Found: Cirrus Body Float Suspension Seatpost

Cirrus Body Float suspension seatpost

Anytime we see something like this, we’re skeptical. But the founders caught us at Interbike and said “Hey, you’re with Bikerumor. Erik’s been testing this already!” That got our attention, we snapped a few pics and followed up with Erik after the show. Somewhat to our surprise, he’s totally digging it. Erik, BTW, is a former professional long course triathlete, Xterra racer and generally tags the following after his name: MS, DC, CSCS.

In other words, he’s a performance rider, hardcore trainer and he knows proper human function. Here’s his thoughts on the Body Float:

Developed in the small hamlet of Bellingham, WA, the Cirrus Body Float suspension seatpost was designed by frame builder Paul Barkley CPA and a local cycling stud and event planner Charlie Heggem. Their aim: provide comfort, reduced lower back and soft tissue trauma, improved cornering and handling ability and (reminiscent of Softride’s slogan) suspend the rider and not the bike.

The unique feature is that its cushioning comes from springs that can be loaded to your specific riding needs and body weight. Heavier springs can be installed for heavier riders and for more ‘cushion’ while lighter springs are utilized for lighter riders and for a more fine-tuned ride on smoother surfaces. The post has four pivot points for added rigidity. The parallelogram design means movement is vertical, not fore/aft.

I was able to ride two separate prototypes and each was an upgrade of the one prior. First, I was able to ride one of the originals during a cyclocross race in the fall of 2011… what an eye opener! Usually, I would feel the customary low back pain during lap two of 8. You know, the aching pain that saps your energy and stops you from being able to push the pedals as effectively and the pain that you never quite get in practice!

During the test ride, I was expecting the familiar pain. To my surprise it never reared its ugly head until lap 6 of 8 and even when it did set in, it was nothing like normal. It was less severe, I felt less fatigued and was far more comfortable overall. My performance in that race was better, too, finishing ahead of several competitors that had beaten me just two weeks prior. I was intrigued!

Between that race and fall 2012, the Cirrus Body Float has been modified countless times, tweaked to be lighter and to include more adjustability as well as refined to production-ready status.

I tested an updated prototype just prior to Interbike. The two springs’ preload is easily adjusted to suit the rider and terrain. The post has a reported travel of up to 1.5” (38mm) or as little as 1/4” (6.4mm) and finding the “sweet spot” of the post for your riding style and terrain of choice is part of the customization. I mounted the post to my cyclocross bike again and rode a crushed limestone path with meandering turns. This path is not without bumps and I wanted to see just how the post, with my “sweet spot” set to my weight and to the terrain, would perform. Giddie up! Smooth as silk. Little to no vibration travelling vertically into my soft tissues or my lower back and I couldn’t help but think that fatigue would be less and I looked forward to testing the long haul capabilities of the post.

My subsequent rides included the same bike but with different tires to test the post on the road. I switched out the springs to include one black (stiffest) and one purple (intermediate). The gents at Body Float told me the post should be thought of as one to be used on a road bike or even a time trial bike. Being a Triathlete myself I was wondering just how effective a post, seemingly designed for abrupt changes in terrain or to soften a rough ride, would assist me on the road.

I was pleasantly surprised with how it handled. Much like riding a Softride, it sort of forces you (in a good way) to better develop your pedaling efficiency. Nice bonus. Anyway, where the post really shined was in cornering; if you take a corner aggressively with a bike that does not have this post there is a tendency for the back end to ‘chatter’ and if you press into the corner too aggressively the bike finds its own line. Well, what I found with the Body Float was when you cornered hard your body compressed the post and without the chatter the bike held the line of choice. Another added bonus was with hitting chip seal pavement or a road with several divots, small pot holes or larger gravel the vibration did not transfer into your “chassis” and instead was reduced drastically.

Now, whether or not the triathletes or roadies are ready to mount this sort of post remains to be seen. It’s flat out different, and these are sports where “traditional” carries a lot of weight. Some big brands do seem to be embracing the concept does with Specialized’s new COBL GOBLR post on the Roubaix and the carbon leaf spring post from Ergon/Canyon.

With a claimed weight of 430g it’s not unreasonably “heavy” but it’s certainly not as stealthy some would like.

Whether or not this post will be effective in decreasing fatigue during a long TT is still in question. One of the issues (which is preventing me from testing that question) is that most TT/triathlon bikes these days use bladed seatposts, which won’t work with the Body Float. Would I try it if I could? Sure. If it helped me reduce fatigue, save energy and feel better starting the run, why not?

Personally, I think that cyclocross, hardtail 29ers and road bikes should be their focus And commuters and casual cyclists could be a great market, particularly with that chromed out version in the video!

(Editor’s Note: The post is also a Kickstarter project and has already met their funding goal.)

