Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Thoughts On The Regulator

Salsa Cycles Regulator Titanium post
Seat posts seem to be a somewhat boring component, but ever since I have started up the Gravel Grinder News quest for the most comfortable seat post, I have learned that there are indeed many things to learn about such seemingly simple objects.

If you are riding a "proper" mountain bike which is sized correctly, you probably have several inches of exposed post out of the frame. Many folks probably do not consider that a seat post flexes, but they do, and that is a very good thing! However; now designers of seat posts are going further and using seat posts as a way to absorb vibrations on purpose, like the Ergon CF-3 post does. I had heard friends rave about how titanium seat posts rode as well, so I figured that since Salsa Cycles was now offering a version of a titanium post, I would jump on board one to see what all the fuss was about, and to see if the titanium post would perhaps mitigate some potential discomforts.

The Regulator was pretty convincing at Triple D
Of course, I used the Regulator at Triple D, and have done several shorter rides since that 67 miler over all sorts of rough ice, snow, and post holed, teeth jarring frozen trail. Here's my initial thoughts from the perspective of riding a fat bike.

First of all, I am very familiar with how my titanium Mukluk rides with a Salsa Shaft post which is made from aluminum. The Regulator post was a noticeable difference from that old post with the titanium bike. Much, much smoother over smaller chatter. In some cases, I couldn't feel many vibrations that I was feeling with the aluminum post in back to back rides on both posts. There is certainly an improvement to be had in ride feel with the Regulator post. No doubt about that.

Downsides? Yes- there are a few. First off, (and this may be okay for many riders), the springy action of this post is undamped. That means if the post absorbs energy, and flexes, it will return that energy and this is felt with a tendency to bounce a couple of times after bigger hits and when going through abrupt transitions in terrain. Like a "g-out", for instance. Think about a car with bad shock absorbers, and maybe that will give you an idea, but it wasn't that bad! However; it was definitely noticeable, and as I said, it did not bother me. That said, I never was bounced out of my saddle, so it was not severe like that in anyway. Lighter riders will likely never notice this, by the way. (I weigh 230lbs, for reference.)

Secondly, this post is not all that light. I weighed this in at 310 grams, which was 30 grams heavier than the Shaft post it replaced. However; the comfort factor increased by an order of magnitude with the Regulator post installed, so the weight penalty here is maybe forgivable. Consider that for heavier folks, or riders that carry a heavy backpack, the peace of mind in knowing that this post is made from metal, and can handle some abuse, well that weight may be seen as an asset in those circumstances. I've snapped off a carbon post before, and it ain't something I want to try again, I can tell you that much!

Thirdly, the post is expensive. No doubt about that. However; it's in line with a 400mm lay back Eriksen Sweetpost and Moots Cinch Post pricing, so the 410mm Regulator at $275.00 or so isn't bad. But that's still a lot of coin for a seat post.

 Again, I paid my own money for this post, and I am glad I did try it. It definitely has been and will be an asset in my fat bike riding. The next test will be on a gravel road bike set up where I will see how it does for mitigating the "paint shaker" effect of rough gravel roads. That will have to wait until the roads come out of Winter first though.

Stay tuned for updates.....


MG said...

The seat post testing we've been doing has identified the significant opportunity that exists to improve ride quality with a simple seat post swap. Both the Ergon CF-3 and Niner RDO posts I'm testing now are fantastic for improving he ride quality of a road, cross (w/the CF3) or mountain bike (with the RDO or Regulator. I'd also put the Moots & Eriksen Ti posts in here too).

I can't wait to try the next post you're sending,me to test!


Ari said...

I was wondering what you guys thought about the clamp design on the regulator. Is it secure? Is there chance of it slipping??

the technIAn said...

I gotta say that the Salsa post is great looking. On the other hand, it has a fairly long list of things that are not competitive:

1. Price. A Kent Eriksen Sweetpost is $260 USD (400x20mm offset including your choice of colored cradle assembly).
2. Made in Taiwan? instead of the USA
3. Salsa post weighs in at 310 grams vs. 233 grams. A lot more weight for your dollars.

