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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Thomson Elite Dropper Post Thread

    Thomson says they'll work on a "stealth" version once the initial release is dialed.

    Thomson Elite Dropper
    • Telescoping seat post
    • 5''/125mm drop (internally adj. to 4'')
    • Infinitely adjustable travel
    • Hydraulic internals
    • Nitrogen return spring (not adjustable)
    • Lever-adjustable return speed
    • Weight: 450g (prototype) 592g (final version)


    Update 29.08.2012

    Quote Originally Posted by pinkbike.com
    Thomson stirred up a hornet's nest of activity when they teased riders with a few quick photos of their upcoming telescoping seat post on their Facebook page a few months back, but no other information was available at the time. Fast forward to Eurobike and they were showing off the new post, dubbed the 'Elite Dropper', in their booth, which we made our first stop of the show. The post is still in the early prototyping stage, with only a few functioning samples in the wild at this point.

    The Elite Dropper offers 5"/127mm of infinitely adjustable travel, meaning that it can be positioned anywhere between and full extension fully lowered . The travel is controlled with a sealed cartridge (it can be worked on by a service center, though) that separates the post's hydraulic oil from the non-adjustable nitrogen return spring that is set at 135psi. Thomson has employed a clever second check valve within the cartridge that keeps the post from pulling up through its travel when lifting the bike by the saddle, thereby remedying a somewhat annoying trait of some other hydraulically controlled posts.

    While it looks as if Thomson has refined existing dropper post technology rather than reinventing it, they have done something completely different to eliminate any side to side saddle wiggle from the Elite Dropper. Rather than use multiple keyways to keep the round stanchion from rotating, an interesting sixteen-point shaft - that fits within a matching sixteen-point profile within the outer tube - is attached to the bottom of the stanchion. This requires assembly to involve sliding in the stanchion from above, then threading the sixteen-point section into place through the bottom of the outer tube, followed by screwing the silver bottom cap onto the bottom. This layout allows Thomson to utilize traditional round bushings from Norglide to keep the post's travel smooth, although the upper, stationary bushing sports a custom finish to further enhance the post's movement.

    Thomson is being very clear about one thing: reliability is the focus of the new dropper post. They are aiming to have the Elite Dropper trump everything else on the market when it comes to longevity, a goal that will likely make the Thomson post a favorite among riders if fulfilled given how unreliable most current designs are.

    Head-mounted actuation The Elite Dropper's actuation arm is located on the side of its two-bolt head (that features the very same rail clamp as used on their standard seat posts), with a bolt-on cable stop and arm that is pulled on by a standard shift cable. Hidden from view within the post's head, the actuation arm pushes down on a plunger located at the top of the cartridge, thereby opening the oil port and allowing the post to stroke through its travel. Interestingly, Thomson allows riders to choose from varying rebound speeds despite its shift cable actuation thanks to a cam design on the plunger that determines the amount of oil flow allowed when engaged - pushing the lever completely through its travel will result in a faster return speed than if the rider only depresses it partway. While we didn't get to try the system on a bike, it should allow riders to easily find those partially dropped positions.

    Remote or under seat Two activation options will be available, allowing riders to pick from either a remote or under-the-seat lever. While still likely to receive some minor changes before production begins, the lever employs an ultra-slim footprint that easily fits between the other controls on your bar, as well as being hinged for simple installation and removal. The under-the-seat lever is likely going to be less popular than the remote, but using it will reduce bar clutter, if that is a concern. It is bolted to the same mounting location as the remote actuation arm, and pushes the cartridge's plunger down in the same way when pulled.

    Hydraulic cartridge Thomson isn't shy about admitting that the Elite Dropper's cartridge is outsourced to another company; they wanted to focus on the machined structure and design of the post and let a team with experience in hydraulics design take care of the internals. The hydraulic oil is held within the upper section of the cartridge (right), with the activation plunger at the very top. At the bottom is the nitrogen chamber that is pressurized to 135psi. This pressure is not adjustable, something that many riders have used in the past to adjust their seat post's return speed, simply because the cam design on the plunger allows the user to select rebound speed by how far the lever is pushed.

