Dropper posts - discuss
Ok, people who are not riding. You need to help me with an article.
Have you used a dropper post? Do you use them on all bikes, some bikes, no bikes? Are you thinking about them? What's holding you back?
For those who have experience tell me what's good and what's not.
- dropping action and lever action
- installation ease and cable routing
- appearance and weight
- seat clamp mechanism
- maintenance and reliability
Be honest but be accurate.
I made this video and am about to make more. I just got the 2 missing KS posts and so I should have most of them now.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/tpkIF58bsR0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Is it just me, or do both of those reverbs look slow on the way up? I've seen a properly bled reverb go up pretty fast. Did you mess with the speed dial?
Having used one for the past 3 years or so, I could never ride without one. Unless your strictly racing XC or DH, the only draw back is the price.
I've used the Specialized Command Post for the past couple of years with good results. The first generation had some issues but subsequent versions have served me well.
I'm digging my Joplin 4 with the remote lever. I know it is outdated, but it works great. I have one on my Blur LT. I would put one on my other bikes, but I just can't shell out the money right now. My descending speed and confidence went way up as soon as I put it on.
The lever is a little awkward, but it is reliable. I love the infinite adjustability.
Installation was fairly easy. I retrofitted the lever and that was a little annoying.
I think it looks nice. Weight is not a concern to me. These were ounces well-spent.
The seat clamp was very easy to set and adjust. I have not touched it since I got it dialed months ago.
Maintenance has been wiping it clean after each ride. That's it so far. I have been riding it for about six months.
I had a 3" travel Joplin w remote on my Sette that was stolen. I was hooked on remote adjustable posts after the first ride. I really feel that a dropper post enhances the pleasure of the ride. There is nothing more aggravating than really being in the flow of a trail and having to stop and drop the seat for a steep downhill technical section or pop it up for a long climb. A bar mounted lever is inmho the only way to fly. As far as cable routing goes I'm not anal about looks. As long as the cable is out of my way and can be held in place by some zip ties I'm good with it. I have a Kind Shock with remote showing up tomorrow for my Trek Fuel tomorrow as not having a dropper on it has been a major pita.
I'll play. I have owned three different models. Gravity Dropper, Reverb, and KS. All were game changers in my estimation...happily sacrifice a little weight for the freedom to drop on the fly. I strongly feel that no matter what you get, they will all fail within a year if you ride 4x a week like me. Just too much action in this highly active area.
Gravity Dropper: Just HATE to say a bad thing here because these guys are just plain cool. The best customer service in the industry. Unfortunately, my least favorite. Two broke (they don't handle slack angles well) and the cable routing is fickle. Mind you I went a year loving one but once it went bad, it stayed bad. Didn't care for the three drop options rather than universal. The wiring is hokey out the front too. Still customer service almost worth keeping them in business with my money.
Rockshox Reverb: I LOVED these for a while but they suck now. Again, time kills dropper posts. I have to bleed these almost monthly and they still don't react like they did when I bought em. Love the universal drop and the action is good at first. I am riding two now and they just don't perform all that well anymore but they are also getting old.
KS 950?: Came on my Mojo. LOVE this saddle dropper but it is starting to fail. Won't rise all the way up anymore so I have to manually lift it up while riding. Probably an easy fix but I am lazy these days. It has failed via cable system but when it fails, you are not stuck in the woods...you simply have to engage lever under seat with fingers while riding. The wiring is a bit hokey with such a tiny nut holding the cable in place but the KS has been the most bullet proof and consistent of the three...I think it's the lightest as well.
Anyhow, if I buy another...KS unless someone has something amazing to say about a 1 year old dropper I haven't used yet.
Been using GD since forever. Recently got KS for it 6" travel. Went for seat lever over remote to reduce clutter and ease of moving post between bikes.
GD most reliable construction with easiest maintenance. Clamp parts are interchangeable with Thompson and KNC. KS gives best range with it 6" version and I use it frequently on DH bike. KS clamp is pain however especially with slack seattube due to bolt alignment.
Wife rides on Joplin with seat lever. Short travel but works well for what she do. Easiest clamp of all 3.
Biggest pain is not having dropper post. Tried that on my weenie XC bike, and its flat out scary ;)
I had a Joplin and it began to leak. Returned it for warranty and leaked as well. Have a kS and it sticks a bit. Usually first part of the ride but the good part is it works out my but checks cause I can 'grab' the seat and pull up and usually comes up with that.
I'd buy another, as a matter of fact I'm looking for the Lev for my Pugsley. Hard to find a dropper for steel frames-that usually comes in at 27.2. Heard great thing about Gravity Droppers but never owned one.
Someone needs to make a really good 8" one. Then I might actually get rid of the QR clamp on my seat tube. I've been using the Command Post since they first came out and I'm really digging my 5" blacklite.
I have the KS i950 that I use on all my bikes. I would switch the post whenever I ride a different bike. It's just a matter of cutting zip ties and reattaching them again. I really cant ride without it. So far I haven't had any reliability issues with the seat post. I wipe down the post down when ever I remember too. I also haven't had a need to adjust the tension on the cable either.
