Redshift ShockStop Pro suspension seatpost review: The unpleasant middle ground - CyclingTips

Redshift ShockStop Pro suspension seatpost review: The unpleasant middle ground – CyclingTips

These days there is no shortage of add-on suspension seatposts for gravel bikes, all of which are designed to provide more comfort than a rigid bar. One seemingly more powerful option is Redshift Sports’ ShockStop Pro, which uses the same basic design as the standard ShockStop but has been retuned for a firmer ride and lowered to reduce weight.

As with standard ShockStop suspension—and unlike the telescopic designs that were more prevalent on mountain bikes in the 90s—Redshift uses a parallelogram-style linkage on the ShockStop Pro with a small piston at the bottom that compresses the spring. stack hidden inside the seatpost shaft. But while the standard ShockStop uses a series of steel coil springs, the ShockStop Pro features an elastomer-based system designed to offer a firmer ride, especially from the top. The spring is also more progressive, limiting travel to a more modest 20mm compared to the standard ShockStop’s 30mm.

This elastomer bundle is also lighter than steel springs and more grams are shed thanks to hollowed-out ShockStop Pro pivots and more aggressively machined link arms. A profiled fender (held by magnets, of course) helps protect the tie rod from mud and dirt, while the internals are protected by SKF seals.

The ShockStop Pro uses the same general pin layout and geometry as the standard version, but with a major redesign of the spring assembly. Photo: Redshift Sports.

RedShift Sports only offers the 27.2mm ShockStop Pro, although given the prevalence of this size today, that’s not really a big deal (especially since it can be shimmed with larger diameter seat tubes). Two lengths are offered — 280mm and 350mm — and the claimed weight for the 27.2x350mm version is 415g. The actual weight of my sample was slightly heavier at 442g, and the retail price is $300 / AU$475 / £280 / 330 EUR.

So, how do you drive?

On paper, it would appear that the ShockStop Pro should perform very similarly to the Cane Creek eeSilk. Both use parallelogram bonds, after all, and both rely on elastomers to provide squish. But in practice they are surprisingly different beasts. If you’ve tried suspension posts but found them too soft and floaty, then this ShockStop Pro could be for you.

Redshift Sports deliberately tuned the ShockStop Pro to be very firm, especially from above. While almost every suspension seatpost on the market is designed to run with sag—ie, the post sinks a little into its travel with just your body weight—the ShockStop Pro is fully extended most of the time. Additionally, while most suspension struts are designed to be very active, especially over smaller bumps, it takes a decent bump to get the ShockStop Pro moving at all, and even then the spring rate is very progressive.

As such, the ShockStop doesn’t strike me as much of a comfort tool, but it’s a very popular accessory: something to save you from heavier impacts that might knock you out of action or otherwise catch you off guard. .

Pulling off the rear fender reveals some clues as to how ShockStop works.

Since it works differently than other suspensions I’ve tried in the past, I found myself riding the ShockStop differently as well. More active seatposts force me to stay seated more often to take full advantage of the comfort and additional traction. But on the ShockStop Pro, I reverted to my usual habits of hovering over the saddle when the going got rough and relying on the post mainly for things I couldn’t predict.

The location of the pivots is also worth discussing.

Companies have taken different approaches to the direction the saddle moves on impact. The eeSilk Cane Creek initially moves mostly backwards, while the Cirrus Cycles Kinekt’s track is mostly downhill. For the eeSilk, this means that the effective reach is constantly changing during the ride (especially over bumpy terrain), so much so that it is important to account for this movement when adjusting the saddle angle. Alternatively, the Kinect’s more downward travel means you have to account for sag when adjusting the seat height, but the range remains fairly constant.

But Red Shift? It splits the difference between the two. There is a hint of rearward movement initially when traveling, but not much. And from there, it’s mostly a vertical movement that absorbs shock more effectively. At least in my opinion, the journey to Redshift is the least disruptive of the three.

Another advantage of the ShockStop Pro is its impressively compact and slim design. Despite all the extra hardware, Redshift has done a great job of minimizing bulk – and it certainly helps that the elastomer bundle is hidden inside the seatpost shaft. Redshift is also apparently still fascinated by magnets, as one is used to neatly hold the rear fender in place without the need for additional hardware.

However, it is not a bed of roses here.

The firm feeling will definitely not be for everyone. Although some will always equate strength with efficiency, this is not always the case. I definitely don’t want a lot of movement on smoother surfaces. But since there is not much movement even on the coarser ones, there is not as much comfort as with eeSilk or Kinect. I ended up finding that I prefer the ShockStop Pro more on my all-road bike than my gravel bike.

