It’s safe to say that S.D.G
.’s I-Beam seat and post system has come of age. After a full year on the pro racing circuit with teams such as Maxxis Factory and Iron Horse/MadCatz, the system has proven its mettle under fire. Geoff Kabush used an I-Beam system to win the 2004 NORBA cross-country and short-track points series. Downhill stars like Sam Hill and Colin Bailey competed on I-Beam all season, as did the Giant-Maxxis cyclocross team, featuring Adam Craig. Freeriders Eric Porter and Aaron Chase put the system to the test on a daily basis. For 2005 the GT, Sinister, Mongoose and Honda G-Cross squads, including Todd Wells, Eric Carter, and Greg Minnaar, have added their names to the roster, along with Specialized’s DH/freeride prodigy Kyle Strait.Product managers are perhaps the best litmus test of all, and several major brands, including Cannondale, Dahon, GT, Haro, Iron Horse, Mongoose, Norco, Santa Cruz and Whyte have chosen the I-Beam system as original equipment for 2005 models. Several more O.E.M.’s are reportedly signing on for 2006.
Not surprisingly, seat post makers are now working to provide posts for I-Beam seats. Premium, Titec and S.D.G. already offer their own I-Beam posts, while Thomson, E-13, Kore, S.I.C., Profile Design, Gravity Dropper, Stone Edge, Promax and others have posts in development. S.D.G.’s own seat post design allows for more than two inches of fore/aft adjustment and 130 degrees of tilt, with a claimed assembly time of only 15 seconds. S.D.G.’s posts range from 229 grams for the 2014 aluminum model, down to 165 grams for the new 300 mm carbon
The question must be asked; Do we really need another new standard? “I’ve witnessed first-hand that new standards are often ultimately rejected because the benefits don’t outweigh the inherent inertia of the industry,” says S.D.G. spokesman Steve Cuomo. “From the moment I saw a rough I-Beam prototype years ago I knew this design had a bright future because it had the potential to be significantly lighter, stronger, less expensive, easier to use, and also afford a wider range of adjustment.”
The benefits of which Cuomo speaks have persuaded cyclists from nearly all disciplines to give I-Beam a go. Current OEM spec includes freeride, bmx, dirt jump, downhill, and cross country. Roadies may follow, as S.D.G. has signed an elite U.S. road team, Velostream.tv/Target Training, featuring Chann McCrae, to race I-Beam in 2005.
“Probably the biggest question in people’s minds is comfort. They assume that compliance must come from shell flex. We’ve taken a different tack, engineering our foam padding, rather than the shell, to provide much of the compliance. Our test machines show that our I-Beam seats deflect as much as our traditional-railed seats under normal loads. Magazines such as Mountain Bike Action, TwentySix, Velo Vert and What Mountain Bike generously praised the comfort of the current I-Beam seats, and we believe our new Bel-Airs have raised that bar even higher,” says Cuomo.
I-Beam seat bases, which are clamped to the post without need for traditional metal rails, are made from fiber composite material, saving 50-100 grams of weight versus comparable titanium-railed seats. The new S.D.G. Bel-Air SL comes in at a svelte 169 grams, complete with generous padding and a carbon fiber finish similar to Sram derailleurs. For more aggressive or larger riders, S.D.G. offers their grey-colored SuperTough base material, which is alloyed with rubber to provide extra toughness. Seat bag mounts compatible with Topeak’s QR system are available for most of the seven S.D.G. I-Beam seat models. Haro, Velo and Premium Products also offer I-Beam seats. E-13, Profile Design and Kore are among the companies with I-Beam seats under development.
S.D.G. products are distributed in the U.S.A. by Seattle Bike Supply, Wilson, and B.T.I., as well as Performance Bicycle. For more information call 800-RIDE SDG or visit www.SDGUSA.com
-end-O.E.M.’S USING I-BEAM SYTEMS
WhytePRO TEAMS AND INDIVIDUALS USING I-BEAM SYSTEMS
Team G-Cross Honda (including Greg Minnaar)
Maxxis Factory (including Geoff Kabush)
Iron Horse/MadCatz (including Sam Hill)
Team Mongoose (including Eric Carter)
Team GT (including Todd Wells and Randy Stumpfhouser)
Giant/Maxxis Cyclocross (including Adam Craig)
Velostream.tv/Target Training (including Chann McCrae)
Aaron Chase, Cannondale
April Lawyer, Puma/Intense/Maxxis
Eric Porter, Iron Horse
Lisa Sher, Chumba Wumba
Kyle Strait, Specialized
Chris Van Dine
John Jesme, Ellsworth