Campagnolo Super Record seatpost has a lifespan

An adjustable ratchet gives a good position/fit. for tightening down the Super Record seatpost.

For a while there I thought my Campagnolo Super Record seatpost (vintage 1983-84) would outlive me, but now I’m not so sure.

There’s a crack on the lower left seat clamp, a telltale sign that this seatpost is on its way to the trash heap.

Age and miles have caught up to my seatpost. This crack is a sure sign.

My saddle started slipping backwards on rides. I thought I had tightened the seatpost’s 13mm bolt sufficiently, but apparently not.

After trying a piece of innertube to stop the creep (epic fail), I abandoned that idea and used an adjustable-head ratchet/socket wrench and a quality socket to clamp down even tighter. Now the seat’s not moving during my rides, but the crack tells me it’s not going to last. (I need to find out how much torque I applied.)

I researched the subject and found other cyclists who had the same issue.

My seatpost has about 150,000 miles. It has been all over the world and worked flawlessly until now. The single bolt design makes saddle adjustment a cinch. The bottom saddle clamp/top seatpost touch points are smooth. I’ve noticed that some seatposts have ridges, which may reduce slippage.

Jobst Brandt never thought much of the single-bolt seatpost design. He favored the Nuovo Record two-bolt steel seatpost. He may have known that the Super Record seatpost was cast alloy, including the threads that hold the steel bolt.

I learned that the alloy threads can “wear out,” especially if the bolt isn’t greased. There’s an interesting way to “fix” this by using a helicoil. Search on YouTube to find out more about the process that adds a steel insert into an alloy thread. It’s fascinating.

For my needs it would be overkill to attempt this machining trickery. I’d just as soon buy a new seatpost. After all, 38 years isn’t too shabby for a bike part lifespan.

More about the Super Record seatpost: Cycling Obsession, Le Cycleur

6 Responses to “Campagnolo Super Record seatpost has a lifespan”

  1. Stefan Says:

    Had the same problem recently. So far I solved it by applying Ritchey Liquid Torque on the contact surfaces between the lower saddle-clamp piece and the seatpost. However, I still had to clamp it down very tight with a socket wrench.

    • Ray Hosler Says:

      Stefan, check for cracks.

      • Stefan Says:

        No cracks so far….thanks for the heads-up, I’ll keep an eye on it.
        My problem was that the saddle started to rotate slightly after I switched to a different saddle. I think the geometry/lever of the forces changed with the new saddle, and thus the friction between the lower saddle-clamp piece and the seatpost wasn’t enough anymore.

  2. Jon Blum Says:

    That crack may propagate suddenly, leading to failure, a danger to the rider. Please stop using it now; it certainly owes you nothing after 180K miles. Seriously, I will loan you a post if you need one.

    • Ray Hosler Says:

      Jon – I replaced it today. I had a spare seatpost that fit. I’m all too aware of the hazards. I broke two Campagnolo cranks at the pedal eye, both times hitting my head. Jobst Brandt used to inspect his cranks by using dye. That wasn’t enough. He still broke cranks. Stressed components will fail, eventually, no matter what the brand.

  3. Richard Mlynarik Says:

    Jobst’s issue — and by extension mine, and at my fittest I weighed far more than he ever did — with one-bolt seatposts is that is is generally the case that it is the bolt that fails, does so without warning, and is particularly inconvenient to inspect.

    A failed bolt on a two-bolt seatpost is a surprise, but not automatically a short route to disaster. Things get “squishy”, and with some care one notices and stops and considers how to gingerly proceed.

    The entire saddle separating is a very different story. One minute you’re riding, the next you might be sprawling, impaled, or, per Jobst’s macabre cautionary retelling of an incident of a no-hands rider’s seatpost failure on Portola Valley Road, falling backwards headfirst into the road and also sustaining horrific anal injury from being dumped onto the rapidly rotating rear tyre.

    Jobst also had the same opinion of “aheadset” (non-quill) stems with two bolts rather than four clamping the faceplate — single bolt failure could result in the handlebars losing control of the steerer tube, potentially fatally. With three of four fasteners holding there’s time to slow and stop.

    Saddle separation from seatpost has happened to me twice and I avoided injury both times through dumb luck. Once was a bolt failure on a fancy Nitto post “just riding around” in San Francisco, the far more memorable other was when the entire head of the seatpost (Superbe Pro) snapping off, clamp assembly and saddlebag included, while I was impossibly lucky to happen to have been standing on the pedals descending past the town line into Briançon off the col d’Izoard with Jobst in 1996. I could so easily have died had this happened with just slightly different timing.

    Ideally I’d have been riding a very tall Peter Johnson frame with a very short and super-robust two-bolt Super Record seatpost for over a decade now … that regrettaby not being the case I replace longer seatposts every two years.

    You don’t want the seatpost to fail. Trust me. (The only thing worse in the fork.)

    Or, in a Jobst catch phrase, “Don’t DO that!”

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