As the distributor i-ride's website says, 'The Thomson Masterpiece Seatpost isn't for everyone.' If it is for you, though, you won't be disappointed. Forget weight, forget carbon fibre this, aerodynamic that... this is a beautiful piece of engineering that showcases a simple product at its absolute best.
- Pros: Beautifully machined and finished, really easy to set up, a timeless classic
- Cons: Some may consider it expensive for an alloy post
Let me lay my cards on the table. I spent a fair few years as a CNC programmer and machinist, so to hold the Thomson seatpost, let alone fit it to my bike, gives me goosebumps. The finish is just exceptional and the attention to detail is second to none.
For a start, the post isn't just machined on the outer diameter, Thomson also does the same for the oval internal one too, to reduce as much weight as it can while claiming to create a seatpost which is over 40 per cent stronger on ultimate strength tests than the strongest production seatposts on the market. Obviously, without a test rig and a shedload of seatposts we can't clarify that, but the Masterpiece is certainly one stiff, solid piece of kit.
According to the FAQs it has a rider weight limit of 91kg but that takes in mountain biking as well, so for road use you could probably use that as more of a guideline... he says to avoid any blame when you end up with a sheared-off post!
Both the head and tube are machined from the same piece of aluminium in one go so there is no bonding or joining anywhere, which increases strength and lowers the weight. Tolerances can be tightly controlled.
I was testing the Hope Carbon seatpost at the same time as this one, and when it comes to comfort there is very little in it. The Hope had a little more flex, as most carbon posts have, but the Thomson never felt harsh. I was using the same saddle too, in case you were wondering.
The two-bolt head system here isn't quite as easy to use as the one found on the Hope, but everything was relatively easy to set up for both fore and aft and saddle level. You get plenty of tilt adjustment too, from -5° to +29°.
On its website Thomson says that its clamp will work fine with a 7mm circular rail and you can get an accessory clamp kit for oversized rails up to 7x10mm, but the standard setup worked fine with the Fizik Aliante 00 I was using with oval rails.
Weight-wise, things are pretty impressive for a full aluminium alloy seatpost, with the Masterpiece coming in sub 200g just for the 330mm option we have here. If you don't run a lot of seatpost you can get away with the 240mm option to save a few more grams.
Speaking of options, there are quite a few with the Thomson. The post comes in either silver or black and in a selection of diameters – 27.2mm, 30.9mm or 31.6mm – and you have the choice of the two lengths above.
This test model is the inline model, where the seatclamp sits right on top of the post, but there is a setback option with a bias of 16mm towards the rear.
Like I said at the top of the report, this seatpost won't be for everyone. Some will see it as overpriced, overly heavy and even over-engineered, and to be fair at its full rrp it is really hitting the ceiling for what I'd pay for a decent seatpost.
Take a look around online, though, and you won't be paying anywhere near that. Some places you'll be paying around the £110 mark and for that kind of money this is a really impressive piece of kit.
Admittedly, you can pick up something like Fizik's Cyrano R3 seatpost for nearly half that and it's only about 20g heavier, plus as a previous owner I can confirm it is a very good component.
The carbon Reilly Cycleworks Vector post is £89.99 and just 160g if you want lighter and cheaper, or the Hope Carbon I've mentioned already is a similar weight to the Thomson but £135. There are lots of options out there.
And yet... the Thomson Masterpiece is literally that: a masterpiece in the way it is machined and designed. It's probably engineered to a level way higher than is necessary for road use, and it could probably lose a fair bit of weight if that was its pure usage, but it is a thing of beauty and, just like the latest frames that we are seeing, aluminium still has a lot to give.
A beautifully engineered and finished seatpost that'll stand the test of time
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Thomson Masterpiece Inline Seatpost
Size tested: 27.2 x 330mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Thomson says, "The Masterpiece is over 40% stronger on ultimate strength tests than the strongest production seatposts on the market. Masterpiece posts weigh approximately 40 grams less than the same size Elite post. This weight reduction is accomplished while maintaining the strength and durability expected of a Thomson seatpost. Thomson accomplishes this weight reduction by machining the seatpost all over, including the oval inner diameter. We are able to hold closer tolerances by machining than by extrusion alone. Machining over an already beautiful design makes the Masterpiece Seatpost a work of art."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Certified to: EN 14766 2006 MTB.
The tube and head of the Thomson Masterpiece seatpost is integral-machined from one piece of high strength 7000 series aluminum. The head is not pressed or bonded in. This allows for superior strength and minimum weight.
We have a long 1.614 inch (41 mm) seat rail grip length. This helps prevent seat rail bending from impact loads. Most other seatposts have grip lengths of at least .500 inches shorter than our grip length.
The Thomson Masterpiece seatpost design incorporates a bending fuse to prevent catastrophic failure. All competitive seatposts we tested failed catastrophically with the seat and clamp components, and sometimes pieces of the tube and head flew off in all directions.
The Thomson Masterpiece seatpost has a clamp, head, and upper tube strong enough to withstand 325 foot-lbs of torque. The tube will start to yield and bend at the seat tube clamp at about 230 foot-lbs of torque. Under severe impact the Thomson Masterpiece seatpost will bend slightly but allow the rider to come to a stop or continue the ride.
The Masterpiece seatpost has all parts captive and can easily be attached to a seat without dis-assembly.
Infinite tilt adjustment minus 5° and plus 29°.
Very low profile clamps means no seat interference as the swivel nuts are down between the seat rails.
The designs and materials have passed extensive life and ultimate strength tests. Our ongoing testing program ensures that every production lot of seatposts meets Thomson standards.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Saddle setup was easy and it never moved when clamped into the seat tube. Job done.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's a work of beauty that is really easy to set up.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
At full whack it is up against some stiff opposition from carbon components.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The overall quality and the work that goes into the creation of the Thomson Masterpiece is impressive, and that comes at a cost. That brings the high scores for construction and performance down a notch. It's up to you whether you think it's worth the investment or not, but I can't give it less than 8 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.