Just In – Specialized Blacklite and POC Trabec Race

by Brian Mullin on August 18, 2011

The Specialized Command Post Blacklite is a refinement of their older dropper post, and it’s lighter, has a new remote system and two additional travel options. The BlackLite is about 100 grams lighter than the initial Command Post, due to the use of a bonded head instead of threaded, and a fluted lower tube. The internals are basically the same, using a mechanical 3-position system, with Power, Cruiser, and Descender positions, that helps maximize and optimize body geometry and center of gravity for different trail conditions. The BlackLite is available in 30.9 and 31.6 diameters and 75mm, 100mm and 125mm travel options. It comes in black with red accents, and retails for $275.

Company Specs and Fodder:
We designed the Command Post BlackLite to have three consistent—and most importantly—repeatable saddle height positions. This is crucial for riders and racers who demand the ability to quickly toggle between optimum climbing and descending body positions.

  • Visit the Blacklite website
  • 100g lighter than previous model
  • Bonded head for a lighter and more secure fitting on seatpost
  • Three versions of drop-adjustability for bike and rider size: 125mm, 100mm, and 75mm
  • Available in 30.9mm and 31.6mm seatpost diameter
  • Quick-release engagement cable on the post head makes setup and removal simple

Impressions
In a nutshell, the Blacklite 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. I tested the 125mm travel version, and its three positions are the Power position or full extension, Cruiser, which is 35mm below Power, and the Descender, which is 125mm below Power.

The new remote system is a vast improvement over its predecessor, with simpler installation, easier adjustability and usage. It now uses a normal derailer cable, and the cable end inserts into a barrel, which then pops into the seatposts actuator arm. The barrel makes it easy to adjust the proper cable length for installation, and the barrel itself can be popped out, so that the seatpost can be removed and used on another bike (with its own remote). You also splice an adjuster in at the lever end of the cable, so fine-tuning of the actuation can be easily controlled.

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. 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. I have used the infinite adjustable seatposts, and I have found that the three positions work 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 Blacklite is its simplicity. Being a mechanical system, it has no need for regular maintenance for functionality, or it’s reliable, and has great long-term durability. The Blacklite didn’t have any stiction issues, and it slid up and down along smoothly, with very little slop felt in the saddle. The Blacklite has been a fine mechanical adjustable seatpost, that has done its job without issue. I really like the adjustment from any lower position to full extension, as it happens with a snap, but finding the middle spot can be a bit annoying sometimes?

Measured Weight (125mm post):

  • Post – 440.4 grams
  • Remote system -127.7 grams
  • Total – 568.2 grams

POC Trabec Race
The Swedish based POC company was predominantly a snow sport protection company, that has been delving into the bike protection world, and they have always had safety at the forefront of their research and technology. They were showing their very trick Trabec mountain bike helmet, which comes in two flavors, the Trabec Race and Trabec. The helmet extends down the back of the neck, and it uses Aramid combined with EPS foam for protection. They borrowed its construction from how the human skeleton is built, which is spongy and resilient, but it works in a synergistic manner to offer strength, resistance and durability. The outer polycarbonate shell has optimized sections that don’t have seams in the most vulnerable areas, and its bonded to the reinforced core, for strength and lightweight. Retail for the Race version is $175.

Company Specs and Fodder:
The Trabec Race in-mold helmet for single track and enduro, is developed to provide the highest possible degree of protection without compromising functionality or performance. The construction is borrowed from how a skeleton is built for resistance and durability. The Aramid filament reinforced EPS core is tough, and the outer PC shell is optimized with no seams at the most exposed areas. An aerodynamic channel system and 16 vent holes provides good ventilation. Compared to a traditional helmet, which sits on top rather than around your head, Trabec fits more like a skateboard helmet. The Trabec Race model has extra aramid reinforcements.

  • Visit the POC Trabec website
  • Sizes: XS-S, M-L & XL-XXL
  • Colors: Orange/White, White/Orange, Black/White

Impressions
The Trabec Race is a pretty comfortable helmet, that has a nice set of safety features. It’s not the most fashionable looking helmet, and it looks sort of blocky and bulbous perched on top of your head, but safety is its preeminent point, not fashion. The helmet offers excellent protection, coming deeply over the ears, and drooping far down onto the neck. The additional coverage certainly adds a great sense of reassurance for protection in case of a crash, and in addition, the hidden safety features such as the Aramid reinforcement and their fantastic engineering designs. The helmet has 16 large air vents, which help air flow, but it can still feel a bit warm compared to a highly ventilated cross country helmet. Sometimes safety had some compromises? It has an adjustable visor, that allows it to swing up and down, but it’s a pretty subtle amount, and I wish it had a greater degree of movement.

It comes with two sets of padding, one thicker than the other, which allows for micro alteration for varying head shapes and sizes. It is adjusted with four systems, a chin strap, two ear clamps, a rear circumference closure and a three-point height setting. The straps are set into the EPS foam, and the inner end piece of the chinstrap isn’t adjustable, so I ended up having to have the outer chin strap too close to the ear clamp. On every ride, I used the rear closure and chin strap, opening them for spinning, and then closing tightly for technical terrain and running downhill. They all worked pretty well, but I did find that the left-side ear clamp liked to drift downward? I think the strap system needs some reworked, as it just doesn’t function properly? Nitpick!

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