Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More Like a Road Dampener: Review of Thudbuster LT 3G

8/21/08 Update. At the suggestion of one of the Cane Creek guys, I switched to the softer elastometer combo (Blue-Brown). The result? It does give you a softer ride, but I still think you’d get the same result from a good sprung saddle. I expected the kind of ride you get from a full suspension MTB, but this does not approximate that.


MSRP: $139
Price paid: $120

I had heard good things about the Thudbuster LT 3G so it got me intrigued and I purchased one. Some reviewers said that it was like giving your bike a rear suspension spring. Others said that it was a great on MTB trails as well as urban jungles. My review is less than enthusiastic. I installed the Thudbuster LT 3G on my primary commuting bike, the Schwinn GSD. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

First, it is important to make sure that your seatpost diameter is the same as the ones that Cane Creek (the manufacturer) sells. My first try was by going by the specs from Schwinn. These turned out to be wrong. Your diameter is usually engraved on your seatpost. That is the right size. Cane Creek also gives you shims in case you have a non-standard seatpost.

Installation is straightforward as you just remove the seatpost and put in the new one. It is a good idea to pre-install your saddle on the Thudbuster LT 3G before you put it in. I switched the QR clamp on my post to a bolt-on one to deter theft. (This is always a good idea in urban areas as saddles are thief magnets.)

The Thudbuster LT 3G comes with these cylindrical elastometers that are keyed to your weight. You must pair them up to give you the support you need. My weight is 170 lbs so I went with the blue/blue elastometer combo. Different colored pairs are keyed to different rider weights.

The ride after the Thudbuster LT 3G was a little underwhelming. I expected a springy type experience like a suspension MTB, but I didn’t get it. For example, coming from the sloped end of a driveway to the street curb is a significant bump. The Thudbuster LT 3G doesn’t really soften the bump. You still feel it. I still raise my rear when I leave my driveway. No different than before. If you go through a lot of those road veins/cuts/mini undulations that are not that high and in succession, the Thudbuster LT 3G will “dampen” the ride, but that’s about it.

I considered going to the softer elastometers, but Cane Creek warns against doing this. I guess they fear that a big bump will shred them esp. if your weight overstresses them. You could have an accident and Cane Creek would, theoretically, be liable.

All in all, I would recommend that you save your money and get a spring saddle. It gives the same effect at a reduced price.

3 comments:

josh said...

Hey,

Josh from Cane Creek here. I would suggest a blue/grey combo. I'm about 185 and run the blue/blue. You won't shred the elastomers and if you do, I will take care of you. We do stand by our products and want you to enjoy them. I do prefer a 1cm shorter stem though and measure my seat height so that it's correct in the middle of the "sag" range on the post. This seems to allow everything to perform the best.

Hope this helps,
Josh

pedaling fool said...

Thanks, Josh. I'll try that and report back.

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