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  1. #1
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    Budget dropper: KS eTen vs. TMARS/Gravity8 vs...?

    So I've been convinced to board the dropper train. I'm not able to commit much money to the experiment, though, so I'm looking mostly at low end models. The two most obvious options are the KS eTen and the TMARS gravity dropper-like posts that are sold on Ebay. I've read a lot of reviews on both, but haven't really heard much about the TMARS posts since the Eten came out. I'm curious if anyone has been on both and compared them.

    As far as I can tell, both have their advantages:

    eTen:
    Continuous adjustment
    Known company (though I've seen some service complaints)
    Looks nice

    TMARS:
    Simple mechanical action (user serviceable)
    Cheaper
    Possibly more durable (though two reports of post failures)

    Anyone have any thoughts or experiences that would help me and folks making a similar choice? Also open to other suggestions too if I've missed something completely.

  2. #2
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    Budget dropper: KS eTen vs. TMARS/Gravity8 vs...?

    Don't hesitate on the eTen. I have one and several friends do too, and the only issue comes from a little mud getting stuck under your seat.

    The eTen has been reliable and flawless, and has super easy installation. The only downside I see is a little extra weight, but that's honestly it.

  3. #3
    Short-Change-Hero
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    Agree with the above... Have an eTen that was my foray into the dropper world, buddy that has a RS Reverb says it works just as nicely has hit Reverb without all the maintenance worry. Contact Bikerbob on here (believe it is bob@bikerbob.com) as I was able to get my remote 31.9 version for $119 from him.
    Inbred 29r (Purple People Eater)
    HH Thumper (Blackheart)
    Bikes for Boobs F*ck Cancer! One too many, 6/24/13. Miss ya ma'.

  4. #4
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    Well it sounds like the ETen might be the way to go, at least in terms of satisfied customers. Thanks!

    Any TMARS partisans want to chime in? A post simple enough that even I could work on it is tempting...

  5. #5
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    I love both my etens

  6. #6
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    ive got the tmars for 8 months or so, not so "sexy" as the other droppers but works great! very simple design, with zero problems. wight less then the eten, and the price is good.

  7. #7
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    I have 2 tmars and 2 origin8--
    the pull wire on the gravity 8 frayed but I have been too busy to replace.
    I guess I was pulling too hard on the lever. With these you need to tab your saddle to engage and disengage the seat pin. Not quite as nice as a hydraulic unit, I got used to it and it is not a big deal, unless you are racing and need absolute instant post adjusting.
    My origin8 survived a week in Moab no problem.
    1 tmar died after 1 week but got replacement and no problem in the past few months.

  8. #8
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    My e10 work flawlessly in every other way I did have to bump it to get it to return to the top every time which is not a big deal unless you're racing or on some sort of agenda where you need instant automatic return: up.

  9. #9
    I $uck, but TURNER Rules!
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    TMARS supporter here!

    I have purchased (3) and may buy another. [(2) for me - on 2 different bikes - and (1) purchased for a friend... the 4th will be for my son who is about a year into MTB].

    I got a good deal on the first for $80 shipped (ebay), so, I couldn't help myself. After a couple of months of use without any issues, I purchased one for my other bike and another for a friend. the posts have been on our bikes since early 2014, and no issues to report.

    For reference, I got the TMARS with 3 adjustments (I had read that the one with 2 positions - the "old" one - appeared to have had issues because of the angle that the cable went into the post). Also, once you get the TMARS, take it apart (VERY easy - look at the Gravity Dropper instructions as its the same set up), wipe off all of the "grease" that is already on there (which appeared to me to be more of a rust prevention coating) and put some "SuperLube" on all moving parts (same stuff Turner recommends for their zirks), put some oil in the cable housing (your favorite chain lube should work), and you'll be good to go for quite some time... any maintenance required shouldn't be any problem being worked into the time when all other bike maintenance is done.

    Finally, although it would seem that you need a ton of slack in setting up the cable on the frame (to keep from binding), I found that a nice quick "bend" (not a kink) with a zip tie to the frame, works wonders to keep the lever actuation nice and smooth.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Budget dropper: KS eTen vs. TMARS/Gravity8 vs...?-20140930_205249.jpg  


  10. #10
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    I actually ended up buying the 3 position TMARS post as 1. It was 50 bucks cheaper and at $75 I was willing to experiment 2. As i was making the decision there were two threads on the front page about less than ideal service at KS and the difficulty of disassembling the LEV (though everyone does seem to love their eTen).

