Have a first and second gen Reverb on my two bikes and love them. I have also ridden GDs, Joplins, both gen of Command Posts and both KS 900 and 950s and prefer the Reverb.
I also personally like infinite height posts and find performance, remote ergonomics and reliability are my key care abouts. Have the new barbs .. etc on the gen 1 Reverb and find they need a yearly bleed when it starts to slow down but other than that they've been great.
all the posts are unreliable and expensive. there are some minor factors like remote design and integration, but apart from that I think the major distinctions are the following, in order of importance.
1. amount of drop (I think almost all the posts are up to 125 these days)
2. infinite adjust vs set positions
3. clamp setback/clamp design
4. cable/hose moves with seat vs stationary
using this you could kind of create a decision making flow chart. i got lazy so I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.
there are some new player on the market that you need to check out francois. we are all curious about the thomson and giant offerings
I also think part of the reliability problem lies with the rider. seems like a lot of people dont realize these things are the equivalent of a fork and need to be serviced fairly often. they get a lot of dirt and mud kicked up by the rear wheel that goes straight into the seals. the sealing on the hydraulic models is also more problematic than a fork. on a fork the pressure in the oil can escape through the damper. a seatpost sometimes has 200+ lbs slamming down on it and its expected not to move. the seals endure the full pressure of the oil.
I've been using a Gravity Dropper since 2005. I have two of the original GD posts (one of them is my original purchased in '05 - still in use) and one Turbo. I like dropper posts so much that I don't ride a mountain bike without one, even on weenie XC rides. CHUM has mocked me because on any decline, no matter how slight, I drop the post. Despite the weight penalty, I used my dropper posts in 8- and 24-hour races. When I rent a bike, I install one of my GDs on it.
Your topics in order:
Dropping and lever action: The gravity dropper's lever and/or cable can get gunked up, making actuation from the lever difficult. When maintained, it's smooth as butter. The original gravity dropper has the disadvantage of needing to press down on the seat to get it to pop back up. There are times I don't want to do that. The Turbo is a big improvement in that regard, and well worth the extra cost. I can't imagine not using a remote handlebar mounted lever. I frequently want to adjust the seat height at times I really want both hands on the bars.
Installation: Easy-peasy. Put post in. Zip tie cable housing. Bolt remote onto handlebars. Takes less than ten minutes.
Appearance and weight: I have never cared about looks and don't know if it looks good or not. Added weight is there, but as I mentioned, I love the dropper action so much I even used it during a solo 24 hour race.
Seat clamp mechanism: Simple two bolt. I've never had any issues. Set and forget for me. At least until I wear out a saddle and need to replace it.
Maintenance: I do need to maintain the gravity dropper once or twice a year. Clean or replace cable/housing. Open the innards of the post and clean and regrease it. Make sure the lever housing and lever are clean.
Reliability: I've had two inner posts snap on me during rides. Easy to replace, and friendly prompt customer service. This would make me hesitate before recommending a Gravity Dropper, but they have stated the inner posts are now stronger than they once were. Seeing as it's been a few years since I've had one break, they may be right. On my Turbo I had an issue where the post would not stay in the up position. There is a structure on the post into which the cable goes. That structure has two screws used to disassemble and replace the cable. Backing off the screws fixed my seat-won't-stay-up issue, but I have no idea why and GD had no idea or suggestions either. I put a business card spacer in so the screws were backed off a bit but not loose and wouldn't fall out during a ride. I'm not thrilled about that, but it's been a couple years and working fine so I can live with it. I drop the post on any decline, no matter how slight, and raise it on any climb, so the posts have been through a *lot* of cycles with very few issues.
Besides mountain biking, my Gravity Droppers have been key in allowing me to use my WeeRide Kangaroo child seat. The child seat mounts in front of my saddle. There isn't room for me to come off the seat, move forward and straddle the top tube when I come to a stop - the Kangaroo takes up too much space. So if I didn't have a Gravity Dropper or other adjustable post, I'd either have my feet dangling in the air at stops, hoping I don't fall over, or have my seat far too low for efficient pedaling. With an extra 40 pounds on the bike, I really want my seat at an efficient pedaling level. Gravity Dropper let me use the Kangaroo, pedal with my seat at the right height, then drop it so I could put a foot down at stops.
