Best Suspension Seatposts for Touring & Bikepacking

So Which Suspension Seatposts Are the Best Choice For Touring & Bikepacking

Are you an explorer at heart? Do you prefer to travel long distances, and that too by cycling? Well, as adventurous as it sounds, long distances on a bicycle can have their toll on you unless you have the proper gear. First and foremost is your Seatpost. 

Improper and uncomfortable suspension seatposts can cause long-term ailments and can tire a cyclist out very easily. For this reason, you must invest in the best suspension Seatpost you can find. And we will help you find one right here.

6 Reasons Why You Should Consider Using Suspension Seatposts

  1. For better comfort

While riding a bicycle, bumps and rough spots are inevitable, especially in rough terrain. The more jumps and bumps you get into, the more strain it will put on your body. This is where a good or preferably the best suspension Seatpost in the market will come to your rescue.

Suspension seat posts work by the phenomenon of shock absorbance and damping vibrations. Hence the actual impact of the road is not felt by your body. Rather a watered-down version is felt.

Due to this you can spend long hours on your wheels and can get to your destination faster.

  1. Increased Riding Time

The biggest indication of the best suspension Seatpost is its shock-absorbent nature. This particular feature helps increase the stamina of the rider to achieve a long ride without taking breaks.

Hence you will be saving up on a lot of extra time which you might otherwise spend resting by the roadside.

  1. Improved Back Pain

People with lower back pain or generally vulnerable backs often can’t ride a bike without suspension seatposts. Hence it is compulsory for them to get one.

The major reason why suspension seatposts are so important for such riders is that they are shock absorbent and decrease the impact.

  1. Increase the Efficiency of Narrow Bike Wheels

You will learn about the actual potential of suspension seat posts once you see the extent to which it provides support to your tires. This can be observed by the compatibility it has with your bicycle tires and the extent to which it enhances the performance of even narrow ones.

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    Imagine going down a rough terrain with tires as narrow as 38mm with a normal Seatpost (not the best imagery). 

    Well, the journey would be a hundred times more comfortable and possible if you equip your bike with a good suspension seat post.

    1. Performance is Independent of Height and Weight

    Another plus point for suspension seat posts may be their lack of bias when it comes to the weight and height of the rider. The reason behind this is that a regular seat post’s comfort level is highly dependent on two things. The first is the bodyweight of the rider. Second is the area of the seat post exposed out of the rider’s frame.

    In this case, shorter and low weighing people might be at a major disadvantage with the average seat post. But if you own the best suspension seat post, you don’t need to worry about this because its comfort is independent of the weight and height of the rider.

    1. Lower Cost and Lighter in Weight than Full Suspension Bikes

    If you are on a budget or don’t want to handle a full suspension bike, then suspension seatposts are a good alternative. It is owing to the fact that they cost less and aren’t as heavy as a full-suspension one.

    4 Reasons Why You Should Drop The Idea of Suspension Seatposts

    • The Weight

    The suspension seat posts come with the drawback of adding somewhere around 100 to 500 grams of weight to your Bike. This will make it heavier than a bike, with the average seat post containing an aluminum seat post.

    • Your Bike has Fat Tires

    If your bike has fat tires, they are already a good shock absorbent. Thick tires are able to dampen the impact of shocks by deflecting around 40mm to 60 mm over rough patches. This is similar to the amount of shock absorbance your suspension seat post will be doing.

    Hence bicycles with thick tires don’t really require a suspension seat post as the purpose is already being served.

    • You Already Own a Full Suspension Bike

    If the Bike that you own has a full suspension, it means it has the full capacity of the saddle extension and has been covered, and there is no need to add a suspension seat post.

    • Suspension Bob

    The paddling motion of the body tends to create a certain momentum. This momentum can cause a bob-like motion to form in the suspension. This will vary with the type of movement and the degree of it.

    Deflection plus Damping

    Suspension seat posts make your journey more comfortable by two mechanisms:

    • They increase the amount of vertical deflection ( this means that they decrease the amount of the impact due to bumps)
    • They aim for a maximum level of damping ( absorbing vibration )

    Now let’s look into the basic concepts of Deflection and Damping.

    Deflection: Deflection refers to the movement that is generated in a Seatpost when your bicycle moves over rough terrain or a bump on the road. The seat posts with a higher level of deflection will be better for the rider as they will take much of the impact and put less strain on the rider.

     With lower deflection, most of the impact will be felt by the rider and is not good for them.

