Cane Creek is a component manufacturer that requires little introduction for most cyclists. However, do you know how Cane Creek became a company? Rob has been riding with the Cane Creek eeSilk suspension seatpost for over 17,000km. Here he goes deep on his impressions of the post while providing a fantastic lesson on some serious cycling history. Let's go.
To say that I've been sitting on writing a review of the eeSilk seat post for a while, would be an understatement. Over 17,000 km if you must ask. We have all been there, by mid-ride your backside becomes unbearable and you still have miles of potholed gravel roads to go. Comfort is the key to happiness, and I wanted to be able to sit down after a long day in the saddle to enjoy a beverage with a smile on my face. In the end, I settled on the Cane Creek eeSilk for a number of reasons and it has been the right choice for me. What if your ride could be buttery smooth? Nay, I say silk-ee smooth...
Few of us realize how much Cane Creek knows about the suspension game, or how long they've been around. Some of us may remember back in 1992 when the threadless headset revolutionized bike design. Yes, that was Cane Creek Cycling Components.
Let's backpedal for a little history lesson. In the 1930s legendary Japanese bike manufacturer Dia-Compe was born. 40 years later, amid middle-east conflicts and oil embargoes, many countries experienced a resurgence of cycling for basic transportation and recreation, especially in North America. The need for bikes doubled in only a few short years and in 1975 Dia-Compe built a cutting-edge factory in Fletcher, North Carolina on the edge of… Cane Creek. In the 80s, they were leading the way in developing the best BMX & MTB brakes in the market. We all remember Rock Shox releasing the first production suspension fork. Who do you think was manufacturing those shocks? You guessed it, Dia-Compe!
However, by 1992, there was a difference in views between the US and Japanese divisions, which led to the creation of a more independent Dia-Compe USA division. That same year, they released the AheadSet and singlehandedly steered the entire bike industry from quill stems toward threadless headsets.
Can you remember the next big thing to turn the MTB scene on its ear? Disc brakes. Yeah, Dia-Compe USA gave those to us in 1994. And the following year they made the AD-4 rear shock under the brand name: Cane Creek. Cane Creek Cycling Components was born and was soon leading the way in developing revolutionary components and even turned a few heads when they converted to an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) business model in the late 90s.
They then added the Thudbuster seat post to their lineup and got serious about suspension when they partnered with Öhlins, the premium moto-suspension company from Sweden to apply their twin-tube dampener technology to MTB shocks. In 2014, the new DB Inline rear shock was spec'd on thousands of Specialized mountain bikes, however the shock had reliability issues. As a result, Cane Creek's bid to capture the OEM market went downhill quickly and 2015 was no better with loss of sales sending them on a rough ride down to the bottom when in 2016 the business almost flattened-out for good.
However, the innovative Cane Creek employees rallied and cranked out new products at an astonishing rate. To be exact, 38 in three years when they previously only released one per year. It's no coincidence this is when renowned cycling components designer, Craig Edwards joined forces with Cane Creek and brought his game-changing eeBrake to market. The ee-line of products was born from this design relationship. Cane Creek now averages about a dozen new products each year including products like Kitsuma, Helm, bottom brackets, Hellbender headset (which I run on my bikes), eeBrakes, eeWings (Ti-cranks), the all-new Thudbusters, and the eeSilk seat posts.
As the gravel scene began to explode so did the solutions for minimal-weight suspension designs and we saw several suspension seat posts appear with various designs, weights, pros, and cons. Cane Creek took their Thudbuster and refined the design into a sub-300-gram road post with 20mm vertical compliance and able to support riders up to 250 lbs. At that time when I bought my eeSilk it was only available in 27.2 road diameter which required a step down shim in my MTB frame. Now Cane Creek offers a variety of sizes across their entire seat post lines in both alloy and carbon.
The eeSilk and new eeSilk+ offer 20mm and 30mm travel respectively and are based on their proven parallelogram linkage that keeps the seat angle consistent while it takes the edge of all those bumpy little things we run over. Constructed out of machined aluminum linkage arms, anodized aluminum axles, and titanium mounting hardware the carbon version weighs in at only 295 grams, and 345 grams for the alloy post, which is only slightly more that most standard seatposts. For me, the eeSilk seat post has done over 17,000 km with almost no issues.... almost.
