This Could Be the Last Time

For the cognoscenti, having carbone (really, look it up here ) extends beyond the synergistic whole of a beautiful bicycle down to individual components. Pages of rapture have been written about the aesthetically perfect bottle cage, bar tape with just the right look and feel, even tire levers made from recycled plastic milk bottles. So, when I acquired a slightly used Litespeed Vortex titanium frame and had one of my mechanics craft a complete bike for me, one object of desire included in the build was a carbon seat post. Lightweight, strong, lovely.

It lasted two months.

The metal head of the seat post, the part that grasps the rails of a saddle, de-bonded from the carbon tube. No falls, no shocks, and I weighed maybe 170 pounds at the time. Hardly a stressful existence for the post, yet it failed. Too bad, but not a show stopper. My mechanic replaced it with another new carbon seat post at no cost to me.

This one lasted two years, then it failed the same way. Here it is:

seatpost 003

seatpost 002

You can’t see it in the images, but at this point the metal head was loose in the carbon tube and would rotate while I was riding. Ooofa! I’m sure happy that my carbon fork is more reliable, but I just don’t have unwavering faith in carbon components. On other people’s bikes I have seen broken handlebars, fractured derailleur hangers, shattered wheels, all carbon. Not to mention this:



Just look at it – a beautiful Specialized carbon S-Works team issue bike from the 2006 Tour of California. The definition of carbone, and, unfortunately, part of a multi-rider crash on the first lap of the final stage in Redondo Beach. Nothing holding it together but the cables.

Two failed carbon seat posts are two too many. The replacement is aluminum and away we ride.

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