    Damping: damping refers to a certain speed that seatposts move at when the cycle moves over a bumpy path. This shock absorbance will help tone down the actual wear and tear effect that the rider is supposed to feel. 

    If the damping effect of a seat post is not too much, the rider will feel most of the rocky path, and it will take a toll on their stamina and overall performance.

    The Suspension Seatpost’s Damping Systems Explained

    1. Spring Damping

    As the name suggests, spring damping systems have a spring system in them. This is particularly apt for rocky and jumpy areas such as mountain biking. A good amount of bounce will have your ride going smoothly on such a path.

    Although there is one drawback to this spring system, where the bounce is perfect for rough paths, it becomes a problem on smooth roads and will cause a nuisance in such areas. 

    A good solution for this would be adjusting the preload of your Seatpost. But overall, we can establish that a suspension seat post with a spring damping is not the best suspension Seatpost for smooth areas.

    2. Elastomer Damping 

    Elastomers are a subtle type of damping system, which is also considered a major advantage. The mechanism behind their less noticeable nature is the rebound speed they have after an impact. Their rebound speed is slow, which makes it almost unnoticeable.

    Their sways feel more natural on rough terrain, making them a preferable choice.

    Although there is a drawback to these if you are using them in colder temperatures because, in such conditions, they lose functionality, become rigid in sub-zero temperatures, and also require frequent lubrication. This makes them a little high maintenance.

    3. Air Damping

    Air damping is employed in telescopic types of seat posts. It has the benefit of an adjustable spring rate for higher accuracy.

    Suspension Seatpost Designs

    1. Linkage-driven Suspension Seatpost

    These seatposts have a movement in a direction similar to the force that the rear wheel is applying. Due to this, the force of the bumps and the rough areas can be countered by the Seatpost.

    Due to this, the strain that the bump would have originally put on your lower back gets dissipated. 

    Secondly, as the Seatpost compresses, it maintains the distance between the saddle and your pedals in rough terrains. This helps to optimize your comfort and form as you cycle.

    2. Telescopic Post 

    This suspension system does not make the best suspension Seatpost due to its less active suspension system. Its compression angle is not in the direction of force coming from the rear wheel, unlike the previous system discussed. 

    They are also not good at maintaining the paddle to saddle Distance over bumpy areas like their previous counterpart, hence making them a less ideal choice in comparison.

    Now what still makes them a common choice is their lightweight and subtle nature.

    Suspension Seatposts Vibration Test 

    Now that we are comparing and contrasting to establish the best suspension seatpost let’s look at a few tests to decide one.

    These tests were performed by Krzysztof from  GravelBikes.cc to test the suspension seatposts. Let’s take a look at them. 

    Bumpy Forest Trail (Test Number 1)

    Carbon rigid Seatpost – FSA K-Force – Typical carbon Seatpost (2.9 m/s²)

    Carbon leaf Seatpost – Ergon CF3 – 10% less vibrations (~2.6 m/s²)

    Spring Seatpost – Redshift ShockStop – 24% less vibrations (2.2 m/s²)

    Bumpy Forest Trail (Test Number 2)

    Carbon Seatpost – FSA K-Force – Typical carbon Seatpost (2.9 m/s²)

    Air Seatpost – PNW Coast – 6% fewer vibrations (2.8 m/s²)

    Elastomer Seatpost – Cane Creek eeSilk – 10% fewer vibrations (~2.6 m/s²)

    Spring Seatpost – Kinekt 2.1 – 17% fewer vibrations (~2.4 m/s²)

    From the above testing, it can clearly be seen that spring seatposts are a much better option to dissipate vibrations in comparison to the carbon ones. The statistics have shown an improvement ranging from 17% to 24% with the use of the spring Seatpost.

    Now, if we take a look at the elastomer Cane Creek eeSilk, its vibration movement is only half as that of the Spring Seatpost. But an important point here is its suspension level, which is also half as much, landing somewhere around 20mm.

    In the end, we have our Air seatposts. These do provide a noticeable improvement ( 6%), but there is the factor of activation force. The activation force required for these seatposts can need a higher bump which is not possible on all types of surfaces.

    Fast Gravel Road (Test 1)

    Carbon Seatpost – FSA K-Force – Typical carbon Seatpost (3.8 m/s²)

    Air Seatpost – PNW Coast – Same vibration level (3.8 m/s²)

    Carbon leaf Seatpost – Ergon CF3 – 13% less vibrations (3.3 m/s²)

    Spring Seatpost – Redshift ShockStop – 21% fewer vibrations (3 m/s²)

    Fast Gravel Road (Test 2)

    Spring Seatpost – Kinekt 2.1 – 10% fewer vibrations (3.4 m/s²)

    Elastomer Seatpost – Cane Creek eeSilk – 17% fewer vibrations (~3.15 m/s²)

    On bumpy and rough roads, the difference between the two types of seatposts becomes relatively insignificant due to the decreased requirement of the spring seatpost’s function.

