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What makes a good seatpost?

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What makes a good seatpost?

Old 12-04-14, 09:53 AM
  #1  
arex
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What makes a good seatpost?

Assuming that you're looking at an alloy seatpost of the correct size with a clamp that provides adequate adjustment granularity, what really differentiates a cheap Kalloy post from, say, a Thomson? I'm concerned less with the few grams of weight savings and more with overall quality and how it affects riding and safety.

Basically, will any old seatpost do the job, or does one really need to be looking at higher-quality seatposts?
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Old 12-04-14, 10:15 AM
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Any old seatpost will do the job.

What you pay for is:

1. Finish/bling
2. Ease of adjustability
3. Weight
4. Brand-name ego boosting
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Old 12-04-14, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
Any old seatpost will do the job.

What you pay for is:

1. Finish/bling
2. Ease of adjustability
3. Weight
4. Brand-name ego boosting
That's kind of what I suspected.
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Old 12-04-14, 10:51 AM
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+ Country of Origin low wage, low overhead Overseas, Asia, or USA/CDN or Europe..

adjustment granularity? explain yourself..

BTW the Kalloy integrated Head is not as micro-adlustable as other designs(larger "Grain Size") & they also use a lower cost Aluminum alloy
and so, For Safety Margin, use a lot more, and so... they weigh More BUT...

Many of the premium makers of seat posts make fewer Diameters as the Quality frames made tend to fall into a few Seat tube ID categories

Eg: 27.2mm the ID of seat tubes made in tube sets for DB frames in Premium steels .

Whereas Kalloy does 25.0 upward in 0.2mm steps in Between .. & makes Plain Tube seat-posts Too .. no integrated head

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-04-14 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Eg: 27.2mm the ID of seat tubes made in tube sets for DB frames in Premium steels.
Lots of non-steel and non-premium steel frames use 27.2 mm seatposts. Earlier Litespeed Ti frames like my '96 use it. I've had several Treks in both steel and aluminum that took 27.2 mm seatposts and Surly uses the same size for their steel frames.

Also, while Thomson doesn't make as many diameters as Kalloy, the offer a lot more than the common 27.2 and 31.6.

If weight and finish are not considerations, any seatpost of the right diameter and with a suitably adjustable saddle clamp will be indistinguishable from one costing several times as much.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:15 AM
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SO? nit picker.. They design around A common seat post size I Presume . (If you Care, call em on the Phone and ask)

OD - 2X wall Thickness = ID DB 531/ Columbus 1.125" OD, tubes have an 0.7mm wall thickness
If its 0.9mm wall straight gage 9/8" OD Seat tube common post size is 26.8.

I have seatpost sizing shims to use in Oversize aluminum and steel frames lots of shim OD 27.2 ID (&25.4)

Suppliers To Bike shops carry those

FWIW Bike Friday Oversize 4130 steel, Koga WTR in 7005 Aluminum .

both now have 27.2 A Cane Creek Thudbuster seat post ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-04-14 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:43 AM
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My Thomson works great on my mt bike. I love the micro adjust to get the seat post the exact level it needs to be. Some cheaper ones have serrated teeth that are not user friendly to get the exact level you need. I'm 235 lbs and have bent a seat post as well as broken the post at the seat clamp as well. Mt biking tends be harder on most parts( don't drop to flat and stay seated) Road and commuting, not so much.
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Old 12-04-14, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
SO? nit picker..
Not at all, just pointing out the 27.2 mm is common to a lot of different bikes, not all of them steel or premium. And yes, I know how that size first came about.

The best bargain I've ever gotten were a pair (one 27.2 and the other 31.6) of Easton EA50 seat posts from Jenson USA when they were closing them out at $17 each about 5 years ago. These have good setback, a micro-adjustable two-bolt clamp and the lower saddle clamp and post are made in one piece so there is no joint to separate. They are only slightly heavier than the Set-Back Thomsons I also have, particularly after I cut their 350 mm length down to the 250 mm I really needed.
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Old 12-04-14, 12:02 PM
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I got a couple American Classics, Direct, from them when they changed to the Current Candy Cane , rather than the Machined 2 bolt ones..

with the heavier wall thickness Fore and aft , as the bore in the center was Not Round. ( bend resistance)
they were clearing out and not replacing other diameters too.

