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I seem to have broken my FSA SL-K carbon seatpost recently and so have been looking at the Canyon VCLS shock absorbing ones as a replacement.

However, they are quite expensive and I've seen the 3TS versions on FleaBay for £55 which seems cheap enough, so my question is does anyone have experience of 3TS carbon?

26 comments

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 5 months ago
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I'm quite impressed by the amount of damage to the FSA seatpost and the fact that I rode it a couple of miles to the station this morning before realising that it was a bit more flexy than usual.

 

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StoopidUserName [698 posts] 5 months ago
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No experience of 3TS but really, you wanna experiement with a cheap carbon knock off?? 

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 5 months ago
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StoopidUserName wrote:

No experience of 3TS but really, you wanna experiement with a cheap carbon knock off?? 

My thinking is that I've just had a fairly catastrophic failure of a carbon seat post from a known brand and it didn't cause me to lose control or even realise what exactly had happened. I thought it was part of the saddle that had cracked and to be honest I was relieved to see that it was the seat post as that was older and cheaper than my saddle.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 5 months ago
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Have you approached FSA and ask why it would fail if using it under normal circumstances (assuming that's the case), it might have had a manufacturing flaw from the off, worth an ask no?

When I contacted specialized in the mid 00s after my son's crank arm (ritchey branded triple on a Spesh Sirrus) snapped on the way to school and despite it being second hand to us and a few years old I thought it was a bit off that something that had obviously being used lightly (it was a turbo trainer bike for a short while before we bought it and a 14 year old nipping to school, library, grandparents) should fail in that way. They sent us a brand new chainset.

My specialized Zertz has seen 10 years of commuting/utility, some audax/touring and the odd fast ride at the weekend, absolutely solid as a rock, I've a lightweight USE carbon on my audax/touring/winter racer plus a Ritchey Superlogic (Which I bought from Canyon's ebay outlet store for silly money a few years ago) on the carbon racer, for me at least I would never veer away from genuine branded carbon whether that be wheels, handlebars or seat-post.

I also beleive that the saddle/tyres/tyre pressures is massively more important than the seatpost as a whole so from my POV I just don't think getting the  'shock absorbing' variant is worth it.

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 5 months ago
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I bought this one from FleaBay back in October 2017, so my initial thought is that I've got a fair bit of use from it and the night it cracked, I had a heavy rucksack (I was carrying a 2kg bag of coffee beans amongst other things), so I was thinking that maybe I need to lose a bit of weight as well.

Strangely enough, I had a spare FSA SL-K seatpost stashed at work (though it was a 25mm setback model which is why I replaced it with a 0 setback model) and on examining that, it's got a small longitudinal crack, though I've now swapped my saddle onto that and will be using it tonight if the rain holds off.

I tend to think that the main shock absorbing component is the tyres, but I'm a sucker for new, different things which is why I was looking at the VCLS. I could get a genuine one, but I think that when figuring out if you can afford something, you should consider buying it twice (i.e. if it gets broken or stolen etc) and at almost £500 for two seatposts, it's overly extravagant for me.

I might fire an email off to FSA and see what they think - I'm not optimistic about it, but then I've got nothing to lose.

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IanEdward [340 posts] 5 months ago
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Some discussion here:

https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/ergon-canyon-leaf-spring-seat-p...

I'm currently more tempted by a cheap Ti post for the same price, hoping either will be better than stock 1cm wall-thickness aluminium post!

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joeegg [111 posts] 5 months ago
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   I have a VCLS seatpost on my Endurace. Doesn't feel any more " comfortable " than my two other bikes. I think its more down to wheel/tyre/pressure choice. The DT wheels that came with the bike feel softer than the Fulcrum  3's that i run it with.

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 5 months ago
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Well, that was an intriguing ride on my old 25mm setback post (with only a small crack in it).

After a couple of stops to adjust the seat angle (I generally have the saddle quite nose down), I cycled cautiously as the position was a bit different and the effective saddle height was probably a bit higher. However, it seemed as though my legs were a lot happier with the new position and I was going a lot quicker than usual without particularly trying to (though I did try dropping a cyclist along the A370 after sucking his wheel for a bit).

However, just seen that the wind was 19mph from the west which might explain it.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 5 months ago
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Specialized COBL GOBL R?

i picked up a couple of new Neil pryde carbon posts recently for a song, nice looking as they are fairly plain jane which is what I prefer.

