Written by Nathan Cloud on Thursday, 04 Sep 2008.
|Who:||Joplin R Remote Control Adjustable Height Seatpost|
|How Much:||$285.00 USD|
I LOVE GADGETS! I AM LAZY!
I have always wanted of these automatic seat post deals, I even came close to grabbing a Gravity Dropper seat post a few years back, but I just couldn't quite pull that trigger. I mean c'mon, these things are damn expensive and did I really need one?! Probably not, do I need one now? Probably not. Do I have one now? Yeah I do.
Let's see... throw in 1 part not being able to help myself, 1 part extra disposable income, 1 part deal o' the century, and 1 part self preservation. The first 3 parts I think are pretty self explanatory, but self preservation? Yeah, ya see, I am a pretty poor rider to begin with, and when I am tired I make some silly decisions - like not taking the time to lower my seat when I really should. I had a handful of those last year that ended sloppily - no injuries - just a few wipe outs, a few baggy short crotches stuck on the seat nose, ya know, typical seat issues.
Ok, now, picture this: you are tearing ass through the woods (obviously you are not riding with me) and you know there is a nice tech roller or rock garden or drop coming - you flip a switch and BOOM, your seat lowers, you roll down or through or across whatever so smoothly and confidently that all on-lookers are like "awww yeah, that was the bees knees and/or cats pajamas". You are legend. You are a rock star. You then high five them all doing a one handed wheelie and continue on your way.
Alright, alright... that all might be stretch (I can't wheelie after all), but still, being able to drop your seat post whenever you want? Doing it easily without having to get off your bike, pry open a quick release seat collar, adjust its height, then making sure the seat is straight, reclamping it, riding, then do this process again just to raise it back up? Avoiding all that jazz sounds nice doesn't it?
Yeah it does.
Enter the "Joplin R" Remote Control Adjustable Height Seat Post
First off, it is no secret that Crank Brothers bought the rights or whatever for this design from Mavericks Speedball Remote seat post. Crank Brothers pretty much just spiffed it up with some anodization, gnurling, graphics and packaging - thus it became the Joplin. Now throw in a remote, and you got yourself the Joplin R.
Regardless, taken directly from the Crank Brothers site, here is the technical skinny:
- Material: aluminum
- Post Length: 382mm
- Weight: 534g
- Adjustment Range: 75mm / 3in.
- Cable Type: Standard shift cable
- Diameters Available: 30.9mm and 31.6mm
- Warranty: 2 years
- Msrp: $285
Crank Brothers don't mess around. The packaging is slick and shiny - perhaps even a bit too slick. I always complain about this, but I can't help but wonder how much extra the consumer pays for this? As one of my college professors said about lingerie, "Bah... who needs it. Same candy, different wrapper." Anyway, it was nice packaging, the Joplin all shiny and pretty snuggling in a bed of foam. Made you feel kinda nice opening it up, then again, so does an extra 20 bones in your wallet.
Alas, I digress...
The build quality of the thing is gorgeous. The design, simply put, is tight. A few nice anodized bits for accept, polished aluminum, it is not covered with a million logos, and the design itself is clean.
How it works
Operating the Joplin is a simple as pushing or pulling a remote "joystick" and applying some bodyweight to your seat - this makes it lower. To raise it, press the joystick and unweight the seat - it rises. I should also note that it is also nice that you can pretty much raise and lower to any point within its 3 inches of "travel", and since it is air sprung, it seems to offer the action a certain level of "smoothness". It rises and lowers with a bit of resistance, not too much though - it is juuuust right. Exactly like adjusting a pneumatic office chair.
If you knew me and I told you that I installed it (successfully) then read no further. The instructions were very basic and didn't seem to match the overall slickness of the rest of the packaging, but I found they were clear and to the point. Everything else you needed was included and the only tools you needed were a couple allen wrenches - it was a peice of cake to install.
The only thing that I thought might be worth noting was the length of the cable and housing included. My bike is a large with a more on the "compact side" cockpit and the cable length was perfect. So if you happen to be some sort of super tall mutant and/or have a bike with a really long cockpit, you might have to go buy yourself a some longer cable and housing.
Off the bike, you can feel a little bit of lateral play when you grab the seat - and we are talking about less than a millimeter of play. On the bike? You don't notice this at all. In fact, it felt as solid as the Thomson post it replaced. I positioned the remote set in a little right above my rear brake lever - it was accessable and was 99% out the way, but I still might play around with this a little more.
Riding? It made me giggle. It was cool. I couldn't stop playing with it - pedaling around going "hey, look at this (snikt = low rider)!" - "wha? hey (snakt = xc efficiency)!" - "What, your seatpost doesn't do that?" And this was all in the parking lot. On the trail, when I actually remembered I had this technology, it turned out to be a very nice feature. Things I would always hit not bothering to adjust my seat I rode with a new found confidence (hence speed), and hell, lets throw in new found convenience too. As mentioned above, it saved me from 'chancing' things that I should probably have dropped my seat for.
The Joplin certainly has not seen a lot of saddle time at this point, so the jury on its overall durability is still out. So far it is holding up fine against my larger than average frame, and I am not much of a "huckster", so any punishment I deal is going to be in the average range.
It did however take a few body weight "shots" when fully extended and on an instance or two it may have made some weird noises. To be fair though, it may have been something else on my bike! One instance certainly did cause the nose of the seat to angle down. This was probably more a symptom of the clamping mechanism - which made it as easy at it can get to mount the seat and adjust it, but, I noticed the "inner" half of the clamping mechanism appears to be plastic, which made me hesitant to really tighten it down.
Lastly, as you probably would imagine, it is another device with moving parts, so there is little doubt in my mind that something will eventually malfunction. Good thing it has a 2 year warranty and Crank Brothers is good people!
- Confidence inspiring!
- Convenience inspiring!
- Clean, good looking, solid design.
- The remote mechanism is perfect. Works and can mount pretty much anywhere.
- Holy crap it is expensive!
- ONLY 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters are currently available.
- You gotta deal with an extra cable and more junk on your handlebars.
- You are adding an extra 1/2 pound to your ride.
- Adds an extra bit of potential for bike failure.
So far, I love this thing. Granted I am still adjusting to using it, I am 99% certain this thing is staying on my bike for the long haul. Durability is really the big question, and only time will tell us that. It seems the Joplin is best suited for all mountain / aggressive XC riders that don't mind adding another something mechanical and a little weight to their bikes.
And sure, ok, on paper, yeah, it has a lot working against it. It does really just seem kind of silly and, considering the price, not worth it - but all can say is if you find yourself fiddling with your seat height a couple times a ride (or even thinking about it), give one a try - because if you ask me, there is a good chance it will win you over.
The big question: Does it make riding more fun? I say yes!
Still freakin' expensive though.