Suspension seat posts are not new to the market. But, they have got a lot better and more reliable in recent years. Designed to help smooth out the ride, whether you are cycling on a gravel trail at the weekend or on a potholed road on your way to work during the week.
Without a suspension Seatpost, your bike ride can leave your back sore and you questioning if cycling is as enjoyable as everyone keeps telling you.
Whether you are recovering from a back injury and need to be able to smooth out the ‘road’ or just looking to improve your performance and comfort while cycling longer distances.
The best suspension Seatpost offers you versatility and comfort, without adding to much weight or complicated design to your bike.
Of course, you could just buy a bike with front and back suspension, to offer the smoothest ride, but these are often heavy and can be very expensive to get the best in the class suspension system.
Suspension seatposts provide a cost-effective way to smooth out the shocks and bumps in the road or track, without the need to buy a 2nd (3rd/4th) bicycle.
Big tires offer a lot of cushions, but due to their large surface area can seriously slow you down on the roads. Even certain frame materials, such as titanium, work with you to dampen some of the vibrations of the road. But nothing improves your ride quality quite like installing a suspension Seatpost.
You need to find the best suspension Seatpost for you. Before looking at the list, make sure you know what type will suit you and your beloved bicycle the most.
3 checks before buying
- Max and min rider weight. Suspension seat posts offer a differing level of resistance and rebound. To maximize the benefit, ensure that you are getting one that can handle your weight. If you get one which is too soft, you will not get any benefits of your new investment as you still feel every bump in the road. The same will happen if you get one with too little resistance to your weight. Check the website spec and customer reviews, when choosing which option is best for you.
- Make sure the Seatpost will fit your frame. The best suspension seat posts will offer you a choice, so you should be able to get the perfect fit. If not, you can buy Seatpost shims to fill the gap and ensure a snug fit.
- How far do you need to travel? Not in terms of your bike ride, but how far do you need the Seatpost to travel. Generally, they range from 10mm – 50mm. Consider the terrain you will be riding on. For commuting on relatively smooth roads, you probably don’t need the same degree of travel as if you are off-roading and regularly taking your bike on gravel tracks, for example.
A rigid bike, without any suspension, coupled with a suspension Seatpost, will often be more reliable and affordable than dealing with the maintenance of shocks and linkages on a full-suspension bike. Suspension seat posts are relatively easy to install and can be used to upgrade the ride quality on any type of bike.
The main suspension Seatpost systems you have to choose from are air spring system, elastomer, or internal coil.
Air Dropper suspension seatposts
Offering the flexibility of dropping your Seatpost when needed, these can seem complicated. They are relatively new to the market, but if you are experienced at riding on gravel roads and want to be able to change your seat height, without the need to stop and get your multitool out, this is the all in one suspension Seatpost system for you.
They often offer less travel than the other two systems, so may not be the best option if you are just looking for a smoother ride on your commute to work.
Elastomer Suspension Seatposts
Do not be fooled by its simplicity. By placing a rubber cushion between you and the road, this post effectively dampens lumps and bumps. They are often accompanied by a hinged linkage system, to reduce rebound and offer a more stable ride.
Each rubber cushion will have differing amounts of giving, so check which one is right for your weight. Being an exposed bit of rubber the cushion will wear over time, but replacements are often cheap and small enough so that you can carry a spare with you.
Check out the Cane Creek Thudbuster ST G4 below – the original and now on its fourth edition, better than ever.
Coil Spring Suspension Seatposts
Coil spring suspension seatposts are the 21st-century solution to smoothing out your ride. Rather than relying on a lump of rubber, these suspension seatposts use a hinged linkage system with a coiled metal spring to provide a feeling of cycling on smooth tarmac all day.
You will often be able to increase or decrease tension, for every terrain. Although it may be tempting to reduce the tension, to soften the ride.
Be mindful that the softer the coil is, the less power you will be able to put down onto the pedals (especially on climbs). Try to keep this system dry and put some grease on the hinges, to avoid annoying creaks.
Top 5 Suspension Seatposts
PNW Components Coast 120 ER Suspension Dropper Post
Best for versatility
The PNW coast combines dropper with suspension, giving you the best of both worlds. A smooth ride to tackle the bumps in the road. While also being able to drop the seat post when required. This is an excellent option for any cyclist that is looking for an upgrade to their ride.
No longer do you need to stop and get the Allen key out to drop your riding height. You will need to buy a cable and switch for this Seatpost, so you have full control without having to take your hands off the handlebars.