Again it is a nice option, but a great opportunity for consumers to spend their money on a made in the USA product that is less expensive and lighter (if they so choose).

Guitar Ted said...

@the technlAn: Price is $15.00 difference. That isn't a big deal there, so now you are only really competing on weight and durability. Not sure that if I were a bigger guy, (and I am), that I wouldn't go for the Salsa post for peace of mind.

Made in the USA, supporting Eriksen is cool, but so is supporting Salsa Cycles, who have a lot more employees in Minnesota than Kent Eriksen does in Colorado. Pick yer poison. Either way you support the folks in the U.S.

If you are all about the Made In The USA thing, that's fine, but with the skills that are centered in Taiwan, and the technology they bring to bear on the cycling industry,(including testing for safety), I see no problem buying from a company sourcing their parts there. To me, the source of either post mentioned here is a moot point. (No pun intended!)

@Ari: I have my post sorted out so it does not slip at all. There were a few technicalities I had with it at first, but these were simple to rectify with putting lubrication where it belonged and none where it didn't.

MG said...

I haven't ridden the Regulator yet, but that said, going into the seatpost testing I've been doing for Guitar Ted, my Moots Sweet Post was the standard-bearer of comfort in my stable. The new Niner RDO post matches that performance in a mountain bike application, for most intents and purposes, and is slightly less expensive than any of the Ti posts, to boot.

If I were venturing far into the back country unsupported, however, I would opt for a titanium seatpost ten times out of ten. I have absolutely no complaints about my Moots post in terms of ride quality, durability or value. In seven years of riding, the post hasn't backed down. It's one of my favorite bike parts...

Barturtle said...

I wonder how it compares to running a Brooks Flyer? The undamped thing sounds similar. The Flyer you can adjust, sliding back over the springs for more suspension on rougher gravel, and riding the rivet on smoother. It weighs a ton though.

Joboo said...

I'm your size, or you're my size. ;)
My question..... IYHO.... A TI seat post on my steel Pugs, worth it?
Make sense?
Or am I backwards?? Lol
I'm interested in the damping property of a TI seat post, as you spoke of. Not that I'm getting beat up, but a little something something to smooth things out doesn't hurt, in more ways than one!!
Thank you for your time!!

Guitar Ted said...

@Joboo: Well, like I said, I did not think it would be a big deal on my titanium fat bike. However; the difference is quite noticeable from the aluminum post to the titanium one.

On a steel bike? yes- I would do it if a little bit of "something-something" is desired, because I feel you will definitely notice it.

Beware though! You'll find yourself wanting something like this for other bikes once you've tried it on one. (I was told this beforehand by other Ti post users, and it is true!)

the technIAn said...

@G-Ted: As my response stated, they are both great options. I was just throwing the Eriksen option out there in regards to price vs weight.

In regards to employees, I am pretty sure the company that Eriksen Cycles sources their tubing from (based in the USA, estimated at 1,070 employees), probably employs more individuals from the USA than Salsa.

Again Salsa is a great company and offers fantastic products. I just don't buy the employee pitch or the "heavier is better/stronger" pitch.

Guitar Ted said...

@the technIAn : Fair enough- However; without a side by side fatigue test, the debate about strength is not going to be resolved. That said, Eriksen, Moots, Lynskey, and Salsa are all brands of titanium seat posts that probably are all going to work well.

Some of these companies are held to different standards by the industry than others, so in as far as to the weight of the Regulator post, I feel it is there for a specific reason, and that may or may not be of any consequence to you. As for myself, (or others that are bigger. or carry pack weight), this may make a difference. I do not think Salsa simply put that weight there out of ignorance to what is available or to what could be done. In fact- I know that to be true.

So- while you may not "buy" the weight comment, I stand behind that.

