Cirrus Cycles BodyFloat Seatpost: Introduction and First Impressions
Cirrus Cycles BodyFloat Seatpost: Introduction and First Impressions – by MG
Most cyclists are hesitant to make major changes to their bike in the run-up to an important cycling event, so it was with a bit of trepidation that I accepted Guitar Ted’s invitation to test the new BodyFloat suspension seatpost from Bellingham, WA-based manufacturer, Cirrus Cycles.
The BodyFloat is a pivoting suspension post that relies on two coil springs to suspend the rider and a parallelogram-style linkage arrangement to keep the saddle level through the travel. The true pivoting suspension is a direct contrast to the other two seatposts I’ve been testing — the Ergon CF-3 Pro and the Niner RDO. Both of those posts absorb shock through flex in the posts, which results in a more firm ride quality, particularly over medium-sized bumps (the ones right at the border line of sitting and standing).
In contrast, the pivoting design of the BodyFloat post is more akin to a Cane Creek Thudbuster ST, however there are important design differences that separate the two posts. The most important of these is the orientation of the link arms themselves. The Thudbuster places the links in a primarily vertical orientation, which means as the post moves through its travel, the vector is more back than up.
Cirrus Cycles positioned the links on the BodyFloat on a more horizontal plane, so the movement of the post is almost straight up and down. This is very important, as your saddle-to-bar relationship isn’t compromised as the post moves through its travel. The horizontal orientation also allows Cirrus Cycles to tune the post to readily absorb a wide range of bumps, from small washboard-style chatter, to medium-sized rocks and roots. Anything bigger than that you’ll want to stand up for, as you’re playing a risky game with your private parts sitting down over truly big bumps. This is true with any seatpost, suspension or not.
Tunability is another highlight of the BodyFloat seatpost. With two coil springs controlling the action, and springs available in four color-coded levels of stiffness, there is a lot of potential for discerning riders to test different combinations to achieve an ideal setting for their conditions and preferences.
My initial setup used two purple (medium) springs, and with this setup, the post required a great deal of preload to support my weight. This reduced the available travel to well under an inch, as adding preload reduces the effective travel of the post. This is by design, so once the proper spring rate has been found, a rider can tune the post to feel softer (and have more travel), or more firm (with less travel) to suit the riding conditions, without affecting the effective (riding) saddle height.
I’ve been testing two BodyFloat posts. One is set up on the Singular Gryphon I’ll be riding at TransIowa v.10, while the other is on my Ti drop-bar mountain bike. I’m currently using two black (firm) springs in both posts, but each offers a distinctly different ride quality due to their respective preload settings. But despite their distinct ride qualities, both posts work very well to reduce fatigue and saddle-related soreness by effectively isolating the rider from most bumps.
Since the Gryphon is ridden mostly on gravel roads, I’m running less preload on the post, so I have more negative travel, and a less progressive end stroke. This allows me to ‘float’ on the saddle over rough, choppy gravel, letting the post soak up the majority of the chatter. The down side of this setup is that, because of the fact that I ‘sag’ into the travel when I’m seated, I need to set my static saddle height about 1cm higher than normal.
Contrast this to the setup on my mountain bike, which uses the same black/firm springs, but is running about three full turns more preload than the other post. This reduces the effective travel of the post, so it sags less when I sit down, and also doesn’t require me to set it way above my normal height (only raising about 2mm). Setting the post up like this allows me to deftly ride technical sections that would be more challenging on a post set 10mm higher than normal.
After speaking with Cirrus Cycles owner, Charlie Heggem, about my experiences, he was surprised at how heavy of springs I was running, because apparently a lot of folks my weight (about 170lb ready-to-ride) prefer lighter springs. The exchange was informative to me, as I realized the true strength of the BodyFloat is its tunability. Hearing that I preferred a stiffer setup than the norm was not surprising at all to me however, as I typically like my suspension to ride high in the travel, ready to react to whatever comes. Road riders and even some gravel riders will likely prefer a softer setup than I run.
I have nearly two months of riding in on the second-generation carbon fiber BodyFloat post initially sent to me by Cirrus Cycles. The company recently started shipping its third-generation of the BodyFloat, and it includes numerous improvements including a numbered preload scale to simplify setup, and revised machining to give the saddle clamp additional security. I’ve been riding this new post for about two weeks now and feel it’s a worthy update.
To date, I’ve been extremely impressed by the performance of the BodyFloat seatpost. It is hands-down the best true suspension post I’ve used, and I’ve tried almost everything available in the past 20 years. It’s not inexpensive, at $395 for the carbon fiber version, and $415 for the Ti-shaft version, but considering the performance I’ve experienced, the price seems reasonable. Weight is the other consideration some riders may find a deal breaker. At more than 400 grams, it’s basically the weight of two standard rigid posts, but it’s not any heavier than other true suspension seatposts. And since the ride quality is unlike any seatpost I’ve ridden, the weight is an acceptable trade off. In fact, I’m sold enough on the benefits of the BodyFloat that I’ll be riding one later this month at TransIowa v.10.
Look for a recap of my experiences with the BodyFloat post at TransIowa in my mid-term review in early-May. In the meantime, you can learn more about the BodyFloat on the Cirrus Cycles website.
Note: Cirrus Cycles sent over the BodyFloat seatposts for test and review at no charge to Gravel Grinder News. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review. We will give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.