In part 3 of our six part series on Carbon, we’ll look at one of the most common upgrades, the seatpost. Upgrading your seatpost is very simple, but does going Carbon make sense here?
Often bikes come equipped with Aluminum seatposts, this is an area where bike manufacturers spec a cheaper/heavier seatpost even on high end bikes. On most bikes, the seatpost is just a tube with a clamp at the top to hold a saddle, so going carbon here can make sense for a few reasons.
Carbon has some innate properties which help it absorb vibrations more effectively than Aluminum. In some ways, people say that Carbon feels “dead” whereas Aluminum feels more lively. For the seatpost, which transmits vibrations to some sensitive areas, I think most people agree that smoother and quieter carbon is better than a lively aluminum post with regards to vibration.
Carbon tends to be lighter than aluminum when used in seatposts because it can be made thinner for the same strength. For example, the Enve carbon seatpost comes in at under 200g, while a comparable Thomson post will be nearly 300g. And these are aftermarket alloy posts; some OEM posts can be well over 300g making the weight savings even greater.
Like other applications of carbon, there are drawbacks in carbon seatposts. Carbon seatposts can fail when they are crashed, and also when they are over-tightened. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s specs on seatpost clamp torque as well as the use of assembly paste. If you crash on your carbon seatpost, make sure you inspect it for any cracks or chips in the surface, especially in the clamp area.
Another drawback of Carbon in this application is price. While the price has come down drastically in the last decade, there is still a premium to save 100g or so. For example the Enve carbon seatpost costs as much as FIVE equivalent Truvativ Descendant seatposts.
Of note, there are no current carbon dropper posts, so if you need to get that seat out of the way as you’re hucking off doubles, you’re stuck with Aluminum.
So, is Carbon bad for seatposts? Not really. It can be a great way to save weight, add some vibration dampening, and the durability in a crash is pretty good overall.