CAN COMFORT AND PERFORMANCE COEXIST? REDSHIFT SHOCKSTOP PRO REVIEW
Redshift’s ShockStop Pro suspension seatpost brings comfort with less weight
Redshift Sports has been hitting the gravel component market hard for the last few years with their ShockStop line of stems and two seatposts that all act as micro suspension that can be fitted to almost any bike. We have used the ShockStop stem and seatpost, but their newest addition, the Pro line, reduces weight and is tuned for the more performance-oriented rider. Even a road bike?
Unlike their mountain bike cousins, despite what would seem like a natural application, few gravel bikes are spec’d with suspension, opting instead for the weight savings and suspension provided by the large-volume tires. While more air volume is a great option, it might not always be the ideal way to increase performance since the added rubber of big tires means more rotational mass. Almost two years ago (RBA, July 2020) we tested the Redshift ShockStop seatpost with 35mm of travel that relied on interchangeable coil springs for varying levels of compression. Hitting the scales at 566 grams, it was heavy, but the 35mm of travel was really nice on rough terrain when you needed to stay in the saddle and maintain power.
The new Pro version with RT (Race Tuned) compression drops 145 grams from the regular version on our scale. The ShockStop Pro is designed for bikes that use a round post and offers 20mm of total travel through the linkage. The linkage design is the same as the original, but there is now an internal elastomer rather than a spring. The linkage offers vertical travel rather than telescopic while maintaining the same saddle angle. This elastomer is not adjustable or interchangeable, and the linkage pivot pins are hollow to also reduce weight.
The alloy post is only offered in one size—27.2mm—but Redshift does offer adapter sleeves for larger diameters for an additional $10 up to 31.8mm. The Pro post is offered either as a 280mm or 350mm length, and if you are a Shimano Di2 user, there is a battery retainer kit that can be added for $3 to house the battery in the post. This allows the battery to be partially housed in the post, but will add length past the end of the post, so ensure you have adequate room in your seat tube. The post fits round or 7x9mm seat rails with no adapter needed. The Pro post also has a rider weight limit of 242 pounds.
Getting the Pro seatpost setup is much easier than the early version because you don’t need to set sag or adjust spring tension. The elastomer design means it’s a one-size-fits-all. We had a slight bit of sag, but our regular saddle height seemed to still be perfect.
“There is no bobbing or bouncing, and on a smooth road you don’t even feel it.”
Our first impression is that there is significantly less dynamic movement when compared to the original version. Since there was no need to set the sag, there is also very little upstroke like you would get on the original if you opted for a lot of sag. Honestly, the Pro post feels much more supportive and natural. There is definitely movement, and you feel it immediately, but it’s not as overwhelming. The stroke is also very progressive, so small bumps and vibrations are muted but the larger impacts are still felt.
There is no bobbing or bouncing, and on a smooth road you don’t even feel it. When things get rough there is a definite benefit. Climbing in the saddle while riding dirt is easier, and we felt like we could maintain power and traction, even when it was very steep. On the same climbs with a rigid post, we would tend to struggle to achieve both power and traction as our weight shifts from the bumps and surface changes.
Don’t get us wrong, the linkage and post are very active but now on a smaller and more refined stroke. Shifting your weight around on the saddle doesn’t offer the big dip that we would get on the original sprung version. For us, this makes it a better fit for someone looking for just a bit of relief from either a harsh or overly stiff bike. It’s also a solid option if your frame doesn’t have room for extra rubber and pneumatic relief.
The elastomer design, short travel and reduced weight make the Pro a choice that we think more riders will value. With race-oriented and stiff gravel bikes becoming all the rage lately, this is one of the best ways to find some added comfort without sacrificing performance. We would even argue that with the added comfort and ability to pedal over rough terrain while seated, you might perform better.
The seatpost needs very little service or maintenance. Essentially, if you keep it clean, it should have zero issues. There is a magnetic fender that is meant to keep debris out of the linkage, but some still gets in there over time if you are riding lots of dirt roads. The ShockStop Pro seatpost isn’t just for those riding rough dirt roads, though, it’s a great option for those riding the deteriorating roads that seem all the more pervasive.
Overall, the Pro version drops weight, is easier to set up and still offers a substantial advantage if you need more compliance. We think this new Pro version could find a home on lots of drop-bar bikes moving forward, because gravel events are getting more popular and don’t seem to be getting any shorter, smoother or easier.
• Road bike suspension?
• Max rider weight of 242 pounds
• Lighter and performance-oriented