live in Switzerland (Lausanne to be precise), so you could pick it up at the start of your tour in four weeks or I could send it to somewhere that you're staying at the beginning. If you're flying into Geneva then it would be very easy to sort something out. It may even be possible to rent it from me for the four weeks, and send it back from the other end of the country if you're not happy, or buy it if you are. It's still in almost perfect condition.
Interesting discussion about the pros and cons of suspension post. We too had a Thudbuster ST on our Santana and I don't think my stoker would have ridden without it. It could partly be perception and/or placebo effect. When we got our Calfee not only did she not need the suspension post, it is more comfortable than our old tandem with one. On the Calfee I also used a Specialized Pave carbon post (with Zertz) on the back just to make sure although I am not sure how much it helps if any, so you might try that instead of a full on suspension post. Suspension systems can potentially suffer from resonances where if you hit the right bump or series of bumps it can actually amplify the shock. I am not sure if this actually happens with a Thudbuster
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Old 05-17-10, 09:16 PM   #10
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Over several years the predominant votes in favour of suspension seatposts have been Thudbuster, with the primary reason being the parallelogram - distance to pedals changes little, while for a telescoping seatposts it can change substantially. There is another brand that got some votes (I forget what).

ST or LT? If she's light, ST is probably adequate, and you get little additional benefit from LT. ST is lighter weight. LT also, as the name implies, requires more space between the top of the seat tube and the saddle, which may or may not be available. Need to check. My wife has an LT, my daughter an ST. At the time the daughter was lighter, and on a bike with less exposed seatpost. No complaints from either of them.
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Old 05-18-10, 01:57 AM   #11
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Interesting discussion about the pros and cons of suspension post. We too had a Thudbuster ST on our Santana and I don't think my stoker would have ridden without it. It could partly be perception and/or placebo effect. When we got our Calfee not only did she not need the suspension post, it is more comfortable than our old tandem with one. On the Calfee I also used a Specialized Pave carbon post (with Zertz) on the back just to make sure although I am not sure how much it helps if any, so you might try that instead of a full on suspension post. Suspension systems can potentially suffer from resonances where if you hit the right bump or series of bumps it can actually amplify the shock. I am not sure if this actually happens with a Thudbuster
Fortunately, the seatpost I'm going to get her to try is a Specialized with Zertz inserts - I'm also not convinced of the Zertz effectiveness, but it can't hurt.

When we go over speedbumps on the road then the Thudbuster definitely does cause problems, because some of them cause the seatpost to compress and then release at just the right speed that she gets launched into the air, which doesn't happen with a rigid post (it doesn't absorb the impact, but it also doesn't have the pogo stick effect). So, although I said that the Thudbuster absorbs bumps well, it can also magnify bumps of certain sizes. I'm less and less convinced that a suspension post is a useful thing when riding on the road.

However, if the question is simply which is the best suspension seatpost, then my vote is definitely with the Thudbuster because I've seen many others fail very quickly. My only question is whether using any suspension seatpost actually increases long-term comfort when riding on mostly smooth roads - I'm thinking maybe not. Just like with saddles, the ones that are softest and widest look like they would be the most comfortable, but are not actually when riding on them for anything more than 15 minutes, then you want something a bit firmer - I'm starting to think that the same may be true for seatposts.

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Old 05-18-10, 07:52 AM   #12
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My wife has a Thudbuster ST on the back of our tandem, plus a Terry Butterfly saddle. She's never been entirely happy with it and cannot get as comfortable as on her single road bike, which has a seemingly lower-quality saddle that we bought quite randomly because it was on discount at a local store several years ago (plus rigid seat post). I'm now going to suggest that instead of changing the saddle on the tandem, she tries using a carbon seatpost rather than the Thudbuster - doing so may be MORE comfortable based on my experience this weekend
FWIW, in regards to the Butterfly saddles, they can become worn and uncomfortable.

On the wifes single MTB, we stole the Butterfly and utilized it on our first off road tandem. It worked fine for rides where she had to move around / unweight the seat a lot. On longer rides with more time seated it wasn't great. She refused to change it though.