This is no time for levity. - Oliver Hardy
Joplin 3, Command Post Blacklight, DOSS
I ran the Crank Brothers Joplin 3 on my Intense 6.6, which was replaced by the Specialized Command Post Blacklight. I have just one ride on the Fox DOSS which is on my 2012 Tallboy AL. I'm tempted to install a dropper on my Santa Cruz Highball Carbon- maybe if I can find a good deal on my next dropper post.
- dropping action and lever action
All three models are comparable (they all get the job done) The Fox DOSS has the smoothest lever action of the three (largest remote- more leverage). The infinite adjustment of the Crank Brothers Joplin 3 is great, but with the Command Post Blacklight and Fox DOSS, the three fixed settings are easy to get used to.
- installation ease and cable routing
All three are simple to install. Fox probably had the best installation instructions of the three. Also, the DOSS comes with one small plastic cable guide routing guide piece, which makes for the cleanest installation.
- appearance and weight
They all look good. I think the Fox DOSS looks the most refined (kind of matches the FOX F29 in the front).
Not too much difference in weight
- seat clamp mechanism
The Joplin 3 seat clamps came loose a few times (credit to Crank Brothers customer service for sending me some new seat clamp pieces the first time the dropping mechanism broke and went in for servicing). The Command Post Blacklight works fine. The mechanism on the Fox DOSS is solid (very similar mechanism to a Thomson seatpost). I weigh 175 lbs in riding gear.
- maintenance and reliability
I had to retire the Joplin 3 after it broke the second time. When the Joplin 3 broke, it would not stay in the fully extended position. The Command Post has been problem free for about 20 hours of use. The Fox DOSS has also been problem free (but it's only been used once).
For me, the big plus of the Command Post and Fox DOSS is if the dropping function breaks on the trail, it can be locked into the fully extended position, so you can climb back out to your car. At least, that's what I've been told.
Last edited by misooscar; 12-18-2012 at 10:34 PM.
I've had a Maverick speedball, a command post, and a reverb which I have now.
I don't have too much to add over what has been stated already. Maverick was better than a QR. I really liked the command post, didn't care for the remote. I made my own by converting a trigger shifter. The trigger shifter had better ergonomics, but I used shifter housing versus stock brake housing which was better in some ways, worse in others.
I really like the Reverb. I have single ring, so I mount the remote under the bar, on the left side of the handlebar. I don't have the stealth model. The hydraulic fitting at the seat clamp can get broken easily. It makes putting the bike in the workstand more of a chore, or not safe.
The reverbs have 2 year warranty for the orig owner.
Originally Posted by ask
I want one, but I'm waiting for something more reliable.
Sent from my Desire HD using Tapatalk 2
FYI, Reverb MSRP is $370.
Originally Posted by francois
Nicely done FC.
I've had 4 Reverbs, and they have all been great. The first one, sold, I heard just started having issues with the seat rising when lifting up on it. 1st gen.
The other 3 don't have a bunch of miles/mud on them yet, so far so good. I put a 100mm 355mm reverb post on my HT bike. For those that need a shorter collar to seat rail post, look at the Reverb 355mm versions.
All those post that have any fluid/pressure in them will need maintenance if you ride in any water/mud, as the seals will for sure start to fail. I think putting a inner tube condom on the post should help a lot in the winter and spring months.
After having a Joplin 4, I've found I really prefer 2 bolt seat clamps in order to adjust an exact seat angle and keep it there.
Dropper posts are a must have for me. Love them.
Currently on the KS supernatural, 150mm drop.
For those with a KS having problems, I wrote a rebuild post with pictures.
KS i900 FIXED. It is FULLY rebuildable at home.
Those who know, ride a Mojo AND a Mojo HD.
Originally Posted by benja55
What are the main KS Models today and what are the main differences?
