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As with all cycling components, the best seatposts continue to improve and it's becoming increasingly rare to break one unless you over tighten your seat collar. Even so, the seatpost is an often-neglected upgrade when trying to add compliance to (or remove weight from) your bike. From damping to deflection, a new seatpost can help soften vibrations and take the edge off impacts.
There are many kinds of seatposts out there prepared to smooth out your ride, using everything from elastomers, mechanical pivots and springs — some work, others definitely do not.
A new seatpost is a relatively cheap upgrade you can make that will offer a perceivable difference in compliance, especially if your current post is aluminium.
Scroll down for a round-up of our favourite seatpost upgrades, or if you're unsure what to look out for, you can jump to our guide on what to look for in a seatpost.
Syntace P6 Carbon Hi-Flex seatpost
Compliant seatpost that employs more traditional techniques with great success
Diameter: 27.2mm - 34.9mm | Setback/Layback: 0mm | Material: Carbon
Rather than building in flex points and elastomers, the Syntace uses the layup, directional fibres and internal shaping of the shaft to create compliance.
Instead of bonding a metal clamp head into the top of the post, the latest version is a one-piece carbon post which allows for additional selection. Even without the left-of-centre techniques employed by Specialized and Canyon, the Syntace post can achieve up to 20mm of deflection under load.
Light carbon post with an innovative clamp design
Diameter: 27.2 mm - 31.6 mm | Setback/Layback: 20mm | Material: Carbon
Easton sought to make its EC90 seatpost more durable, but not by using the traditional method of adding material. Instead, it went back to the drawing board to rethink the clamp design by eliminating the pinch zone at the back of the post.
Easton came up with the RAD or Relief Area Design, where the material is removed from the area it would usually pinch, creating a flat edge and better-distributing clamping force.
The post itself is made from Easton’s top-end carbon fibre and the clamp design makes each of the two bolts easily accessible.
Zipp Service Course SL
Alloy post with an awesome saddle clamp
Diameter: 27.2 mm, 31.6 mm | Setback/Layback: 25mm | Material: Aluminium
Not everybody has much to spend on a seatpost; many riders are just looking for something simple that they can forget about once it’s in the bike. For under US$100, the Zipp Service Course SL is about as good as it gets.
First and foremost, clamp design makes the bolts accessible for quick angle adjustments, and the lower portion of the cradle has been extended to offer additional support for saddle rails if you slam yours all the way back.
The Service Course SL seatpost is made from 3D forged aluminium and is claimed to weigh 259g in the 27.2mm, zero-setback option.
Enve Road 300mm
Lightweight carbon post with a heavy price tag
Diameter: 25.4mm - 31.6mm | Setback/Layback: 0mm, 25mm | Material: Carbon
At 300mm in length, the Enve seatpost is available in 0mm, and 25mm offset versions. While quite a few carbon posts see a metal clamp head bonded on the top, the Enve post is carbon through and through.
The Twin Link clamp uses two bolts with expanding wedges to adjust saddle angle and is easily accessible from the sides below the rails. Part of the Enve Road range with the Enve Road bar and stem, it's unsurprisingly top-level componentry with a top-level price to boot.
It comes in sizes from 24.5- up to 31.6mm and is claimed to weigh 178g in the 27.2mm, 25mm offset package.
The gold standard in alloy seatposts
Diameter: 25-32.4mm | Setback/Layback: 0mm, 25mm | Material: Aluminium
Thompson's Elite seatpost has long been considered the gold standard for adjustability, strength and performance when it comes to supporting your seating arrangements — it’s also known for its firm ride quality. Made from a single piece of machined 7000-series aluminium, it weighs about 200g depending on the size and diameter.
The Elite seatpost is available in both straight and setback versions; the brand said its design incorporates a bending fuse to prevent catastrophic failure, and the head clamp and upper tube can withstand 350 foot-pounds of torque.
Smooth riding, round shape, sizes to match most frames
Diameter: 27.2 mm, 30.9 mm, 31.6 mm | Setback/Layback: 25mm | Material: Carbon
'Smoother is faster', or at least that's what Specialized says about its CG-R post. The carbon seatpost combines a purported 18mm of vertical compliance along with the brand's Zertz elastomers to absorb vibration before it reaches your body.
While Specialized has since launched the Pavé seatpost, the CG-R benefits as an aftermarket upgrade by being round, rather than proprietary to Specialized's D-shaped seat tubes.
