Suspension seatposts can also extend the amount of time you’re comfortable in the saddle by absorbing persistent small bumps and vibrations that come from gravel roads, doubletracks, and trails. This makes them an especially compelling component option for lengthy bikepacking trips and long-distance touring.
So, why not just use a full-suspension bike? Ultimately, a suspension seatpost coupled with a rigid bike (or hardtail) is probably a little more reliable for long-term bikepacking, and definitely more affordable and lightweight. Generally speaking, unlike shocks and linkages, suspension seatposts are relatively easy to install and maintain, and can be used with pretty much all types of bikes, from hardtails to gravel tourers.
Why fit a Suspension Seatpost?
- You can’t afford a full-suspension bike, but want the comfort of suspension;
- You have a perfectly serviceable hard-tail and can’t justify the cost of adding a full-sus rig to your stable, or the second-hand value of your hard-tail would barely cover the deposit on a full-sus bike to replace it.
- ·You prefer the light weight and simplicity of a hard-tail, less to maintain and less to go wrong.
- You prefer the performance offered by a hard-tail, especially for racing; instead of absorbing power in compressing the rear suspension, a hard-tail transfers the power more efficiently, especially when standing on the pedals to accelerate or climb.
Front suspension helps to keep control on rough downhills and helps build confidence, this enables anyone to go faster down hill and tackle drops that they would never dare to attempt on rigid forks.
The problem is that the faster you are going the harder the tail hits you in the butt, unless you are out of the saddle. Sometimes you want to remain seated and peddling, or can’t avoid coming down on your saddle, this is when a suspension seatpost comes into its own.
This would be even more important on an aluminium hard-tail, because larger diameter aluminium tubes are stiffer and give an even more unforgiving ride than steel [or titanium] frames which tend to flex more.
So are suspension seatposts any better in practice?
An article in MMB stated that “They are different from having rear suspension, because they are suspending you and not you and the bike. So they work well for making you more comfortable, rather than making you go faster or stick to the ground better.”
This is the crux of the issue: suspension seatposts do not help to keep the rear wheel in contact with the ground over rough terrain.
Where this is achieved, such as on Paul Lazenby’s cross-country winning Marin, the extra traction of full suspension can compensate for the power-absorption resulting from compressing the rear suspension.
Alternatively, some full-suspension rigs have lock-out to prevent ‘bobbing’ when climbing out of the saddle to get the power down.
There is no doubt that the suspension seatpost does make the ride over rough surfaces, particularly rocky tracks, more comfortable.
On fast rocky down-hills riders usually stand up, so a suspension seat-post doesn’t give much benefit – except when you land hard on the saddle.
Where seat-posts also help you to go faster is where you want to stay seated and keep pedalling, but the discomfort caused by repeated hits slows you down.
The best example of this in the area where I do most of my riding is a level rocky track known locally as Pro-Flex Alley, where a suspension-post makes it easier to remain seated and pedalling. It also makes long, or even all day rides more comfortable and consequently less tiring.
There are some drawbacks: the main one is that, like any other suspension, there is an initial amount of ‘sag’ that has to be taken up. This is the amount that the suspension compresses just as a result of sitting on it, before it has to absorb any shocks.
The problem is that, to keep the saddle-to-peddle distance the same when sitting on the saddle, the seat has to be set slightly higher than normal when not sitting on it. This makes it a little more difficult to get back over the saddle when you need to get your weight back over the rear wheel, especially if you haven’t had time to lower your saddle before a steep descent…
On the USE seatpost the saddle clamp is a little bit fiddly to fit. It works perfectly well, once it is fitted, but looks a bit Heath Robinson compared to some other neat seat-clamps.
Ideally, a seatpost should fit the frame seat-tube exactly, without the need for any shims. Some seatposts are available in a variety of diameters and there may be one to fit your frame, but many of them, including the highest-rated USE XCR only come in one or a limited range of sizes and need shims to fit other sized seat-tubes.
In practice the shims for the USE are long enough to give good support over sufficient length and grip well, so there is no problem with them.
More of a problem was finding shims to fit a seatpost mounted RaceGuard [thanks to Cheltenham Cycles for helping out with this one] and reflector!
Best Suspension Seatposts For Comfort!
Are you looking to add more comfort to your ride? If you ride a rigid gravel bike for example and want some more suppleness. You could reduce the tire pressure and even change over to suspension gravel forks. But a cost effective way is to install a suspension seatpost. https://9c848a9efc2e8c7be62c515dcf7858bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Suspension seatpost are popular with endurance cyclists who are riding many hours per day and are looking for the extra comfort from the rough sections. You can go out and buy a new titanium or carbon gravel bike which will be super comfortable. But if you already have a modest bike but are looking for extra on bike comfort you don’t need to go out and buy a new bike. You can buy aftermarket suspension seatposts which work well to add extra comfort.
What is a suspension seatpost?