    Non-adjustable nitrogen The Elite Dropper's outsourced internals are laser etched at the bottom of the post (left), including the nod to its Norglide bushings and Motul oil. The threaded silver bottom cap (right) allows access to the post's internals, while a specially-shaped plug at its center keeps users from letting the nitrogen gas escape accidentally.
    More info at pinkbike and Thomson















    update 30.08.2012


    Quote Originally Posted by BikeRumor.com
    LH Thomson’s in a comfortably tough position. Riders generally just assume their stuff will be flawless, but that means it needs to be flawless before it ships. That’s part of the reason this thing’s been in the pipeline and rumor mill for so long. Now, it’s come out of vaporware.

    Dropper seatpost will ship with both the lever and the remote. It’s a simple single bolt swap using a suicide bolt that’ll snap on impact to save the post if you wreck. The slider uses a 12-sided star shaped lower section (think Torx but with more V’s) under the hood to prevent rotation. That provides a ton of surface area to bear the load. It slides on Norglide bearing/bushings with Motul oil and Trelleburg o-rings and upper bushings. Once the bushings are made, then they’re finished to provide a tight seal but keep moving easy.

    The cartridge is nitrogen charged and not user adjustable. The lever can be pushed anywhere in the range to control both depression and rebound speed. Floor it and it’ll drop at one foot per second, but it can go much slower than that for those of us that like to hover on it to drop slowly until it’s at the right spot. So, yes, it’ll stop anywhere in the travel range and lock there. It uses a second check valve that keeps it from pulling up when depressed, so you can lift the saddle without yanking the post up. Available in 30.9 and 31.6 with 125mm travel. Fully extended, it’s 400mm tall. Cable management is a closed loop, so it won’t pop out and get in the way.

    David Parrett says the internal spring is strong enough to support the rider, so the post should be very durable. The top bushing is pretty tall and the bearing-bushing is 125mm long, the length of the travel. Their goal was to make it last in the worst snowy, sandy conditions for two years before needing to be serviced. When the time comes, you’ll have to send it in for work. They decided to make it a completely sealed, non user serviceable system to reduce headaches.

    Retail will be $379, available Spring. Weight is 450g with the lever, a bit more if you add the remote and its 60″ of cable. The housing and cable will be automotive grade materials, so they recommend not swapping it out as it should last the life of the product.
    More info at bikerumor














    Last edited by BikeBert; 01-25-2014 at 09:53 AM.
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  2. #2
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    absolutely beautiful!

  3. #3
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    It looks solid, as to be expecting being a Thmoson!

    As a UK user I find the biggest weakness of my i950 is the cable system under the seat, it's constantly clagged up with mud, for this reason I hope the cable clamp and system has some sort of appropriate shilelding from the elements.

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    Looks stunning. Now show a pic of the internals. Or rebuild instructions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    Looks stunning. Now show a pic of the internals. Or rebuild instructions.
    non user serviceable cart.

    link to where OP got his info : Thomson Dropper Post - Eurobike 2012 - Pinkbike

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    They all look awesome before anyone has ridden them. I'll start paying attention after people have been abusing them for a couple months.

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    I'm interested on what method is used to stop the post from twisting.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    I'm interested on what method is used to stop the post from twisting.
    From pinkbike:

    While it looks as if Thomson has refined existing dropper post technology rather than reinventing it, they have done something completely different to eliminate any side to side saddle wiggle from the Elite Dropper. Rather than use multiple keyways to keep the round stanchion from rotating, an interesting sixteen-point shaft - that fits within a matching sixteen-point profile within the outer tube - is attached to the bottom of the stanchion. This requires assembly to involve sliding in the stanchion from above, then threading the sixteen-
    point section into place through the bottom of the outer tube, followed by screwing the silver bottom cap onto the bottom. This layout allows Thomson to utilize traditional round bushings from Norglide to keep the post's travel smooth, although the upper, stationary bushing sports a custom finish to further enhance the post's movement.
    Last edited by BikeBert; 08-29-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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    Love Thomson, but this is a fail. Just like the Fox.

    Need more collar mounted actuators.
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    Agreed - attachment at the head of the units is not gonna win people over. Collar actuated is what will make people stand up and take notice. And 150mm drop is much more appealing as well.

