Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review Of Parts Past: Salsa Cycles Shaft Seat Post

Note: Occasionally I will be struck as to the awesomeness of some part or piece that I use on my bicycles. This was the genesis for the idea of "Review Of Parts Past" where I do a review of a piece or part I use that, perhaps, is no longer in production or that I feel deserves more notice. 

Today I am going to feature my all-time favorite seat post, the Salsa Cycles Shaft Seat Post. There are other pretty good seat posts out there, some okay ones, and a whole lot of really frustrating, bad designs.  The Shaft post, which was designed by Ross Shafer, the founder of Salsa Cycles, was mainly sold through the company that bought the Salsa Cycles brand, Quality Bicycle Products. Most of those being sold as stock equipment on Salsa Cycles bikes. Although many were sold as aftermarket purchases. They were available in black anodized and silver anodized aluminum, for the most part, although the predominant color you will see is black. Other than this, the Shaft Post was available in most popular sizes of the 00's, when most of these posts were manufactured. Quality stopped production of the Shaft seat post around 2012, near as I can tell. There may have been store stock on some sizes for a few years afterward.

Salsa replaced the Shaft with their "Guide" post, which was a box stock, typical two bolt design. Nothing to write home about. They did come out with the Regulator Ti Post, which is completely different in design, has a quirky clamp design which isn't quite as nice as the Shaft, and is uber-spendy at $275.00 a pop. (I happen to have a few of those as well)

The Shaft Post wasn't flashy, particularly lightweight, or really all that compliant, but that clamp design! This is a 31.6mm sample.
What makes the Shaft so brilliant isn't what most people think about in regard to a seat post. Most folks want their post to be (1) lightweight and (2) looking good. Some may consider the post compliance in terms of ride feel, but beyond that, who cares, right? Well, yeah.......until you have to remove and replace a saddle. And how about adjustments? Those can be nightmarish with other posts, disregarding saddle mounting altogether.

This is where the design of the Shaft post comes in. It is, by far and away, the single most simple, easy to use seat post clamp design ever. I have worked with a ton of seat posts, and nothing comes close to the ease of saddle mounting and set up that the Shaft Seat Post design has. Nothing.

One, humongous 6 millimeter bolt handles the clamping duties.
The Shaft utilizes a three bolt adjustment design where each bolt does a different job. The first bolt used to mount the saddle is underneath the clamp. It is a 6mm behemoth of a bolt, and by loosening this, you can get the upper part of the clamp to swivel out of the way allowing you to easily place your perch of choice on the lower cradle/clamp part. Tighten this down and, being that it is a 6mm bolt, you can torque it down pretty good. (Recommended 60-70 inch/lbs) That saddle isn't sliding back, or loosening. Ever. That clamp is beefy and works well.

The upper bolt clamps the eccentric, and when loosened, allows adjustment, the bottom one loosens or tightens the axis of the tilt, allowing adjustment when it is loosened.
Saddle angle adjustment is done brilliantly by using a pivot point and a small eccentric controlled by a bolt, and adjusted with a 5mm hex key. When the bolt directly beneath the cradle is loosened, and the 6mm bolt that clamps the eccentric is loosened, you can adjust the tilt angle infinitely within the eccentric's range with a 5mm hex key from the non-driveside. Then when you are finished you tighten both 6mm bolts to a recommended 50-60 inch/lbs.

The tilt adjustment is made by using a 5mm hex key in the according hex pocket in the eccentric.
So, here is why I love this design. First, it should be apparent that you can remove and replace your saddle without disturbing the tilt adjustment, and you can adjust tilt adjustment without the saddle placement being disturbed. Adjustments are "infinitely" made, not pre-determined by a notched cradle, or the like. You can adjust fore and aft adjustment simply by loosening the 6mm clamp bolt under the cradle just enough to allow the saddle to slide in the cradle too. Plus, as I mentioned, saddle removal and replacement is dead simple.

This has made swapping saddles and swapping seatpost/saddle combinations from bike to bike super easy and in a way that is not at all frustrating. Maybe this is not a big deal to many with one or two bicycles, but with as many as I have, it is a boon to me and makes my life far easier.

Okay, the Shaft Seat Post wasn't very sexy looking, and it had setback, which not everyone can handle. It wasn't all that lightweight either, and with all that going on with the clamp, you sometimes will get creaking. A simple cleaning generally quiets these posts down though, so no big deal to me. But yeah..... I get it.

Still, I appreciate the design and I won't be getting rid of any of my Shaft seat posts any time soon. I have several, mostly in the 27.2mm size. It's too bad that they discontinued these, but rumor has it that Mr. Shafer got a penny or two for the design, and QBP wasn't about continuing that arrangement, so the Shaft post was never developed further or produced after 2012 or so. A shame if true. Such a great design there.


Phillip Cowan said...

I'm surprised someone hasn't picked up the design. The original patents must be expired by now.

Skidmark said...

Thanks for your product testing GT, quality and durability don’t register on the gram scale.

onoffrhodes.com said...

I never should have sold the two that I had.

Doug M. said...

Still have one running strong after 10 years. Does it's one job exceedingly well!