A suspension seatpost is just like any other bike seatpost but it features a special suspension system between the top part that connects the saddle. It is great for smoothing out rough and bumpy terrain, allowing you to ride in more comfort for longer. Making them perfect for bike touring or bikepacking that require longer and multiple days in the saddle. When you body weight is applied to the saddle the seatpost slightly moves and absorbs most of the force. Allowing you to feel less of the bumps.
Apart from tire pressure the next thing when it comes to bike comfort and this is proven is seatposts. Responsible for a lot of your bikes overall comfort while riding. When compared to a frame, seatposts flex much more which equals better comfort. So at the end of the day you are probably better off getting a flexible seatpost then a new bike if comfort is the issue.
Especially for those of use who love to explore off the beaten path. On bikepacking and touring bikes they are designed with handlebars to be in a more upright position, this results in more of our body weight to be distributed mostly on the saddle and seatpost. Making it even more important for use to consider the right seatpost for comfort all day over many weeks and months of bike exploring.
There are many different types of seatposts. Like carbon, titanium and aluminium. Along with suspension seatposts we are going to talk mostly about the best suspension seatpost but also these other material seatposts to as they can offer some amount of comfort to. Suspension seatposts can sometimes be to heavy for some who are counting grams. And therefor a carbon seatpost might be better. https://9c848a9efc2e8c7be62c515dcf7858bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
But suspension seatposts come in either ST or LT versions. ST means short travel and this refers to the amount the seatpost moves around 1.5″ travel for short travel. Then you have LT which is Long Travel and this means more amount of travel.
Many people I have talked to about using suspension seatpost say how well they preform and offer extreme comfort while cycling. People who have had serious back issue and the seat post is just so helpful! some have even said that it “quite literally saves my arse”.
Although a lot of the people I asked about their experiences with suspensions seatposts, the majority say that they are one of the best investments they made. However, it might be expected that in the first months you might get a bit too lazy and less alert using the body for natural suspension on real bumps. This could be a potential issue with using these over a period of time you might lose the habits of awareness and physical reaction to terrain. On the contrary being relaxed on the saddle is a huge plus!
Also it is worth noting that some suspension seatposts can have changes in the saddle to pedal distance, and that can be hard on come people knees, potentially causing issues.
Are suspension seatposts any good?
The short answer is you need to find a good quality one. Some users have reported that some of the cheaper alternative suspensions seatposts don’t work as well at offer comfort which they should. When sitting sometimes they are constantly bobbing and this can get annoying. You want one that is more firm but still has that nice comfort factor.
If you are riding mostly off road some argue that they become pointless as they don’t work as well at dampening vibrations on the real rough stuff. And you are most likely standing up when you send it down rough single tracks anyway. But you are still going to be sitting at times, especially to get traction on climbs in mud, over wet rocks and roots. And that extra little comfort can make all the difference. https://9c848a9efc2e8c7be62c515dcf7858bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Also the cost and maintenance may put some people off. They are rather expensive and require fixing over time. While a normal seatpost doesn’t. Some would say just another thing to go wrong.
One of the biggest reasons to consider a suspension seatpost is the potential energy savings. If you are riding for multiple days or even months at a time. Saving energy wherever you can is so worth it.
What is the best suspension seatpost?
And now we have some of the best suspension seatposts that have been recommended by bikepacking and bicycle touring enthusiast who are people that spend many hours consistently on the saddle. These are the seatposts they recommend for ultimate on bike comfort.
Cane Creek Thudbuster ST
Cane Creek make some of the most popular seatpost when it comes to suspension. They have the lT and ST options. The Short travel is what we are going to cover first. With this St seatpost you get 1.3″ of travel which is ideal for cross-country racers, road, or comfort riding where you just need to take the edge off bumps without the complexity of a true suspension solution. A patented 4-pivot force aligned parallel linkage keeps the pedal to saddle distance nearly constant through its travel. This seatpost does a great job at successfully taking the bang out of bumps. The seatpost weighs 454-474 grams, depending on size. Priced from $129.99https://9c848a9efc2e8c7be62c515dcf7858bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Cane Creek Thudbuster LT
Then we have the Thudbuster LT for those of you looking for a longer trail and even more comfort. This sestpost is by far the most popular suspension seatpost on the market. This is the 3rd generation of Thudbuster seatposts from Cane Creek. The seatpost features a full 3 inches or 75mm of travel with a preload adjustable, two-stage elastomer shock. Built around a quality construction with an aluminum mast and links. Featuring a forged linkage with wider-spaced bushings to increase lateral stiffness and a micro-adjust seat clamp. Split link arms enable ease of disassembly in the field, and simple bushing replacement. Weight is 545 grams for the 27.2mm and priced from $144.95https://9c848a9efc2e8c7be62c515dcf7858bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Please note that you may incur additional expense if you weigh less than 145 lbs or more that 195. This is because you will need to adjust the your Thudbuster by “purchasing” additional elastomers depending on your specific weight.