Comments

Shreddie - 10/04/12 - 2:47pm

Just saying, but a parallelogram linkage would *REQUIRE* that the saddle move fore-aft as the springs are compressed – it’ll have an arc-shaped path.

A rearward movement is not necessarily a bad thing, as with compression, but rearward movement as well, the distance from top of saddle to bb center can have relatively little change. The unfortunate thing about rearward movement is it also changes your reach from saddle tip to bars.

Why not use a Cane Creek Thudbuster road? With different elastomers, you can change the ‘spring rate,’ and with less potential to become noisy down the road? Plus it’s an established company and a product that has countless miles of real-world-testing on it already.

To throw pedaling efficiency out the window? No thanks.

Triathletes think it’s a good idea? Seems like reason enough to second-guess it to me.

And finally, not to pick on Erik, but how many letters does one need after their name… CSCS – wtf is that? It sure isn’t a professional degree. /rant

WhatsThat - 10/04/12 - 2:50pm

Wonder how this compares to my short travel ThudBuster?
Is there a lot of bounce or is there some dampening?

Shreddie - 10/04/12 - 2:54pm

Surely there’s bounce, without a shock (but rather just a spring), there’s nothing to damp it. Unless you over-tighten bolts causing increased friction and wear.

This product doesn’t make any sense to me.

dgaddis - 10/04/12 - 3:05pm

With a proper bike fit you don’t get lower back pain. And you shouldn’t be seated for bumper corners. Triathletes….

Gillis - 10/04/12 - 3:46pm

Cane Creek’s Thudbuster has a different pivot orientation that gives it a more rearward arc. This clearly has a more vertical arc, and 1.5″ of travel isn’t going to drastically effect your reach.

I would like to know if there is any kind of damping, or if perhaps the limited travel negates the need for it.

Oscar - 10/04/12 - 3:48pm

I can’t wait demoralize a triathlete with one of those by pointing out it has the aerodynamic coefficient of a windsock.

DUDER - 10/04/12 - 4:41pm

As someone who does Xterra, I had never heard of this ERIK pro triathlete xterra guy you speak of. I turned to google to see why i had never heard of him in my 5 years of racing xterra if he is so pro.

http://www.sportstats.ca/searchResults.xhtml?firstname=ERIK&lastname=DEROCHE
http://athlinks.com/claimworksheet.aspx?term=Erik%20Deroche&yob=1977

No doubt this guy is pretty fast…but PRO? so either you guys are BS or Erik is BS you guys
(old Xterra nationals he was 5th in age group and 65th overall)

Ajax - 10/04/12 - 5:12pm

It’s kinda ugly, but cool at the same time. I would get one for a hardtail MTB if the price was right. I’m not sure roadies will go for it though because they are more into looks and weight.

satisFACTORYrider - 10/04/12 - 5:34pm

if you pair this with that toilet saddle you can literally watch it corrode and fail under a triathlete pretty quickly. on hardtail 29ers? that’s rich.

Shreddie - 10/04/12 - 8:21pm

So rather than affecting reach with less fore-aft movement than is afforded by the Thudbuster, the vertical travel will stress the fronts of knees more greatly than the Thudbuster would? Great.

Also, nice to see parts designed by accountants rather than someone with an engineering degree.

Having race results doesn’t change the fact that he’s still a triathlete, and his opinion/review must be taken with that in consideration.

Andy - 10/04/12 - 10:13pm

That thing looks like something from a hundred years ago. Now this, on the other hand, is engineering: http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/pages/newin2013

http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/new-ergon-suspension-seatpost-and-road-saddles-interbike-2012-35415/

Psi Squared - 10/04/12 - 10:23pm

There are some roadies that are a**hats….er…..snobs, and their opinions/reviews must be taken with that in consideration.

JimmyZ - 10/05/12 - 1:38am

I’m with Shreddie on this post. I had to check it out, though, I’m considering a thudbuster for my rigid bike.
It seems natural to me to have a saddle that moves slightly aft with a suspension post, though, because that is where my rear tends to go as I ride over bumps. But I’m using a normal flat handlebar, not some aero rig that has me all stretched out already. For someone who rides in such a position, wouldn’t a linear suspension seatpost be in order? I’m talking about just enough bounce to pad the sit bones a little. There are plenty of them out there.

DeeEight - 10/05/12 - 9:33am

So a short travel, weight tunable, parallelogram suspension seatpost is unique now is it ?

http://www.gearreview.com/suspseat.asp

PaulM - 10/05/12 - 10:42am

The problem with suspension seatposts is that it alters your extended leg position, so despite increase in comfort, you’re pedal efficiency will be changed. Also, becasue its more comfortable, you’re more likely to hammer over obstacles, potentially damaging other components (rather than your back I guess).