Once we got our first road tandem, we tested various setups. That same Butterfly was installed on the road tandem. 100% misery, 10 miles max distance before I could feel the back of the bike bouncing and moving as she repositioned. Suffice to say that even though she opposed the idea of replacing the saddle (we tested 10 saddles in the shop and she always came back to the Buttefly), the new saddle, being firmer foam cured the problem.

On both off road tandems (hardtails), Thudbuster LT's with non worn Butterflys. On the road tandem, quality ti post with a bunch of extension, and a Butterfly with no appreciable wear.

I would consider swapping to a new saddle. Costly but comfy.

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Old 05-18-10, 09:11 AM   #13
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We purchased our tandem with a Tamer PivotPlus seatpost and replaced it with a Thudbuster when the Tamer broke. We (mostly, I) hated the Thudbuster and we subsequently purchased another Tamer PivotPlus. My experience, both from riding behind other tandems with Thudbusters and having one on the bike ourselves, is that the stoker bounces contantly. Hitting a large bump practically launches the stoker out of the saddle. I found it to very annoying when it was on our tandem and I also felt that because of the bouncing she couldn't apply as much power with it than she could with the Tamer seatpost. The Tamer doesn't bounce; it kind of "floats" when adjusted properly. It depresses to take a hit but doesn't launch the stoker on the rebound.


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Old 05-18-10, 10:29 AM   #14
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We use the Thudbuster along with a Selle An-Atomica leather saddle. Her bum is happy and so am I ;-)
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Old 05-18-10, 12:30 PM   #15
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Very interested in the pro's and con's. Our old tandem did not have sufficient room to use a shock absorbing seatpost. I was thrilled when we bought our current bike which came equipped with a Thudbuster SL. The ride seems a lot easier on my rear but I wasn't sure if it was the shock absorbing seatpost, steel instead of aluminum, the longer (and better fitting cockpit), or other factors. We do long rides (completed a 400K brevet on Saturday). This thread has me willing to experiment replacing the Thudbuster with an Ericksen SweetPost ti seatpost off one of my single bikes for a couple of rides. If I don't need the Thudbuster, I'd rather lighten the bike. Plus as someone mentioned, the movement of the seat effects the rack or bags. We used a small seatpost bag this weekend and although it looked fine without us on the bike, once I mounted the bag rubbed the tire (and the tire just about rubbed thru a section of the bag's strap).

For the riders who are bouncing, I wonder if they are using the right elastomer. As I recall, the bike came with several for stokers of different weights. I definitely do not "bounce" in the air when we hit bumps.

As an aside, I find a huge difference in comfort using the same saddle on a single bike and the tandem. I haven't figured out why, but a saddle that I find comfortable on one of my road or time trial bikes can be misery on the tandem. I keep experimenting with different saddles to find one that is comfortable for the 12 and 24 hour rides we do.

GLA, please send some detailed posts about your ride in Switzerland. We are hoping to ride there this summer or next.
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Old 05-18-10, 01:02 PM   #16
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As an aside, I find a huge difference in comfort using the same saddle on a single bike and the tandem. I haven't figured out why, but a saddle that I find comfortable on one of my road or time trial bikes can be misery on the tandem.
.
I think on a Tandem, most people move around, and get out of the saddle, less than on their single bikes.

It's not a big deal to shift your weight a tad on your single bike, or stand for a second.

All this needs to be a coordinated effort on the tandem, and it just makes you less likely to move around as much.
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Old 05-18-10, 01:02 PM   #17
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There was, and apparently still is (?) a seatpost that offered oil-damping: http://www.nitropro.com/

Might be a good option; there's not a lot of info about it out there.
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Old 05-18-10, 02:18 PM   #18
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My wife tried a couple on loan but hated suspension posts. We settled on the old style Specialized Pave post. It has some give but doesn't hinder power production much.

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Old 05-18-10, 02:26 PM   #19
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There was, and apparently still is (?) a seatpost that offered oil-damping: http://www.nitropro.com/

Might be a good option; there's not a lot of info about it out there.
Interesting.



