Specialized has released a few different iterations of their Command Post over the years, with the IRCC model reviewed below being the latest version that allows the rider to fine-tune the height of their saddle by way of ten micro-adjust positions once you've lowered the post by 25mm. Specialized calls this their Cruiser Control technology, and it should be a big step forward over the IRCC's predecessor that offered three set seat heights. The mechanically controlled, air sprung Command Post IRCC is available in 75, 100, and 125mm travel options, as well as 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters. The 125mm, 30.9mm model I spent my time on weighed 586 grams on my scale, including the new SRL remote but without any cable or housing. MSRP $350 USD.
Command Post IRCC Details
• Intended use: having fun
• Travel: 75, 100, 125mm (tested)
• Travel type: indexed
• Adjustable air spring
• Cable operated
• Routing: internal
• SRL and grip-mount remotes incl.
• Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
• Weight: 586 grams (post and SRL remote)
• MSRP: $350 USD
Just like Specialized's earlier Command Post designs, the IRCC employs an expanding collet system that locks the post into position by engaging with notches machined into the inner wall of the post's lower tube. The purely mechanical design uses a wedge that sits inside of the expanding collet, and pushing the thumb lever extracts the wedge from within the collet and allows it to relax inwards away from the notches. This frees the post to move up or down through its travel. Release the thumb lever and the spring-loaded wedge retracts back into the collet, forcing it to expand outwards into one of the notches and locking the seat post into position.
The IRCC features a three-stage travel system: the top 25mm of travel is non-indexed, meaning the seat is either all the way up or lowered to the first indexing point at 25mm. Below that is 45mm of micro-adjust, with ten different positions to choose from in that 45mm (making it 4.5mm per position). The bottom 50mm of travel is non-indexed, so you're either running the post fully lowered or up 50mm so that it locks into the lowest micro-adjust position. Got that? Good.
An air spring that runs between 15 and 20 PSI provides rebound, and the valve at the post's head can be accessed without removing or angling the seat back, not something that can be said of all of the internally routed posts that feature a head-mounted valve. And speaking of routing, the IRCC is only available in an internally routed setup - that's the IR in the name while the CC stands for the ten-position Cruiser Control design.
Specialized has decided to go with a single-bolt head, a decision that is obviously going to save some weight over to a dual, opposing-bolt setup. Anyone who's used a seat post with a single clamp bolt knows all too well how coming down hard on the seat can cause it to tilt back, regardless of how crazy you get with the hex keys, but the IRCC's single-bolt setup is very different than what Specialized's used to employ. Rather than wedges that are supposed to lock into place but often don't, the IRCC's rail clamps squeeze down onto the post's head that's shaped like an arch. The saddle angle is determined by where the clamps sit on this arch, and the design should resist unwanted tilting no matter how hard you come down on the seat.
The IRCC includes Specialized's awesome SRL remote lever that mimics the position and feel of a shifter's thumb paddle. That means that anyone who's ever operated a front derailleur should feel at home using the SRL lever, but Specialized also includes their standard grip-mounted remote that will be the way to go if your bike has a front shifter on it - the SRL remote won't work for you, sorry.
The Command Post IRCC I've been using came stock on a 6Fattie test bike and was performing flawlessly, but that's no reason not to take it off and mess around with it. That also gave me a chance to re-install the seat post, which turned out to be easier than making a smoothie but slightly more difficult than pouring yourself a bowl of cereal. Do you own a set of hex keys and possess a small amount of common sense? Then you've got this.
The cable and housing run through the frame, and then the cable is clamped into a barrel that sits in the actuation arm. The housing stop is slotted, and the barrel can be popped out easily, so you can disconnect the seat post and remove it in about twenty seconds, but without messing up the cable tension settings. And speaking of cable tension, setting it correctly is only a matter of pulling it slightly snug and tightening down the tiny set screw in the barrel with a 2mm hex key - thankfully, you can use 3mm key to hold the opposite side so the barrel doesn't spin in your fingers. Any tension adjustment can be done via a barrel adjuster at the lever, but the IRCC isn't finicky in that regard. Performance
The first thing that any rider using the IRCC is going to notice is how its SRL remote is invisible. Well, it's obviously not invisible, but it is exactly
where you'd expect it to be when you need it; no reaching, no unwrapping the thumb any more than is necessary. I'd agree that most companies are pretty dialed on this front, but the SRL remote feels like the best of the bunch, probably because I've spent twenty years pushing the thumb paddle of a front shifter and that is exactly what the SRL has been modeled after. Specialized's tiny grip-mounted remote is also nice, but the SRL is next level.
The IRCC's action is smooth, but it does have a distinctly mechanical feel about it. That's to be expected - it is a mechanical post, after all - and I'm a fan of the positive, 'ka-chung' action that won't leave you guessing as to what's going on beneath you. The return stroke is extremely fast compared to everyone but Fox, and while it'd be easy to make a joke about the Command Post being the least expensive way to get a vasectomy, I've never had any issues with it in that regard. The post goes up quick and puts the seat back where you need it in the blink of an eye, which is exactly what it should do. It also makes a noticeable topping out 'clunk' that lets you know the job is done. No guessing here.
Lowering the IRCC is a cinch, and it was never difficult to get those last five or ten millimeters of travel just by staying seated, even at its maximum air pressure of just 20 PSI. The Cruiser Control system is neat, and I appreciate the ability to micro tune the seat's height in a 45mm window, but I'm not sold on the CC function only being accessible once you've lowered the post by at least 25mm. Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I find myself most often looking for the seat to be just a handful of millimeters lower when I'm faced with a technical or steep climb that I might need to dab on or could benefit from a bit of extra confidence. But to access the IRCC's 45mm micro-adjust window, you need to lower the post by at least 25mm. The final 50mm of travel to bottom-out is non-indexed. When I'm descending, I usually want it slammed for maximum fun levels, or dropped by 35mm or so for rolling terrain.
Ideally, I'd like to see the 45mm of Cruiser Control micro-adjust right at the top of the post's stroke for fine tuning, with a more noticeable indexed middle position right under that, ala the original Command Post.
The latest Command Post receives a perfect grade when it comes to reliability: no hiccups and no serious issues. The post's mechanical internals and quick return speed weren't affected by chilly riding temps, either, which gives it the leg up over most hydraulically controlled dropper posts. And as for side-to-side wiggle, there are maybe two or three millimeters of play at the seat's nose, which is basically nothing.Issues
As mentioned above, I found myself wishing that Specialized had put the Cruiser Control function at the top of the post's stroke, but I might be in the minority on that one. My only other real gripe is that I wish a 150mm travel option were available. The 125mm model I've been using will be more than enough for a lot of riders, but having spent most of the year on a 150mm dropper, I found myself noticing how the seat was 25mm closer to my underside than I'd prefer. Pinkbike’s Take:
|Reliability is still the big issue for dropper seat posts, and if a dropper can prove its worth on that front, it's a winner in my books. The Command Post IRCC does exactly that while costing less than most of its competition. And while I'd like to see more travel and a change up to the micro-adjust positions, it is definitely worth putting on your shortlist if you're looking for a new dropper. - Mike Levy|
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