During the development of the ShockStop Seatpost, we logged hundreds of miles on basically every type of suspension seatpost on the market. We figured out what we liked and what we didn't. Then we rolled our experience into the design of the ShockStop Seatpost.
Here's how the ShockStop compares to a few of the better-known suspension seatposts on the market today.
- Thudbuster ST
- Kinekt BodyFloat
- Suntour NCX
- Specialized CG-R
ShockStop vs. Thudbuster ST
The ShockStop and Thudbuster have a lot in common - both utilize linkage-based designs with approximately 33-35mm of travel, and both weigh just under 500g. However, there are a couple of important differences between the two designs:
- Appearance - Bicycles are sleek, elegant machines, and we believe that adding comfort should not mean sacrificing aesthetics. One of our primary goals with the ShockStop Seatpost was to create a sleek, understated design that matches the visual design of modern bicycles. Admittedly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think that internalizing the spring element and minimizing the visual bulk of the mechanism allows the seatpost to maximize both form AND function.
- Adjustability - In order to adjust the stiffness of the Thudbuster, you swap out different durometer elastomers. However, there is no preload adjustment, and the gaps between elastomer stiffnesses are relatively large. That means you’re stuck with one of three stiffnesses. The ShockStop Seatpost allows you to change stiffnesses by swapping out springs, but it also includes continuous preload adjustment. That means that, with a given spring installed, you can precisely adjust the feel of the seatpost to match your weight and riding style.
- Suspension Feel - The elastomer suspension elements of the Thudbuster are sandwiched in between the linkages, meaning that the stiffness of the suspension ramps up very quickly as the suspension compresses. That means that the suspension feels relatively stiff, and in practice, it’s virtually impossible use the full 33mm of stated suspension travel. With the ShockStop, the suspension stiffness ramps up much more slowly as the suspension compresses. This allows the saddle to float within the full travel of the post, creating a plush, bottomless feel that is more effective at isolating the rider from the road.
ShockStop vs. BodyFloat
The ShockStop and BodyFloat seatposts are both designed to "float" the saddle within the travel of the suspension, isolating the rider from vibrations as well as larger impacts. Both utilize linkage-based designs with 35mm of stated travel, and they’re similar in weight (ShockStop 497g, Bodyfloat 525g). Despite these similarities, there are some meaningful differences between the two designs:
Preload Adjustment vs. Suspension Travel - Both the ShockStop and BodyFloat allow the user to adjust spring preload (the amount of force required to make the saddle start moving), but the way that the adjustment is accomplished is very different. With the BodyFloat, as you increase preload, the linkages compress downward, which means that you lose suspension travel as you increase preload. If you’re toward the upper end of the weight range for a given spring setup, or if you want to ride a more traditional, stiffer-feeling setup, you’ll have dramatically reduced suspension travel available when you encounter a larger impact.
With the ShockStop Seatpost, the preload adjustment is accomplished by compressing the spring upward from the bottom of the post. This means that the travel range of the linkages is unaffected by preload - you always have the full 35mm of travel available regardless of where the preload is set.
- Appearance - See "Appearance" in the Thudbuster ST comparison above.
ShockStop vs. Suntour NCX
The Suntour NCX is a linkage-based design with an internal coil spring, but there are some pretty big differences between the Suntour and the ShockStop:
Adjustability - The ShockStop and the Suntour both allow the user to adjust the spring preload (the amount of force required to make the saddle start moving), but with the Suntour, the stiffness of the spring is one-size-fits all. Whether you're 100lb or 250lb, you're stuck riding the same spring stiffness, which means that the vast majority of people aren't able to adjust the suspension performance properly.
Weight - In general, at Redshift we prefer not to fixate on bike weight because in practice, characteristics such as ride-quality and comfort have a dramatically bigger impact on performance. However, in this case, the Suntour's 795g (1.75lb) weight is difficult to ignore compared to 497g (1.1lb) for the ShockStop.
Appearance - See "Appearance" in the Thudbuster ST comparison above.
ShockStop vs. Specialized CG-R
The Specialized CG-R is a semi-rigid post that has a small degree of compliance built in. Compared to the ShockStop Seatpost they are dramatically different animals.
Suspension Travel - The CG-R claims 18mm of suspension travel, but in practice, it's a small fraction of that. The seatpost is marginally less stiff than a standard rigid post, and while it does help with road buzz, it does very little to mute anything larger than minor imperfections. The ShockStop has 35mm of usable suspension travel. This allows the post to absorb high-frequency buzz while also isolating your body from larger impacts commonly encountered on roads, gravel, and city streets. The difference in comfort is night and day.
Adjustability - The Specialized CG-R is a "one-size-fits-all" design, so the stiffness is the same whether you're 100lb or 250lb. With the ShockStop Seatpost, you can tune the suspension feel to precisely match your body weight and riding style. The seatpost is customized for YOU.
- Weight - Comparing the weights of these two seatposts is like comparing apples and oranges, but if you're deciding between the two, weight is really the only reason to choose the CG-R (265g, 0.58lb) over the ShockStop (497g, 1.1lb).