Polymer bearings in adjustable seat posts

Alexander Muzicenko | 5. June 2020

The adjustable seat post is another variation of the seat post and is also called Dropper Post or Vario. This type is mainly used in mountain biking and has the advantage of height adjustment, which can be operated by remote levers. For downhill riding, the support can be lowered and raised for uphill or normal riding. The advantages of polymer bearings in this demanding application are shown below.

High speeds are reached during rapid off-road descents and it is therefore important to maintain control of the bike in every situation. The seat post must be responsive in the shortest possible time and the adjustment must not be noticeable. This requires a plain bearing which avoids the stick-slip effect. This phenomenon occurs when a body is moved whose static friction is significantly greater than the sliding friction. This causes a jerking which is not permissible with a seat post. To counteract this effect, the tribologically optimised polymers from igus, also known under the brand name iglidur, are suitable. In addition, shaft and plain bearings are matched to each other to find the optimum friction combination for your application. At igus, we draw on the experience gained from numerous tests in our own laboratory – over 15,000 tests every year. Furthermore, the rigidity of the overall design can be improved by using pre-loaded bearings.

This special, technically very complex version of a seat post requires intensive maintenance and care. The individual components are exposed to dirt and weathering effects without protection. Here the iglidur plain bearings offer  another advantage: compared to metallic bearings, they do not have to be lubricated and are corrosion-free. The maintenance effort is reduced to a minimum and a longer service life is achieved.

A further challenge for the engineers is the indispensable robustness combined with the required weight reduction. The iglidur polymer plain bearings are 7 times lighter than metallic components. A polymer bearing has a clear advantage in this case, as it not only improves the technology in your application, but also achieves a weight reduction of up to 80%.

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Alexander Muzicenko
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