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Jimthebikeguy.com [269 posts] 5 months ago
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I had one of the 3ts knockoff vcls things. Was ok, not as well made as the real thing, worked well as a cyclocross seatpost. The rear leafspring cracked last year, i binned it. Not sure if it was because it was a knockoff or because of the design; it broke at the stress point. I gave about 50 quid for it i think.

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bechdan [258 posts] 5 months ago
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This type of post (I mean post not post) comes up fairly often on various cycling forums and there are always the naysayers who say dont risk it its not worth it or I wouldnt.. yet how many instances have you heard of where 'cheap' chinese carbon has failed? Plenty of examples on tinternet where branded components have failed yet these arent usually mentioned.

I personally cant comment on the 3TS stuff as Ive not used it, I have however got a FlyXII carbon frame which has stood up to some pretty rough rides without any issue and an eXotic carbon fork which Ive ridden on red trails aplenty.

Trust your instinct, look in to the brand if it seems too good to be true dont do it. If it seems inexpensive because it avoids the middle man, marketing, brand hype, higher western wages, then go for it.

 

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KiwiMike [1427 posts] 5 months ago
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hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm quite impressed by the amount of damage to the FSA seatpost and the fact that I rode it a couple of miles to the station this morning before realising that it was a bit more flexy than usual.

 

 

There’s a reason why it did not immediately shatter and impale the inside of your thigh on carbon. Proper carbon manufacturers intersperse the layup of carbon sheets with more flexible materials such as Kevlar and in the case of some manufacturers exotic materials such as flax. This is so when the carbon, which is relatively brittle,  breaks, the softer noncarbon material holds everything together while you grind to a halt. This is extremely important when you have fractures around head and down tubes, where a catastrophic sudden snap could send you over the bars at high speed.

 

I guess it’s up to you whether you like the idea of being impaled on a bit of broken  carbon fibre or the idea of a soft, controlled break. 

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Luv2ride [133 posts] 5 months ago
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I've got a VCLS copy on my Cr1 SL road bike and I think it's smoothed out the ride a lot.  Seems pretty well made, and have considered getting another for my cross bike, though the straight top tube on my Pro6 may mean there would be insufficient post showing for it to be effective (the CR1 top tube is semi-sloping).  Has proven to be pretty robust for me, lots of miles on it.  Check you'd have enough seatpost length before buying...

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 5 months ago
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Thanks for the replies.

I've ordered a 3TS seatpost now as I'm impatient and curious about it. Let's hope it doesn't shatter into dangerous shards!

@KiwiMike - are you aware of dodgy carbon fibre doing that or is it more of a general distrust of their quality control?

@BTBS - I've seen the Specialized seatpost coming up on discussions and reviews of flexy seatposts, but I prefer the look (and price) of the VCLS copy.

I've now got a new problem and am wondering if it could be connected with the seatpost cracking. I went to ride home this evening and my Di2 was completely dead. I rode it a couple of miles to the station this morning and it was all fine, but maybe something happened to it when it was in the bike coach.

I connected up the charger, thinking that maybe the battery had been depleted somehow (it was on 4/5ths charge this morning) but no response at all. As I've got a spare cable and a slightly duff battery, I swapped components until I figured out that it's definitely the battery - I'm charging my older battery now and successfully updated its firmware, so the cables are all working fine.

I've had a good look at the dead battery and can't see any damage to it and it's been working perfectly since I cracked the seatpost, so maybe it's just a coincidence.

(I'll send the dead battery back to CRC for a warranty check - it's only 11 months old.)

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The _Kaner [1201 posts] 5 months ago
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hawkinspeter wrote:

I've ordered a 3TS seatpost now as I'm impatient and curious about it. Let's hope it doesn't shatter into dangerous shards!

 

I haven't experienced 3TS, but have gone with chinese CF seatposts and handlebars (Hylix) in the past and had no issues at all with any of them.

For the outlay, I wasn't expecting much, and was surprised with the outward cosmetic quality.

Also the longevity seems to be good for the parts I have used, >4 years and no issues.

Just keep inspecting regularly and make sure there are no issue at the clamping points, and use a torque wrench to ensure you don't overtighten.