    I also think KS has continued to do a better job with the bar mounted actuation lever (although hopefully the Thomson one feels better then it looks?)

    I had really high hopes for this post - am admitting a bit disappointed. Looks like I will be going the KS LEV route to replace my KS i950.

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    looks sexy!

  12. #12
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    IMO,non stationary cable = fail. Resolve that nuisance and 5 stars!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    IMO,non stationary cable = fail. Resolve that nuisance and 5 stars!
    good point!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    IMO,non stationary cable = fail. Resolve that nuisance and 5 stars!
    So, it's either failure or 5 stars? No middle ground? This is hilarious as a few years ago Gravity Dropper was still the only one with a fixed cable. If you read the press release, Thomson feels the design favors durability and that a fixed cable design would compromise this. I'm sure they will have a fixed design in the future.

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    at this point in the game, it's hard to understand why a stationary cable ISN'T the de facto standard. it is what the majority of the public wants and there are already several non-stationary models that work well. if a company wants to set itself apart, make a reliable, beautiful, lightweight post that has a stationary cable.

    i love the look of this post, i love the quality of thomson products and i love the weight, however, i'll wait until the cable actuator is moved to the bottom. that is the only selling feature to me that puts one post above another (among posts that work well, of course). the ks lev is waiting to take my money.
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  16. #16
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    Stationary cable? Cables work by moving, don't they? Not following what the gripe is...

    Looke like a winner from where I'm sitting.
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    so it has an under-the-seat lever option. or maybe that's the default, as their website lists a separate price for the remote? having the actuation mechanism at the bottom will exclude this option. whether they thought there's a significant market for this, or whatever the reason is, is another matter though..

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    Quote Originally Posted by budgie View Post
    Stationary cable? Cables work by moving, don't they? Not following what the gripe is...

    Looke like a winner from where I'm sitting.
    i believe the gripe is that there's an "extra" cable length dangling when the post is at the dropped position if the actuation mechanism is at the head of the seat post. this won't be the case if the actuation mechanism is at the bottom.

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    Yes, given that its already been so many years, I would have believe that the "technology" and all should really be able to make posts with an actuation lowered so they wont be a moving cable. Otherwise looks like "just another of those" in the market...

    Plus from the pics, the whole actuation shebang rear facing-- clogging up, smoothness in operating over time and the usual problems plaguing many of these adjustable post are still all there so far as i can see. Fancy cnc work (yes they are nice) do not detract from the issues.

    Still cant wait to get my hands on a LEV... seems to be the only one right now that is the most well thought out.

  20. #20
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    Moving cable? I have a joplin, I never notice the cable when in the fully squat position. If you zip tie it to frame somewhere around the top tube/seat tube joint, then all it will do is stick out a little bit on the back of the bike it, and really won't get in the way, unless you are doing some serious jumping and trying a Can Can or a double grab, which would mean you're on a DIRT BIKE.

    But seriously, what is the objection to the cable sticking out a little in full squat? I hope its not just out of aesthetic purity

    To me these new posts are almost all infinitely adjustable, have about the same feel (damping vs. spring), have a remote, etc. So the decision for me comes down first to long term durability (since many have had issues) and second, weight.

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    I am not too fazed about the cable, personally. I will be using the under-seat-lever myself. I prefer my bar to be uncluttered, and most of the time I am able to see far enough ahead to have plenty of time to lower the seat. If not, I have ridden non-dropper posts for long enough to be able to get through most anything the trail can throw at me. So for me, this looks fantastic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddprocter View Post
    Moving cable? I have a joplin, I never notice the cable when in the fully squat position. If you zip tie it to frame somewhere around the top tube/seat tube joint, then all it will do is stick out a little bit on the back of the bike it, and really won't get in the way, unless you are doing some serious jumping and trying a Can Can or a double grab, which would mean you're on a DIRT BIKE.

