The Shockstop is a modified seatpost that easily adds 35mm of tunable suspension to almost any bike to take the edge off of rough gravel rides and chunky pavement. This is my review:
The Shockstop Suspension seatpost replaces a traditional seatpost and adds a true shock absorber between the bike and the seat. This allows the seat bob up and down through 35mm of travel, which smoothens out harsh bumps and small vibrations. It features an included and removable mud flap, an adjustable coil spring, a second coil spring for heavier riders, and a standard 27.2mm shaft. It can be adapted to other sizes via available shims. It comes in 280mm and 350mm long versions, weighs 497 or 547 grams depending on the length. It is constructed entirely out of 6061 T6 aluminum aside from some steel springs and bolts, and retails for $229.
I tested on a flat bar Salsa Journeyer gravel bike on dirt, pavement, gravel, grass, and combinations in between.
What I liked
Like the Shock Stem that I recently reviewed, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the Shockstop Seatpost. I was impressed at how much of an impact the stem had on the ride of my gravel bike as it dramatically improved not only the ride quality, but also my control over rough terrain. Would the same hold true with a seatpost? The answer is “absolutely”, but in very different ways.
Immediately after installing the seatpost I hopped on my bike and was blown away when the seat seemingly floated in place. Unlike the travel from the stem, the movement of the seat was very noticeable as it sagged in the medium position, not quite fully extended nor fully compressed. This is very much like a rear shock on a mountain bike. Intrigued, I immediately started hitting the roughest terrain I could manage. Small chatter mostly disappeared from the seat, where I would normally feel vibrations and noise transfer directly into my back through my extremely stiff bike frame. Rolling on concrete felt muted, almost like riding on depressed tires yet without the friction penalty. I found that when hitting larger bumps and transitions I no longer had to stand up off my saddle and could now sit comfortably through what would normally be rather intrusive and unpleasant terrain. A continuous point of contention I normally have with gravel bikes is the way shock from the rear tire can transfer through the wheel, the frame, up the seat and directly into my spine, neck and even my skull with big enough bumps. This sensation was almost completely eliminated and greatly improved my comfort on long and even short rides. Where I often developed headaches from my neck after about 18 miles I could now push much further. I could still feel and read the terrain through the feel of the bike and always maintained complete control, yet those sensations were much more gentle now. It really does feel like adding a rear shock to the bike at times, but with small concessions I will touch on later.
Given the position of the shock, it thankfully doesn’t have much of an impact on pedaling efficiency. With a tradition rear shock the entire rear triangle, chain and rider can move up, down and even pivot when hitting bumps or while just pedaling hard, which can drain pedaling efficiency. With the Shockstop, the shock doesn’t affect the rear of the bike as it is positioned in the seat post instead. Therefore, the mechanical transfer throughout the drivetrain is unchanged and traditional “pedal bob” doesn’t exist, at least not in the same sense. Thanks to this, pedaling is still very efficient, and sometimes even improved as I found myself being able to stay on the seat and pushing forward in chunky terrain where I would normally have to stand up or at least unweight and stop pedaling so my body could absorb the impacts of the ride. My travel times actually were even slightly reduced in rough patches. I could more confidently hit transitions and rocky sections with more speed as well. That said, if the rider has an unsteady pedal cadence or stroke with a dramatic “off then on” type of output, the seat can still bob up and down a bit. This does drain some efficiency but it’s not to a degree that I think most could really notice it. I personally found that with a smooth and consistent pedaling cadence I didn’t notice any bobbing at all and normal riding was still fast and unencumbered.
The shock is fully adjustable to match the rider’s body weight, which is a necessity with this product. There is a small screw adjustment located on the underside of the post which adjusts the “sag” of the spring. This essentially compensates for the body weight of the rider and keeps the shock suspended and prevents bottoming out when hitting bumps. It also prevents the spring from being fully extended while the rider is on the bike, which would not be idea for vibration absorption. The goal is the for shock to be positioned in a middle “floating” manor at all times, slightly depressed when the rider weight is on it. Adjustment is mostly easy, with a single screw turn being used to dial in a spring, or an entire spring can be swapped out to move up a weight class. Having this adjustability makes for a much smoother, more consistent ride once it is dialed in. The seat position can also be adjusted forward, back, and angled forward or backwards to the fit geometry of the bike and rider by loosening and shifting the seat mount.
Build quality of the Shockstop is great as a whole. The 6061 T6 aluminum is industry standard for solid quality bike frames, and seems to be holding up just as well as my stock post. The pivot points are silky smooth, silent, and seem to be rather friction free while having no wiggle to them. This instills confidence in their long term durability and viability. The bolts are excellent as well and haven’t stripped or worn down with multiple tear downs and tweaks.
Speaking of assembly, this is relatively easy process. If you can swap a bike seat then there is no problem here as that is going to be the hardest part of the process. Otherwise it is simply a single screw or quick release handle, depending on your bike. One thing to note is that the post will likely need to be mounted just a bit higher than your old post to compensate for the sag of the shock.
What I didn’t like
Adjusting the shock is generally going to be a one time processes, unless you share your bike with someone else. If you do share your bike adjusting the sag between riders requires removing the seat post. This isn’t bad if you have a quick release handle (I don’t use them as they make seats and fancy seat posts way too easy to steal) but it is more of a hassle if you use a bolt like I do. Minor complaint but worth noting.
The Shockstop does add weight to your bike, about 200 grams (about 7 ounces) in my situation. For me this is absolutely worth the weight penalty, but for others it may be harder to justify. They do produce a “Pro” version which is lighter, but only marginally so.
The suspension benefits of the Shockstop are limited when the rider is in a seated position. Essentially, if you’re hitting very rough terrain, rough enough that a standing position is required, the shock of course no longer has no effect because the body is no longer in contact with the shock. This seems obvious, but it is a caveat that bikes with a true rear suspension will not have so I wanted to mention it. For conditions in which a gravel or road bike would normally be in, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The rear mud flap can interfere with post mounted bike lights. Luckily, this is removable if that’s the case. I found I can just move my light down a bit and it still works fine and visibility to the LED is still O.K despite slightly being obscured by my rear tire. Shorter riders may not have this option.
The Shockstop by Redshift is an excellent solution to a jarring issue. It greatly improves the ride quality over rough and even smooth terrain, ironing out chatter, bumps and harsh transitions. I was impressed by it’s ability to both improve my stability while riding, while increasing my enjoyment of the ride itself. Routes I would previously avoid entirely, especially when paired with the stem shock mentioned above, were now enjoyable distractions from my typical routes that I could take for fun. It does add a weight penalty, and only provides a real benefit while the rider is seated, but these are concessions I am happy to make. It is an excellent product that I will be using on all my grave bikes.
Want to learn more about this product and their other offerings? You can check out their products Here and Here for the seatpost. This is an affiliate link.
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Big thanks to Redshift for sending this over for review. We couldn’t do this without their help. The Reshift Stem I purchased for myself with no obligation to review it.
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