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Product Review: Thudbuster Long Travel

Posted by Jeremy Yang On April - 25 - 2007

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Who:
From Thudbuster’s website: Thudbuster suspension seatposts were born in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1993. The inventor, an avid mountain biker by the name of Ryan McFarland, founded RJ Concepts, Incorporated in 1994 to further develop, manufacture and market the Thudbuster.

Product Tested:
Thudbuster Suspension Seatpost Long Travel (LT)

Website’s MSRP:
$129 (includes $15 Crudbuster)

Specs:
- 3″ of ultra-plush travel
- Only 565-585 grams (610 grams or 4XL)
- 1-year warranty
- Unique US Patented design
- New CNC-machined aluminum alloy linkage- New 1-piece forged tube and receptor
- New larger-diameter stainless-steel pivot pins
- New Teflon® coated pivot bushings
- New super-strong, twin-bolt, micro-adjust saddle clamp
- Complete 6-piece Double Barrel elastomer kit
- Illustrated installation and tuning guide
- Choice of tubing diameters

About Me:
6’0� 210lbs, 27 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys rocking the big 29er wheels. For this review I had that Thudbuster LT on my Gary Fisher X-Caliber.

Testing Grounds:
Fullerton Loop, El Moro (Crystal Cove), Chino Hills State Park, Coyote Point (Lake Hogan), Sea Otter Classic 2007

First Impression:
I was really afraid of the weight the Thudbuster would add to my ride. It’s 565 grams! For comparisons sake my old seatpost, a Bontrager Select, weighed in at a hefty 280 grams. The Thudbuster is more than double the weight of my heavy seatpost. But I thought to myself to heck with it. It’s a cool product that gets rave reviews on MTBR.com.

When I first laid eyes on the Thudbuster, it was attached to Moe’s Gary Fisher Cobia. Moe wasn’t planning on riding the Cobia for a few days and I mentioned that I’d like to try it out at El Moro. So a quick swap was made. As I was making the swap, I noticed that the Thudbuster seemed to be well constructed. Although I didn’t like the funky lines of the Thudbuster, I did like how the Crudbuster cleaned up the look immediately.

Strengths:
The Thudbuster is all about comfort. Comfort on seated climbs, when riding rolling hills, when spinning around town or even at the Sea Otter Classic. The Thudbuster does an amazing job of taking the edge off of bumps. Most of the time you will not be seated on it for major hits, but when riding cross country you will be seated and this post works perfectly for dulling those little trail imperfections.

The main result of the increased comfort is an increase in saddle time. I used to dread longer rides because I know my body would be beat up afterwards. Since adding the Thudbuster to my hardtail, I’ve been more then willing to go on longer rides because I know my body will not take as harsh a beating.

Some other strengths of the Thudbuster is that the construction is very strong. After speaking with the guys from Cane Creek, who bought the rights to the Thudbuster, I learned that the Thudbuster originally was two pieces attached together right underneath the suspension portion of the seatpost. Cane Creek realized that this was a weak point in the execution of the design and they decided to manufacture the post as one piece so that the whole unit would be stronger.

I haven’t done any strength tests on the Thudbuster but I am 210 lbs and I’ve ridden this in a variety of terrain including technical singletrack to rolling fire roads. I’ve also performed small drops and jumps with this post and it still works perfectly without any signs of wear and tear on the suspension mechanism.

Lastly, I really like the line markers on the post. I’ve traveled with the Thudbuster attached to my Gary Fisher and there have been times I’ve taken the post out entirely or scooted it up/down to accommodate for traveling. Each time I’m ready to ride again, the Thudbuster is so easy to dial back in because the line markers on the post allow me to move the post to the exact height I was previously riding at.

The line markers have also helped me find the exact height I’m comfortable at riding with in most all conditions. Prior to riding the with the Thudbuster, I was always guessing at the best ride height for me. I’d push the post into the seat tube, screw in the seatpost collar then hope I tightened the collar enough so that my seatpost didn’t drop. Then when I came to a difficult descent, I’d drop the post a few inches to give myself a lower center of gravity. When I was ready to return the post to its original position, I was out of luck. I’d have to guess, then adjust, then hope again the seatpost was tight enough… argh. With the line markers I’m dialed in every time I ride.

Weaknesses:
It probably weighs double or over double your current seatpost. But, the thing to keep in mind is that if you were to upgrade from a hardtail to a full suspension bike you’re adding more than an extra 300 grams. You’re probably adding around 800 grams minimum. So an extra 300 grams to get three inches of travel is a very small price, figuratively and literally, to pay in comparison to upgrading to a full suspension bike.

Personally, I value the comfort of the Thudbuster over the weight. How do I know this? When I’m grannying up a long hill, I think about all the weight I’m carrying: in my Camelbak, in my water bottles, in my wheels… I think of any and every item that would add even the most miniscule bit of extra weight as I’m sucking air. Surprisingly though, I never think of or complain about the Thudbuster. The extra weight is substantial when compared to a regular seatpost but the comfort of the Thudbuster FAR offsets the weight gain.

Secondly, you’re going to feel a forward push when you hit an object. When you’re seated and you hit something hard with your rear tire, you’re going to feel the Thudbuster soften the blow. As the Thudbster moves back to its original position, you’ll feel a forward pushing sensation. This push can be a little disconcerting the first few times you feel it but it has never resulted in a fall or a loss of control. Initially I found the push annoying but with more seat time I’ve become used to it. I also know I bring this on myself because I shouldn’t be seated when I hit any objects.

Summary:
The Thudbuster is a great addition to any hardtail you ride. It is very well constructed and has great features like the line markers on the seatpost and different elastamers to suit each rider and their weight. The Thudbuster adds comfort to all types of riding and, because it takes the edge off of hits that add up over time, your body will thank you too.

For more info about the Thudbuster Long Travel, click here.

One Response to “Product Review: Thudbuster Long Travel”

  1. Reg Curry says:

    Did you try changing the elastomers. That is where the rubber hit the road for me. It was an extremely difficult task–nothing like the ease shown in the Cane Creek video. I sent mine back because of that.

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