By Zack Vestal
Seatposts with 1-bolt saddle rail clamps are not uncommon—in fact, several designs have all proven to work just fine. But Ritchey’s WCS 1-Bolt system is especially effective in that it’s adaptable to saddles with different rail dimensions.
As carbon saddle rails find their way onto more saddles, the issue of saddle clamp compatibility becomes more common. Ritchey addresses the issue by making different clamp sizes available for their 1-bolt posts (which are available in both WCS carbon and alloy models). The most common, standard saddle rail size is 7mm by 7mm (round). But Ritchey’s WCS Streem Carbon Rail saddle requires a larger clamp, to fit that model’s 8mm by 8.5mm carbon fiber saddle rails. And if you prefer to run a Fizik saddle with carbon rails, you’ll need a clamp to fit their oval-shaped, 7mm by 9.6mm carbon rails.
The Ritchey 1-Bolt seatpost makes any swapping around of saddles and clamp sizes relatively easy. In addition to different clamp size options upon initial seatpost purchase, Ritchey has clamp kits of various sizes available for retrofit, in the event you choose a different saddle down the road. Plus, the 1-Bolt system is convenient for adjustment, and the clamp itself is well engineered to wrap very far around the saddle rails, for a secure hold and even pressure distribution. I tried both the WCS Streem Carbon Rail saddle and the Streem saddle with standard sized titanium rails. Both are light and comfortable.
The WCS alloy seatpost is a relatively basic, 3D-Net forged 7075-alloy piece. It’s available in:
• 0 or 20mm setback (offset) options,
• 27.2 or 31.6mm diameters,
• 300, 350, or 400mm lengths
• and Wet White, Wet Black, or black anodized colors.
The one I tried, a black anodized, 0-offest, 27.2 by 350mm, with a 7x7mm clamp, sells for $91.95 and weighs 218 grams. Larger posts and the painted (“Wet” look) colors cost a little more. And the 1-Bolt post is also available in WCS carbon fiber, in a smaller range of size options.
Installing the post and saddle was relatively easy, but in my experience, did require completely removing the single bolt and outer pieces of the clamp. The clamp slides around the arc of a curved, beveled cradle at the head of the seatpost. But the outer pieces of the clamp wrap so fully around the top of the saddle rails, I wasn’t able to get the saddle in place without completely removing the bolt and at least one of the outer clamps.
Of course the problem with taking things apart is that they can be tricky to put back together, especially onto a curved cradle. But Ritchey makes it a little easier by using a flexible plastic link to hold the two inner clamp pieces and the single bolt in place. And, I discovered that the saddle clamp could first be easily assembled in place on the seat rails, then rotated into place on the seatpost cradle.
Once put together, securing the saddle is as easy as tightening the single bolt. Saddle tilt adjustment is easy, as is fore-aft along the saddle rails.
I installed both the Streem saddle with titanium rails, and the WCS Streem Carbon Rail saddle with the appropriate clamp kit. The clamp kit comes with a bolt and the two outer clamp pieces for $16.95. The larger 8×8.5mm clamp kit has outer clamp pieces stamped with “CF” on the inside, but visually, it’s hard to see much difference between sizes, and it would be nice if they were color-coded or marked a little more obviously.
As far as the seatpost goes, I had no problems on rides. Nothing loosened up, failed, or caused any problems while riding. Nor did I notice any particular attributes of vibration damping, flex, or stiffness. It’s a seatpost, and it does the job it was built for. I will say that trailside adjustment was easy and I like the sturdy hardware provided. No chance of rounding out the bolt head or stripping the threads. A torque value of 12Nm is specified for the clamp bolt, but even tightening with just a multi tool, it never slipped while I rode.
The saddles are very nice as well. I rode both the WCS Streem Carbon and the Streem with titanium rails. Both are built the same way, with a low-profile shape, a shell base built with 35% injected carbon, “vector wing” anchor points at the tail for the seat rails, and lightweight foam padding with a Lorica cover. Both felt the same riding, but differed by 66 grams (212 grams in titanium vs 146 grams for the carbon) and $80 ($100 vs $180 MSRP).
I like lightweight, firm, low profile saddles like this. They do not offer much padding, but as long as the shape is comfortable, it’s no problem, and that’s the case with the Streem saddles. The nose is relatively flat, so it doesn’t sharply intrude where it’s not supposed to, and the center section flexes just enough to offer a cradling sensation. The tail is a little more rounded than I prefer, but not so much as to be uncomfortable. It’s just wide enough to offer appropriate support. I like a slightly flatter, flared tail to provide a “sweet spot” for my sit bones. But I’ve been perfectly comfortable in most situations on these Streem saddles. The nose could be a little more rounded—it’s got a hard, angled leading edge that could be a problem for mountain biking.
So if you are looking for a versatile, reasonably cost- and weight-effective seatpost, consider the Ritchey WCS 1-Bolt posts. I couldn’t find anything to dislike, and the option for different saddle clamp sizes is nice. And as far as the Streem saddles, the WCS Streem Carbon is hard for a weight freak like me to pass up. It’s one of the lightest around, and feels just fine.