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Which Seatpost? Offset or Standard?(19 posts)

Which Seatpost? Offset or Standard?dgangi
Sep 30, 2003 9:48 PM
I am going to replace the aluminum seatpost on my bike with a carbon one. The seatpost I currently have is a Ritchey Pro, and it is a straight post with an offset at the top (1/2 - 1"). If I replace the seatpost, do I need to buy one that also has an offset or setback? Or can I just get a regular straight post with no offset?

Some of the companies who make carbon seatposts make them both ways -- others make them with a straight post, no offset.

re: Which Seatpost? Offset or Standard?divve
Sep 30, 2003 11:17 PM
It will depend on how your seat rails are mounted on your current set-up. Personally I like my seat centered on the rail or slide slightly back. Having to slide your seat forward due to excessive seatpost setback takes all the "elasticity" and dampening out of the rail interface. I guess to some it looks sort of goofy too...
Oct 1, 2003 4:55 AM
The Ritchey Pro is a traditional post with the front of the seat rail clamp located approximately in line with the center of the seat post.

If you have the saddle relatively centered on the seatpost clamp now, you do not want a straight-up seatpost (which you referred to as "standard". Posts like the Thomson straight-up model move the nominal saddle position forward by about 2cm. With only about 3.5cm of total adjustment available, you would end up with the saddle nearly all the way back, limiting the range of adjustment.

The simple answer is to look at your current saddle position on the clamp and only buy a straight up model if you have the saddle most of the way forward. If it's nearly centered or moved any further back than center, get an setback (offset) post like you have now.
Dampening abilitydgangi
Oct 1, 2003 5:29 AM
Just curious - do aluminum setback seatposts offer more vibration dampening qualities than their straight-up cousins? Does this hold true with carbon as well? The Ritchey website says their 2mm setback "dissipates impact stress".

I will definitely check the location of my seat to make a final decision on which kind of post to get. I am almost certain my seat is quite forward.

You're thinking the wrong way about this...Mike Prince
Oct 1, 2003 5:44 AM
Setback will have no effect on dampening or ride qualiity/comfort. The seatpost serves two purposes: it supports the saddle and allows you to position the saddle properly in the fore/aft plane.

If it were me, I would stick with the Ritchey seatpost at least until you get your position dialed in. This will take more than one or two rides to do, especially given that this is your first road bike. Once you get your position set, then you can look at whether the Ritchey's setback provision suits you. Then you can decide whether it is worth it to get another post with more or less setback. The Ritchey is a good seatpost and you shouldn't be in a rush to "upgrade".

If you do an archive search, you will find a lot of posts asking about carbon seatposts. Most who have them don't notice much difference. Altering your rear tire pressure will probably have more impacts on ride quality than the seatpost. But if your heart is set on buying a fancy carbon seatpost, go ahead...
You're thinking the wrong way about this...lyleseven
Oct 1, 2003 6:44 AM
I agree with the above. Ritchey is a decent seat post and the difference with carbon fiber is nominal at best. Maintenance issues on carbon fiber seat posts has been a problem. Sounds like you need more dampening for an aluminum bike, which is not uncommon, but the difference may not even be noticeable, but the price will be.
Reason I want a carbon seatpostdgangi
Oct 1, 2003 7:20 AM
The reason I want a carbon seatpost is primarily for looks -- second for dampening ability. Since I just bought the bike, the bike shop will let me swap out the Ritchey seat post for a carbon fiber seatpost *at dealer cost*!

Most shops will just swap retail-for-retail. The Ritchey seatposts retail for only $30 or so -- and most carbon posts are >$100. So a retail-for-retail swap would set me back $70 or more. And at that price it would not be worth it to me.

But have you seen what "dealer costs" are on carbon seatposts? They are about 1/3 retail (I didn't realize markup was so high). Based on the deal the bike shop is offering me, I can get a Woodman carbon post for $30! Those cool Titec C3 carbon posts have a dealer cost of only $60 (retails for $199).