Anyhow.
Kalloy heads remind me Of the old LaPrade ones on 80's main stream Shop bikes. tooth steps not continuously/Micro-adjustable .

By the way OP, if the frame requires a Lot of seat Post extension cheap posts may Not Be the way to Go

Maybe except the Chromoly 1" ones In the Red Line catalog , but they are tube seatposts you add a saddle clip.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-04-14 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 12-04-14, 12:12 PM
  #10  
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I could care less about brand names or egos, but I've got Thomson seat posts on all 5 of my bikes. I have bought most of them used for reasonable prices. I started switching to Thomson after buying my first one, and it was superior to other posts I have used -- including a Campy Record ti post. Here is why I like Thomson posts:
- High range of adjustability, both tilt and fore-aft.
- Ease of adjustment.
- Quality of construction and materials.
- Good looks.
- Light weight.
- Prices fair for what you get, particularly if buying used.
- Easy to buy and sell used.

For comparison, my Campy ti post had ridges on the head to hold it in place when adjusting the tilt, but those ridges limited adjustability. Often you couldn't adjust it to the precise tilt desired. Thomson posts are just as lighter than Campy ti posts, within a few grams, and also less expensive.
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Old 12-04-14, 02:06 PM
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I hate to throw gasoline on the fire, but there are also differences in clamp design and quality. Some systems are more prone to slippage, or have less micro-adjust capability. Others clamp in a way that damage saddle rails, especially lighter tubular on non-steel rails.

There are also differences in failure modes. For example some posts are designed to bend at loads lower than where they'd snap, while others will snap before they bend. Likewise with clamps where some may lose control of the tilt while still keeping the saddle in place, while others can lose the saddle entirely. While nobody wants a failure, or even to think about them, good design factors the risks and provides for better failure modes if possible.

So while weight and cosmetics may drive the process at the higher end, failsafe engineering may be the difference between lower and mid-range posts.
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Old 12-04-14, 02:10 PM
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Specialized makes a good seatpost
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Old 12-04-14, 03:03 PM
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Of course the OP was seeking a Non Carbon fiber one.

Cane Creek Thudbuster work well too it's No super light Carbon wundebike thing.. Though

these are good too.. It may be a Kalloy, remade to include an array of LEDs as a taillight with flashing modes.. Built-in Bicycle Tail Light - LightSKIN

at least Kalloy is a really common part so replacement parts can be found .. even thru cannibalization .. for cheap.
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Old 12-04-14, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Of course the OP was seeking a Non Carbon fiber one.
Oops, I missed that part.
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Old 12-04-14, 07:18 PM
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alloy

How about Ti?

Moot$

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Old 12-05-14, 03:11 AM
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Race Face has my favorite seatpost head design. Infinite, single bolt, measurable tilt completely independent of rail clamps. You can take your saddle off an recover it, put it back in and tilt is still the same.

Nice medium setback, too.
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Old 12-05-14, 04:55 AM
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How about one that fits?
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Old 12-05-14, 09:48 AM
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I strongly prefer two-bolt clamps for the ease and precision of adjustment that's possible.

Kalloy makes some; the difference in weight between the $30 Kalloy and the $100 Thompson is a sip or two of a drink.
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Old 12-05-14, 10:15 AM
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Equal parts build quality and angular adjustment of the seat clamp, IMO. Infinitely adjustable clamps are not always the bestest route, since they are prone to slippage. The best seatpost I've ever owned, next to height adjustable seatpost, is Thomson. They will last forever, if you can find the right size.
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Old 12-05-14, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I hate to throw gasoline on the fire, but there are also differences in clamp design and quality. Some systems are more prone to slippage, or have less micro-adjust capability. Others clamp in a way that damage saddle rails, especially lighter tubular on non-steel rails.

There are also differences in failure modes. For example some posts are designed to bend at loads lower than where they'd snap, while others will snap before they bend. Likewise with clamps where some may lose control of the tilt while still keeping the saddle in place, while others can lose the saddle entirely. While nobody wants a failure, or even to think about them, good design factors the risks and provides for better failure modes if possible.

