MTB Egypt rider of the month: September 2011

Samer N. Behnam
Where are you from?:
What do you do for a living?
I take care of other people’s shit. No I’m not an assassin – I make diapers for a living.
When and why did you start cycling?
My first bike was a “gift” from my younger sister on the day she was born. I was 3…been hooked since.
Road, off-road, or both?
Thought road was boring till I did a long ride once and realized you could also get a rush from the rhythm. Off-road is something else though.
Tell us about your bike(s)!:
My first one was blue, second was a 9 speed Murray road bike then I moved on to a Trek 4300 that I got from the states (still have it) and now I have Trek Fuel EX9 with a KS i-950R adjustable seat post and a ghetto tubeless arrangement that I love (best upgrade I ever made).
Favorite ride(s):
Pré-La-Joux, Chatel – France ( we weren’t exactly riding like that though :D), Ridge ride in Wadi Degla.
Do you practice other sports?:
Tried mountain climbing (top roping) and loved it, swimming, running…I just realized they’re all individual sports…does that make me an introvert??
Tell us about your cycling-related injuries/accidents:
I love puncturing the flesh on my shins with the metal pins on the pedals (meat grinders)…the blood runs on my shin and keeps my socks cool (until it dries and cakes up then it’s nice and crunchy).
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
I like Indian food.

Trends in mountain biking: Adjustable Seatposts

One of the relatively new innovations in the mountain bike world, and arguably one of the best riding accessories/upgrades (especially when it comes to more aggressive styles of riding) is the adjustable seat post.

I have a KS i950 on my Marin. One of the best riding upgrades I made.

An adjustable seatpost allows you to change seatpost height “on the fly” without having to dismount and loosen/tighten a quick release lever, thus enabling the rider to quicly get in the most optimal riding position depending on the trail sections about to be tackled. Drop the saddle all the way down to get behind it and shift your center of gravity backwards on steep sections, or raise it to maximum extension (set according to your own bike fit measurment) for optimal climbing efficieny, or even set it midway through to cruise long flat sections in comfort between vigorous efforts on steep climbs and descents. All with a flick of a switch or a pull on a lever.

A remote-actuated Crank Brothers Joplin 4 (left) vs. a lever-actuated Crank Bothers Joplin 4.

There is already a smattering of seatposts on the market, varying in technology from mechanical to hydraulic mechanisms (Gravity Dropper and RASE are mechanical, while the KS i950 and CB Joplin shown in the pictures above are hydraulic, for example), different remote/lever actuation methods (an under-the-saddle lever, cable-actuated remote or hydraulic-actuated remote), varying drop styles (infinite adjustment, where the post can be dropped at any point along its travel, or multiple preset saddle positions like the Specialized Command Post).

The Rock Shox Reverb adjustable seatpost uses hydraulic remote actuation system.

The technology is still being refined by manufacturers. Newer posts have better sealing technologies, smoother actuation mechanisms, and the weights are getting lighter every year, but there is still a lot of room for improvement, especially in maintenance intervals and weights. These posts are still relatively heavy at 500+ grams, and most of them need frequent service, especially in harsh weather conditions. This summer while riding in wet/muddy conditions in the Alps, my KSi950 stopped working completely and I had to strip it down and do a service to get it functioning again.

The Specialized Command Post has a mechanical 3-position locking height adjustment.

Many bike manufacturers now incorporate built-in cable guides for adjustable seatposts on many of their high end mountain bikes. Some, like Trek, have come up with clever internal cable routing for the remote cables, which gives the frame a much cleaner look and when using an adjustable seatpost. More importantly, as the technology becomes more mainstream in the mountain bike world, adjustable posts are becoming cheaper.

In a future post we will compare different adjustable seatpost specs side-by-side so that you can easily make a choice if you’re in the market for one.