Are you sitting comfortably? If not, a seatpost upgrade can help

If you want to add more comfort to your bike, and we’re talking about reducing the vibrations through the main contact point, the saddle, then upgrading your seatpost is an easy and relatively inexpensive upgrade. Your derriere will thank you.

We’ve seen the explosion in recent years of endurance road bikes designed to provide smoother rides through the use of modified carbon fibre layups, tube shaping or elastomer inserts. They’ve been very popular with cyclists who value speed and performance, but want a smoother ride, especially given how universally bumpy and rough roads in the UK generally are.

Buying a new frame or bicycle is expensive though. It's actually possible to add more comfort to your current bike, simply by upgrading the seatpost to one that is designed to offer more comfort. So here are six aftermarket seatposts that will fit most bike frames and offer more comfort. Five of these seatposts use the inherent flex available in carbon fibre, and one uses a spring to provide a cushioned ride for your bum.

Canyon VCLS — £81.95 - £226.95

Canyon VCLS Post 2.0 side.jpeg

Canyon has a range of seatposts designed to take the edge off, from the conventional-looking S23 VCLS to the S14, S15 and S25 posts with a split-shaft design that Canyon say provides up to 20mm of movement. The clever design provides saddle angle adjustment by sliding the halves of the shaft against each other, while the floating seat clamp keeps the saddle tilt constant as the post flexes.

Read our review of the Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0 CF seatpost

Specialized COBL GOBL-R Carbon seatpost — £150

Specialized's COBL GOBL-R Carbon seatpost looks a bit like a Cobra snake but it’s designed to provide about 7mm of vertical compliance.

The top of the seatpost features the kink with a Zertz elastomer insert sandwiched in the space created. This shape allows the post to flex when you hit a big enough bump in the road. It's based on similar technology found in their Roubaix bike.

It’s constructed from FACT carbon fibre to a 27.2mm diameter with a cylindrical aluminium head for easy saddle adjustment.

Read our review of the Specialized CG-R Carbon Seatpost

Rose RC-170 Flex Carbon seat post — £80.77

Rose RC-170 Flex Carbon seat post.jpg

The least expensive shock-absorbing seatpost we know of is also pleasingly light at a claimed 185g, so you get a double benefit for a sensible amount of money.

Cannondale Save Carbon Seatpost — £104.99

Cannondale Save seatpost.jpg

Cannondale's Save post comes stock on most of their carbon Synapse bikes. It's designed for use by riders who want to keep as much of their power transfer, but don't mind losing a little in the name of comfort. Available in either 25.4mm or 27.2mm diameter and featuring an easy-to-adjust 2 blot clamping system, it keeps things nice and simple.

The simplicity also extends to the looks. You'd be hard-pressed to tell that this is a post aimed at comfort.

Syntace P6 Carbon Hi-Flex seatpost — ~£223

Syntace P6 Flex post

The Syntace P6 Carbon Hi-Flex seatpost, as the name suggests, is designed to flex. Unlike the Specialized post which takes unusual approaches to providing deflection, the Syntace P6 goes with specific carbon fibre construction with directional orientation of the fibres and specially shaped internal section to provide deflection.

How much? About 20mm, but that doesn’t mean it’ll deflect that much on every bump you ride over, it might regularly flex between 3 and 10mm. Riding speed and rider weight will affect this too. A 27.2mm 400mm post weighs 226g, and is also available in 30.9, 31.6mm diameters and in 300, 400 or 480mm lengths. Syntace offer the P6 Hi Flex with a satisfyingly long 10 year guarantee

Read our review here.

USE Ultimate Vybe suspension seatpost — £89.00

USE Vybe Seat Post.jpg

Back in the early days of mountain biking, before suspension had properly developed, suspension posts were very popular. The go-to post was manufactured by British firm USE.

This Ultimate Vybe is their latest suspension seatpost, and provides a full 50mm of active tuneable travel. That’s way more the the other three posts above, it might be too much for some applications but we can see if for those that want the maximum amount of comfort. Unlike the other posts, because it’s actual suspension, the spring can be adjusted to be softer or firmer and to suit body weight - the other posts can't be adjusted for lighter or heavier riders. There’s also a preload adjustment at the bottom of the post.

