Specialized Command Post Review

by Brian Mullin on September 14, 2010

I am really liking the Specialized Command Post adjustable seatpost, which uses a mechanical system with an adjustable air spring, and has three locking positions, and a simple one bolt saddle clamp that is easily to install and tune the saddle’s position.

Specialized Command Post
The Command Post (CP) is a mechanical 3-position locking height adjustable seatpost, with a 100mm range, a handlebar mounted remote, a single bolt keyed saddle clamp system, and is available in 31.6mm x 400mm and 30.9mm x 400mm size options. The three height settings are the Power position or full extension, Cruiser, which is 35mm below Power, and the Descender, which is 100mm below Power. The remote lever comes as a left handed version by default, but a right one can be ordered. The CP weighed in at 525 grams, not including the remote.

Measured Specs
Command Post weight – 525.2 grams
Remote w/cable/housing weight – 62.3 grams
Insertion length – 206mm (8 1/8″)
Stanchion length – 102mm (4″)

Installation
I first checked the pressure via its Schrader valve, which is located on the bottom of the post. The pressure range is 25-35 psi, with higher psi causing a faster rebound. Mine was at the minimum of 25 psi (factory default), so I left it that way. The insertion area of the post has a rough finish, which functions as anti-slippage zone, and helps prevent any creeping. I placed the remote snug up against my left Magura Louise brake, and eyeballed the required cable housing length, and cut the excess off. I inserted the proprietary cable through the remote, the right angle pipe and into the housing. The messy portion started next. I ran the cable up through the post’s barrel adjuster, and meshed in the cable’s housing. The cable is tweaked up over a sharp bend on top of the activation lever, and is clamped down with a pinch bolt and washer using a 3mm hex. The lever doesn’t have a groove for the cable, so it’s difficult to clamp things down properly. With the sharp bend and the lack of a grooved slot, I had issues getting it snugged down, and proceeded to crush and damage the cable. Once everything was installed, I needed to tune the cable’s tension, which required re-clamping the cable, exasperating the already crushed cable. Since the cable is proprietary (it has a barrel end piece), you need to get another one from your LBS or Specialized, though for 2011, they have updated the remote, and it will accept a standard shifter cable.

Installing the saddle is an easy task due to the one bolt and keyed nut clamp, which use a wedge and rail clamp that each has a groove that holds the saddle’s rails. Just loosen the bolt wide enough (make sure the bolt is well greased), so that the wedge and clamp will allow the rails to pop into the slot, and position the saddle fore and aft, and its horizontal pitch, and then clamp the bolt down tight using a 5mm hex.

To perform the final tuning, actuate the remote, and press down on the saddle to the middle position, and let go. If the seat pops up loosen the cable with the barrel adjuster, and if the seat won’t go down, tighten the cable. The sweet spot where the cable’s tension works properly is small, and micro turns of the barrel adjuster is all it takes, but once it’s located the system works like a charm.

Impressions
Using the system is quite easy, just press and hold the lever, and either weight the saddle into the lower positions, or unweight, and let it pop up to the desired location, and then release. Lowering the saddle is extremely easy for the Descender mode since it stops solidly at the bottom, but the Cruiser spot is trickier to find, and does take some practice. Just some mild weight on the saddle is all it takes to control the downward movement. Extending the saddle to the Power mode is simple since it pops upwards to the maximum stop, while the Cruiser takes some slight weighting to control its location. It takes some practice to learn the sweet spot for the Cruiser, but it becomes second nature pretty quickly, and can even be controlled in rough terrain or when moving around on the bike. I have used the infinite adjustable seatposts, and I have found that the 3 positions works just fine, although putting the other posts in the Cruiser range is easier, since there isn’t a notch to have to locate.

What I like about the CP is its simplicity. Being a mechanical system, it has no need for regular maintenance for functionality, it’s reliable, and has great long term durability. The CP didn’t have any stiction issues, and it slid up and down along smoothly, with very little slop felt in the saddle.