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Jez Ash [252 posts] 5 months ago
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OP - your Di2 problem is on a different bike, right? Cos a VCLS post (legit or otherwise) won't accommodate a Di2 battery

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Luv2ride [133 posts] 5 months ago
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Jez Ash wrote:

OP - your Di2 problem is on a different bike, right? Cos a VCLS post (legit or otherwise) won't accommodate a Di2 battery

This is correct.  The 2 leaf springs effectively mean the bottom of the seatpost is in two halves, shown in this Canyon vid on Youtube: 

https://youtu.be/_RgaLWY8a64

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 5 months ago
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Jez Ash wrote:

OP - your Di2 problem is on a different bike, right? Cos a VCLS post (legit or otherwise) won't accommodate a Di2 battery

Well, now I feel stupid for not even thinking about that.

It's the same bike, so looks like I'll be making offerings to the gods of duck tape to hold the battery below the post.

Does anyone know how Canyon fits the battery on Di2 models? Edit: Looks like they use a custom bracket to mount it in the downtube.

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McVittees [85 posts] 5 months ago
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I bought a Chinese VCLS post on eBay for about £50 a couple years ago to use on my mtb. No issues with it whatsoever. Only recently swapped it out for a dropper post.

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 5 months ago
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Just got a reply from FSA:

Quote:

Thanks for your e-mail, the warranty on all of our products is two years from date of purchase for the original purchaser only. However our UK distributor does offer a crash replacement deal acquirable through your local bike shop or direct with me.

Don't think I'll bother pursuing that as so far I've had two FSA SL-K seatposts and both have cracked. (I've now got myself a cheap alloy seatpost to use until the chinese carbon turns up and have installed a new battery).

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benc [3 posts] 2 months ago
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I’d love to get a Chinese copy of the VCLS seatpost but they seem to have disappeared from eBay and AliExpress. Any ideas where I can buy one?  

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benc [3 posts] 2 months ago
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I’d love to get a Chinese copy of the VCLS seatpost but they seem to have disappeared from eBay and AliExpress. Any ideas where I can buy one?  

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cant do wheelies [8 posts] 2 months ago
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I got one of the Ergon (aka Canyon) "spring" seatposts (VCLS? I've forgotten) a few years ago and am still riding it.

a) I don't think it adds much, if any, extra comfort. A much bigger effect is had by letting some air out of the tyres!

b) You have to do it up extremely tight to stop it slipping. It's on my aluminium bike, so that's OK. Carbon frame? 

I think (a) is because they had to over-engineer in case a 100Kg gent sits on it. Each half could take the 100kg. For me (77kg) it feels rigid.

I think (b) is because as the post is in two halves, every time you hit a bump while on the drops the front half slides down (as does the nose of your saddle). i.e. you have to tighten it to a tension as though your entire weight is on half the seat post, which is only "gripped" on half the seatpost circumference.

As I recall, I paid about £200 for it. I subsequently bought a Deda Superlegerro seatpost for my other bike which made a much bigger difference to comfort for half the price. The Deda seatpost is (scarily!) light/thin compared to the Ergon. I would not risk a fake of that design!

So if you weigh 85kg+ maybe the Ergon would flex more, but I reckon I wasted my money. It sounded like a good idea and I read a good review, but there are reasons the "dual leaf" carbon spring seatpost has gone the way of the dodo. 

 

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 2 months ago
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I aree with @cant do wheelies - I fitted it and the saddle position kept slipping and as I've got a carbon frame I didn't want to muck around with over-tightening it. After a couple of weeks, I swapped over to a standard style (chinese) carbon seatpost.

@benc - I can send you my one if you're willing to cover the postage and understand that I don't take any responsibility for if it shatters etc.

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benc [3 posts] 2 months ago
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Thanks for the replies, much appreciate it. I’m 60kg so it may not flex at all for me... it is going into an aluminium frame so tightening shouldn’t be an issue. 

@hawkinspeter - yes I’d love to take you up in that offer. How can we chat privately re payment and address etc?

Thanks again. 

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 2 months ago
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benc wrote:

Thanks for the replies, much appreciate it. I’m 60kg so it may not flex at all for me... it is going into an aluminium frame so tightening shouldn’t be an issue. 

@hawkinspeter - yes I’d love to take you up in that offer. How can we chat privately re payment and address etc?

Thanks again. 

Send me your email address to ndsipa _dot_ pomu _at_ googlemail _dot_ com and probably the easiest way is for you to email a pre-paid postage label to your address. I'll package it up tomorrow (it's currently at work) and let you know the weight and dimensions.