Monday, January 27, 2020

Spiffing Things Up

This Pro Dyneema post has one of the easiest to use seat clamps I've laid hands on.
Technology, and specifically materials technology, is a crazy field, as we all can attest to. I mean, once upon a time aluminum rims were unheard of. Then we got heat treated aluminum rims, and well, now those are just.....whatever. Carbon rims are where it is at now, and we all know how those have improved. Even just in the last several years. It's materials technology folks. Crazy, like I said.

Well, there is a new (ish) game in town for carbon fiber. It is called Dyneema. It is claimed to be the world's strongest fiber. It makes ropes better, protects police from stab and gunshot wounds, and is used in aerospace applications. Now Shimano has it and is using it in seat posts and handle bars.

Shimano sent me a PRO Dyneema post in the 27.2mm size to use on one of my gravel bikes in a review for Note- I was not paid for this blog-post, and Shimano/Pro did not request that I do this. I did not purchase the seat post. I decided to put it on the Noble Bikes GX5 which already has a few PRO components, also being reviewed for Riding Gravel. Unfortunately, I cannot say a whole lot about this stuff yet, because, well......Winter. When things get back to a more ridable state, I'll be out on this stuff.

So......Dyneema? Yeah, supposedly it can be used as "hybridization" material with carbon fiber, making it more impact resistant, and possibly even lighter. (See the science discussed here) So, bicycles would seem to be a great application for this hybridized Carbon/Dyneema material. The bicycle industry is not only interested in light weight and strength, but vibration reduction as well. So, Dyneema supposedly helps here. This post from PRO, as an example, can be made lightweight, (my example weighed in at 218 grams), but it can be made to have thicker walls which then can be allowed to flex more without damage or breaking. In fact, this post has a claimed 10mm of deflection with the rider onboard.

That deflection translates to rider comfort and less vibrations. We've run tests at in the past using several different seat posts to determine which were best at deflecting and therefore, rider comfort. Others have done this as well. It's a pretty universally acceptable way to make the road smoother. In fact, it is why I run Salsa Regulator Titanium posts on three of my bikes

Now, all that is cool, but one of my pet peeves, when it comes to saddles and seat posts, is installing a seat on a seat post. Most of the time this task can be a curse word fest and in some cases you have to disassemble the entire seat post clamp just to install a saddle. Well, this PRO post is the polar opposite of that. In fact, I would go so far as to say that seat installation was easy with this post. I don't say that lightly either.

Anyway, I have only been able to cruise the snow/ice free zone in front of Guitar Ted Productions' headquarters and while that isn't much to go on, I can say things look promising here. (We have some pretty crappy pavement out front here) That and the fact that this carbon post flexes and is claimed to be stronger, well, that goes a long way with me. I've broken a carbon post before, and while I escaped injury, I do not want to tempt fate twice. (Thus the Ti Regulators and aluminum posts on most of my bikes)

All dressed up, too much snow to go.
So, the GX5 is all spiffed up and I have no where to go with it just yet. I'll probably be checking out the gravel on a fat bike soon, but I saw some images on social media which made the roads look pretty snowy. It'll be a while before I get to put much time on this post and see what the deal is for sure. Look for a review to appear on Riding Gravel in the future. Hopefully sooner than later. I'm ready to go!


MuddyMatt said...

Haha, I get the whole nervousness around carbon posts breaking. I share the same view but even I can see it's not logical - am very happy to rely on carbon handlebars on my MTBs in the most extreme conditions, and have done for years.

I guess the fear is what happens to the broken seatpost end..! :-)

Anon said...

GT, are you still using the Whisky seatpost? I was thinking of getting one based on your past experience with them. Thanks

rth009 said...

I'm glad that even a highly experienced mechanic like you has trouble installing seats on seatposts. I find that to be one of the more frustrating tasks for my club fingers.

Ive also heard of carbon seatposts breaking, but I beat the living ---- out of a Face Face Next 27.2 on my el mariachi Ti and it always held up. Now it creaked like nuts if it wasnt clean, but I could not break it in 4+ seasons of aggressive riding, even when I broke seat rails.

DT said...

How was it easy? From the looks of the photo, it would be hard to adjust once it was installed. I use the Thomson style clamp as my standard, anything tougher than that isn't worth using and I haven't found anything better.

Guitar Ted said...

@Anon - Yes, I have been until these review seat posts came in, (This and an aluminum PRO seat post) I recommend the Whiskey one highly for a gravel bike.

@rth009 - Good to know! Not all carbon is designed equally or made to the same quality standards. Hopefully I never run across a questionably made one again.

@DT - Thomson? This one is WAY easier than a Thomson one to adjust and to install the saddle. Granted- Thomson has those neat little markings for seat tilt which this one does not have, I'll grant you that point.

The head pivots, as you probably suspected, like many other designs that look like this, but it does so quite freely, and adjusting tilt was a snap. Obviously, I've already mentioned how easy it was to get the seat rails into the clamp.

Barturtle said...

I have a love hate relationship with the single bolt Enve clamp on my Lynskey posts, as once they are tight enough to hold without slipping, you then need a mallet to loosen it for further adjustments, but it does allow infinite angles, even turning around the setback post for a set forward position. I'd bet Shimano doesn't have that issue.

Barturtle said...

Also, a single bolt was what the Shock Stop post had in prototype, so I was rather disappointed when they changed to the two bolt.

Guitar Ted said...

@Barturtle - Yeah, that new Shock Stop post has one of the all-time worst seat post clamp deals. Good thing most folks only have to do that once,( or their mechanics do), because it is really curse-worthy.