IMO, the two design methods for a smoother ride are rear suspension of some sort and/or fatter tyres.

PaulM - 10/05/12 - 10:42am

you’re/your error.
oops

Androo - 10/05/12 - 12:24pm

Ugh. Bikerumor is just a hive of negativity. Have any of you people ever once tried to improve anything in your lives?

Androo - 10/05/12 - 12:26pm

I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

Psi Squared - 10/05/12 - 12:40pm

Dr. Seuss sums it up just about right.

gjonesy1 - 10/05/12 - 2:42pm

This is a great idea but all of the comments above are correct. Any change of the riders position relative to the bottom bracket or handlebars will effect the power output capabilities and control. This could also cause knee problems due basically causing a bad fit. Also adding dampening may not be a perfect solution because the dampening acts in both directs slowing both the downward movement and the upward movement effectively stalling you in a less than desirable position.
Really road cyclist just need to get the idea out of their heads that a super rigid, hard saddle is best and get a more comfortable saddle if they so desire a better ride.

WT Smith - 10/06/12 - 7:00am

Looks interesting. But, I’m curious if this has any dampening capabilities. The legend of the genre is the Thudbuster which gets it’s dampening characteristics from the elastomers. All I see on this thing is springs .

CpH - 10/06/12 - 11:42am

Ok…gotta chime in here. Comment boards are always so interesting…and often populated by negativity and ‘first reactions’. And I love the ‘Sam-I-Am’ analogy…as the last page says it all!! “I like it”. Until you ride this thing…you probably won’t understand it. Open your mind and the body will follow.
As a designer and longtime rider of this product, and many other suspension systems…this thing works totally different than anything on the market today. Cirrus isn’t trying to re-invent something that is already out there, ie: Thudbuster, Tamer, Suntour, Softride, USE, etc.. A new market opportunity is being proven by Cirrus and the likes of Specialized and Trek…and that is ‘vertical compliance.’ The BodyFloat has been in the works for years and is a highly tunable, customizable and high performing product that, Cirrus feels, contains the best mix of all options. Sure, there is lighter, less stack, sexier…but Cirrus is working to produce something that gives any rider the chance to truly maximize their performance, comfort and enjoyability on the bike…any bike. Got concerns?? Throw them an e and let them address it…you may be surprised by depth of understanding of the product, of the ‘Isolation’ concept and why the BodyFloat technology works so well. info@cirruscycles.com

ErikD - 10/07/12 - 12:48pm

“Pro” Triathlete was editors error not my entry of erroneous information.

Re: letters after my name… CSCS is simply “Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.” Could also add others but won’t.

I’ve ridden thudbuster… Absolutely no comparison. As far as me being a “Triathlete” and with that making me less knowledgeable regarding how a bike rides, fits et al, well, I’d venture a guess: I’ve got more miles on my legs than most, a few less than some bit to be sure, I’d rather be a “Triathlete” than perhaps be the armchair quarterbacks who post such negativity and hide behind Internet anonymity. I’d gladly take anyone here for a spin

Joey Mullan - 10/07/12 - 10:40pm

I’ve ridden this device last winter when recovering with lower back issues, it got me on my bike and kept me in shape. I felt faster, more power, and less shock on my cross bike. Don’t nay say as most couch critics do. Get past fashion and the function is worth it!

Martin - 06/02/13 - 7:48am

I am very interested in using this BodyFloat, after many poor experiences with different suspension seat posts. Don’t like thudbuster because of too much movement from the bar on my MTB.

However, USD 349.00 for the BodyFloat is outside my mental reach to pay for it.
What is the price range in future for the BodyFloat once it goes into real production?
Similar to thudbuster?
Or you sell the patent to suntour, cane creek for mass production?

Curious about the outcome.

Ian Baldwin - 12/17/13 - 5:13pm

I am a Bellingham Local. I feel want to add my own experience of the BodyFloat as there are primarily negative comments about this product.

I had just finished racing in the “B” category and was about to start the “A” race. This is when I met Charlie Haggem. I had about 10 minutes before the race start and he asks me if I want to try this seat post. He informs me its free and just to bring it back post race. I agree and do the race.

My background on Cyclocross… I hate it. Mostly because my lower back muscles hurt so bad from the fatigue since I don’t race it much. My Back muscles were killing me from the “B” race, but stopped hurting during the “A” race and I actually had FUN for one race!!!

The product works. No knee issues as my fit does not change enough to effect it, it also takes much more pressure to actually engage it. Its not like you sit on it and it sags like a full suspension bike.

New products looking good Charlie. Keep it up! :)

Ian Baldwin - 12/17/13 - 5:16pm

For what its worth. I am a Cat 1 Road Cyclist. Just to show I am not new to cycling.

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