Carbon seatpost / cockpit suggestions.


New Member
May 1, 2018
Hi—looking for suggestions. I’m 41, 6,2” 225ish. Ride a litespeed T5 and looking to maybe upgrade to carbon accessories for comfort and stiffness. Currently run Thomson seatpost, FSA 130mm stem and Ritchey wcs 46cm bars. Am I too big for carbon? Especially with 9 inches of seatpost showing? Any suggestions for post/cockpit setup and will I see a difference in ride quality? Weight is obviously not a big factor being my size. Looking for comfort 3-4 hours in saddle. Thanks.
Consider a BROOKS "Narrow" B17 saddle ...

By my reckoning, MANY people who have had trouble with the saddle did NOT have it properly adjusted ...

... Meaning that you have to lower the seatpost by several millimeters because the distance between the rails and the top of the saddle is greater on a Brooks-and-some-other-leather saddle(s) than on a plastic saddle.

So, if you opt for ANY saddle other than the one you are using, then you should measure the distance from a point on the frame (I use the middle of the BB spindle even though it is the hypoteneuse of a virtual triangle to the to of a known saddle height. I also measure the portion of the saddle which I sit on to the rear of the brake's "horns" to ensure that my forward reach is essentially the SAME regardless of the width-and-height of the handlebars.
That's (also) an indirect way of saying that your current saddle may be a fraction of an inch too high and/or you may be straddling it (which seems to be the fashion in the past few decades!) rather than sitting on it.

The "narrow" variant of the Brooks B17 is wider than most plastic saddles ...

The "standard" variant of the BROOKS B17 is really wide ... but, choosing-or-not-choosing the wider variant may be more of a cosmetic issue ...

The width of the BROOKS "Professional" saddle is in between the BROOKS B17 "narrow" & "standard" saddle widths.​

That is, while a saddle CAN BE too narrow, it is almost impossible for it to be too wide.​

WHAT saddle are you currently using?

BTW. Beyond setting the HEIGHT of a Brooks saddle at the proper height, the only other (but, significant) caveat is that leather saddles need SOME regular maintenance ...

I am NOT a fan of Proofide ... maybe, I don't know any better ...

I prefer to remove the thin, shiny surface with some very fine wet-dry sandpaper ('0000' steel wool is an alternate) and the treat the leather with SNOSEAL.
Plastic saddles which ARE comfortable are of an earlier vintage when they were in direct competition with leather saddles ...

San Marco Concor

Selle Italia Turbo (and, some clones which include one of the San Marco saddles whose name eludes me at the moment)​
Most CF seatposts are rated for 220 pounds max, but some are rated for more and some for less, I'm not sure I would push one to its max rating though. If you really need to know exactly you would have to Email the company that makes the seatpost to make sure. Also you need to make sure you buy a torque wrench rated in inch pounds, like the Park torque wrench, because if you over clamp a CF anything you will crush the fibers and the thing will fail and it will fail while you're riding the bike which means you could be hurt. If after torquing it and it slips then you need to a CF paste like the Park Supergrip or Finish Line Fiber Grip, you don't need to torque it more.
BTW ...

I should have prefaced my earlier remarks by saying that for more comfort you should "Consider a BROOKS "Narrow" B17 saddle ... rather than considering a CF seatpost" ...

et cetera.

Considering that he didn't ask for a saddle recommendation and you have no idea what kind of saddle he's currently using, why are you pushing the "gospel of Brooks" on him? Although he did state that weight was not a major concern, I'll bet he doesn't want to add a pound to his bike by switching to a B17.

I actually answered his cockpit questions in another forum and I'll post my response here, in case it might help someone else with the same questions:

Post yes, bars maybe, stem no

You can gain significant compliance with a carbon seatpost. While I love Thomson seatposts and have them on multiple bikes, they are really stiff. I have both a Cannondale Carbon SAVE post and a Niner RDO seatpost, both of which do seem to offer a noticeable degree of compliance. It's not a magic carpet ride, but it's an improvement.

Most carbon bars are also stiff as hell, so I stick with aluminum. Carbon bars will save you 50 grams or so, but the lack of comfort and crazy prices aren't worth the weight savings to me. I've been using 3T Ergo Sum Pro bars and find that they're stiff enough for good control, but flex a bit to take the edge off rough road surfaces. I typically find them for around $50. I always double wrap my bar tape, which makes more difference than the bars do. I've grown quite fond of Cannondale Synapse 3.5mm tape, both for comfort and durability. I use a layer of inexpensive cork tape under it.

Carbon stems are a complete waste of money, IMO. They're not any lighter than alloy stems, they cost a LOT more and they're very stiff. Since the switch in standards to 1 1/8" steerers and 31.8mm bars, I haven't seen any alloy stems that I would categorize as flexy and I ride 130mm stems, too. Unless somehow your current stem is a real noodle, stick with it and keep some cash in your pocket.

Wide rubber is really the key to comfort on a bike without any special compliance features. The other issue is tire pressure, which most people tend to overdo. I'm typically in the 170-175# range and run 25mm tires at 72/82, front/rear. I never get pinch flats. At your weight, you probably want to run around 90/100, but you should experiment to see what works best for your local road conditions and your riding style.
There are a couple of real expensive CF seatposts that supposedly do make the ride more comfortable like the much rave Ergon CF3 but it cost $468...I won't be buying a post that cost that much, but that's just me.