Weighing in at 350g, it’s porky, the bottom section of the post is your standard round carbon post and the saddle clamp is a cylindrical single-bolt design. We like this post because the flex point is just under the saddle and isn’t affected by how much post is located above your frame, however, it won't be to everyone's taste aesthetically.
Tune Leichtes Stück
A weight weenie's delight
Diameter: 27.2 mm | Setback/Layback: 0mm | Material: Aluminium
Masters of everything uber light, the Tune Leichtes Stück tips the scales at 155g (340mm). The CNC-machined post is made with 7075 aluminium and features a latticed pattern near the top to further reduce the amount of material. This is claimed to save, as Tune puts it, ‘a whopping 40g’ — it looks pretty cool, too.
It’s only available in a 27.2mm diameter with zero setback and comes with titanium mounting bolts - because if you’re already going to this kind of effort to save weight, every gram counts.
Canyon S14 VCLS 2.0
Leaf spring seatpost
Diameter: 27.2 mm | Setback/Layback: 10mm | Material: Carbon
Canyon makes a few models of its split-shaft VCLS seatpost, all designed to soften hard edges on the road surface. It’s a bit heavier than a comparable carbon post but offers a unique dual tube design which creates a leaf spring and offers tangible improvements in comfort.
Adjusting your saddle angle is also more involved than a standard post, requiring it to be removed entirely from the frame. But, once the initial setup headaches are complete, it's smooth sailing — for your rear end at least.
Road bike seatposts explained
When it comes to upgrading your seatpost, where do you start?
Some bikes have a proprietary aerodynamic or D-shaped seatpost design, which makes your upgrade options considerably more limited.
Others have traditional round seatposts, for which replacements are easier to come by, but diameter becomes all-important, along with saddle clamp design. To get the right saddle height, the length will need to be a consideration, and setback and layback are worth considering to achieve a comfortable position.
Once the correct size is achieved, the real fun begins; why exactly are you looking to upgrade? Do you want to save weight, add compliance or just replace a fiddly saddle clamp? This comes down to preference.
Read on to learn exactly what you should look out for when shopping for a new seatpost.
Can you actually upgrade your post?
In recent years, the standard round seatpost has become somewhat obsolete, with brands opting for proprietary integrated posts like on the new Giant TCR, D-shaped seatposts like the Specialized Pavé we reviewed, or an aero seatpost like that on Mads Pedersen's Trek Madone. If your bike has one of these you’re probably out of luck for an upgrade.
Similar to the round or proprietary-design dilemma, the hole in your frame will determine what diameter post you can use. Road bikes will usually use a 31.6mm or 27.2mm post. Some bikes even go as narrow as 25.4mm, Cannondale is a case in point. A skinnier post will provide a bit more flex, and therefore a slightly more comfortable ride, while a fatter one will be more robust and add stiffness for additional power transfer.
Each seatpost will also have a minimum insertion length, if you’re on a frame that’s too small or you have extremely long legs and need a lot of seatpost sticking out of the frame, it’s something to keep in mind. Conversely, if you’ve got short stubby legs and ride an XS frame, your seatpost may bottom out and still be too high. Cutting down a seatpost is no big deal, just remember to measure twice.
Like handlebars, wheels, and nearly all other bike components, seatposts come in a variety of materials, the most common being aluminium and carbon fibre. However, you can find boutique versions made from metals such as titanium. As always, carbon commands a higher price tag, usually weighs less and dampens more vibration.
In your search, you may also run into carbon wrapped seatposts. These are clever marketing from component brands and are an aluminium post with a carbon veneer around the outside. Claims of additional dampening and offering ‘the best of both worlds’ should be taken with a pinch of salt, our recommendation is stick to one material or the other.
3. Setback and layback
While they may sound like the same thing, layback and setback are two separate measures. Layback seatposts have a bend near the top of the post, while set back is the degree which the seat clamp sits behind the top of a straight seatpost.
Some brands also offer layforward posts, which as you may have guessed, bend in the opposite direction to achieve a more aggressive position. Or you can make like Adam Hansen and fit your layback post in the wrong way round.
4. Saddle rail clamp
Most road bike saddles use a two-rail system, however not all two-rail saddles are compatible with all seatposts. Saddles with alloy rails will have 7mm, round rails, while most carbon-railed saddles see 7x9mm oval rails.
There are also a few saddle/seatpost brands which use a proprietary clamp and rail design; although these have largely died out because most people don’t like to be locked into a specific system.
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