It’s that fun time again where we have to debate the relative merits of carbon, aluminium, steel and anything else you can make bike components from short of kale.
To cut a long debate short, some people swear that carbon gives a more forgiving ride than aluminium, and while it’s true that quality carbon does a better job of dissipating vibration than alloy, in many cases it’s a close run thing. And given that atop the seatpost sits your saddle, which has a far more direct influence on ride quality, you should primarily focus your efforts there, and that’s before we talk about the effect tyres have on comfort.
Plus, if you’re already riding a quality carbon frame, it likely does a very good job at dispersing road buzz already to the point where your choice of seatpost material may not make much difference at all, but, within the overall setup, it does have a small impact, which amplifies when you begin to look at the handful of comfort-focused posts on the market (which we’ll come on it).
The area in which seatpost material most obviously makes a difference is weight. Carbon posts are lighter than alloy ones, and in some cases significantly so. As an example, PRO’s Vibe carbon seatpost (in 27.2 x 350mm) weighs in at 195g, while Richey’s WCS Alloy Link (in 27.2 x 300mm) comes in at 230g and is light for an alloy post, too. In all honestly, the ride quality difference between the two is negligible at best – and certainly doesn’t justify the nearly £100 price difference – but you’re paying for that 35g saving. And you can find posts far lighter if you look around, too.
Most of this doesn’t matter to the average rider, of course. But if you’re trying to build a super-light bike then carbon is the no-brainer choice for seatpost material.