Found a deal on a Joplin a while back, but its still in my parts bin waiting for a purpose. I've been enjoying my bike plenty and improving my riding technique for a few years now, and just haven't wanted/needed one for what I do. I don't ride gnarly stuff though; I stick to trails like those at Tamarancho or the Burmas of Annadel, or lesser challenging ones. To date, I'm happy with my Thompson and Salsa LipLock clamp. I can't tell you Thomson's mailing address because I've never had to send one back for repair. I like that part.
On the flip side, I hear people say, "I can't imagine riding without one" and I don't want to feel that way. I avoid eating too much ice cream by keeping it out of my house. I won't rent a DH bike and buy a lift ticket because I don't want to make room and budget for yet another species of bicycle. Same mentality applies with the dropper post.
Eat, ride, eat, rest, repeat.
I think the "main" KS models are:
I950 / R
0 offset clamp
max travel up to 125mm
30.9mm / 31.6mm
max travel up to 150mm
inline cable barrel adjuster
rubber boot to keep dirt out of the lever/
max travel up to 150mm (not all post sizes)
0 cable movement
Carbon Fiber Remote
post will not extend when lifting up on seat
30.9mm / 31.6mm / 27.2mm
My 2009 i950R still going strong, greased under the collar routinely with slick honey...for me a definite must, no going back.
I'd recommend at least three-position; up, 1" down and 3" or 4" down. The 1" down position is perfect for technical single track. It makes a difference.
Originally Posted by cr500taco
I did break a GD Turbo, but they repaired it. The little face that stops the cable housing on the seatpost body came unglued from the post itself, such that actuating the cable just moved the little face in the air between the post and the cable housing. Was able to zip-tie it on and finish the ride. I've also broken Reverb, Speedball, Joplin. Never broke a Hite Ride.
While I'm writing, the two-bolt clamp for seat rails on the Reverb is rock solid, and reminiscent of a Thomson. The sideways, single-bolt clamp on the Joplin & Speedball was always problematic. I went through a couple of those aluminum pieces, of various generations. It's just not a good design for a large rider who likes to ride technical terrain, and is sometimes a sloppy rider.
BTW Hey R____, I just realized I know you from my 4x4 days. Nice to see you here.
Hey Ask, Did you make sure that eh air reservoir in your reverb is full? I had the same problem after about 8 mos, discovered it just needed a little air.
Originally Posted by ask
"Chancho. When you are a man sometimes you wear stretchy pants... Its for fun..."
Like Plim, I've had a GD since 2005. Best $250 I spent on a bike. The only downside I see is that the lever takes quite a bit of pressure to actuate. After a full day in the saddle at HITG/DLRT my left thumb was getting sore from pushing on it. Other than that, it's reliable, easy to maintain and works well.
I also have Specialized Command Post (1st gen). It failed a few times until they fixed the collar. It's been great ever since. Only issue is that the seat clamp is a bit weak, and the saddle will rotate in the G out if you stay seated. Otherwise, it works great and the activation is easy.
Faster is not always better, but it's always more fun
I've demo'd a KS seat lever type (will definitely get a remote type when I finally get one as I found the distraction of activating/de-activating on undulating terrain more of a dangerous hinderence then helpfull..) and agree these have become a "must have" if you're heading down and doing any kind of technical feature riding, but the reliability and $$$ across the board is a little concerning. Seems like the "originals" tho somewhat antiquated in todays technology, are the fail safe units. My model choice may have more to do with which 27.2 or 31.6 seat tube bike I decide to put it on.
Originally Posted by Snfoilhat
Just my $0.02 worth
Who did he tell you that?....
My wife and I are riding Ellsworth's so we have the small seat tube. Pretty much limits us to just a couple of dropper posts. We have been using the x-fusion posts and for the most part they work well. Wish they had more travel but with with the 27.2 all we get is the 4".
Let me just add that dropper posts have universal appeal. In a perfect world, everyone would have them.