    But seriously, what is the objection to the cable sticking out a little in full squat? I hope its not just out of aesthetic purity

    To me these new posts are almost all infinitely adjustable, have about the same feel (damping vs. spring), have a remote, etc. So the decision for me comes down first to long term durability (since many have had issues) and second, weight.
    Not all frame designs favor your method. Several frames have linkages where the cable droops. The cable droop can also cause some unnecessary frame wear. Sure it is just paint and it can be covered, but why not eliminate the excessive cable and make the post actuate from the collar area?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calhoun View Post
    but why not eliminate the excessive cable and make the post actuate from the collar area?

    the 2 reasons that come to mind immediately are, I believe Thomson said they felt this design was more reliable than what they could do for the cable attaching to the fixed portion - which IMO is huge because at present there isn't a post on the market that I would call reliable, at that matters more to me than a little paint wear.

    and second, looking at posts like kronolog, it means a lot more minimum exposed post. Which isn't that much of an issue for me personally, but I could see why they'd want it to work on more frames for more riders.

    A fixed cable would be nice, but not if it means sacrificing reliability.


    What I'd really like to see is more frame manufacturers including provisions for internal cables, like reverb stealth, and the KS LEV with the internal cable. From the looks of the cartridge, I'd guess Thomson could make a "cable out the bottom" model pretty easily by flipping the cartridge upside down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    the 2 reasons that come to mind immediately are, I believe Thomson said they felt this design was more reliable than what they could do for the cable attaching to the fixed portion - which IMO is huge because at present there isn't a post on the market that I would call reliable, at that matters more to me than a little paint wear.
    not trying to flame here, but where did you read that? I read through the Pinkbike article and did not see that mentioned. Is there another article available?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    and second, looking at posts like kronolog, it means a lot more minimum exposed post. Which isn't that much of an issue for me personally, but I could see why they'd want it to work on more frames for more riders.
    non-issue if the travel is adjustable IMO, but also this does not effect me so maybe I am missing something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    A fixed cable would be nice, but not if it means sacrificing reliability.
    couldn't agree more
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    I like it, looks badazz like the krono but Im sure it will work better. A little silicon/rubber hood for the cable end would keep any dirt out.

  26. #26
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    I will for sure be getting one. Will be using the lever too... no cables! If it follows the same quality as other Thomson items, it will be a winner for sure.
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    I will second that like the idea of a dropper post but for the amount of use I prefer the lack of messy cabling. Any idea on weight , price, availability etc?

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  29. #29
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    i was hoping for a good post with an under-seat lever... i know KS makes one that i could get now... choices...
    i need to develop my crashing skills...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    Agreed - attachment at the head of the units is not gonna win people over. Collar actuated is what will make people stand up and take notice. And 150mm drop is much more appealing as well.

    I also think KS has continued to do a better job with the bar mounted actuation lever (although hopefully the Thomson one feels better then it looks?)

    I had really high hopes for this post - am admitting a bit disappointed. Looks like I will be going the KS LEV route to replace my KS i950.
    Ditto this as I am looking for a reliable external 6" post to replace my KS Supernatural that is just too finicky and maintenance intensive for me, but I came off years of using GD posts that would keep on running no matter what (If you could get past all the play at the seat clamp within a few months of replacement of course).
    Ride On!

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmbudoMatt View Post
    They all look awesome before anyone has ridden them. I'll start paying attention after people have been abusing them for a couple months.
    I agree. They all look very cool, but lets see someone throw it on a hard tail on some techy trails.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    the 2 reasons that come to mind immediately are, I believe Thomson said they felt this design was more reliable than what they could do for the cable attaching to the fixed portion - which IMO is huge because at present there isn't a post on the market that I would call reliable, at that matters more to me than a little paint wear. .
    I would definitely call the Gravity Dropper reliable.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  33. #33
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    stealth mode ON

    Thomson says they'll work on a "stealth" version once the initial release is dialed.
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    Their handlebars look pretty nice !

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeBert View Post
    Thomson says they'll work on a "stealth" version once the initial release is dialed.
    Where did you hear that? If that is the case then that is great news. I will probably buy the KS LEV now and when the Elite Dropper stealth version comes out get that one too. I can then decide which post goes on mine and my wifes bikes since they have the same seat tube diameters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeBert View Post
    Thomson says they'll work on a "stealth" version once the initial release is dialed.
    official:

    Thomson Bike Parts
    All right people: The dropper will be offered in a stealth through the frame cable model in March, at the same time as the external model. You asked, we listened!

