Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole ValleyMuddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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Hope vs. Salsa flip-off seat clamp review

Posted by Matt | March 8, 2010 | 16 comments so far

Pink Salsa flip off seat clamp
Entering the world bike geekery is almost a right of passage for any self-respecting mountain biker. Self respect is important here, largely because if you take an unhealthy interest in the minutiae of bike parts you can’t exactly go around expecting respect from anyone else!

If you thought the Great Tyre Debate was the nadir of mountain biking nerdiness though, think again. Some people get worked up about seat clamps…

Well, I do, to be honest. I find a slipping seat post incredibly annoying when you start a ride with a saddle that’s perfectly positioned for efficient extension of the legs only to find by the time you return home you look more like Coco the Clown on a monkey bike with your knees up round your ears.

Worse still you have to stop repeatedly to adjust the saddle because the cheapo seat clamp that came with the bike (I’m looking at the On-one example as exhibit A) has a weaker grip than a Tokyo Optician with RSI. Things can get so bad that in Mark’s case, for example, he gave up completely and allen-keyed his post permanently at about three inches below where it should be. Mark, your saddle’s too low?! ;o)

So, clearly these things bother me. Plus, it’s always nice to have a bit of seemingly pointless bling on the bike. Over the past few months I’ve had experience of two seat clamps from well respected manufacturers, Salsa and Hope. And it’s fair to say, one product is significantly better than the other.

First off, the Salsa. When I built up my singlespeed project, a theme emerged that provided an outlet to all those products that are available in anodised pink. Which meant that Salsa Cycles’ flip-off seat clamp was an ideal candidate for my bike build.

I was a bit dubious initially as the nearest available size Salsa do for the Inbred is 30mm which is ever so slightly over-sized. I think the ‘correct’ size is supposed to be something like 29.8mm or something. Having read loads about Salsa’s legendary quality though I was keen to give it a go and when it arrived I was very impressed by what I saw. It’s not exactly a light bit of kit for what it is but it has nice organic curves and a long, sweeping clamp arm that has been much copied (by On-one cheapo ones for a start!).

The Salsa is made entirely out of anodised alloy with a brass pivot which helps explain it’s relative weight but this also makes it feel as though this clamp is going to last you a long time. In particular, the long arm let’s you get plenty of leverage without you having to imprint the manufacturer’s name into your palm as you tighten. Always a risk when it’s laser-etched into the anodising!

The Hope flip off clamp also made a favourable impression when I was talked into it by my bike shop. It’s cheaper than the Salsa, is also made of alloy and comes in a choice of anodised colours with laser-etched graphics.

Red Hope technology flip off seat clamp

In contrast to the Salsa it has a thumb wheel for adjusting tension (rather than an allen key adjusted bolt) and the styling is much more industrial, consisting of intricately milled surfaces throughout. It appears (I haven’t checked) to weigh less and certainly looks as though it has much less material – the clamp band itself is much shorter and the clamp arm, though similarly long, is also narrower.

On paper then and in the metal these clamps look as though they would offer similar performance. Unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out that way.

The Salsa has been absolutely superb from day one. The clamping action is smooth and effortless and the wide clamp band means you can exert a lot of friction on the seat post without needing to tighten the thing as hard as you can. This means that in my experience the seat post just does not slip. Nor does it creak or prove difficult to release when I actually do want to drop my saddle.

In contrast, the Hope has been a disappointment as it just hasn’t managed to do what I want it to do. Clamping forces need to be much higher thanks to the narrower clamp band and I really hate over-tightening these things. It’s creaked, slipped repeatedly no matter how much I tighten it and proved a real pain when it comes to removal. So despite looking like a jewel on the bike I won’t be keeping this product much longer.

Instead, I’ll be tricking out my Orange with a red Salsa flip-off seat clamp like the pink one on my singlespeed. I know the industrial look of the Hope suits the Orange better but I really like the Salsa sexiness myself and at least I know it will work perfectly. After all, when you have a Five frame the last thing you want is something that will creak!

I’ve tried, I feel guilty not being able to recommend a British product, but in this case my experience says the Salsa is a better product.

More seat clamp pictures are available on Flickr.

Filed under Components, Reviews in March 2010

Matt

About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years he's now running a YT Industries Jeffsy 29er and a Bird AM Zero Boost.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 16 comments on ‘Hope vs. Salsa flip-off seat clamp review’

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  1. Dave says:

    I guess the real test will come when you get a Salsa for the 5. Different frames might react differently to different clamps given different tube diameters, materials, not to mention different seat pins.

    I’ve found the later On One clamps to be great but they have had several different models.

  2. Andy C says:

    I have a similar experience with the ‘Lip Lock’ as distinct from ‘Flip Lock’ clamps. On the On-One I have a gold anodised Hope clamp, to match the gold Pro II front hub and the gold plugs in the Mono Mini brake calipers.

    On the Pace, I have a green Salsa clamp (only because Hope don’t make a green) to match the other green bling (should I mention them here – oh, go on then) Chris King hubs, cash green X0 shifters/cassette/mech hanger, green Truvativ Noir chain set and rings, Race Face Atlas bar, and finally, Silicone grips also in green.

    Although the Hope clamp was (I believe) correctly sized at 30.0mm for the 27.2mm diameter seatpost, it was a bugger to stop it slipping, and I had to torque it pretty tightly to get it to grip. Eventually, having had to tighten it several times, I rounded the alloy bolt head and had to replace it.

