Cycle Life

The Ergon CF3 Pro Carbon seat post     Photo: Courtesy of Aaron Gulley

First Look: Ergon CF3 Pro Carbon

This new seat post provides the comfort of an endurance road bike without all the cost.

In recent years, bicycle manufacturers have sunk lots of money into the endurance road category. These are bikes that, while still fast and light, are more compliant and comfortable than the average race machine.

Geometry tweaks such as longer wheelbases for stability and taller head tubes for a less aggressive position are common. But there’s also often a mechanical means of dampening road vibration, including the elastomers of the Specialized Roubaix, a means of allowing the seat post to move more freely from the main frame like on the Trek Domane and the Volagi Viaje, and even special vibration-absorbing materials laid directly into the carbon as with the Wilier TK or the Bianchi Infinito CV.

Ergon now has its own after-market solution, the CF3 Pro Carbon seat post, which affords similar comfort and compliance as an endurance frame. The design is ingeniously simple: a pair of carbon fiber “blades” that work like springs to allow the seat to flex in a rearward arc. The springs effectively absorb the force of any bumps in the road so that your back doesn’t have to. Two sets of pivots at the head ensure that the saddle stays in its set horizontal position through the range of motion.

Bad seat post design is one of my biggest peeves as so many of the clamping mechanisms are convoluted and difficult to adjust. Not so the CF3, which allows for quick saddle installation and simple fine-tuning courtesy of two easy-to-reach allen bolts. Likewise, the post itself is elegant and doesn’t distract from the rest of the bike like some other cumbersome designs (Specialized!). And at 220 grams, the CF3 is feathery light—it’s just a few grams heavier than the standard EC90 Offset that it replaced. One limitation: the head only accepts round rails, so if you ride ovals it won’t work.

So far I’ve been extremely impressed with the CF3, which is simple, quiet, and significantly reduces the chatter of the rough roads around Santa Fe. It doesn’t afford all the same benefits as an endurance bike (think: geometry tweaks and additional damping like the elastomer embedded bars of the Domane). But at just $300, it’s a great way to add lots of comfort at a fraction of the cost of a new bicycle. 

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