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Being Frank: Smooth As Silk

eesilk plus gravel
Brent Graves - CEO & President

Being Frank: Smooth As Silk

February 2023

In 2018 we introduced a seat post that was designed to make one’s road bike more forgiving or compliant on rough roads. Combined with larger volume tires that were increasingly popular, the post could open up more route options as riders looked to get further away from cars. Our popular Thudbuster was too big and heavy for road bikes but worked very well due to its parallel linkage design. So we started working on a “Thud-Lite” post that distilled the concept into a slim-looking lightweight design. 

The result was a post that provided up to 20mm of travel but weighed only about a Snickers bar more than the posts most bikes come with. We offered it with both aluminum (less expensive) and carbon fiber (less weight) shafts along with a range of elastomers (rubber-like springs) to adjust performance for various rider sizes. As our goal was to make all roads as smooth as possible, or “smooth as silk”, the post was named eeSilk.

Since the introduction of the eeSilk post, gravel riding became more and more popular. So in 2021 we introduced a second version of the eeSilk post with 50% more travel that added an unnoticeable amount of weight. This 35mm travel post was dubbed eeSilk+ (as in “plus”). Where the standard eeSilk knocks the edge off bumps with an effect similar to dropping 10 psi of tire pressure, the eeSilk+ is much more active and absorbs bigger impacts found on many gravel and dirt roads. It too has a range of elastomers to dial in the performance.

Back in 2017 when we were developing the eeSilk post we had planned to offer a complementing stem. The two together could transform a bike’s compliance, there’s that word again that I’ll get to in a bit, for a fraction of the cost of buying a new bike with similar characteristics built into the frame. But our target for the stem was too extreme. While the stem was lightweight and had very good function, it was very expensive and had a polarizing appearance. So we cancelled the stem and brought the post to market by itself. The development team was depressed, and the sales and marketing teams lamented not having the compliance “system” to talk about.

At the end of 2019 we started the stem project anew with more realistic targets – a stem we thought most gravel riders would like – and launched it in June 2022. Like the posts, the eeSilk stem features easy to change elastomers, as we believe the easier it is to change them, the more likely riders will get the most benefit. But to offer even more rider benefit, we opted to add a lever that enables unrestricted bump absorption or a significantly reduced movement mode. The lever enables the rider to run a softer elastomer spring for maximum compliance without compromise to out-of-the-saddle pedaling. Without the lever, some riders would feel the need to run stiffer elastomers all the time, and thus get less compliance benefit.

So what do we mean by compliance? For decades, particularly before bicycle suspension, bicycle frames were described as more or less compliant from one to another. For example, even today it is generally accepted that a steel frame has a more compliant ride than an aluminum frame. Compliance in this context refers to the physics definition wherein a material deforms more elastically. So we are saying a bike is smoother and more forgiving on rougher road surfaces when we say it is more compliant. And adding an eeSilk stem and/or post will make any bike more compliant. Whether one wants to breathe new life into an old bike or make their modern bike more comfortable and versatile, adding eeSilk post and stem can do so easily and economically.

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