    If we take a look at the Air Seatpost, there was no mentionable difference between this and the Carbon Seatpost.

    Buyers guide 

    The aim of this article is to help your find the best suspension seatpost out there. But it is not a hit-and-trial method. You need to look at the technicalities to decide which one suits you and your ride. Look at the following:

    1. Max and min rider weight.
    2. Your Body Frame
    3. The Distance You need to Travel

    Best Suspension Seatposts

    Coil Sprung

    • Kinekt 2.1 and Kinekt 3.1 are the best options under this category. The travel they offer is around 35 mm. The spring rates they offer are five, which are compatible with up to 145kg/320lb of weight.

     You’ll initially find them to be springy and bouncy. This makes them a good choice for mountain biking or generally rougher trails.

     The best perk would be the option to preload the “control knob” that they give for $16 to enhance your experience and convenience.

    • If you want a seat post that can give you the best of both worlds, it’s the Redshift Shockstop. Due to its less vigilant shock absorbance, it can work as a rough terrain Seatpost but offer you a good experience in the smoother trails as well. This is due to the lack of an extra bob that is common with others.
    • The high-rated By.schulz G.2 has two travel versions to choose from ( 30mm and 50mm). It also provides a range of spring rates with ten different diameters. So it has got something for every kind of rider.

    Elastomer Sprung

    • The Cane Creek Thudbuster has four spring rates and will suit you for both types of trails.
    • The Cane Creek eeSilk has made its name as the closest one to top carbon seatposts. This is due to its lightweight (300 gms) and travel (20mm). 

    Dropper Suspension Seatposts 

    The unique telescopic structure of these seatposts has led them to have a smaller vertical flex. But if you are still a fan, there are suspension options available.

    • In this range, you might like the Byschulz D.2 ST, especially the coil spring version
    • Secondly, the PNW Coast, with its 40mm of suspension travel, is great for gravel roads.

    Top 5 Suspension Seatposts

    PNW Components Coast 120 ER Suspension Dropper Post

    PNW Components Coast 120 ER Suspension Dropper Post

    The two-in-one dropper, as well as suspension, will give you the best of both worlds. It will be your best friend in the bumpy areas while also allowing you to drop the seat when you desire to do so.

    You can forget the hassle of the Allen key and focus on enjoying your journey. All you need to do is buy the cable and switch to have control over your seat.

     

    ShockStop Suspension Seatpost

    ShockStop Suspension SeatpostThis high-end yet high-priced Seatpost is worth every penny you spend on it. This owes to qualities like 35 mm of travel suspension and adjustable preload rigidness.

    It is compatible with almost all sorts of rides, and its sleek design also keeps it at the top of the game.

    Zoom Suspension Seat Post

    Zoom Suspension Seat Post

    Light on the budget but might be a little heavy on the comfort. Although it has adjustable travel, its stiffness is not easy to ignore or overcome. 

    But overall, it is a good upgrade for shorter distances and starters.

     

    Cirrus Cycles KINEKT 3.1 Carbon Fiber Bike Seatpost with Suspension

    Cirrus Cycles KINEKT 3.1 Carbon Fiber Bike Seatpost with Suspension 

    This is the lightest carbon fiber Seatpost you will find. Although its weight is light, it is pretty heavy on the pocket.

    This owes to the various specifications it provides. It is highly adjustable and customizable with the two extra springs that are provided. This Seatpost aims to put your comfort above everything else.

    Buy-Now-Amazon

    Cane Creek Thudbuster ST Seatpost 

    Cane Creek Thudbuster ST Seatpost

    The fourth generation of Thudbuster suspension has been declared the best suspension Seatpost in the market. 

    It has an Elastomer design, and the tool-free press fit is perfect for adjusting the firmness level.

    It maintains paddle performance while absorbing the tiniest of shocks without any reverse spring.

    Conclusion 

    If you prioritize comfort and the quality of your journey, then you should seriously consider investing in the best suspension Seatpost you can find. 

    Ride with confidence over any hurdle or rough terrain with the appropriate gear.

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    Best Suspension Seatposts for Touring & Bikepacking — Bike Hacks