3T initially developed the concept of their elastomer-isolated saddle clamp together with Felt a couple of years ago for their 2015 aero & road bikes. The idea was that by separating the actual guts of the saddle rail clamp from the post itself, they could keep a lot of the road buzz and vibration from making the last step to your butt. Paired with Felt’s stiff, aero-tubed range and deep aero carbon posts, it was said to offer a good bit of damping and measurably improved comfort. Then 3T also made a round carbon post version for just over a year as well, dubbed the Ionic Comfort post. While the bonded-in round ring was suitable for riding on road, with the large tubed aero gravel Exploro in the works, 3T went back to the drawing board to make the design more robust and capable of the beating that their new bike is hoping to get…
Now that the Exploros are starting to get delivered, the new bikes get a new keyed head design in their D-shaped aero Charlie Sqareo carbon seatposts. The difference is pretty minor, but that’s actually a good thing; 3T basically just put four chamfers on the round insert assembly. Previously the elastomer (and of course the saddle which it was holding) was kept from rotating exclusively by the bond of the resin, which didn’t seem to be an issue on the road. But when 3T hit the dirt in the testing phases with the Exploro, they decided they needed a more secure design, ready for a harder life on the trails. Now, with the new design the elastomer is kept from rotating by its shape within the alloy end of the seatpost, so the resin bond is no longer critical.
The result is that you get all the vibration isolating promise of the original design, with off-road capability, and with no downside. Those new Charlie Sqaero posts are shipping out now with the new gravel bikes.
With the new design, we thought it was curious to see that the Ionic Comfort post is not in 3T’s road catalog for 2017. 3T did talk with us about condensing their line-up, and their new Zero25 post is a good example of that (with more updates on the way in that vein), but we wonder if we might expect to see a standard round post Comfort version with this revised elastomer interface somehow make its way back into the offerings, too.