It is still a complex piece of engineering within the CP, but the lack of a finicky hydraulic based system, with dampers, oil, seals, and bushings greatly alleviates problems. The CP uses an activation lever (worked via the remote), which pulls on an internal cable, and releases tension on a collet, so the post is free to move. When tension is released, the collet locks into any of the three different slots, which correspond with the Power, Cruiser and Descender positions. An air spring returns the post upwards, and its force or rebound speed is adjustable by varying the air pressure. The collet has a very solid feel, and its outward pressure and tight tolerances help keep the slop and wiggle to a minimum.

The only maintenance I have performed is an occasional dab of some Slick Honey lubricant on the stanchion, and keeping the saddle clamp bolt well lubbed. I checked the air pressure, a number of times, and it never varied. The seat clamp has been creak and squeak free, and it didn’t move if the bolt was clamped down properly. The rough anti-slip zone on the post insertion area helped it from slipping lower, but it would oddly rotate on rare occasions.

The middle Cruiser position was quite handy, and was useful in technical spots and climbs, as it gave you more maneuverability and stability. In addition it worked well on downhills where the slope wasn’t as steep, letting you keep the saddle out of the way, and your center of gravity low. Any time it got steep and deep, or in really ugly terrain, the Descender mode was used, since it allowed maximum movement without any saddle interference, or you could remain seated with a low centering. On occasion I would hit the remote accidentally when I was trying to shift, and vice-versa, due to there close proximity to each other, giving me a somewhat awkward moment.

Bottom Line
I have enjoyed my time with the Specialized Command Post, and it has been reliable, smooth and a very functional post. The saddle rail clamp is an especially sweet feature, and allows easy micro adjustment of the position and pitch, and it has been creak free. The somewhat complex mechanical system gave me no issues, and the collet and adjustable air spring internals have worked exceptional well, with three solid locking positions, although the upward return can be a fast clunk. The remote works fine, although the top of the activation lever needs a groove to prevent the cables crushing.

The Command Post has been a fine mechanical adjustable seatpost, that has done its job without issue. It has made my riding more enjoyable and functional, since with a tap of the remote lever, the saddle height can be quickly changed, anywhere that the terrain requires an alteration.

Strengths
– Reliable and durable
– Simple
– No stiction
– No slop
– Collet locking is solid
– 3 positions

Weaknesses
– Remote requires proprietary cable (2011 will use normal shift cable)
– Lack of cable groove on the activation lever
– Air spring return is loud and forceful, some damping would be nice
– Sticky remote

MSRP: $300

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Specs
– On-the-fly adjustable ride via a handlebar mounted lever
– Keyed, locking system eliminates saddle movement
– Exclusive mechanical 3-position locking height adjustment: full extension, 100mm drop, and 35mm cruiser position
– 4″ (100 mm) of height adjustment
– Remote lever only – both left and right hand versions available
– Sizes: 31.6 mm and 30.9 mm diameters with 400mm length
– Weight: 520 grams (post only)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Do you plan on doing a review of the Rockshox Reverb post. I am so torn between the Command post and the Reverb.

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Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet October 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I just pinged my Rock Shock rep about getting one to test.

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Anonymous December 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm

this is very good for you, ybg 🙂

Reply

Alain January 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm

You forgot to add negative: weight

I'm all for mechanical post (seeing so many hydrolic fail or require non trivial maintenance) that I started with Gravity Dropper (super easy service, spring too strong/loud and can't adjust unlike CP). Even though CP uses air spring, it is a LOT heavier than dropper and Joplin 4 (I have all 3). I like fixed position better (want to know I fully raised due to bad knees) but wish CP wasn't so hefty compare to my other 2.

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Brian Mullin - Gram and Pastajet February 28, 2012 at 1:18 am

I haven't measured the Gravity Dropper, so I can't comment on its weight, the new Blacklite version of the CP, is lighter, and most of the adjustable seatpost are within the same weight range, none of them are in the least bit light compared to a normal post, so saving 50-60 grams compared to 200-300 grams isn't even close?

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