Fizik Cyrano Seatpost
Seat posts are the mules of bike componentry, which makes it almost surprising that Fizik, a company that is nothing if not flashy, would enter the field. Seat posts carry almost unbearable weight while remaining either anonymous for being perfect or hated for being less than perfect. Continuing the metaphor, they can probably hide illicit drugs, but the carrying capacities thereof are not the point of this review. Seat posts only do one thing, and that one thing doesn't seem terribly demanding. All a post has to do is hold a saddle in a fixed position. And posts are seemingly very simple: a tube with a clamp on one end.
If you want proof of how thankless the task of a seat post is, take a look at the major component manufacturers. SRAM sells three posts, all in their Truvativ line. Shimano has given up selling Shimano-branded posts. You can find their posts in their Pro line only. Campagnolo sells two posts, Chorus and Record, and the designs were released in the 90's with the only update being the use of carbon-fiber.
We can understand why the bigs are not giving posts plenty of love and attention. There's lots of competition. They can't lock consumers in with a system. People rarely break or wear out posts. Posts, with compact framesets have to be stronger, and clamps, dealing with lots of different rail materials, have to be designed smartly. We also believe that both Campagnolo and Shimano's best designs are behind them. The current Campy post, while strikingly attractive, oozing PROness most sexily, depends on serrations on the lower clamp and seat post tongue mating. This is not a terribly precise way of clamping your saddle onto a post and if you the kind of person who wants your saddles in the exact same position from bike to bike to bike, you're not going to get the saddles lining up. It's a pity they retired their older, smooth, one-bolt C-Record clamp design, which was also on their Super Record posts. These certainly weren't light, but they were pretty and you could easily put your saddle exactly where you wanted it. Shimano, likewise had a winner with the clamp design for their SP-7400-B Dura Ace seat post which had a tiny Allen-head bolt so you could micro-adjust your position after you tightened down the main clamp. The now-forgotten SunTour also had some well-designed posts after they decided to stop copying Campagnolo designs.
There certainly are other posts in the world. American Classic was a company that took an early run at designing a better post. We love their long-gone, simple, two-bolt design as you can adjust the saddle tilt separately from the setback. One of the problems was the post was butt-ugly, another that the tilt-adjustment bolt ate through saddle bags; slightly newer designs had separation issues with the top plug. Eventually many companies brought to market light posts with interesting and usually complicated clamps.
Thomson followed AC's footsteps by coming to market first with a seat post. Their two-bolt design is rock-solid, reasonably light, unattractive to our gaze, and a pain to adjust. You can lock your saddle into place, but getting the tilt and setback right can take up to an hour of moving your wrench from the front bolt to the back and then to the front, then to the back, and again and again.
An attractive, lightweight, easy-to-adjust seat post that holds your saddle in place without crushing or cracking lightweight rails is surprisingly difficult to find. Fizik's Cyrano seat post tries to do all things at once.
We wanted to get the shortest Cyrano, 270mm long, as our conventional frame doesn't even use up all the vertical adjustment on a 235mm post. However, the 330mm length was the only one available. So we took it for a ride.
First, aesthetics. The Cyrano comes in an attractive black bag. We love reusable packaging, but we're not quite sure what we can do with this sack. The post is finished in a high-gloss black finish with the Fizik logo in both matte black and silvery white. There are, if you're using this post in a compact frame, subtle graded measurement lines on the front every 5mm that won't wear off from use. These lines were below the seat post clamp on our bike. The minimum insertion line is clearly marked with a silver line and a switch to amatte finish and the warning is clearly printed in silver as well. At the top, there's a pretty forged head into which the clamp hardware is bolted.
Interestingly, you can look all the way through the post from the bottom. You can see the ovalizing on the inside; it was machined to be thicker in the front and back walls and thinner on the sides.
The clamp hardware is similarly attractive, with both matte bronze anodizing to the lower clamp and thumbwheel and a polished silver finish to the upper clamp. The torque limit measurement is conveniently placed right by the 4mm Allen-head bolt.
The seat post, 27.2mmx330mm weighs 229g. Fizik also includes a grey rubber stopper with the post. Weighing 4g, the stopper is a great tool for keeping your saddle height where you want it when pulling the post out for travel and reinserting at the destination. It works much better than plastic tape.
Getting the saddle on the post is pretty easy. With a large number of contemporary designs, you have to take the clamp completely apart before you can fit the saddle rails into the clamp. With the Cyrano, you just have to loosen it a good bit. We backed off the thumbwheel and the Allen-head bolt and then slid in one rail and then the other. The shoulders on the lower clamp make this easy.
Tightening the clamp means first spinning the thumbwheel clockwise enough so the nose of the saddle is pointed pretty far down. Nicely, the wheel is easy to reach when the saddle is installed. Then, when most of the play in the wheel is taken up, start tightening the Allen-head bolt. 8Nm seemed pretty tight and on our first attempt, our saddle's nose was pointing up by the time we tightened it to the torque limit. It took us a few tries to get the saddle tilt where we wanted it. Each time, we backed off the Allen, then adjusted the wheel one way or the other, then cranked down on the Allen again.
Since we're using a titanium-railed saddle, we don't have the same concerns of fragility that those who use carbon-fiber rails must have when they clamp down on their expensive saddle. What assures us is the length of the clamps—these aren't "biters" in any sense of the word. The surface area of the clamps seems pretty long by seat post standards and that should disperse clamp pressure over a pretty wide area and that should mean carbon-fiber rails will neither be crushed nor have high-stress points that will lead to a fracture.
On the road, our saddle seemed like it was set in stone. It didn't go anywhere. This is a great thing in and of itself. The flip side of this set-and-forget clamp is that adjusting it on the road, ala Merckx, would prove daunting if you want to only make micro tweak to the setback.
This is a great post for anybody who has lots of extension between their top tube and saddle. Light, stiff as far as we can tell, and a clamp that is gentle on rails while holding a seat firmly in position. The look of the post is almost enough to convince us that the mule of bike componentry is sexy and exciting. The rubber stopper is a great idea, too. Fizik should start selling those separately.