My wife always has her seat very high cause she wants that leg extension during climbs. My son always has his saddle low since he wants to jump. I put them both on dropper seatposts last month and they are sooo happy. They don't understand why I didn't let them try this sooner.
And a couple weeks ago, I chatted up this 70 year old dude at Fremont Older. He was riding a carbon Blur and wanted to know if he should buy a 29er or not. I chatted with him a lot and learned about his crashes, his fear of descending. Also, he had four bikes and his favorite was his Blur.
Finally I said... what you need is a dropper post and showed him the Reverb on my bike. He couldn't believe it existed. I said you "you need a dropper post and some bike lessons." He said he's very careful and he's not going to race downhill.
I told him he would have sooooo much more fun and be a lot safer if he knew how to descend properly with a post dropped down a few inches. I think he was excited and got himself the xmas present.
:Love my GD turbo, a bit spendy but well worth it!
Originally Posted by k1creeker
This is my review of the original Gravity Dropper I posted back in 2005:
Submitted by Michael from Coloma, CA
Date Reviewed: August 29, 2005
Strengths: Re-defines, in the most positive possible manner, how you ride your bike!
Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses that I can see because the weight and price are more than offset by the enhanced performance and safety you receive. When Wayne becomes a materials and economic magician Iím sure he will cause it to weigh less than a carbon seatpost and only cost $19.95. (-:
It is not often that you can say that you were there and participated when a sport experiences a revolutionary jump due to a change in the equipment design or material. It is always a moment when after it happens you wonder why it didnít happen before the moment it did. If you skied when shaped skis came out or kayaked when planning hulls were introduced you know exactly what I mean. I believe that, with this product, mountain biking is about to go through a similar experience to both of those sports. Shaped skis and planning hulls dominate their respective sports and I believe that it wonít be long before GravityDropper has that same position in the world of mountain biking. The benefits that the product brings to the rider are such that it warrants that level of acceptance. To poorly paraphrase Warren Miller you want to buy one of these now because if you wait youíll only be a year older when you do.
Expand full review >>
Favorite Trail: Hole in the Ground, Ward Peak/Stanford Rock, Moab
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Price Paid: $250.00
Purchased At: GravityDropper
Similar Products Used: Hite-Rite back in the day.
Bike Setup: 2005 Specialized Enduro Pro
Since then I've gone on to put one on 4 of my bikes. I'm still using the Original, two Turbos and a Descender. I have them in 3", 4" and 5" posts with both a 1" as well as the 2.5" drop. I have them on my FR/DH bike as well as the AM and Trail bikes. I exclude them only from my trials and jump bikes.
As many others have said I wouldn't ride AM or Trail without one. I agree with the comments about the lack of aesthetic appeal regarding the GD. That said functionality and reliability trumps all others concerns for me. GD's track record over the years speaks for itself and they've earned the high number of glowing reviews they've received.
My wish list for the product is short:
- 6" of travel in the post
- An ergonomic remote lever
My only question is why doesn't GD get move love from the industry media? GD obviously has a loyal user base who speaks well of them. That fact doesn't seem to me to be reflected in the articles I see written about dropper posts. I ask the question just from curiosity. I'm guessing the answer has to do with business concerns rather than the quality of the product but I'm obviously speaking from ignorance.
Thanks for writing your article and I look forward to reading it!
If you can't keep the rubber side down......at least smile for the camera!
IMHO, I have to say that the Gravity Dropper seatpost looks like it's from 1972. I have a Joplin 4r, which I got for $175 and it's been working great. I like the looks of the Joplin, Reverb, and the KS LEV. I was holding out for the Fox DOSS, but I wasn't too keen on the 3 position levers.
Don't own one, don't really plan on buying one. Issue is cost. It seems pretty absurd to shell out between 300 to 400 dollars for a single part. I have even more trouble when I start comparing it to other parts, like an XTR rear derailleur which is cheaper to buy and conceivably has more utility.
I'm still looking for a post that automatically goes down...
I said the same thing until I tried one. I will not own another bike without one.
Originally Posted by starvingdavid