Reverb and Command Post Blacklite
Sorry my review got a little long... I use droppers on my 2 main MTBs.
2 models I currently own are the Reverb (2012/newer model) and a new Specialized Command Post Blacklite. Both have 125mm of drop. Overall the dropper seatpost is a game changer. The increase in speed and control while descending far outweighs any weight penalties (for me). Although I am not much of a weight weenie to begin with. Overall, I wouldn't want to ride trails without one.
I use the Reverb on my trail/XC full suspension. When it worked this post was amazing. I need to rebuild it and am hopeful that it will work correctly again.
- The Reverb is exactly 12 months old and it started to fail 2 months ago. It has that squish issue and will drop down a bit while riding.
- Cost - I got a good price on mine, but the new list price is much higher (especially for something with a high failure rate)
- Bike Maint / Remote - When flipping the bike over to work on it, you need to be careful not to bend/break the remote. I use a block to keep it away from the ground.
- I have carbon frames, so now I have to move the post out to clamp onto it during maint.
- Toxic hydraulic fluid in remote / post
- Until it failed, it worked flawlessly
- Infinite drop locations
- Smooth motion w/ return speed control
- MatchMaker mount – good option if you run SRAM shifters
- Stealth option (If I had a frame with internal routing, the Stealth would be a must.)
- No play in seat (when working correctly)
- Seat mount design is very good / easy to adjust / seat angle does not move once setup
- Fairly easy to bleed (compared to Avids)
Command Post Blacklite
I have the Command Post on my 29er SS. I bought this model due to budget/price and to see if mechanical posts were any more reliable vs hydraulic posts. I have a few rides in and other than me having to get used to the remote, it has made me much faster. It makes my 29er SS feel like my DJ.
- Hard to get the single bolt seat mount to not move using the prescribed torque settings - Seat angle has moved a couple times on me so far
- Difficult to get the post into the middle drop location / having set drop locations is much less desirable.
- Remote design is simple, but has a slightly awkward lever motion
- Post motion is mechanical and clunky compared to Reverb
- I have carbon frames, so now I have to move the post out to clamp onto it during maint.
- Price - I paid at least $100 less on the Command Post
- Post will continue to work even if remote cable breaks.
- Remote does not seem to be as fragile or in the way when doing maintenance (upside down)
- No toxic hydraulic fluid or bleeding required to adjust system or shorten cable
I put an X-Fusion HiLo seatpost on my cross bike a few months ago and really like it. Was just able to squeeze the 100mm post in there, had to trim the top of the seat tube to get enough room for the post to come up all the way. I got rid of the QR clamp and just run a simple bolt-on style as there is only one position for the post.
I have been running just with the post-mounted lever for now and that has been working well. It does have the option of a handlebar mounted control. Not a lot of options in the 27.2mm size. Amazing how it feels like a totally different bike when you drop the seat a few inches. Almost feels like you are riding a little 20" BMX bike with the post down, especially with the drop handlebars. Being able to drop the seat below the handlebar level really increases confidence on steep descents.
I like that the post can be set to any height from 0mm to the full 100mm drop, not sure if all droppers do that. So for steep descents, can drop all the way, but for moderate terrain with some pedaling you can drop and inch or two and still be able to pedal fairly well and yet get some lower CG benefit.
I have four droppers on four bikes, altho I'll rotate in a rigid seatpost for some races, or maybe a bike tour. Three are second-generation Reverbs and one is a Gravitydropper Descender. I have also had; first-generation Reverb, Speedball, Joplin, GravityDropper Turbo and Hite-Rite. :)
Reliability is key, so is serviceability. I personally prefer the infinitely-variable height-adjust of the Reverb. I hate the fact that some of the Reverbs have the remote button on the right, and some on the left. Need to figure out how to make them all uniform, and whether I can mix-and-match with modern Rockshox fork remotes. The descender is a simple model with a button on the post, because it lives on my simple single speed. And because I could take it apart, have all the pieces (that you can see) anodized gold, and then reassemble it. :)
All dropper posts are 1) expensive 2) heavy 3) prone to failure 4) require maintenance 5) make riding way more fun.
The Reverb on my favorite bike is getting stickier, and occasionally makes a bad noise when I'm riding and moving the bike around on technical terrain. I have a full rebuild kit for it, and I'm planning on servicing it some rainy weekend day when I've got nothing else to do.
I've been riding the KS Lev with 125mm drop for a few months and it's been great. The remote replaced one of my ODI inner clamps which makes for a clean installation. I like how the return pressure can be user tuned by adjusting the air pressure (though mine is fine at stock pressure) and the carbon remote lever is easy to use. The unit comes with an inline cable ajuster which is nice for dialing in the sensitivity of the remote. I wasn't sure whether I would like the infinite adjustablilty vs fixed positions but after using it a while I have figured out how to find the saddle positions I like. it's never the same twice but it's close enough. There's a small amount of saddle play but It's imperceptible to me while riding. I'm not a fan of the two-bolt micro-adjust setup as I found that slipped periodically. Check the tightness before rides seems to do the trick though- definitely not a deal-breaker. My 2011 Turner 5 Spot had spare cable tabs so routing the remote cable was easy. The fixed cable point adds to the clean installation. When installing just don't over-tighten the seatpost collar or remote collar or it won't work right- carbon paste helps with this. I can't speak to its long-term reliabiltity but so-far, so-good. It's my first dropper post.
