Carbon Cycles eXotic Carbon Titanium Seatpost
350mm 173g £73.49
The Carbon Cycles eXotic Carbon Titanium Seatpost is aimed at cross country mountain bike and road audiences and assuming you didn’t want suspension, this extends to gravel and cyclo cross builds on calorie-controlled diets. Titanium fasteners continue this weight saving narrative and in common with the forks I reviewed a little while back, it’s made and finished to a high standard.
Pros: Lightweight yet solid construction, high quality finish.
Cons: Minor point but height marks would be a welcome addition.
The post is an in-line model, which is arguably best suited to competitive riding as it places the rider directly over the bottom bracket, for greatest efficiency. Available in several diameters 27.2, 31.6, or 34.9 and 250, 300, 350 and 400mm long. Length are measured from the bottom to centre line of the saddle rails.
Talking of length, Carbon Cycles also approve the use of shims, but only on road bikes, which may be another draw, say if you’re/intending to switch between machines. The post is full 3K carbon monocoque, including the lower clamp. Since we’re on the subject, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the post is suitable for riders up to 110 kilos, which should extend its appeal.
The top clamp is aluminium alloy-2014 and reminiscent of older USE posts, the titanium fasteners are grade 5 which is a popular choice given its strength and relative ease of fabrication.
Finish and detailing are of a similarly high standard. There aren’t any increments - the sort making selecting the correct saddle height a cinch, but this is easily overcome with a zip tie if you’re switching between bikes. A high-quality blended polyurethane lacquer is employed, popular in industrial applications on account of it being quick to apply and offering a lasting, lustrous finish.
My fixed gear winter/trainer is possibly a less obvious choice than the Holdsworth but essentially a cyclo cross bike with track ends and spacing, so a good midway point. Someone once commented that I find it important to be positioned directly over the bottom bracket. However, I’ve favoured inline designs since my mid-teens, even on a tourer as I’m long in the leg (33.5 inches) and proportionately short in the torso. I could, otherwise feel stretched, especially on a traditional frameset with horizontal geometry. Obviously, this has changed over the last 25 years or so, give the ubiquity of semi/compact geometry bikes and a much broader choice of stem lengths, angles etc.
Now, it should be a given, especially if your intended frame has just left the paint shop , but either way, give the seat tube a clean out, using a rag dipped in solvent to remove any grease, oils and gritty stuff. Apply a light coating of gripper paste to the post and slide inside the frame. I wasn’t surprised to find ours gliding inside. The maximum recommended torque is 6nms (12 for the saddle rails), very standard and another reason gripper paste, and torque wrenches should be employed.
I’ve run ours with several saddles, including the Selle Royal Respiro seen here, The Selle Italia Turbomatic Gel flow Team Edition (which has carbon rails but only a 7g weight advantage over the Selle Royal Respiro) a Cro-moly railed BBB Echelon (designed for road and cross country mtb duties) and Selle San Marco Concor Supercorsa. No compatibility hassles with their rails. The carbon railed Selle Italia Tubromatic Gel Flow Team Edition added a little added zing over washboard surfaces and made a palpable difference on rides of 50 miles or so.
This seat collar is 5nms, so well within the accepted limits and I’ve had no issues with slip, or other movement. That said; though titanium is generally extremely easy to live with, creaks aren’t so it’s worth adding a little Ti prep, or indeed, blue thread lock to screws and other threaded components.
In some respects, all a seat post must do is hold the saddle up, reliably. I’m pleased to report no issues there. That out of the way, I’ve had sufficient post to allow gravel luggage, including Zefal Adventure R5 Waterproof Saddle Bag ) and Passport Cycles Bike Packing Seat Pack Medium .
Even allowing for the weight limits, I’d never tether SQR mounts and luggage to carbon posts, full stop. Same goes for beam type racks. Both the Zefal and Passport have behaved impeccably and not left any calling cards in the lacquer (a slip of helicopter tape where the strap sits would solve this). Fancying something smaller? The Kinekt Waterproof Saddlebag has proven a similarly reliable fit, no bounce, or bob.
Aside from needing to tighten the titanium hardware (and apply some blue Threadlock) within the first hundred miles, I’ve only noticed the post’s positive qualities. As I hinted in my discussion around saddles, rail material plays a part and carbon had a very slight edge on very long rides. Otherwise, hosting Cro-Moly or manganese rails, the post has offered some subtle damping and give. Especially over washboard tarmac and lumpy lanes but without sacrificing rigidity. Yes, I tackle long, steep climbs out of the saddle but otherwise, I’m seated on the fixed.
Inline design meant I was positioned straight over the bottom bracket and could transfer all my effort into forward motion. Rides have ranged from 20-mile blasts to 50-mile steady grinds and while I’d never suggest it offered the same refined, magic carpet glide of a higher end suspension post, such as The Cane Creek Thudbuster G3 and G4 or Kinekt 2.1 Aluminium Suspension Seatpost it’s considerably lighter, simpler and cheaper, too. Qualities than lend it nicely to midwinter cross meets where you’re often shouldering and running with the bike. In my experience, anything that reliably saves a few grams when you’re caked in gloop is a godsend.
600 miles hence, ours looks pristine, thanks in part to that thick glossy lacquer. I’ve just given ours a quick waxing while cleaning and checking the bike over. As I said earlier, I’d stick a precautionary strip of helicopter tape on the sections where bike packing luggage rested. Other than observing torque settings, periodically inspecting and generally applying common sense, can’t see why it won’t serve reliably for a long time.
Yes, you can find “carbon” posts on online auction sites for £15 but structural quality might leave a lot to be desired and any warrantee claim academic. Especially when an overworked and underpaid A&E nurse is plucking shards from your derriere.
That out the way, I’ve had positive experiences with some budget models. Tifosi offers a cheerful option for £29.99. Available in any length you like so long as its 300mm and 27.2, or 31.6mm, the single bolt aluminium alloy head looks a little low rent but is neatly bonded. At 255g, it’s a good bit heavier than the Carbon Cycles eXotic Carbon Titanium Seatpost.
MT Zoom Ultralight Inline Carbon Seat Post comes in at £99.95. The 400mm version tips the scales at a feathery 145g, is compatible with round and oval saddle rails and is also available in a choice of lengths and diameters. Prime Premium Inline Carbon is available in 27.2 and 31.6 diameters and 350mm. It tips the scales at a respectable 190g but is a penny shy of £130.
The Carbon Cycles exotic Carbon Titanium Seatpost offers a lot for £73.99. Yes, as I’d expect from this end of the market, there are some minor niggles, the lack of height marker detailing being mine, but easily addressed and I’d happily overlook. Crucially, Carbon Cycles have got everything else bang on- it's well finished, solid, yet lightweight and offering decent amount of damping from low level vibration.
Verdict 4/5 Cheerfully priced and very competent carbon post.
PUBLISHED SEPT 2023