- Ability to drop and raise the seat post height
- Adequate dampening of small bumps
- 40mm active travel
- Controls have to be bought separately
- Overcomplicated if you are just looking to smooth out your ride, without the need to drop your seat mid-ride
ShockStop Suspension Seatpost
Best for high quality
This ultra-responsive seat post would be top of the list if not for the price tag. Although it is one of the most expensive to make this list, you are paying for a quality Seatpost, designed for any rider. You get 35mm of travel and infinitely adjustable preload stiffness adjustment.
This Seatpost also looks the sleekest in the list, not too bulky and no rubber or coils exposed to the elements. This is the perfect suspension Seatpost for any road, gravel, or e-bike. With the easy tension adjustment, you do not risk losing the power you are putting down to the pedals.
- Looks good
- Swappable springs included for different rider weights
- Optimized linkage geometry provides ultra-responsive suspension. Provides a comfortable ride on gravel and bumpy surfaces, even at high speed
- Not as much travel as others on the list
Zoom Suspension Seat Post
Best on a budget
Smooth out your ride, without breaking the bank. This simple design helps to smooth out the lumps and bumps on the road but can feel stiff, even for heavier riders. You can adjust the travel, but even on the ‘lowest’, it struggles to keep your derriere safe from all the bumps and vibration of the road.
It is simple and straightforward to install. A good place to start, if you are looking for a suspension seat post to improve the quality of a short distance ride.
- Simple design
- 50mm active travel
- Low quality, with rubber covering which makes it look cheap
- The fiddly adjustment bolt makes it difficult to make quick adjustments to the tension while out on a ride
- Due to the design, you go up and down with the post, as opposed to down and back as with the other systems on this list. Although not the end of the world on a road without any lumps and bumps, after a while this can cause unnecessary aches from riding in a different position
Cirrus Cycles KINEKT 3.1 Carbon Fiber Bike Seatpost with Suspension
Best for lightweight, high performance
This beautifully crafted carbon fiber suspension Seatpost is sure to turn heads. The coil springs are on display for all to see, but somehow Cirrus Cycles have made them look stylish. Not for anyone on a budget, this expensive Seatpost will give you the added comfort you need, while also saving weight.
The Carbon Fiber KINEKT 3.1 Seatpost is the lightest on the market. This post isolates your body from surface vibrations and impacts.
As you would expect from a high-end Seatpost, you can choose the right set up for you, based on your weight and post length. It also comes with two additional springs, allowing for more customization to find the perfect travel.
The easy access pre-load adjuster makes for convenient adjustment to the tension of the travel mid-ride, if needed, to avoid feeling like you are on a pogo stick.
If you have the money and are looking to pimp out your hardtail bike with a Seatpost that can add to the comfort of your ride, without hampering your performance, this is the suspension Seatpost for you.
At the risk of encouraging you to hide the beautiful design, it is also recommended to purchase a protective wrap, to protect the exposed coil system from getting clogged with mud and dirt, especially if you will be taking it on trails.
- Looks good
- 35 mm travel – with easy access preload adjustment
- The exposed system means it can easily get clogged up if not well maintained or covered.
Cane Creek Thudbuster ST Seatpost
Finally, last but not least, the best suspension Seatpost, from one of the best-known brands in the market. Being the fourth generation of Thudbuster suspension Seatpost from this well-established brand, you can expect the highest quality, without complicated design or installation.
Although this time round they are marketing their Seatpost to e-bike riders, do not let that put you off putting it on your proper bicycle.
The elastomer’s design is unique and relatively simple to maintain. They have a tool-free press fit, making it easy for you to increase/decrease the firmness if need while out on a ride.
This design compresses progressively, absorbing the shock of bumps in the road, without any rebound or frustrating bob on uneven surfaces. The linkage design damps out smaller ripples without reducing pedaling efficiency.
- Easy installation and maintenance
- Absorbs the contours of the road/gravel, without causing you to bob
- Maximum rider weight of 330 lbs
- 50mm of active travel
- The fourth in the line of Thudbusters by Cane Creek you are getting top quality, backed by years of refining the perfect design
- The single fit cradle can feel a little less secure than the traditional double clamp. Take a multitool out with you for the first few rides, to tighten if necessary.
Suspension seat posts are the best way for you to improve your comfort and ride quality. No longer will you be dreading jumping on the bike and going down gravel roads or even the rogue potholes that appear out of nowhere on the roads.
Save your money and the additional effort required to lug a heavy suspension mountain bike around, pimp your current ride and get one of the above seatposts for your favorite bike. Your bones and derriere will thank you!
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.