Pivots are user-usable, although this also depends on the skill level of the user.

There is also the issue of tunability. I’ve long been a big supporter of suspension in general, but I’m also a firm believer in getting it properly tuned to suit the rider and the conditions. However, Redshift Sports ships every ShockStop Pro with the same elastomer bundle regardless of rider weight.

“We found that with the shorter travel and highly progressive elastomer suspension, a much wider range of riders were comfortable with the same spring settings,” explained Redshift Sports co-founder and chief engineer Stephen Ahnert. “A regular ShockStop seatpost is designed to be ridden with sag, and the coil spring provides a much less progressive linear spring rate, which meant fine-tuning the spring preload/rate was quite important to ensure a plush, floaty feel throughout. travel.

“With the Pro seatpost, we were going for a more traditional feel, which means the seatpost is more or less extended until you hit the hump, at which point the spring rate increases fairly quickly due to the shorter travel. Bottom line: yes, lighter or heavier riders will have slightly different experiences with the Pro seatpost, but based on our internal testing with riders between 120 and 220 lbs (55-100 kg), the elastomer setup seems to work pretty well. for the vast majority of riders.”

That said, Ahnert admits that alternative elastomers are indeed available if someone feels their ShockStop Pro seatpost is too stiff or too soft for them. However, this is not apparent at all on the product page, and replacement elastomers are not even listed on the company’s spare parts list.

The Redshift Sports ShockStop Pro seat post is also pretty beefy. It’s true that at 442g it’s more than 120g lighter than the Kinekt. However, it’s also almost 100g heavier than the equivalent eeSilk, which is also almost $100 cheaper and still offers a performance-oriented ride. Even worse, Cane Creek offers an eeSilk version with a carbon fiber shaft, which also saves an additional 50ga and is only $20 more than the ShockStop Pro.

The Redshift Sports ShockStop Pro may be a lighter and stiffer version of the standard ShockStop, but it’s still somewhat stout.

To be fair, weight-conscious riders who don’t need the full length of the stock can just cut off the excess to save some grams—to the tune of about 0.5g per millimeter of post removed. According to Ahnert, the longer version of the ShockStop Pro seatpost can be shortened by up to 175mm, while 105mm can be safely removed from the shorter one, bringing the claimed weights down to around 328g for both. But then you could also do something similar to the eeSilk and Kinekt posts, so that’s not really a big advantage.

There is also the question of size. While both Cane Creek and Cirrus Cycles offer their bars in multiple diameters, Redshift Sports only offers the ShockStop Pro in 27.2mm. That’s hardly a compromise since it’s the most common size and can also be modified to fit larger seat tubes, but it’s worth noting regardless.

What about long term durability? Well, these elastomers certainly won’t last forever, though expect at least a few years of regular use – and hopefully Redshift will keep spares on hand for a long, long time. The bigger question mark is the pivots, as they are completely exposed to the elements and much more difficult to replace, though Ahnert says that hasn’t really been a problem.

“We don’t expect most riders to ever need to replace their seatpost bushings unless they regularly ride in very wet and sloppy conditions,” he said. “However, if they develop noticeable wills, we deal with them on a case-by-case basis, covered by our lifetime warranty. Depending on the customer’s location and technical skills, we will either send the seat post to a service center, send a case replacement kit, or replace the seat post. To date, we process less than a dozen of these exchanges per year.

“Functionally, the exposed ends of the shafts on a Pro post are essentially the same as the covered ends on a regular seat post. The plastic end caps on the regular post are aesthetic covers – they don’t provide much (if any) sealing against water ingress, and the insides of the grommets are uncovered on both the regular and Pro versions. Our internal ride tests and customer service logs showed no discernible difference in bushing wear between the two designs.

Okay, so who is it for?

That’s a great question. Unfortunately, the ShockStop Pro seatpost feels like it’s hitting an awkward middle ground. On the one hand, I actually quite enjoy the firm feel for certain types of riding, the thoughtful ride, and the sleek look – all of which should make the ShockStop Pro well-suited to road/all-road riders looking for a little extra confidence on particularly bad surfaces.

But on the other hand, it’s just too heavy to really appeal to weight-conscious road riders who might not be able to justify an extra 200-250g of weight for such a minimal benefit, especially given how the suspension is already so polarizing . Additionally, the action feels too stiff to offer enough benefit on gravel.

I adore Redshift Sports’ ShockStop suspension stem, so much so that it’s become a near-permanent fixture on my Allied Allroad (and I’m considering upgrading to the Pro version). But this ShockStop Pro seatpost feels like it’s just a little short. Redshift Sports: how about running the thing in carbon fiber to cut 100g or so and then we’ll talk again, huh?

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