I want one, but they are all for mini-me's. We need more options at 6" plus travel:)
I use dropper posts on all my bikes.
Here is a RockShox Reverb review I wrote last year - to this day I still think it's the best offering out there, although I haven't tried the new LEV yet...
Tested: RockShox Reverb Adjustable Seat Post - Features - Vital MTB
i think dropper posts are a must for any type of AM or trail riding. i think its what made me want to get back out on the trails instead of just dhing all the time. i hated it when my post was so far up my butt when going downhill on trail rides that it just killed them for me.
i use the specialized command post blacklist. i have had it for a year so far and have had no issues with it. though contrary to your video i like it when the post goes up nice and quick. it makes for a fast transition and i know the thing is locked up as well. i think the only way it will hit your junk is if your not used to it.
Specialized Command Post's saddle clamp sucks. Almost every time I hit a bump the saddle nose angles down and I have to stop and readjust it. I've tried using carbon paste to increase friction, as some suggested, but it didn't work. Less than a year old. It's not on the bike currently.
What's holding me back
This is what would get me reaching for my wallet instead of my quick release:
150 mm drop.
Solid locking (zero up/down movement and minimal torsional movement) at each/any saddle height.
Zero cable/hose movement - I could even live w/ a saddle lever.
User serviceable on a schedule and w/ spares pricing and availability comparable to those of a quality suspension fork.
Two-bolt (fore-aft) saddle clamp. I don't know if this is someone's/something's intellectual property or not, and I don't care. Pay the licensing fee. Use it.
$300 if your product is the SID of dropper posts. $200 if it is heavier or only comes in the most popular configurations. There can even be a Kashima model for $450 for all I care. Those are price structures we already know and can live w/ in the suspension fork market. Something less than the 300% spread from the solid, workaday forks that go for $400 to the racy, golden stanchioned upper crust at $1200. Because the performance metrics for a post are so much simpler. Weight and options (travel, diameter, control device, return speed) are all there is. Anything else is the minimum expectation for the product, that it won't be broken right out of the box. The last couple years it's been "buy our post, it actually works! (usually)" That should no longer justify a $400 price tag, nor even a $300.
My 30,000 cents.
I'm running a Reverb on my single speed (only MTB I own). I figured since I can't pedal fast downhills, I might as well be as efficient as possible. It was a piece of cake to install and cut/bleed the line. I have it set up with a match maker on my XO brakes. Super clean and works awesome!
I have the KS950i its been on the bike a little over a year . I lost the lever a few months in KS replaced it for free. I 've adjusted the cable a couple of times with no other problems. The action is smooth ,the clamp does what is supposed to,cable routing on the Tall Boy works well.
I used to be a Gravity Dropper only guy. HAd three of them on different bikes through the years. Awesome customer service!
A bit clunky. NEVER liked the rapid return. Helllloooooo boys!! Cable routing iffy at best.
FOUR Reverbs in two years. Love this post. But it just fails too much. I've had three rides completely altered while out in the woods and I drop the post, and it doesn't come back up. Lost pressure. Dumped. So then I raise the whole post up and tighten the post in the correct height(while saddle it still slapped in). Invariably on the next rough descents the saddle rattles around and raises itself ever so much so that when I go to get back on the saddle it's raised up enough that my shorts get caught and all sorts of un-hilarity ensues.
Great customer service....just wish I didn't have to use it!
I haven't got time on one yet, but I've sold a half dozen of the KS LEV posts to hard riding customers and no one has yet to bring it back with any problems. So fingers crossed there. Albeit no one has been on one for more than 6 months of riding yet....
If the LEV holds true, I'll be selling my Reverb and getting one of them asap!
Has anyone had personal experience with a LEV failure??
Great insight so far gentlepersons. And it helps that I know most of you or have read your posts so I have some context.
Not just dropper on a hardtail but dropper on a cross bike!
Here is the article I'm working on.
Dropper Seatpost Round-Up | Mountain Bike Review
Welp, sonny, back in the day I used to use a Hite-Rite. It were plum easy to put on and work except you had to get off the bike to change it. It were light n' all n'worked every time but I never really used it much. Still wouldn't. So it got took off and tossed into the parts bin just like climbing bars later.
I'm looking into getting one. Looks like I'm going to go with the GD Turbo, because it's one of the few that is available with a 27.2mm seatpost. Need to get the 350mm with 4" drop, but not sure if to get just the up/down, up/down 1"/down or up/down 2"/down. Which do you guys recommend?
I've only ridden with my saddle either all the up or all the way down, which is only 2" because my bike has such a short seatpost tube.