difficult to isolate the advantage (or lack of
advantage) the seatpost was bringing to the
party. We settled on slipping a 27.2x400-
millimeter RDO seatpost into an aluminum-
framed Specialized Carve Pro hardtail 29er. The
saddle (a Specialized Body Geometry Carve SL)
mounted easily, and the two-bolt clamp allowed
for infinite saddle-tilt adjustments.
The ride quality difference is remarkable over
the stock aluminum seatpost. It is not a subtle
difference that would require a skilled profes-
sional to sense. A beginner would be able to feel
the difference. We won’t go so far as to say the
RDO adds suspension to the bike, because the
saddle height doesn’t change a measurable
amount when the seatpost is working. What it
does add is a lot of forgiveness to the bike’s rear
triangle. This can be felt while hammering along
in the saddle, as the seatpost muffles trail
chatter. The best attribute of the RDO is
revealed when the rider tags a flat-edged bump
at speed. The jolt the rear end sends to the rider
who didn’t get out of the saddle fast enough
never arrives through the RDO.
When asked what is the best-value upgrade,
we usually suggest tires, handlebars or pedals.
Scratch that. To riders of aluminum hardtails (with 29- or 26-inch wheels) or low-priced carbon fiber
hardtails (that can be way more brutal than an aluminum
frame), we would say that buying the $200 RDO seatpost
is money well spent that will save some weight and keep
paying you back with every mile of singletrack. It is a
must-have for riders with back pain issues.