Product Review: Ritchey Carbon Pro Seatpost Upgrade

Dear Roulers,

Before I get started, Merry Christmas I hope you were on Santa’s nice list and received many cycling goodies.  I certainly did 😉

I own an oldish 2010 Wilier Lavaredo. I’m slowly been replacing the original bits of it, with hopefully, better bits. Yes, I’ve succumbed to that expensive disease that plagues cyclists, upgraditis. Of all the items that I’ve that I’ve considered replacing, it has been the seat post that’s caused me the most angst.

After purchasing shiny new Campagnolo Zonda wheels and Gatorskin tyres, I discovered that my newly shod steed was providing a fairly harsh ride. Later I discovered that almost all of this experience was due to excessive tyre pressure. However in the 3 or so weeks I endured that skittish, jittery ride, it made me ponder whether it was worth replacing the alloy seat post, handlebar and stem with carbon versions. Most of what I read seemed to indicate that other than reduced weight, vibration damping was a major benefit. So I started to assess replacement seat posts.

What I discovered was that there are literally hundreds of different types of seat posts, the main variables being composition (eg carbon or alloy), diameter, aerodynamic qualities, saddle position (straight or setback) and in-built dampening technology. It’s the fifth category that attracted my attention. It’s this one that seems to separate the vast majority of what’s available. The two stand out examples of this are the Specialized CG-R and the Canyon VCLS 2.0. Both have radically different approaches to improve ride comfort.

 2014-SpeciaizedCGR-Seatpost The CG-R seatpost post features 18mm of vertical compliance, Zertz vibration damping, and FACT carbon construction. Cylindrical aluminium head assembly adjusts fore-aft and tilt via a single bolt. Some online reviews suggest that the one bolt design meant fiddly fitting. However, testing by Velonews back in 2012 provided evidence that Zertz inserts reduce vibration greatly. Bikeradar provided a more recent review in mid-2014
 2012-Canyon-VCLS-Seatpost VCLS 2.0 uses two D-shaped carbon shafts placed back to back to form the post’s cylinder. Just above the maximum insert mark the two shafts split apart, with the Flip Head saddle clamp pivoting on their tops. A bolt at the base secures the shafts together and lets you slide them up and down in relation to each other to change the angle of the saddle. Unfortunately I can’t find any published testing on this but Bikeradar reviewed it in mid-2013. 

Now I would have happily parted with a few hundred dollars for one of these except for one small problem. They didn’t fit my bike. At a diameter of 27.2mm both seat posts required a shim to fit the 31.6mm diameter seat tube. Bother. I researched and couldn’t find anything conclusive about the merits of shims, carbon fibre seat posts and alloy frames.

That was deeply frustrating which is why I decided to KISS it and buy like for like replacing the Ritchey alloy post with its carbon cousin. They are pretty much identical except for the carbon fibre post. The saddle clamp and head work in the exactly the same way, providing me with a pretty simple swap over.

Ritchey Compo Alloy Ritchey Carbon Pro
 2010-Ritchey-Alloy-Seatpost  2015-Ritchey-Carbon-Seatpost

Fortunately I was armed with this 2012 Velonews Article written by Lennard Zinn   which indicated I should expect damping and flex from both the carbon construction and from the setback design. Happily I can say that Ritchey Pro Carbon Seatpost is the real deal and for the $75 I paid for it an absolute steal.

Until next time

Marv

Leave a Reply