It’s available to fit 27.2, 30.9, 31.6 seat tubes, uses USE's Sumo single-bolt clamp and the post is fully serviceable. The post and head are machined from aluminium. the 27.2mm post weighs a claimed 455g.

If you want less travel, the XCR Sumo provides a bit less travel, just 30mm, and incidentally was used by Vin Cox when he rode around the world.

Other comfort options: Tyre pressure, wider tyres, cushioned saddles and gel bar tape

There are other options for adding a bit more comfort to your ride. A really simple one is to lower the pressure in your tyres. You don’t have to inflate your tyes to the maximum recommended 120psi, try setting them a bit lower. I often ride 90psi when training and once rode a whole in at 65psi! You’ll be surprised at just how much difference that makes. Experiment by dropping just 10psi to start with and see how you get on.

Roubaix Wheel.jpg

Bigger tyres, provided your frame can take them is another step, but does involve a financial outlay, and you'll need to check your frame and fork can take wider tyres first - many race bikes won't go larger than 25mm. Wider tyres, even going from 23 to 25mm, can make a noticeable difference. The larger cushion of air between you and the road surface dampens much of of the harshness that can contribute to a rough ride, and you can run lower pressures.

Other component changes that can have a measurable difference include fitting a second layer of bar tape or a gel bar tape. This extra padding will provide a bit more vibration absorption and prevent those pesky vibrations from ruining the ride. These are both much cheaper options than buying a new seatpost or tyres, and may be enough for some people. It all depends on your bike, the type or riding you do and the condition of your local roads.

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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.


cyclesteffer [370 posts] 2 years ago

I've been buying these for my fleet. The RSP Elite. Seems really good. Great mechanism to attach and adjust the saddle, the laquer over the carbon has been unmarked by thousands of miles of using a saddle bag strapped to it, which is amazing. Plus it's really comfy. Tredz almost always lob £5 vouchers at you, so it's only £33 http://www.tredz.co.uk/.RSP-Elite-Carbon-Seatpost_50752.htm?sku=136830&u...

ktache [1068 posts] 2 years ago
1 like

I will heartily recommend the Cane Creek Thudbuster ST, a little bit mtb for most of you but not as much as the long travel (LT).  Just takes the edge off the bumps to to your bottom.  I am guessing that I ride a little more upright than most of you drop bar folks.

StraelGuy [1629 posts] 1 year ago

My Giant Defy Advanced comes with a 'carbon' seatpost (although I suspect it's possibly basalt or glass fibre). I took the claims that it absorbs a lot trail noise with a pinch of salt until I rode it after riding my winter bike for the last few months, you really can feel it moving absorbing small bumps.

dottigirl [842 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Something i've been wondering: if you're changing to a carbon seatpost after using alloy, do you have to microscopically clean all the grease from your alloy seat tube? If not, how does it mix with carbon paste?

StraelGuy [1629 posts] 1 year ago

I don't think you's have to get it that clean, I researched the safety of using grease with carbon fibre and it's harmless apparently. I believe it was Lennard Zinn who provided this answer for me.

ClubSmed [781 posts] 1 year ago

I'm surprised the Canyon VCLS 2.0 seat post didn't get a mention. Abit an inch(2.56cm) of give without much of a weight or power compromise.

Sub4 [73 posts] 1 year ago
ClubSmed wrote:

I'm surprised the Canyon VCLS 2.0 seat post didn't get a mention. Abit an inch(2.56cm) of give without much of a weight or power compromise.

Indeed. I have the Ergon variant (Mr Ergon being Mr Canyon's brother, you will find a lot of Ergon parts on Canyons). Scored way better than the spesh seatpost in a big German review. It is very, very good.

reliablemeatloaf [107 posts] 1 year ago
dottigirl wrote:

Something i've been wondering: if you're changing to a carbon seatpost after using alloy, do you have to microscopically clean all the grease from your alloy seat tube? If not, how does it mix with carbon paste?

From Easton:
No grease on carbon posts. Grease contains certain minerals that can attack clear coats, can penetrate the resin matrix and could cause swelling of the composite laminate. Can you say "stuck seat post?" Don't use grease.
John G. Harrington
Vice president, bicycle products
Easton Sports, Inc. 

