Shockstop suspension stem and suspension seat post - review with video

Summary: the stem is superb; the seat post is either brilliant or a drag, depending on the type of riding you do.  Here's why.

Last year I wrote to Redshift sports and asked if I could demo their Shockstop stem, make some videos and take some photos.  Off-road riding gives me pain in my thumb tendons and I wanted to test whether their stem helped to ease the vibrations. I offered to buy it afterwards if I liked it. 

I was delighted they not only agreed to send me the stem but also their new suspension seat post, although I was less enthusiastic about the latter because I didn't really see the point of it, but agreed to try it nonetheless. 

I first used the stem on a great ride here on Ardnamurchan in typically wet Scottish winter conditions.  Here's how it went.

Since that video I've ridden with the Shockstop Suspension Stem on different terrain; off road, on rough tracks and on tarmac.  I'm convinced of its merits.  In fact found no negatives - it doesn’t compromise the bike or its handling in any way, and on climbs it doesn’t soak up any energy, at least that I can tell. 

But the upsides are huge.  On rough tarmac and even really bouldery off road, it soaks up the vibrations that would otherwise bash your wrists.  

 I’m doing a multi-day off-road event in May and this for sure will be on the bike.

Comments after the first video compared it to the vintage Girvan Flex Stem which you can still find on eBay, but it was a forerunner of suspension and probably made obsolete by the arrival of suspension forks.

However, the Shockstop Stem is not suspension.  It’s a damper, a vibration reducer, hence the accurate name 'Shockstop'.   I like it a lot for my gravel bike and would consider one for the road bike.  I've offered to buy this one and Redshift sports have kindly allowed me to keep it.

Now the shockstop seat post.  

The first thing to notice is its half kilo weight, so it’s going to have to impress.  Initially I was highly skeptical about this, believing it to be a solution looking for a problem.  I didn't get why you’d need it. 
Still, I adjusted the amount of 'bounce' with the simple dial on its base, setting it to the correct number for my body weight.  

I fitted it to the bike and took it for a spin on a loop of track which combines a bit of everything.

The huge surprise was that I could hardly feel the suspension moving!  

 I just seemed to float over the rough track.  

 It was only when I looked at the video that I realised how much work the suspension had been doing.  For this, you'll need to watch the video. 

Indeed, I felt there was actually too much movement, so I stopped and dialled the stiffness up a little.  I was later told I ought to adjust the saddle height too to account for the 'sag' produced when my weight sits on that saddle. 

Dialled up, the suspension was not quite as smooth over rough ground (as expected) but it was still easier to keep saddle contact and so better traction.  But when it came to a steep tarmac climb, that seat post was still bouncing.  Which means energy from my legs is going, not into propulsion, but is being lost into that bounce.

Therefore the Shockstop suspension seat post  presents us with a trade off: On the negative side of the equation is the additional weight of 490g plus the inevitability that some of your energy will be lost into the mechanism. 

But there are positives; the Shockstop seat post gives better traction because your weight stays on the saddle for longer; it offers greater comfort; and it will reduce the wear and tear on your body.  That last factor could be the most important, particularly on a long ride.

I haven’t decided whether I want to buy this yet, I need to ride it more, but I hope I’ve helped you make a decision.  Take a look at the video and perhaps subscribe for more reviews and cycling adventure videos.

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