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I'm planning a ride from Birmingham to London on the Grand Union Canal (UK), which will be quite bumpy for most of the 145 mile distance. I have a front suspension bike and can't afford a new full suspension bike. Do suspension seat posts actually work? If so, I'll get one of them. Can anyone recommend a good model?

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I've had a suspension post for several years. It is no substitute for a suspension bike, but it does take the edge off of rough roads on my touring bike. However, my post is now going "soft" and likely needs replacement. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 16 '12 at 22:22
    
Before I spent money on a seat post I'd make sure I had a very comfortable pair of padded shorts and a big jar of chamois cream. Personally I use endura MT500 shorts for the first and assos chamois creme for the second. –  Jackson Mar 20 '12 at 13:49
    
For everyone's enjoyment, I was in agony after about 40 miles of canal towpath :( However, made it to the end thanks to liberal application of ibuprofen gel! Think I'll be going for a full suspension bike soon! –  Mick Sear Sep 11 '12 at 20:02
    
I have ridden the Cane Creek Thudbuster post on my hardtail mountain bike, my beach cruiser, and my city bike for well over a decade with superb results. Saddles stays equidistant from the pedals regardless of compression amount. –  user6709 Apr 23 '13 at 18:18
    
@Marc - "Saddles stays equidistant from the pedals regardless of compression amount." - How?? Surely if the seatpost compresses the seat is closer?? –  user7989 Aug 30 '13 at 20:33
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4 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

You might find a suspension seatpost to be comfortable, but a suspension seatpost is not a substitute for a full suspension bike. The purpose of a suspension seatpost is purely comfort (though as mikes mentions, not everyone agrees that they achieve this goal), where as the purpose of a full suspension bike is first and foremost control. Suspension on the wheels helps them stay on the ground over rough terrain, which a suspension seatpost will not do. Any extra "comfort" is simply a side benefit.

If you're looking to smooth out your ride, the #1 thing you can do is lower your tire pressure. You will lose some efficiency when the ground is smooth, but if you're already riding 145 on a bike with a front suspension, I suspect efficiency isn't your top concern to begin with.

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I agree. I actually found most seatposts I have tried a great improvement in comfort (much more than sprung saddles), PROVIDED they don't have significant lateral play/rotation. This rotation actually compromises the feel of the ride (at least of a short test ride), and are indicative of low quality. For long distance off-road, where back and butt pain are an issue, it might worth the try IMO. –  heltonbiker Mar 16 '12 at 17:53
    
I'm going to give the seatpost route a go. My main concern is comfort - I'm not going to struggle to keep the rear wheel on the ground on a canal towpath, but I know from experience that arms and backside can get pretty tired cycling on a gravel / rough surface for a long distance. Thanks for the advice. –  Mick Sear Mar 16 '12 at 19:50
    
Hi Mick, what kind of bike are you riding? If you are sitting "too upright" this can occur. Your back will not have any spring to it and all bumps will run right up your spine. I would also suggest getting some wider tires and running them at a lower pressure. –  sixtyfootersdude Jan 14 '13 at 22:17
    
I did go for wider tyres and lower pressure, but I also bought a Thudbuster, which, although expensive, has made a huge difference. Bike is totally comfortable now. I'm not too upright - my seatpost is quite high up. –  Mick Sear Sep 3 '13 at 19:51
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Ive found use seatposts to be better than thudbuster st, absorbs smaller shocks and larger one way better and i preffer the action ie straight up and down rather than back as well.

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Your answer is not quite clear. Maybe you could edit it to be a bit more detailed. –  Benedikt Bauer Jan 13 '13 at 14:46
    
Nah, having tried both, the Thudbuster is by far the better solution. It doesn't feel like it's travelling back when you hit a bump. –  Mick Sear Sep 3 '13 at 19:49
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I've heard very good things about the cane creek thudbuster suspension seatposts. I'm probably going to invest in one for some longer gravel road rides I'm planning for the summer. They come in both the LT (long travel) and ST (short travel).

I think the ST model would be a good addition to a touring or cross bike used for a longer bumpy ride to take some of the harshness out of the bumps. I'm basing my opinion mostly on the review at http://www.thecyclistsite.com/reviews/2009/11/27/cane-creek-thudbuster-st-seat-post-out-of-the-box.html

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After using a cheap post for a while, I invested in one of these. Wish I'd done so in the first place - it's so much better. I recently cycled the Ridgeway path with it and had no saddle soreness at all. –  Mick Sear Sep 3 '13 at 19:48
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It seems everyone I know has a love/hate relationship with them.In other words liked it or didn't.My main complaint was while trying to maintain a consistant cadence I could feel the seat height changing.It seemed to interfere with my pedal stroke.Mine was an inexpensive telescope type,with no adjustments.My reccomendation would be stay away from the lowend models.Also I would try it in similar conditions prior to your trip.

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Good advice - I need to try to find alternatives to the Halfords cheapie type then –  Mick Sear Mar 16 '12 at 19:51
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protected by freiheit Aug 31 '13 at 23:48

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