I’ve been pleasantly surprised how things have moved forward since I last sat on a suspension post more than 10 years ago, going from a bouncy castle to a controlled, compliant, tool free adjustable system that will appeal to many riders. If you’re a commuter, e-bike owner, bike packer, weekend adventure rider, or a bike is your main/only form of transport, and you want to add some affordable compliance and comfort to your steed, then the Thudbuster ST is something you should seriously consider.
Tool Free adjustment
Smooth subtle damping
Suitable for rider weights up to 150kg
Requires minimum 100mm of seat post exposed
May not work with all seat post mounted luggage
This is CaneCreek's 4th generation Thudbuster ST (Short Travel) suspension seat post. It's been met with plenty of glowing reports, so I was keen to understand what all the fuss was about.
Suspension seat posts aren’t a new concept, but when the opportunity to test the Thudbuster came up, I couldn't help but reminisce about the days I owned an original USE Shokpost some 12 years ago, and was keen to understand how far the tech has brought us and what the advantages of running a suspension seatpost might be in the current era of wider tyres and optimized comfort geometry.
The Thudbuster ST uses a simple linkage design with a centre damping elastomer that is interchangeable depending on rider weight (but also terrain) offering 50mm of travel. The linkage allows the post to move in a more natural motion down and backwards in direct reaction to the opposing force from the rear wheel when the saling over bumps, meaning for the rider it has the effect of taking away any noticeable saddle moment, and it really works! Compared to the suspension seatposts from the start of the decade which added some comfort but felt like a yo-yo.
The seat clamp is also a breeze to use. It’s a single bolt to torque down, and will happily work with saddles that have round or oval rails. This makes initial set up and adjustment really easy. It’s worth noting that the ST G4 has zero layback so I’d suggest taking some measurements of where your saddle is positioned in relation to your handlebars if you have an existing post with positive layback.
On arrival I was pleased to see that the Thudbuster comes in mostly plastic free packaging. In the box you’ll also find soft and firm replacement elastomer inserts, alongside the medium insert that is already installed on the post. These additional inserts can be replaced quickly and fairly easily without the need for any tools. Admittedly the hardest elastomer was more difficult to install and required a little more thumb strength! They’re offered in three different diameters, although if your size isn't listed you can purchase shims that will allow it to fit.
As a rider who’s moved away from racing and into riding for enjoyment and bikepacking trips, I’m somewhat accustomed to the expected harshness that can come from long miles on differing terrain and the additional fatigue that brings. But with the Thudbuster, there was a noticeable difference in how much more fresh I felt after a long ride on familiar routes.
The movement of the suspension itself is really subtle, but alongside the improved comfort and reduction in fatigue felt over a long ride, I also noted the acute difference when putting the power down on rough surfaces; where normally I would be out of the saddle or hovering over the saddle to reduce the impact and jarring effect on my backside and pedal stroke, I was able to stay seated meaning my cadence and power output could remain much more consistent.
At 580g, it’s not lightweight, but then this post isn't about performance, and it’s not designed to be attracting racers and weight weenies. Yes, it’s a sacrifice to add the additional grams, however, over the course of this test I can’t say I was never left thinking it was a noticeable weight I was dragging around, so much so, that almost every ride since it arrived for test has been on the Thudbuster, and I doubt I’ll be removing it any time soon!
On a recent bike packing trip on the Southdowns, I made sure to fit the Thudbuster and was very happy I did. With a fully packed bike and very undulating terrain, even the 50mm of travel was able to absorb a lot of the harshness without any noticeable uncontrolled bobbing or bouncing around. I did note however that (and luckily this didn’t impact my Restrap tail bag set up) given the nature and location of the suspension on the Thudbuster you might find that certain seat bags aren’t compatible, so could be a drawback for those looking to add some extra comfort for their adventures.
One very minor point was that my inner thighs rubbed very slightly on the lower linkages, not enough to cause discomfort in any way, but a note for those with a little more girth in the upper thigh.
At an RRP of £169.99, it’s reasonably priced compared to other suspension offerings on the market. Given the type of rider or bike this kind of post would be great for, the simple design means little to no maintenance that CaneCreek suggests, which is perfect for those who would ride it all year round and in varying conditions. The only issue I see is that some might put some off given it’s a high price for a seat post.
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