Here's a review from Cycling Plus UK:

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Old 05-19-10, 10:51 AM   #20
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When we got our tandem (Cannondale) it did not have a suspension seatpost. In the interest of making my stoker as happy as possible, I picked up a used Cane Creek ST and ordered the correct elastomer for my stoker's weight. I installed it and after several hundred miles, asked my stoker how she liked the ride with the seatpost. The answer was "I don't know, it seems about the same". I put the original seatpost back on shortly there after and, quite frankly, I don't think she has noticed. So my advice based on our experience is don't waste your $$ and save the extra grams of weight. I do try to call out all the bumps.
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Old 05-20-10, 12:18 AM   #21
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We have a Thudbuster and this stoker is happier for it.

The captain doesn't call out every bump -- some he doesn't see, due to shadows or unfamiliar roads. That's not his fault. But in case we get nailed by one of those shadowed bumps, I like having a suspension system that doesn't rattle my teeth out.

I don't mind the extra weight; if I'm not comfortable the ride isn't happening. The captain may control the bike but the stoker is in charge of the ride.

Jus' sayin'.
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Old 05-20-10, 07:03 AM   #22
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The captain doesn't call out every bump -- some he doesn't see, due to shadows or unfamiliar roads.
Where we live they have this great idea called chip-seal. What it does is make the bumps invisible, so folks think the road has been repaired. After a season or so the surface is a smooth as it was before the chip-seal. But the bumps are about as well hidden as when the chip-seal was new. And about as easily felt as before it was put on.
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Old 05-20-10, 08:08 AM   #23
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We have a telescoping suspension post. I can't find a brand on it. It doesn't look like the Nitro. The rubber boot goes all the way to the saddle clamp. Looks to me like a White Brothers AP-1

But whatever it is, and however it works, it has a lot of damping in it. It soaks up the big ones but doesn't move much on the little stuff and also doesn't bounce as Stoker pedals. Because it telescopes, it doesn't change the geometry. The only possible drawback I see is that you can't set the height by measuring. Stoker has to sit on it and use the heel on pedal system. I only call out bumps we need to stand for, and Stoker is good with that.

This Captain is very aware of how often he transfers weight to the pedals when he sees a bit of rough road immediately ahead. That only takes a few milliseconds to do, not enough time to warn Stoker, so he is very glad of the suspension post.

On the saddle thing, Stoker loves her Specialized Jett. Very hard saddle, no numbness, no friction issues. The hardness might not be so OK if she had a rigid post. Bike is a steel CoMo.
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Old 05-20-10, 08:35 AM   #24
steve53mg
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Many years ago, I purchased, from Mel at Tandems East, a "Hydra post". We used it , at the time on our Burley with great success. It did not have the bounciness that one sees with an elastomer post. The only time that I am really concerned by its energy absorbtion, is when we are going at a really fast cadence, and I hear its hydraulic system hissing as the post starts to get pushed up and down rapidly. I get the rpms down where they should be and it tames down. This is sort of my cadence alarm! I switched it over to our newer Santana when we got it last year and it continues to soldier on. It has greatly enhanced my wife's comfort, and this is well worth the slight energy loss. And...let's face it, when your butt starts to hurt badly from the saddle, this is a greater energy drain-trying to keep the weight off of it while pedaling! We often ride with another couple that have a carbon beam. When we are behind them, the stoker is constantly going up and down with the beam always in motion! I think that this is far worse.
I don't know if this post is still being made, but perhaps Mel knows or has an alternate available. I have been very pleased with it.
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Old 05-20-10, 08:36 AM   #25
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+1 CFBoy. I try to call bumps, but California's way of repairing very visible potholes turns them into invisible wheel wreckers. I use "sorry" more than I'd like. Without our Thudbuster I'd be in divorce court. A telescoping post would seem to be a better arrangement and I might try one at some point. We did have one of the pins on our Thudbuster fall out - total seat failure; believe this was defective knurling on a batch of pins. If we hadn't found the dropped pin I could have pedaled on, but my stoker would have had a long walk
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