Specialized Command Post IRCC Review
Cons: No 150 mm version, hard to find incremental positions, setup can be tricky
Our Analysis and Test Results
Despite presenting itself with a bit of an identity crisis, we're not committing the Command Post IRCC to the looney bin quite yet. Not all of us were fans of the spacing chosen for indexed vs. non-indexed travel. We will argue that the 10 Cruiser Control increments are all but impossible to individually select in an actual riding scenario. In the end, you'll probably settle on a pretty good place for your saddle although you might not feel it's the exact perfect place. This mechanical, air-sprung dropper post has the best remote in the test and offers a competitive price point - it is certainly worthy of your time.
Despite the increasingly popular 1x drivetrain during the last couple years, odds are good you've used a front derailleur before. In which case, the SRL remote (tested) for the Post IRCC will feel quite natural. SRL refers to Single Ring Lever and is definitely the way to go if you're running a 1x setup. A single thumb paddle resides underneath the bars right where that old derailleur used to be; pushing the paddle forward raises and lowers the seatpost. This single lever also accesses the full range of height options. By comparison, the other multi-position post we tested, the Fox D.O.S.S. uses a dual paddle remote to access the mid position. Testers found the remote design on the Command Post much simpler and much more intuitive than the Fox.
The SRL required less force to press and had a smoother feel, with the rider never having to compromise their grip, as the thumb remains wrapped under the bars. There are no stops on the lever action to access the mid position or the full drop position. The SRL is also Matchmaker compatible, mounting directly to SRAM brakes; our Specialized Enduro test bike was equipped with SRAM Guide brakes and the single bolt attachment was easy as pie. Cable installment through the remote is straightforward, with an external notch holding the head of the cable at the remote; tension micro adjustments can be done thru a barrel adjuster where the cable exits the remote. This remote was a fan favorite among many of our testers. The position underneath the handlebars protects the remote when the bike is flipped upside down for repair and also when the bike is unexpectedly tumbling through the forest during a wreck.
If you're still running a front derailleur, fear not as the Command Post also includes a vertically actuated lever similar to the one found on the Giant, KS LEV, and Thomson.
We tested the 125mm version of the Command Post; this dropper is an interesting blend of an infinitely adjustable post and a 3 position post. Basically, there are 10 increments available between the --mm dropped position and fully extended. These increments allow the rider to micro adjust the saddle height; however, the increments are not evenly spaced throughout the middle dropped height and full extension. The rider must first drop the saddle about 30mm and then the 45mm or so of incremental adjustment kicks in. One can see how the incremental adjustability is squeezed into a rather small portion of the seatpost's stroke.
The ability to adjust the seat height at the very top of the range was sometimes desired, but not possible. The incremental adjustments are quite small and instead of ten, they have a tendency to feel more like four or five, given that it's quite easy to blow by a few settings. Landing on any increment also takes a fair amount of rider feedback and weighting/unweighting of the saddle accordingly. A common complaint from our test riders was the inability to lower the seat just a touch during technical climbs. The top 30mm are non-indexed until the Cruise Control notches begin. Similarly, the bottom of the post is non-indexed from 50mm to full drop. Through rough terrain or jump lines, many riders wanted the seat slammed. On rolling or flow trail style terrain, many riders desired a position somewhere in the 30-35mm range, which was not possible on this post. Put simply, for a majority of our riders, the increments were a nice addition over a three position post, such as the FOX D.O.S.S., but still failed to deliver optimal riding height on a number of occasions.
The return speed can be adjusted by adding or subtracting air from a Schrader valve located at the front of the post just below the saddle. It's fairly difficult to discern and obtain accurate pressure readings with a tire or shock pump in the small 15-20 psi range. We found releasing a quick blast of air or adding a few pumps until desired return speed is achieved to be the most effective means. At its highest return speed, the Command Post can seem a bit frightening; we used it to launch tennis balls to the dog while recovering from an early-season ride. This reminded us to always wear a quality chamois when riding a bike equipped with this seatpost; check out the best mountain bike shorts review if you're in the market for a new pair.
The post is mechanical and it certainly feels that way in use. The indexed settings have a distinct clunk when hitting. We felt this helped riders to know exactly when they achieved a particular setting. The Cruise Control settings have a very ratchety feel and the accompanying noise was often mistaken for flatulence by the rider behind.
The saddle clamp on this post is very unique and quite cool. A long single bolt connects both rail clamps and spans the distance of the saddle rails, running thru a hollow space just beneath the post's arch-shaped head. The angle of the saddle corresponds to where along the arch the rail clamps are tightened down. Despite our skepticism of the lone bolt's holding ability, our saddle stayed put when coming down hard on drops. Unlike the previous version, the Command Post IR, the saddle clamp is not reversible and setback is set at 10mm.
Ease of Setup
Cable tension is set at the bottom of this post which we felt made setup a bit trickier, though not terribly so. After passing the cable thru the remote, it is fed along the downtube and into the frame. The cable clamps to a barrel in the actuation arm; this barrel can be popped off in order to quickly remove the entire seatpost while maintaining cable tension; a nice touch. Cutting the free end of the cable took a little more care when compared to the dropper posts where the cable terminates at the remote. Small cable adjustments can be done at the remote barrel adjuster. When adjusting saddle height between testers, inadvertent dropping would sometimes occur. This was most often the result of improper tension from failing to feed the cable along the frame's housing stops during height adjustments.
The single bolt saddle clamp helps to reduce weight on this post while still holding solidly. Our Specialized Enduro came equipped with the SRL remote and we therefore did not possess the vertically activated remote that is included when the Command Post is purchased separately.
Can't decide whether you like the limitless options of an infinite travel dropper post or the predictability of a multi-position setup? Look no further than the Command Post IRCC. The purely mechanical system was unaffected by cold riding temps when tested on freezing cold spring mornings.
Considering two remotes are included with purchase, we feel this post is a great value at $300. The SRL remote was a favorite among many testers, beating those that come on much more expensive dropper posts. If you prefer a multiple position post, we feel this post outperforms the Fox D.O.S.S. at the same price point. The SRL lever alone could be reason enough for some to choose this post. We did experience a problem with the dust seal dislodging and creeping up the post on one ride that we were able to remedy ourselves. Once seated back into place, it stayed put for the remainder of our test riding.
The Command Post IRCC is an interesting hybrid among the droppers we tested. Some riders may find the additional Cruiser Control positions provide that extra degree of adjustabilty they desire while still having a middle position that will hit the same mark time and time again. Conversely, some testers described the post as feeling "upside down", hoping for indexed positions where there were none. A 150 mm version would be welcomed and could perhaps hold the key to this problem. The superb remote design and reasonable price tag might be reason enough to take the plunge and ditch that rigid seatpost.
— Sean Cronin