    I've been riding with it for a couple of weeks now. Probably 10 rides with varying degrees of post usage. So far, it's been great. I didn't do anything to it at the beginning: I came home after work, installed it in half an hour tops, and went for a ride. The actuation is good, I haven't had an issue raising or lowering it yet. Overall I love it, particularly for the price.

    The way mine is set up, you need a bit of a butt bump to raise it, but that doesn't bother me much (and it prevents nut shots). Supposedly I could set the cable slightly different and avoid this, but I'm used to it now and I really only imagine I'd want to raise it without coming down on the rare occasion that I transition from something technical directly into an extended seated climb, so I'm not too worried for now.

    The one thing that is slightly annoying is that the housing where the cable goes into post (and possibly houses some of the mechanism) is below the adjustable segment of the post. This isn't an issue for me, but my wife's seat post doesn't have as much exposed post and I think that the top position would be too high for her due to the housing. The housing does extend a bit, but I can't get it over my seat post clamp. Maybe a low profile seat post clamp would be the answer. SparkyAlumni's post and some of the others on sale on EBay seem to have a slower profile housing for the cable entry.

    You can see what I'm talking about in this picture from the Ebay ad:

  11. #11
    bump and grind
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    I had a Tmars. In the "manual" it said that it is not to be used for extreme off road riding. Ok......After 3 rides, the plastic bushings (anti-twist guide bushings) wore out and had to be replaced. Tmars sent some free. But those didnt last either (another 3 rides). I "fabbed" guide bushings out of aluminum, and while they have lasted, they produce some really annoying play (due to the workmanship of the fabricator no doubt :P ).
    The remote, while it looks cool, is ineffective. It takes a committed push of the thumb and hand to move the cable long enough to actuate the post. I would change the remote an old gutted shifter.
    The spring-back is completely undamped and quick. It can launch a water bottle 10 feet in the air. So be careful. It takes real weight to lower the saddle.
    I never really liked how it worked. It takes some concentration, practice and effort to lower the post while riding. Compared to a KS or reverb, or even the GD, which is much more reliable, the Tmars was clearly several orders of magnitude lower. On the trail, I constantly found myself leaving the saddle up instead of trying to deal with trying to lower it upon coming upon a steep portion.
    After a few months, the cable broke at the seatpost end, and I tried to change it, but ended up ovalizing the rod that locks the post in each position. (user error, I suppose, but the lack of any info on how to change the cable helped too) I thought about getting the part from Tmars, but decided its not worth the hassle. Its trashed now and its hanging on my wall as a reminder that "you get what you pay for."

    My advice, save up for a KS or reverb. Dont waste your time and 75$.
    Turner Burner 650b, Turner RFX, Voodoo D-jab 650B, Voodoo Wazoo CX/commuter
    ...so far...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobym2 View Post
    I had a Tmars...
    Huh. I wonder if they've improved things since you had yours as I've yet to experience any of the problems. Mine goes up and down pretty easily and the lever could be a bit smoother, but as long as I don't miss it with my thumb, I've never had a problem with quickly dropping the post while riding. We'll see if my good luck continues.

  13. #13
    bump and grind
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    Huh. I wonder if they've improved things since you had yours as I've yet to experience any of the problems. Mine goes up and down pretty easily and the lever could be a bit smoother, but as long as I don't miss it with my thumb, I've never had a problem with quickly dropping the post while riding. We'll see if my good luck continues.
    MIne was from 2 years ago. Its one of the first releases I think. I dont know if they improved the guide bushings as this was the major recurrent problem. The others (remote lever and cable) I could deal with. Watch those guide bushings.

    If they wear and break, the seatpost could suddenly turn/twist while riding. The guide bushings also take the brunt of the force of the post extending. So if you want it to last, avoid extending the post without an ass over the saddle to dampen the harsh topout (or launching plastic bottles).
    Turner Burner 650b, Turner RFX, Voodoo D-jab 650B, Voodoo Wazoo CX/commuter
    ...so far...

  14. #14
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    anybody use Tmars without the boot? how is it?
    I have GD turbo for 5 years, and took out the boot since beginning, no issue.

  15. #15
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    Having converted to bikes to droppers, need to ask one important question. What size diameter seatpost do you need? One of my bikes was a 27.2 and that had limited options. The other was 31.6 and it had many more options.

    Also KS makes other droppers that can be had for around 200 or less. May also want to look at other brands such as xfusion, rockshox, thompson and fox.

  16. #16
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    What about the giant contact?

  17. #17
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    Any droppers that are 27.2 and have 125mm+ travel?

  18. #18
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    Probably get more dropper information in the general forum as we are not supposed to discuss droppers in AM anymore

    Why did the Dropper threads get moved?

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