  37. #37
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    Awesome news! Go Thomson!!

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'size View Post
    official:

    Thomson Bike Parts
    All right people: The dropper will be offered in a stealth through the frame cable model in March, at the same time as the external model. You asked, we listened!
    A LEV or Kronolog-like cable placement would be better I think as it would fit more frames.And to be honest I never liked the idea of Reverb Stealth as it proves to be a PITA if you want to remove the seatpost.

    I really like the look of the post though (and even more the potential of a quality product since it's coming from Thomson) so I guess there's still the option of a non-stealth version for guys like me

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  39. #39
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    I prefer the under-seat lever. I would rarely use the dropper function - MUCH less than I use ProPedal, for example. So I'd much rather do without the weight/clutter and potential for fail that a cable set-up provides.

    Hopefully, Thompson does a set-back version of this post for the long-femured.
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    you'd use it more if you had it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine View Post
    you'd use it more if you had it.
    Agreed. If I had to reach down under the seat to shift gears, I would do that a lot less, too.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 'size View Post
    official:

    Thomson Bike Parts
    All right people: The dropper will be offered in a stealth through the frame cable model in March, at the same time as the external model. You asked, we listened!

    Would I be admitting too much if I said this makes me.. you know... horny?

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    I recently had my i950 in for repairs and was stuck with a joplin 4 for a couple of weeks which did not have the remote. I found I used it way less and it was more of a hassle while riding to drop it just prior to rock sections ect. I can't imagine not having a remote after that.

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    95% of my riding is XC.

    Thus, even if the dropper function were somehow hardwired to my medulla oblongota, I'd rarely use it.
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    Setback Version

    Will this design allow for a setback dropper post? All my bikes have Thomson setback seatposts to dial in my fit (long legs)...

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    Quote Originally Posted by schneidw View Post
    Will this design allow for a setback dropper post? All my bikes have Thomson setback seatposts to dial in my fit (long legs)...
    Doubt it. I don't see Thomson going to a different clamp mechanism and the bent arrangement they use for their setback normal posts obviously won't work here.

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    Totaly agree, can't believe two companies that claim to be on the leading edge of componentry release a post with a cable attached to the top of the post. Until bike companies all start addopting stealth internal routing more companies need to wake up to the fact that having a massive loop of cable when you drop the post is a massive weakness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calhoun View Post
    Love Thomson, but this is a fail. Just like the Fox.

    Need more collar mounted actuators.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thrower78 View Post
    Until bike companies all start addopting stealth internal routing more companies need to wake up to the fact that having a massive loop of cable when you drop the post is a massive weakness.
    On the flip side, a post with a seat collar cable mount is inevitably going to be more complicated than an otherwise identical design with either internal or seat clamp routing, and I'd consider that to be a "massive weakness," particularly on a part that's already a whole lot more complicated than the alternative (i.e. a normal post). I'm all for pretty bikes but I just don't see this one as being worth the trouble. And yes, I do own a post with a moving cable mount.

  49. #49
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    From the company making the cartridge for this post:

    Robert De Rose In order for the cable to be routed at the bottom, the durability and functionality of the internals would drop. We looked at the different options; and the durability of the cable and it's use in the field was less concerning than the durability and functionality of the internals. The overall systems durability was the driver. So when given the choice of which functional aspect to go with, we choose the cylinder functionality over the cable placement. Their should be a 30.9mm, though the 31.6mm will come out first. Won't be able to make a 27.2mm size as it gets to small to fit all the components in, with the same functional requirements. Also it wouldn't meet the structural requirements at such a small diameter.
    I assume the Stealth version will get around this issue. The adj post market is filled with the wreckage of unreliable products; of course Thomson is going to make reliability a top goal. I have no routing issues w/ the Reverb cable.
    Originally posted by bucksaw87
    I still fail to see how mustaches, fixies, and PBR are ironic.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I would definitely call the Gravity Dropper reliable.
    Ditto on the Gravity Dropper. It is reliable, 400 hrs of use so far and no issues.

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