Thursday, 6 August 2015

WHAT IS YOUR REAR END WORTH? (Product Review: Canyon VLCS 2.0 / Ergon CF3 / Suspension Seatpost £215)

OMG! £215 for a seatpost that’s ridiculous! Yes it is....but it could be worth it and your rear could thank you for it!!

I saw this in the press when it was launched by Canyon in 2012 as a suspension seatpost for the road and I was intrigued. £200 was too much but I bought one off ebay for less than £100 in great condition (seatposts don’t generally deteriorate second hand).

Suspension seatposts are usually big and heavy for MTB and not at all suitable for light road bikes. So if someone can make a 229g road version that would be very interesting indeed.
The VCLS ( Vertical Comfort Lateral Stiffness) flexes and take the sting out of harsh roads, cobbles, potholes and any poor surfaces. The post is split into two halves like two flat springs, which operate parallel to one another up to 2.5cm yet the Flip Head ensures the saddle stays horizontal.

I swapped a titanium post for this today and did a short 10km ride on bumpy roads. The titanium post has tiny amount of give may 5mm but its not a setback / layback design so it was always pretty jarring. The effect of the VCLS was immediate. It smooths out a lot of bumps really well. Not so much so that the ride feels spongy but enough so that you rear feels cushioned (in fact my hands were much more jarred). You actually cant directly feel the movement but its definitely there. The setback curve of the designs adds more to the effect, and actually improved by riding position relative to the cranks. For weightweenees there may be a weight penalty of 100g or so compared to tune / ax-lightness etc. but these carbon posts are also v jarring. Who wants thousands or millions of bumbs transmitted up your spine year after year. No, this is one area where the cost and the weight are definitely worth it!

Why so expensive? It is overpriced as RRP but its apparently made from crushed basalt (rock) which is then melted down and extruded into very fine fibres before being made into a seatpost which compared with titanium, basalt fibre has better elasticity, and the resin used in construction also gives a higher level of damping.

Any restrictions? Yes v limited sizes:  27.2mm diameter and 300mm length post only. So it wont fit a lot of bikes without a shim and I am not sure if a shim will be ok with this design. Also I think you need to swap heads to fit carbon rails. Also clamping it into the frame securely proved a problem because the parallel design resists the seatpost collar. However this video gives advice on fitting.

Overall: pretty amazing design which looks simple and is effective. Recommended and ask yourself....what is protection and care of your rear end worth to you!! ;) 

Fitness Radar Score:
Tech: 9/10
Effectiveness: 9/10
Cost 4/10

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