So for $30 is it worth it to swap out the Ritchey for a carbon post? To me it is, even if it is just for aesthetics. I just want to make sure I don't screw up the physical geometry of the bike in doing so.

It's your moneyMike Prince
Oct 1, 2003 7:43 AM
OK, here's the deal:

- No one sees your seatpost while you are riding
- Other than setback/geometry differences, there is zero performance gain here
- Ritchey post is black - carbon post is black (my take on aesthetics)

So that leaves the geometry (your original question I think). I find it hard to believe that you have found the "sweet spot" position-wise on your first road bike that is less than one week old. Find that first before you rush to change stuff out. Is it really a "deal" on the new post if it has too much or too little setback and you need to change it out later at full retail to get the right position?

Here's some other ideas on how to spend the $30 towards a more comfortable ride:

- Gloves
- Wider tires (see if you can do your swap deal and get some 25c's)
- Good shorts on end of season clearance
- A trade for a better (for you) saddle
- A fit session
- Membership in a local cycling club

The first five will have a bigger comfort impact than the seatpost and the last will introduce you to other cyclists and increased skills from group rides and advice.

I'm not ranting, but seatposts are kind of a utility thing. I've heard people say "nice wheels", "nice bike" on rides and the like, but "nice seatpost" - not.

Again, just trying to help you. I hope you don't take my advice the wrong way.

It's your moneylyleseven
Oct 1, 2003 8:07 AM
I agree with the above. But, keep in mind, if your heart is set on a carbon seatpost for looks, you get what you pay for, usually. Don't know anything about a Woodman seatpost. I've heard enough bad about even expensive carbon seatposts in general, let alone a $30 (cost) one. If I had to spend the money, I would put it in a good saddle, but I understand you are not being offered that.
Oct 1, 2003 10:28 AM
Thanks for all of your advice...and no offense taken. I fully understand where you guys are coming from. It's just that I like a seat post with an easy-to-adjust machined aluminum crown. The adjustments on the Ritchey post are a pain (not to mention that the forged clamps look a little cheap). If I am going to replace the Ritchey with something else with a nice machined clamp, it might as well be carbon. I've already done this with both of my mountain bikes (Answer on one; Sette on the other).

Both of you have mentioned replacing the saddle. Actually, I thought the factory saddle on my new bike was quite comfortable -- it feels just like the Serfas Ti on my MTB. And the factory Fuji saddle is not a "cheapo" chro-mo piece of junk with lots of foam -- it is a Ti-railed seat with a firm feel (one big difference over the 2002 model).

Here's the weird part -- the Fuji factory saddle and my Serfas Ti are actually the same saddle! I looked under the Serfas Ti and it is made by Velo. I looked under the Fuji Ti on my new road bike and it is also made by Velo. The rail shape is idential...the plastic underneath has ths same shape...the cutouts are the same...and the padding feels the same. The only difference is in the covering -- the Fuji has a leather cover whereas the Serfas is kevlar (need that when you crash in the desert!).

So I think I am going to stick with this saddle for now. Given that my MTB saddle feels good, I think the Fuji saddle will work out as well.

BTW -- it gets even stranger. The seat I just purchased for my wife's MTB is an Aereon Ti saddle. Guess what? It is also a Velo Ti saddle. The only difference is that her saddle has 2 elastomers at the base of the rear to take out vibrations. Now I wonder how many other seats out there are just rebranded Velos...

