02 February 2009

bikefix Exclusive Review: Syntace SuperLock seatpost collar

If you don’t already know from reading past reviews, I tend to like Syntace’s stuff, and this seat collar is no exception. If a seat collar seams like an odd bit of aftermarket equipment- it is, and it’s not something I used to pay much attention to. However, once I started doing product reviews, I started to notice these types of things. One wet muddy week-long trip in particular made me wish for a different seat post collar. So when I saw the Syntace SuperLock collar, I had to try it.

The collar is minimal in design- using just enough aluminum to get the job done. One cool thing is that Syntace made the SuperLock wider and bigger than most collars and then machined away most of the material. The skeletal look is cool with the added bonus that it is both light and large- making it easier loosen and tighten, even with gloves on.

For me, the best feature (and the one I wished I had during my muddy week) is the tool-less tighten/loosen adjustment on the side. This is not a novel idea and I have seen other seat collars with this feature, but none so perfectly designed and executed. It has a small dial on the side where you would normally stick the Allen wrench which you can twist with your fingers. On other collars with this feature, the dial has been a weak spot because it would always end-up twisting too easily. Syntace prevents this by inserting a plastic disk that creates drag on the threads of the screw. It is an effective and proven solution right out of the hardware industry. I don’t have enough time on this product to tell you how long the plastic disk will do its job, but I have faith that it will be quite awhile (and it is easily replaced too). This aspect is great if you live where it is muddy because you can quickly adjust the seat collar to compensate for the amount of grit and gunk that starts to build-up in the seat-tube. This is not a big issue for folks who never drop their seat posts on the downhill, or folks who have adjustable height posts (ala Crank Borthers' Joplin or the Gravity Dropper), but the rest of us will enjoy not having to keep an Allen wrench handy. I don’t live or often ride where it’s muddy, but I have noticed that the bolt in my old seat collar tends to loosen as I repeatedly drop the post, and I usually have to get an Allen wrench out and adjust it. It’s really nice to be able to do it with two fingers instead. It also stops me from leaving it a bit too loose while riding- simply because I was too lazy to get the tool out- and then getting angry when the seat post twists while am grunting thorough a tech section (yes, I have done this). Anyplace designers can eliminate the need for a tool (without a compromise) on a bike is a good idea in my book.

The Superlock has other nice features too: I like the Stainless steel insert between the lever and clamp which means the metal won’t wear as quickly and when it finally does- you can just replace the lever. It also has a basic weather-seal on the top that helps keep dirt and mud from entering your seat-tube which is really cool and surprisingly effective.

Despite its skeletal look, it has smooth corners and has yet to snag my riding shorts- which some QR’s can do. I didn’t use it, but the Superlock collar also comes with a tiny plastic screw to tap into a “M4” hole in the seat tube- to keep the collar from twisting which can occasionally be a problem on some bike/post combinations.

The SuperLock is very light (48grams) and it can be one more way for someone to take a few grams off their bike (but I like all of the other features more). The Superlock should last quite some time- I have yet to see any Syntace component break. That’s not to say it isn’t possible, just a testament to the engineering and quality that goes into their products. The Superlock retails for around $45.



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