My post came assembled and fitted with the medium #5 elastomer, along with two more (#3 and #7) for you to adjust to your weight or riding desires. You can purchase the super soft #1 or extra firm #9 elastomers separately if required. Also included is an oddly shaped cone tool which is used during reassembly to help put the pin back into the linkage bushings. All maintenance can be done with the post still on the bike. You can watch Cane Creek's video on how to swap elastomers and use the cone tool here.
The seat clamp design is said to be "tool-free" with an ergonomic thumb wheel on the front seat clamp to loosen and slide the bottom plate aside to slip the seat rails out. In practice, I didn't find that to be the case. Once leveled and tightened I could not really loosen the thumb wheel unless I really weighted the nose of my saddle to reduce tension on the front bolt. I also discovered the results of this during my first bikepacking race that I rode with aero bars. When positioned on the nose of the saddle, the front bolt loosened itself off in a short time. To remedy this, I had to really tighten down the rear bolt. So much so, I eventually stripped it, replacing it with a titanium M5 x 0.8 x 33mm.
I've heard complaints about the linkage becoming squeaky, however, I only experienced this once, and a couple drops of chain lube at each bushing instantly fixed the problem.
I enjoy all-day rides rambling down little used dirt roads, but I'm no spring chicken either. I've been beaten up over the years and this type of riding puts a strain on my body. By the end of the day, I tense up in anticipation of any rough section approaching which just makes things worse. The eeSilk takes just enough edge off to smooth out the day and arrive home relatively pain-free. With the eeSilk, I don't adjust myself on the saddle as much and find I stay seated longer with less fatigue. Where I instantly feel the eeSilk doing its job is on the various rail trestles and elevated boardwalks I ride. The constant rattling ride on the uneven planks almost disappears as the elastomer soaks up all the vibrations.
I tend to sit and spin rather than stand to grind, so a comfortable, efficient seated position is key. I have ridden a few spring-design suspension posts and they all introduced a little pedaling bob, that annoying up and down feeling when pedaling that reduces power to the pedals. Full suspension mountain bikes can have really bad 'pedal bob' when climbing. This is not the case with eeSilk and was one of the aspects I enjoy. The softer ride is very subtle but effective. If I wanted a buttery smooth ride, I would be on a full-suspension cross-country bike.
Because disassembly can be done so easily with the seat on, I tend to pop the linking open regularly about four times a year to just give it light lube with a Teflon rubber-friendly spray and a few drops of chain wax on the bushings. This is usually when I discover if I've had any small tire punctures that have gone unnoticed by the amount of sealant sprayed up under my seat.
One other thing to keep an eye on is the small silver retaining bolt on the linkage axle. It comes prepped with a thread locker, but if you remove it, I suggest adding a drop of medium-strength Loctite. Others have reported that it has come out while riding and left them with their seat flopping all over, however it has not happened to me in almost 20,000km.
If you use bikepacking seat bags, I would also suggest wrapping some protective tape where the bag strap attaches (see my wear marks). On long trips, any grit & grime that gets between the strap and post will wear off the anodized finish or worse, weaken the post if left unchecked.
If you're looking for something to take the edge off when riding your nice stiff gravel bike or want to improve all-day comfort with minimal weight then the Cane Creek eeSilk could be just for you. The cost is comparable to most other performance seat posts on the market at $320 USD for the carbon stick, or $220 USD for the alloy version. I've been abusing mine in rough, mucky, wet conditions for almost 20,000km and it's still silk-ee smooth. Now, when I reach my 2nd bakery stop of the day, I can still sit down with a smile on my face. Get it here.
|Extra comfort with a minimal weight penalty|
|Efficient pedaling when compared to spring-design seat posts|
|Might be pricey for some|
|Thumb screw tool-free adjustment doesn't really work for me, I still need a hex|
|Forget to use thread locker on the retaining bolt and you could be standing up all the way home|