Carbon is not magic. Thomson has best clamp systemFez
Oct 1, 2003 4:12 PM
Since you said you want a better clamp than what you have now. Don't assume that every carbon post out there is great. One of the lightest out there is USE Alien. It looks OK, costs a bundle, but the bolt that adjusts the saddle is a PITA to fiddle with. Not a problem if you set and forget, but it is if you tinker a lot.
Actually I like the Answer Rocker the bestdgangi
Oct 1, 2003 7:07 PM
In my opinion the clamp system on the Answer Rocker is the best -- it's an absolute work of art! 2 simple clamps hold the post to the rails, and the entire clamp system tilts up and down around a large pivot in front (like a clamshell). The rear of the tilt mechanism moves up and down in a track, where a third third screw on back of the post holds the pivot mechanism in place. Adjusting the seat tile involves a simple loosening up just this one screw and tilting the seat up and down. In additin, the tilt mechanism has its own angle marks so you know exactly what level of tilt you are at (versus "eyeballing" it).

Other seatpost designs require you to fuss with 2 screws to adjust the tilt on the seat, and it is painfully slow (loosen up one and tighten the other).

The Answer is very precise and ingeniously simple! Too bad it is now very pricey (available in carbon however, but built for MTB use).

Thomson still betterFez
Oct 2, 2003 4:41 AM
I took a look at that. The only thing different it appears to do is adjust the level of setback from that silly Kojak device.

Thomson is lighter for the same length.

Thomson post is one piece of alum. The Answer looks like it has several potential failure points - the carbon is bonded to the alum in 2 different areas.

And there are only 2 bolts total to tighten on Thomson - a far more simple, functional, and superior design.

Thomson is made in straight and setback. Its light and virtually indestructible. Its simple and easy to adjust. Its proven in both road and mtn circles. What more could you ask for?
Thomson still betterdgangi
Oct 2, 2003 5:35 AM
The seatpost you saw is not the Answer Rocker. The Rocker is 100% Easton aluminum and is not manufactured anymore. Answer dropped the Rocker a few years ago in favor of the carbon seatpost you viewed on their website.

Given that the Answer Rocker is not made anymore, if I had to buy a new seatpost for my MTB it would be either the Thomson or the Easton. Both are quite bombproof and highly respected in the MTB arena, as you duly point out.

Thomso, hands down....lyleseven
Oct 2, 2003 7:12 AM
Read the reviews on the seatposts and you will see excellent reviews on Thomson. I have a setback version and it is absolutely bombproof. If you buy a carbon seatpost be sure and buy a backup and some sophisticated tools to be able to remove it when it "seizes" in the seat post tube! Good luck.
Oct 2, 2003 8:49 AM
..currently I have an ITM Millennium Carbon seatpost which works just fine and it doesn't get stuck. Actually, I think the clamp design is slightly more convenient compared to the Thomson. Got a straight Thomson on my MTB though and a set-back backup for my road bike:)
Oct 1, 2003 10:15 PM
It sounds like cosmetics is driving your desire here. Once you have your saddle adjusted to your liking how often do you have to adjust it? I haven't touched mine since the first week I bought it...
Dampening abilitydivve
Oct 1, 2003 6:08 AM
I didn't mean the damping of the seat post but the rails themselves. When mounted around the center or slid back your seat can bend up and down quite substantially. On the other hand, when the clamp is mounted all the way to the rear of the rail, most seats hardly move at the place where most of your weight is resting.
re: Which Seatpost? Offset or Standard?tarwheel
Oct 1, 2003 5:05 AM
A lot depends on your setup now. Assuming you have your saddle in the right position, with knees in proper relation to the crank, you would want a seat post that will help you maintain that position. Ideally, the saddle rails should be centered on the seat post. That's not always possible, depending on the saddle. For example, my bike has a Chorus ti seat post with a moderate amount of setback and my frame is a Merckx with slack seat tube angle (72.5). Using a Koobi Enduro or Silver saddle, my seat is pushed all the way forward on the rails to get the right position. However, using a Brooks Swift saddle, I have to push the saddle all the way back on the rails to get the right position. Unfortunately, like everything else in cycling, there is very little standardization in measurements -- so it's hard to compare seatposts without installing one because there isn't a standard way to report seat post setback. Most catalogues and web sites don't even mention the amount of setback for different seat posts. You just have to eyeball it from the photos and hope for the best.