Long Story Short: German engineering turns bumps into chumps with near set-it-and-forget-it simplicity.
Long Story Long: Before the start of this past cyclocross season, I was offered the chance to test out Ergon‘s new CF3 Seatpost that was about to hit the market after a solid year of suspense. While there was no doubt it was an intriguing item, I was mildly worried that the offer was really more of a dare. My knack for breaking stuff rivals this kid’s, I’m a party ball and half a tube of Pringles away of cresting the posted 220lb weight limit, and I was specifically asked to go race cross with it. At the time, Ergon made it quite clear that the CF3 was for road use only.
After 18 races and four months under my tubby butt (along with rigorous, quantifiable testing back home in Germany) the Ergon CF3 has been deemed fit for cross use.
That’s all fine and dandy, but you’re here because you want to know how it works, right?
Quite simply, the CF3 performs exactly as billed while being virtually invisible. Think of it as a bump silencing ninja. Once the initial “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” amazement wears off, you don’t realize how well it works until you go back to a standard rigid seatpost and suddenly feel every single bump and imperfection in the surface underneath you.
The fact that it works so effortlessly well is a game changer. Not only is your ride instantly more comfortable (goodbye lower back pain), the suspension action helps keep you planted on the saddle allowing you to pedal through the rough stuff when you’d otherwise be forced to stand.
The amount of flex the post has is a bit of a mystery. While Ergon declines to assign a number, they reinforce basic rules of physics by stating the post will flex more under a heavier rider or more stress. The only time its “travel” has been noticeable is when you pull a sweet move like auguring your rear wheel into a gopher hole at full speed while seated or muffing your remount and doing a Hulk Hogan leg drop on the tail end of the saddle with all your weight.
Even then, the amount of movement you feel is slight as the pivoting head keeps the saddle in an even plane. This is a total 180 from the pogo stick action of the suspension seatposts from the days of yore.
Lest you think it doesn’t really work unless you can feel it flexing, not to worry. There will be at least one person in your riding group who will curiously point out that your seatpost is moving.
Here’s the Breakdown: Set up is very easy but I can’t stress enough the importance of taking your time and following the instructions. (That means using a torque wrench.) The flip head gives you plenty of fore/aft range and is a snap to install a saddle. Testing the setback version of the CF3, I found the forward position ideal. With tilt adjustment requiring full seatpost removal, it would be best to get things dialed-in in a controlled environment.
I made the impatient mistake of venturing off for a shakedown ride immediately after installing the post, stopping a few times along the way to dial in the the saddle angle. The CF3 is really two individual pieces connected by the by the head up top and a 3mm-ish bolt at the bottom. Tilt adjustment is accomplished by loosening the bolt and sliding the two halves into your desired position. Being the thoughtful Germans they are, Ergon includes a measurement scale to gauge how much you’ve moved things. There’s second scale along the side of the post to measure seat height.
Even with the help of the scale, tilt adjustment is a bit of trial and error which can be chalked up to simply using a new product for the first time. Over the course of pulling out the post a few times, I managed to wipe off most of the carbon paste which resulted in glacial slippage. The post dropped a good two inches over the course of a 15 mile ride home but not at a rate that was noticeable as it was happening.
And that little nugget of mechanical shame leads to what I feel is the most important part to know about the set up.
Because the CF3 seatpost isn’t perfectly round, (look close and you’ll see a little gap where the two halves meet) carbon paste needs to your best friend to avoid slippage. Those little molecules or whatever is in carbon paste make all the difference. Once I re-installed the post with a fresh coat and seat height and position locked in, I haven’t touched it since. No squeaks, creaks, or slipping to be had.
Want a Second Opinion? Check out this long-term review from Gravel Grinder News.