akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Seatpost: Giant vs Thomson

This is my report on my search for suitable (and as always, cheap) seatpost for my Trance. If you're not interested in finding a comparatively similar 30.9mm diameter seatpost to Thomson Elite, you may skip this.

Giant Connect SL 30.9 seatpost
Giant frames that I have in my stable, Trance and Yukon Disc, are both requiring 30.9mm seatpost. That's the main important criteria of the search. Alongside, weight is also considered. Of course, the equally important factor, price tags are looked at. So that's two of Keith Bontrager's famous quote.

I have been wanting to own a Thomson Elite, much because they are light, beautiful, strong (although there's no empirical data on this); and the snob rights. "Thomson make parts for Boeing and Ford, too, you know..." would definitely gain envious smirks. Oh, I'd get a sticker and nice seatpost bag too.

Except for one thing: the price. Thomson Elites are generally in the RM300 range (USD99.95). You could find slightly less than RM200, but used item. From BBS, of course.

Anyway, from Thomson's wide range of offerings for their Elite type, the one suitable for my frames is SP-E128. Weighing at 243g for Ø30.9 x 367mm. So, that's the one to be compared with.

Not much are being offered by other third party manufacturers, and the one that is relatively easier for met to get is Giant's seatpost now that Jason's shop is stocking on Giant. I asked him for the price, and he told me that it would be less than RM100 for the aluminium ones.

I checked with Jason two days ago, the price for carbon Contact SLR is around RM200. Well, it's obvious that Contact SLR is out of the question for me. One, the price. Two, I'm not fond of carbon parts. Three, it's not aluminium - then it would not be a fair comparison to Thomson's (okay, there are actually only two reasons).

From Giant's 2011 catalog, there are 3 aluminium seatposts in their range, for mtb:
1. Contact
2. Connect SL alloy mtb
3. Connect
Details are as in the comparison table below:
The closest to Thomson's SP-E128 is the Contact seatpost. It weighs 243 grams, straight or setback. Contact is only 7 grams heavier. I'm not sure if it would be the same as Thomson's if the extra 7mm length is shaved off. Strength wise (being the other factor in KB's quote) I'm not sure with, as there are no data to support. However, looking at the material, perhaps it is safe to say that they are more or less the same. Thomson states that the material is of 7000 series al, while Giant's is of 7050 al forged single piece shaft.

So, my choice is clear then. Contact it is.

One problem, though. Jason didn't have it last 2 weeks. And none of the bikes on display in his shop has it. I didn't want to wait. That would be another 2 weeks, while I've waited 3 weeks already. So I went with the next best - Connect SL Alloy MTB. RM90. A third of Elite's price. Not too bad, I'd say. At only 35 grams heavier. Sheeshh...

the blue anodized rail clamp,
with side single bolt adjusment
The comparison cannot be made apple-to-apple, entirely. Giant's are without straight ones, but only a slight setback. Thomsons are either straight or setback. Saddle adjustment on Thomson's is via 2 bolts, while only 1 for Giant's at the side which is pretty convenient. Thomsons are either silver or black (read: boring), while Giant's has anodised blue bit up on the rail clamp (not that it is very visible). And I can't say to people that Giant makes parts for Toyota or Airbus too (good, I won't be a snob then).

Oh, I don't get a nice seatpost bag, or sticker when I bought the Connect SL seatpost. Never mind, for half of the parts on the Trance frame has 'GIANT' printed all over already.
Including my new seatpost.

Cheap? Yes.
Strong? Hope so.
Light? Yes.
I'm a happy rider.

Have a nice day.
Thanks for reading my report.

Besides Giant, Specialized also use 30.9mm seatposts.
Weird people.


Anonymous said...

Cool review. I have been looking at seat posts too. Really helped a lot. btw do you know how much approx, the giant contact would have cost? I am also looking at the thomson and some others like KCNC but these are pricey. Koh

Akmal Hizam said...

I'm not sure what's the actual price. According to Jason it's rm90-95. I saw one ad in BBS selling for RM145.
Still, it's a steal, provided if you're ok with the offset on the seatpost compared to Thomson and KCNC's.