Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Love Clamp

Ah, the simple seatpost clamp. The horseshoe crab of the bike world, it's barely evolved since it was first introduced. And why should it? It has but one simple job to perform, and it performs it admirably. (Nowadays, in a world of slammed seats, it doesn't even need to hold the seatpost up—just make sure it doesn't twist or fall out.) Function dictates form. They generally weigh less than an ounce and cost less than $10.



So why does it seem that everyone is in such a rush to make them extinct?

The advantages of a built-in clamp are few, and questionable:
  • You might be able to run your seat lower.
  • It might be a few grams lighter.
  • You need one fewer part.
  • It looks smoother.
That's it. As far as I can tell, there are just as many disadvantages:
  • More welds.
  • Way easier to overtighten.
  • If the bolt breaks off, it's a major hassle.
  • If it's really low, and something cracks, you're fucked.
I suppose it could be a lot worse—we could still be using Primo Vikings and those completely ridiculous Mongoose three-bolt clamps (of which no photographic proof seems to exist on the Internets), both of which weighed about as much as a modern seatpost. There have been other attempts at change as well, like a hinged offering from Dia-Compe in the '80s and the two-piece from both Dia-Compe (stick to brakes, fellas) and DK. But it appears we've moved beyond those bumps in the road, and the humble seatpost clamp in its current form is a product of engineering perfection. Lightweight, simple, functional, replaceable, inexpensive.

Save the seatpost clamp!

37 comments:

Stephen said...

I like a clamp. My Coalition clamp does exactly what I want it to do. If I had one complaint about the pantera 2 it would have to be the built in clamp. I just don't trust it.

I guess I better stock up on clamps and tubes.

bobby p said...

i agree 100%! i like the look of a frame without a built in clamp on it. but my last 3 frames have a built in clamp. what are you gonna do i guess?

Anonymous said...

The best clamp in the world is the federal slim it means you can cut down your frame so it looks intergrated and looks way cleaner .

Seat clamps in frames i dont mind as it is one less part and the seat can go lower .

But who ever made that stupid wedge mod should pay!!!

Si said...

http://bmxmuseum.com/bikes/mongoose/13993
http://bmxmuseum.com/image/7c7d_12_lg.jpg


Here's the three bolt clamp

Si said...

and here,

http://bmxmuseum.com/bikes/mongoose/10999

nice pic eh?

soupbowl said...

I love lamp-brick tamland

todd from albe's said...

first, nice horseshoe crab reference. second, you'd be suprised (or maybe not) at how many people come in shopping for a very specific clamp and won't settle for a substitute based solely on weight. customer: "do you have the "X" clamp?", me: "no, but we have "Y" and they're basically the same thing" customer: "but the "X" weighs 4.6 grams and the "Y" is 4.9".
i once told one of those people to just cut the plastic ends off his shoe laces and he'd save the same amount of weight...i'm pretty sure he went home and ordered the clamp he wanted from Empire then told all his friends what a dick i am.

Russ said...

Haha, awesome.

My current frame has a built-in clamp, of course. When I first got it, I overtightened it, the bolt snapped, and it took me days to get another one—not to mention it was annoying getting the broken end out.


Stupid bikes.

Russ said...

Also, I've used a lot of different clamps in my day, and my favorite remains the Standard one with "SBC DESTROY" engraved in it. Why? Because it has "SBC DESTROY" engraved in it.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that title is an Anchorman "I love lamp" reference.

Darren H. said...

Remember when we the magazines informed us that double clamps were NECESSARY to prevent you from cracking your frame at the seat tube junction? I remember guys running more than one, too. Now I can hardly see what the big deal was, but if I was riding an '88 Haro Master, a double clamp might be a good investment.....

I still have a Primo Viking on my old HB EP....

Russ said...

anonymous 11:25: Of course.

darren: I have a Peregrine double on my Standard Tao because it IS cracked at the toptube/seatstay junction due to a shimmed post (stupid 27.0 Standards).

Anonymous said...

Magilla has a three-bolt Mongoose clamp!

ben said...

The Odyssey Mr. Clampy i think is/was the best clamp made. Captive nut so you can't strip anything out.

Not sure why my intergrated clamp frame don't have that too.

Dave said...

My 3 bolt mongoose clamp had the middle bolt stripped out. I don't so having the outer 2 was pretty handy I guess.

I miss my mongoose expert comp.

Shea said...

nice work Si and yes, that is indeed a fine picure.

slodogg said...

I still have a black DK two piece clamp lying around somewhere. That thing was sick!

VxD said...

I had a primo viking :(

bobby p said...

what are you talking about russ! 27.0 was "innovative" and for "the refined rider" you just need to be more refined i guess.

Russ said...

Being refined is admittedly not my strong point. Although I actually LIKE the idea of a 27.0 seattube—larger welding surface and whatnot. Then again, the Standard uses a 27.0 and a regular 1" clamp, which means it's super-thin tubing, which is probably why it cracked in the first place.

Regardless, I wasn't the original owner. And I barely ride it anyway. Flatland isn't my strong point, either.

Albert said...

I have a DK Double in my parts bin.

On top of that I have been running the same magical Huffy seatpost clamp for the last few years. It is basic as could be and the strongest one I have ever used. Snapped a Standard, FBM, and Primo before getting on this one.

Anonymous said...

i love...sprocket

Anonymous said...

double bolt for life.

Drew K said...

I strongly dissagree with you on this subject(Dose that sound smart? Good). Ive had the Fit Hawk frame for 6 months and I've had NO problems with it EVER. Simple, clean, saves money, saves weight(if your into that),and dosnt scratch the frame where a seat clamp would. Its one of the reasons I bought the Hawk frame.

jeff said...

I don't like the built in ones at all. What happens if you strip it? Your totally screwed.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Todd....he's a dick

Anonymous said...

I wuv my cwamps.

Of course, "cwamps" can be cute talk for clamps, or crampes.

Which did I mean?

Who knows!

brian said...

I still have a primo viking (along with a casket). why did i buy either of those things? because primo parts were the things to have in 1998.

also, hasn't it been publicly known that Todd's A Jerk since what, 94? 95?

Russ said...

I think I've got a Viking on Project: Tank. When I actually rode a double, I started with 2 stacked 7/8" clamps, then a GT double (probably on my Dirt Bike), then eventually had a Kink double on my STA. It seemed cooler than the Viking because it was (gasp) CNCed!

The funny thing about the Mongoose triple is that no one (except Bontrager) was even doing triple-bolt STEMS.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure my WeThePeople Supreme seatclamp weights almost the same as an integrated seat clamp...

brien said...

Thompson currently makes a triple-bolt stem.

Anonymous said...

I do agree i like having a seat clamp it's one more thing i can customize on my bike, style points boy's style points.

Russ said...

I'd just rather have the simplest frame possible. The fewer welds and add-ons the better, as far as I'm concerned.

jamesswanberg said...

I disagree. Frames with built in clamps look cool to me and as we all know BMX is about looking cool to me.

North said...

http://northcoast.de/wp-content/bikecheck/mon94.jpg

the missing 3-bolt clamp from mongoose on my first bmx bike....

Anonymous said...

S&M

Rob D said...

I remember having a double bolt Haro clamp up until about 3 years ago. Luckily my friend gave me a single bolt Haro stem to rock!

I've now made myself a wedge mod which you probably would hate Russ, but hey, all that machining i had to do was fun.

I have recently found myself giving up the come up for your site, and diversitybmx so you better keep up the good work. Seeing a death to the come up would be fantastic.