Redshift ShockStop Suspension Seatpost
This Redshift suspension seatpost provides 35mm of tunable, ultra-responsive suspension travel for a comfortable ride. It features an infinitely adjustable preload stiffness adjustment and has swappable springs for different rider weights. With a optimised linkage geometry provides ultra-responsive suspension. it comes in a 27.2mm size x 350mm length (shims are available to fit larger seat tube sizes). This seatpost has some great reviews on Amazon. “I was amazed. I wish I could’ve done it sooner. Don’t hesitate. You won’t regret it.” Priced at $229.99
SR Suntour Suntour Sp12Nxc
Okay what about if you are on a budget and don’t want to fork out too much cash to see if this whole suspension seatpost is for you. This seatpost is a parallelogram system that features 48 mm of travel. Ideal for cyclists between the weight 65 to 95 kg. You can buy the heavier 100kg-120kg spring separately and do a retro fit as far as I know you cannot buy with the heavy duty spring installed. It is a medium hardness, for people around 80 kg it is ideal! It seems well worth the money, lovely smooth ride. Works very well on the off road sections, smoothing out all the lumps. Priced at $102.99https://9c848a9efc2e8c7be62c515dcf7858bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
SATORI Animaris Bicycle Suspension Seatpost
The Satori Seatpost is the most cost effective suspension seatpost that I could find on the market that also has a mix of “actually working well”. Available in different seatpost tubing sizes. You get 43mm of travel with this seatpost. The suspension absorbs shock and bumps well. option to adjust tension and cut off excess length to save weight is good unlike others where the tension adjustment is at bottom of seatpost. However some have complained about a slight issue. Where there is a white plastic stabiliser rod inside which causes a lot of squeaking noise while riding which can be annoying at times. Priced at only $59.99https://9c848a9efc2e8c7be62c515dcf7858bc.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Cirrus Cycles Kinekt 2.1
Another high end and great suspension seatpost are made by Cirrus. This model above is the aluminium version while they also have a carbon fiber model if you are after something more lightweight. The Kinekt 2.1 isolates your body from road and trail vibrations. Resulting in more comfort, control, and confidence by providing a better connection to your bike. Which works well at decreasing pain and fatigue! If the your exact post diameter is not available, order the next size down. Shims are available on their site to provide a proper fit. All posts come with two extra springs so you can mix and match. The size of the seatpost will depend on the weight of the rider. The weight and size ranges are; 50-100lb (XS), 100-150lb (SM), 150-200lb (MD), 200-250lb (LG). And post diameters available are 27.2mm, 30.9mm, 31.6mm. With post lengths available from 350mm (Short) or 420mm (Long). Priced at $249.95 for the Kinekt 2.1 and $329.95 for the Kinekt 3.1 (carbon option).
In a nutshell, suspension seatposts typically offer a 10-50mm of travel by way of an internal coil, elastomer, or air spring system. Here are the three main types of suspension seat posts on the market:
Elastomer Suspension Seatposts
Elastomer suspension seatposts use a solid rubber “bumper” that cushions a hinged linkage or other type of system. The rubber pillion compresses with the linkage and dampens bumps and hits. Simplicity is the benefit of these types of posts, but one concern is that rubber elastomers may wear out over time. That said, it’s fairly simple to carry a spare for many of the more popular options, such as the Cane Creek Thudbuster.
Coil Spring Suspension Seatposts
Coil spring suspension seatposts are relatively new to the market and there are only a handful of options out there. Similar to elastomer suspension seatposts, they use a hinged linkage or stanchion tube set system, but instead of (or in addition to) a rubber elastomer, they feature a coiled metal spring to provide the dampening. One downside when compared to elastomer seatposts is softer coils can rob some of the power from the pedal downstroke, particularly when climbing.
Air Dropper Suspension Seatposts
Dropper suspension seatposts are the newest kid on the block. And while it may seem like way too much going on in a seatpost, for those who are accustomed to a dropper, it’s hard to return to the old ways. Adding a bit of dampening suspension is a natural progression. There is only one option available right now, the PNW Coast, which you can find in the list below.
The Most Overlooked Bike Component
Very few people think about the ride quality of a seatpost, which is precisely why I think they’re the most overlooked bike component. They’re arguably even more important for bike travel as touring and bikepacking bikes are usually set up with higher handlebars, resulting in a larger proportion of our body weight on our saddles (normally 80%+). Couple that with our penchant for seeking rough roads, and seatposts really are the key to unlocking all-day comfort on your bike.
Bikes fitted with narrower tyres have the most comfort to gain from using a flex seatpost. This is because a larger proportion of the overall shock and impacts will need to be taken up by the seatpost. Bikes with wider tyres still have a lot to gain too, as flex posts help to take the edge off bigger impacts.
The Different Types of Seatpost
Carbon, Aluminium and Titanium Seatposts
Seatposts are manufactured using three different construction materials. The majority are made from aluminium which is lightweight, reliable and very cheap to manufacture. Titanium seatposts are much less common and are typically paired with titanium frames for a nice aesthetic. Carbon seatposts are lighter and more expensive, but more importantly, they can be optimized using different layering techniques to achieve an unparalleled ride quality.