While most recreational cyclists will never compete, racing drives a significant percentage of the bicycle industry’s product development and marketing. Terms like lighter, stiffer, and faster are all used to describe the latest and greatest products. But what about comfort? Are comfort and performance mutually exclusive? Not according to Cirrus Cycles. The company’s BodyFloat
Unlike telescoping suspension seatposts, the BodyFloat post uses a linkage system that produces a vertical motion–which, according to the company–does a better job of isolating the rider (aka, the bike’s motor) from vibration. That motion, combined with the system’s undamped coil springs, results in a quicker response, which is purportedly critical for quelling high-frequency vibrations. To accommodate different sized riders, Cirrus offers four spring rates in two sizes (1.5-inch for the top position, and 1.75-inch for the lower position). When you order a BodyFloat seatpost, you specify your weight, the type of bicycle (road, mountain, etc), and handlebar style (drop or flat). For review purposes, my sample seatposts included all four spring rates, so I was able to experiment with various combinations.
As I’m very particular about my saddle height, I was initially concerned that replicating my preferred position would be difficult due to the BodyFloat’s vertical movement. To be completely honest, however, once I found the correct spring rate combination (orange/orange), dialing in my fit was no more difficult than swapping saddles or seatposts. One or two short rides spent tweaking saddle height were all that it took to find the sweet spot. Fine-tuning the saddle height and spring tension was easy thanks to the post’s pre-load bolt. And because the Cirrus post doesn’t rely on rearward travel, I was able to directly transfer my saddle’s fore/aft position to the BodyFloat seatpost.
Hopping aboard the BodyFloat-equipped bike for the first time immediately reminded of me of my old Softride beam bike. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Cirrus’ founders and engineers were involved with the original Alsop Softride beam design. And as I would do with that beam bike, the first thing I did was check the tire pressure to see if it was too low. Like a big, soft tire, the BodyFloat seatpost’s smooth ride is immediately apparent. Unlike those beam bikes, though, there’s no lateral sway with the Cirrus post. And once you’ve selected the correct spring rates, there’s no bouncing or bobbing with the BodyFloat post.
When I began testing Cirrus’ seatpost, I discovered that I had a tendency to hover slightly above the saddle when traversing broken pavement or bumpy trails. My legs and upper body would stiffen, causing me to expend additional energy so that I could isolate myself from road buzz and chatter. As I logged more miles on the BodyFloat, that tendency to brace myself subsided. After a couple of weeks, I was taking full advantage of the BodyFloat’s isolation capabilities. On a whim, I swapped out the Cirrus post with my bike’s original rigid seatpost. Using the same saddle and tires, the difference in comfort was like night and day. Broken pavement and washboard trails that went unnoticed aboard the BodyFloat post now felt like rock gardens by comparison.
Does the BodyFloat work as advertised? Absolutely. It’s does an outstanding job of isolating the rider (aka, the engine/motor) from road shock and vibrations. With the BodyFloat, your entire body feels more relaxed. That relaxation translates to increased efficiency–and enjoyment–because you’re not wasting energy by tensing up to brace against bumps and cracks. After four months of use, I’m completely sold on the product, and can’t see myself going back to traditional seatposts on my un-suspended bicycles.
With a price of $249 for the alloy model ($395 and $415 for the carbon and titanium models, respectively), some folks will undoubtedly balk at the BodyFloat’s cost. While not exactly cheap, you could easily burn through that much money trying to find a more comfortable saddle (or worse, an entirely new bicycle). And speaking of saddles… I tested the Cirrus post with a dozen different saddles, and models that were so-so on rigid posts felt much more comfortable when paired with the BodyFloat.
Disclosure: Cirrus Cycles provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.