Redshift ShockStop – more useful than a dropper post?
Not much different than back in the day when suspension technology first began to arrive in the mountain bike market, with each new phase of gravel bike technology that’s come our way, we tend to start off with mixed emotions. Like many old-timers, when we first saw Redshift’s ShockStop suspension stem a few years ago, the first thing it reminded us of was the suspension stems from the early ’90s made by Off-Road and Softride. In those days, the main talking point was whether it made sense to suspend the bike or the rider.
That talking point is just as relative today when it comes to dual-purpose/gravel bikes. Unlike mountain bikes, which are designed to face much heartier off-road conditions, gravel bikes are still just road bikes that can be ridden off-road. What both the Lauf fork and the Niner MCR have shown is that gravel bike suspension works best when limited to no more than 50mm of travel.
Following in the footsteps of their stem (and the practice of suspending the rider and not the bike), Redshift has now introduced their ShockStop seatpost as a means of providing more comfort and, yes, even performance to your dual-sport experience.
The 350mm-long ShockStop offers 35mm of total travel through the linkage travel. The post is only offered in a 27.2mm size, but Redshift offers adapter sleeves for larger diameters up to 31.8mm. For anyone using Shimano Di2, there is an accessory battery retainer kit that houses 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 head fits either round or 7x9mm seat rails with no adapter needed. The post has an internal spring with a tension adjuster at the bottom of the post. Depending on the rider’s weight and preference, the preload knob spins to adjust the spring support. For added support, Redshift also supplies an additional spring that sits inside the main spring.
Our first step was reading the setup chart, which suggested using just the main spring with the preload near their recommended max of 5 at 3.5. The directions also indicated that you want around 20-percent sag, or 6mm. This is hard to gauge, and for us, we needed help from a friend to visually look from the side and assist. There is a visual indicator, thanks to a pivot point that Redshift says will barely be hidden when sag is correct.
This is where the setup gets tedious, because if your tension is off, you have to remove the post to access the adjuster. We ended up going stiffer than the chart indicated, but this is personal and the chart is just a suggested starting point. Next came the challenge of setting saddle position (fore, aft and height), which is challenging since once the saddle rotates down and back, there’s no way to hold it in the sag position. After a bit of trial and error, we ended up with a high position that was just a bit more forward than normal and about 4–5mm higher than normal when the saddle was unweighted.
“…Once set up, there is little service or maintenance needed.”
On the first ride we were surprised at how dynamic the system was. Even at a high pedal cadence, there was very little up-and-down movement. When impacting a bump while seated, the bike was able to move upward without bouncing us out of the saddle. Having 35mm of travel may not sound like much, but it was more than enough. In fact, the only time we even got close to full travel was on big G-out hits. After 10 minutes we forgot we were riding the post.
It was when we transitioned to gravel roads that the post really paid off. Washboard and rough sections were a breeze, and we were able to stay seated and pedal through with no problem. While we might have had our post set a bit stiff with less than the 20-percent sag, it still did a great job. Being able to stay seated while the bike is bouncing around allows you to remain in control and still put power in the pedals.
We found the post’s biggest benefits were on steep climbs filled with imperfections and limited traction where we could remain in the saddle using our weight to aid in traction over the back wheel.
However, when it came to descending on the rough stuff, we found ourselves clinching the saddle with our legs, which let us add a bit of pressure to the rear end without the saddle hammering our legs. This was especially helpful when trying to slow down on a steep dirt road section, because we could go heavier on the front and rear brakes with our weight further back.
In the end, even the resident skeptics felt the Redshift post has its benefits. Setup and tuning are tedious and less
than traditional, and having a friend to help is almost a must. However, once set up, there is little service or maintenance needed.
For those looking for added performance and/or comfort, the benefits of the Redshift post were real. Besides the weight, the only downside was the variable saddle height and offset. For rides up to five hours long, we didn’t have any adverse effects on our knees or muscles. Unlike dropper posts, which still seem silly, the added weight of the Redshift post makes a real difference.
Compliance and performance
Find a friend to help setup
Fits nearly all bikes
REDSHIFT SHOCKSTOP STATS
Weight: 544 grams (main spring only), 566 grams ( w/inner spring)