    Salsa has a stainless steel pivot which apparently reduces the stress on the bolt. I had a 35.0mm clamp for a 31.6mm seatpost. It’s been fine since day one.

    Like many of us, I’m a fan of things Hope, but I have to say my experience is that the Salsa clamps certainly ‘do the business’ with little fuss, and they’re available in a wide range of blingtastic colours.

  3. Jez says:

    My Hope slips and has to be chuffin tight. I had a Salsa once it never slipped. Ever.

    Being able to tighten the clamp nut by hand is a nice feature of Hope. But then again I never needed to tighten it on a Salsa…..

    To be fair to Hope the clamp on my SS is fine and its only on the 456(ti) I’ve a problem. It has a massively thick tube at the top so that may be the reason it’s difficult to clamp the post.

    I’ve not only read an article on seat clamps but responded. I’ve reached a new level of geekness.

  4. jamesh says:

    got to agree with the on-one qr seatclamp as i have gone throught two the first had the brass shim and the later one had the plastic shim. both slipped and since then have bought a cheap bolt on clamp which after dave put the correct way round has been fine. i have never adjusted the seat post on a ride unless it has slipped! i will get a salsa next if i ever get a qr seatclamp again.

  5. John R says:

    Ever since I purchased a Hope seatclamp as some bright blue bling for my vintage Stumpjumper I have been distraught at the contrast between its well machined purposeful looks and its woeful performance.

    But at last I realise I am not alone, Moles all over Surrey have been suffering in this way, and at last Matt you have given us a voice.

  6. mike61 says:

    Matt

    100% agreements here, Salsa everytime for me.

    I don’t want to start a debate (don’t mind if I do) but everything I’ve had from Hope just doesn’t cut it, bling over substance. I have a trails-worth of dead Hope stuff so now I don’t even consider it.

    For me only the front hubs are worth bothering with as they are easily converted for different front fork fixings. However, in use the bearings last the proverbial 5 minutes.

    Cheers

    Mike

  7. DaveW says:

    I definitely wouldn’t diss Hope products in general – I have no complaints with hubs, headsets, stems and bottom brackets. All fit and forget / easy maintenance if fitted properly.

    M4 brakes can be a bit tricky to set up right and tend to squeel more than some in the wet, but the power, feel and modulation are great.

    I agree regarding the seatpost clamps. The recent Hope incarnation that Matt tested is better than the previous one, but Salsa clamps are definitely better than Hope and all other contenders I am aware of.

    The Hope QR skewers are not great to use, but then they don’t have such a hard job to do as a seat post clamp, so are tollerable.

    Other than that, I’ve found that Hope is well priced, top quality home grown kit that will last ages if you fit it correctly and maintain it when necessary – which tends to be not very often.

    Chris King also do some good bits (like the headsets) and some not so good, like the hubs – a friend of mine had no end of trouble with his and Chris King support said ‘well they need lots meticulous of care and attention to keep them running smoothly – like a Ferrari’. Well in my mind a bike does not perform noticably better with different hubs, it is about toughness, longevity and ease of maintenance (and supporting British industry is nice too), so I’ll stick with my Landroverish Hope hubs ta!

    (The noise also negates the need for a bell to warn walkers you are coming!)

  8. Dave says:

    I’m just trying to work out how old my oldest Hope Hub is. I know I have 2 2004 hubs but I think the ones on the 5 are older. One day I may need to service them?

    Skewers are in the parts bin, they were very old though and a right pain the arse to tighten. Shimano or Halo Hex nut all the way thanks.

    Never had a Hope seat clamp but not really thinking I will bother either!

    I like to think of the noise of the hubs akind to that of a rich V8 or V12 engine so you can keep your electric like CK hubs ;o)

  9. Curved Slightly says:

    Do you want me to tell you what I don’t like about the Salsa and further upset the balance? Well I’m going to anyway. The salsa doesn’t have a ‘knob’ on the opposite side to the lever, which means you need a hex to tighten, should the need arise, mine seems to loosen every now and then. But the do clamp up like a good-en!

  10. Muddymoles says:

    Ride Report: Wednesday 26 May – pub round (and round)

    A circular but entertaining route round Norbury Park and the Fetcham Downs ends with a pub visit. Ahhh, summer!

  11. Muddymoles says:

    Mechanical problems

    More worn bearings, a dodgy drivetrain and worn brake pads. That’s mountain biking for you.

  12. Huey says:

    The problem with the Salsa seatpost QR is that the lever bushing is actually the clamp surface – there is no liner, so this will wear quickly, especially if you drop your post frequently and if it’s in the grime. Lip lock versions are ace though. Agree Hope ones can be weak, but they do use brass as the liner (a thick wedge of it, unlike On-One’s wafer-thin version).

    Your issue could be as simple as paint thickness causing the lack of clamping force. Try opposing the slit in the seat tube with the slit in the clamp as this evens out the clamping force, rather than trying to ‘crimp’ the post tight – use plenty of grease under the clamp.

    H.

  13. Niall says:

    Had a hope bolt clamp on my Bronze with Gold features PlanetX Kaffenback, the slipping sent me mad. Replaced it with a standard silver Thompson clamp and so far no sign of slip.

    Puts me off Hope a bit that.

  14. Pingback: Ride Report: Wednesday 26 May - pub round (and round) | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

  15. Chris Dziuk says:

    I have a 2016 Yelli Screamy with a hope Clamp. I’ve had the QR and bolted versions. They’ve slipped like a bitch. I was close to giving up with it. But Now I’ve read this article I’m going to buy the salsa one now. Give that a try. I’m hoping it works?

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