As for the employees comments, you are reaching for justification now. I am sure everything Kent Eriksen has and uses is made in the USA, right? See what I mean?

The original point was that you brought up a "Made in the USA" option. To that point, you have whatever "edge" that gives someone with regard to the Eriksen post. I'm saying that from an economic perspective, it is a wash, and from the standpoint of the post itself, (performance of component), it doesn't matter at all.

Alvin Diaz said...

Hey GT, I'm on the fence of getting a ti or carbon seatpost. I weigh the same as you. Do you have any carbon seatpost you have had great results with? You mentioned snapping one. There are a lot of great companies offering CF seatpost but wondering if at my weight I should go for Ti. Thanks!!

Guitar Ted said...

@:Alvin Diaz- I rode a FSA SLK post for quite a while, and I have an old, old Tamer carbon post that I am currently using. I feel like the comfort can be there with carbon as it is with Ti, but I don't always feel totally confident that I won't break one. The Regulator, on the other hand, I do have complete confidence in.

It depends on how you foresee yourself riding it. If your riding is more rough and tumble, maybe I'd stay away from carbon. If you stick to more XC-ish type riding, maybe a Niner RDO post would be okay.

I don't mind the weight of the Regulator as I prize durability and reliability above weight savings in that area of my bike. For instance, I still run several Salsa Shaft posts, which are also pretty burly seat posts.

Alvin Diaz said...

Awesome, GT! I'm not a weight weenie myself and do prefer the added weight if it brings a little piece of mind! Even though I don't ride very aggresice, you having my weight and experienced in product testing, I'll take your advice. Since the regulator is only available in a 27.2 I would imagine that using a shim is OK. The seatpost diameter on my kona big kahuna is 31.6 and is kicking my ass, literally!!

morgan Jones said...

HI Ted,
Can you detail what it took to sort out the regulator please? I got one on my new Ti Fargo, and it slips angle-wise. I weigh 215#. A Salsa dealer told me they all do eventually, due to the detentless construction, and suggested I purchase a Thompson instead. I love the looks of this regulator and want to use it, but the slippage is concerning. Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

Guitar Ted said...

@morgan jones: Mine slipped at first as well. Then I tried it without any Ti Prep or grease on the mating parts at all, which solved the problem. I am still using this post to this day.

morgan Jones said...

Thanks Ted. That's good to hear. I will disassemble and check that out. You do still grease the bolt threads and under the bolt head, as recommended by Salsa, right?

Guitar Ted said...

@morgan Jones- Yes, on any threaded parts, but NOT on the conical washers or mating surfaces.

Sheilar said...

I have regulator on my Fargo Ti. Like it fine but have to get a straight post for better fit. Will a straight Ti post (Salsa or Eriksen) be better than an alum Thompson? Any other recommendations? Heavy bikepack usage. Thx.

Guitar Ted said...

@Sheilar- Bike Radar, or someone like that, (Maybe Cyclingtips?) did an actual compliance test which found that Thmson posts were actually pretty stiff. The best compliance for posts was found to be in the carbon ones, with titanium posts a distant second.

I might also suggest a BodyFloat post by Cirrus Cycles. I have one and it is worth every penny I paid for it.

Andrew Patrizzi said...

Hi Ted

Great write up - wondering how this post is treating you these days, or how long you used it. I just broke a Whisky post and my Thomson that preceded it is worn to 26.8mm vs the 27.2 it should be (after 5 years of 300lb rider usage).

I’m really into this post but $275 is a lot of cash these days. I’m wondering how you think this would ride on a Krampus running tubeless and front suspension- I’m thinking it will be awesome but don’t know anyone else with first hand experience.

Guitar Ted said...

@ Andrew Patrizzi- Hey there!

The post is still going strong. I generally swap it around to different rigs, so it sees fat bike use, gravel travel, and the occasional mtb session. It's holding up great, and doing so well I bought another one.