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Photo ©: Schaaf

On test: Reynolds Ouzo Comp seatpost, January 14, 2006

Ooh, ooh, me, too! Me, too!

"A post either works or it doesn't" says James Huang. Reynolds' Ouzo Comp seatpost worked.

Reynolds uses rarely-used, roll-wrapped
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image) Reynolds uses rarely-used, roll-wrapped  carbon fiber construction in the mast of their Ouzo Comp post to provide maximum stiffness.

When it comes to carbon seatposts, the de facto construction method of choice that is all too common these days is to buy some off-the-shelf braided carbon tubing and glue on a similarly off-the-shelf head. Once you've slapped your own label on it, you can call it good. If you've occasionally thought that many of the carbon posts currently on the market right now look nearly identical, that's because they are.

When "good enough" isn't "good enough"

Reynolds Composites, however, isn't restricted by existing carbon tubing offerings, so they chose to use "roll wrapped" construction on the carbon fibre mast of their Ouzo Comp post. As compared to most other methods of carbon construction, roll wrapping allegedly produces a significantly stiffer tube since all of the carbon fibers are positioned at a zero degree orientation.

The mast itself is also conveniently marked for height adjustments as is becoming more common these days, but personally, I don't really understand what all the hoopla is about. Sure, the graduations make minor adjustments a little easier, but unless those markings were to read what your actual saddle height was from the top of the saddle down to the BB spindle or whatnot (which would be impossible), the markings aren't all that useful as far as I'm concerned.

Elegant cold-forged head
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image) Elegant cold-forged head  is provides ample rail support and adjustment range and is impressively low-profile.

A bespoke polished alloy head is bonded to the top of the mast with some sort of super silly glue in a manner that is actually rather attractive. The head itself is quite clever, incorporating about 25mm of setback and an outstanding two-bolt clamp that not only works well, but is also easy to adjust as the bolt heads are conveniently angled for good tool accessibility. The mating T-nuts up top have a ton of threads, too, making them more difficult to strip for the ham-fisted mechanic. The clamp length measures in at nearly 40mm which provides more than adequate support for lightweight rails yet still retains about 45mm of fore-aft adjustment on most saddle rails. Aesthetically speaking, the Ouzo Comp head is possibly the best-looking two-bolt setback head I've ever encountered, with an impossibly slim and elegant design that just about any frame would be proud to wear.

So how's it feel?

It's rather pretty, no?
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image) It's rather pretty, no?

Out on the road, there isn't really much to say. A post either works or it doesn't, and the Ouzo Comp does its job quite well. In spite of the slick, clear-coated finish, the post never slipped in the frame and it held a saddle tightly throughout testing. Carbon fiber is supposed to provide a measurable amount of vibration damping, but I honestly couldn't tell much of a difference as compared to the aluminium model that this post replaced (then again, this post was used on a frame with traditional geometry so there wasn't much sticking out of the frame). Our 27.2mm diameter post was not the lightest thing around at 226g, but it's still in the ballpark particularly considering the generous 350mm length. On a positive note, that extra-long shaft should accommodate the gangliest of riders on the most compact of frames, and weight-weenies will likely be able to lop off a significant amount of carbon fiber to shave some grams.

If all-out lightness is what you're after above all else, your money is likely better spent elsewhere. However, if you don't mind a little extra weight for one of the best-designed and best-looking posts around (in my opinion, at least) and the amount of setback works for you, look no further.

Suggested retail price: US$110
Weight: 226g
Pro: Outstanding head design and top-quality carbon fiber construction, reasonable cost
Con: If only I weren't so spoiled by some of the ultra-lightweight posts currently available...
More information: www.reynoldscomposites.com
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