From Campagnolo:
No grease. In some cases it can be dangerous to use grease as the chemical composition can cause a reaction between materials. Besides, it increases the torque required to clamp the post.
Richard Storino
Campagnolo USA 

From Deda:
Absolutely no grease on carbon, ever. Also, do not use solvents to get old grease off, or to get old grease out of the seat tube. John Harrington of Easton and I believe that many solvent residues in the seat tube soften the gel coat of the carbon, then bond the gel coat to the inside of the seat tube, freezing the seat post in position for eternity.
Tom Franges
Deda Elementi North America tech support

Reedo [41 posts] 1 year ago

Re Canyon’s split post I have had the Ergon-branded (same post Ask VCLS 2 just different logo, I believe) on 2 bikes for a year.  As the German (?) test found it does move quite a lot,  although the amount of movement depends heavily (no pun intended) on how much post is showing and how much you weigh. I am 70kg. On a bike with 15 cm from top of  seat tube clamp to seat rail, the post moves very little for me.   It doesn’t feel much different from a regular post.  On a bike with  a lot of post showing (22 cm from top of seat tube clamp to seat rail) there is so much bounce that it is distracting although I get used to it. It doesn’t do much for big bumps or small vibrations, but it takes the edge off in-between-sized bumps.  Do not expect a magic cure as some articles say.   The saddle nose does go up as the post flexes. I have looked carefully to see if there is any movement at the two rail clamp bolts to maintain constant saddle tilt. I don't see any. The flex happens along the length of the post, and the clamp at the top of the post is fixed just like any other. I consider that claim marketing hype. It is a very good looking post, and well made, but I think undamped seat  post (or seat tube) flex will never solve the smooth ride problem because few people will tolerate the bounce during pedaling that becomes a problem for any post that is flexy enough to do anything. Bottom line I like my Ergon because it is pretty and maybe helps a bit and I get used to the bouncing, but you should try to ride one (at the same post extension) before you buy. Maybe try the Spesh cobble gobbler if your weight/extension doesn’t  feel like the right amount of movement for you. Their design reportedly tested as moving lesss but should be much less length-dependent as the movement is (?) mostly at the top. 

Anthony.C [269 posts] 1 year ago

The old Specialized Pave  was one of the best in the scientific German test and it works perfectly for me. It smooths outs the little bumps on rough roads so I can stay seated more and not lose rhythm and has really transformed a rather harsh ride into a smooth one.

CXR94Di2 [2420 posts] 8 months ago

I'm all for comfort, but most shock absorption comes from tyres. I regularly use my road bikes which have tyres of 40mm or more. My MTB with full suspension is the comfiest

hsiaolc [369 posts] 8 months ago
CXR94Di2 wrote:

I'm all for comfort, but most shock absorption comes from tyres. I regularly use my road bikes which have tyres of 40mm or more. My MTB with full suspension is the comfiest


Hmm these posts are not for MTB in mind.  

For MTB you wouldn't use any of these because everyone has a dropper post for pratical reasons and the shocks front and back is more than enough to tackel any small bumps. 



ridemonster [4 posts] 8 months ago
ktache wrote:

I will heartily recommend the Cane Creek Thudbuster ...

+1 to that. bought mine about a year ago, quite like it. it's subtle but that's not a bad thing. does its business quietly and without faff. the ST (which i have because of my small frame) isn't quite up to real mtb use but there are obviously other bits of kit for that, not to mention simply getting your butt off the saddle like we did before rear squish and dropper posts became a thing.

mcvittees73 [24 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

I have used a chinese ebay version of the VCLS post on my MTB for over a year.  Absoutely fantastic post for smoothing out the ride of my carbon 29er.  It gives the sensation of  a slightly flat tire.  It does visibly move under my body weight (76kg) at the marked maximum insertion (i.e. stiffest setup) which may be disconcerting on a road bike.  However, much more suited to a gravel (maybe) or CX bike (defintely).

ShinyBits [14 posts] 6 months ago

I'd be interested to know how these comfort seatposts measure up against a shock-absorbing saddle, something like a Morgaw Trian. Anyone have any real world experience?

(I mainly ask as I'm still bitter about about missing out on a carbon railed one that went for £40 at the weekend, as I forgot to put a bid in. If that was you, you lucky sod...)