So while weight and cosmetics may drive the process at the higher end, failsafe engineering may be the difference between lower and mid-range posts.
OOPS!

Not sure how I missed your post (pun intended)

+1 on everything he said.
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Old 12-05-14, 11:04 AM
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My take? Seatposts have one job. To place the seat where you need it, in height, fore and aft location and angle. The post that cannot do that is garbage. The post that makes that difficult is marginal. The post that makes that an easy job is a good post. (And it should be noted that a serious rider is going to have need to change that position; as he/she ages, after injuries and during saddle sores, perhaps for different events and for saddle changes. A post also needs to be reliable. When they break, it is almost always while riding. (Like my three failures. Edit: four.)

Now, if that post is also light, sexy, shock-absorbing or whatever, great. But any of the features taking the place of the above and the post is not good.

For me: two bolt posts with setback to place it around the center of the seat rails. The classic Campys that required the "Z" wrench. The Spanish Zeus made a Campy copy with the same bolts that I raced in the '70s. The sweet SunTours of the '90s. Thompsons. Custom posts using Thompson clamps; custom to achieve whatever set-back is needed. (I have 2 of these with 60mm setback, an amount hard to find in stores.)

The early '80s were the dark ages for seatposts. I rode a Laprade on my Mooney for over a decade with the seat 1/2 between clicks and the clamp tight! I knew that if I ever did anything, it would take me hours to get that position back, if it would even be possible. (Thank-you, SunTour for showing me a real post! The SunTour posts were hard to find. The one I got my hands on was a 26.8 Japanese steel bike standard. My Peter Mooney has a 27.2 seattube. It has had a Diet Coke can shim for 30 years. (Not quite true. I've had to replace the shim several times at the cost of a new can each time.)

The huge advantage of 2-bolt seatposts is that you can do adjustments on the road systematically. For example, you can lower the nose of the saddle by say 1/4 of a turn. Don't like it? Go back an 1/8th. All adjustment are completely replicable. Need to lower the nose a turn plus to get it off a saddle sore for a tour? Can do. And putting it exactly where it was after the sore is gone is easy.

One bolt posts are popular with shops because it makes putting the seat on and getting it ready for the sales floor or delivery to the customer easy. Close is easy. Exactly right now takes a shop and level or wall that can be marked.

Free advice: Stay well clear of Avocet posts! All of my failures were with those posts. Bolts breaking, once 50 miles from home in an area I knew not at all. I jury rigged the seat and it was a very painful ride home. Last was the clamp breaking at Cycle Oregon. Rode the last 3 miles into camp out of the saddle. Edit: I just remembered my other failure, the Hupel Rider post on my Fuji Professional that bent when I hit a frost heave coming down from Smuggler's Notch, Vermont in a race. Hit a big frost heave at ~55 mph that I didn't see until it was 30 feet away. Post bent back several degrees. I won the Zeus post that race but it was a 27.2 and it took me a couple of weeks to exchange it for a 26.8. Rode the State championships on the bent post. Painful!

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 12-05-14 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 12-05-14, 11:23 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Bandrada View Post
Equal parts build quality and angular adjustment of the seat clamp, IMO. Infinitely adjustable clamps are not always the bestest route, since they are prone to slippage. The best seatpost I've ever owned, next to height adjustable seatpost, is Thomson. They will last forever, if you can find the right size.
Thomsons do have infinitely adjustable tilt, though.
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Old 12-05-14, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Thomsons do have infinitely adjustable tilt, though.
Correct. And they have those handy little index markers so you can get it "right" every time.
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Old 12-05-14, 11:33 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Thomsons do have infinitely adjustable tilt, though.
Yes they do but neither of mine has ever shown any tendency to slip or lose it's adjustment. I can make the same claim for the two two-bolt Eastons I also have and for the two-bolt Bontrager I had on a former bike. It seems quite possible to make reliable, stable two bolt clamps and they certainly make initial set up and accurate adjustment vastly easier than most other types.
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Old 12-05-14, 11:37 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Thomsons do have infinitely adjustable tilt, though.
And Thompson makes available the clamp parts so any machinist can make a post of any custom setback and use that superior Thompson clamp. But, you do want to find a machinist that knows bikes!

Ben
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