Gravity Dropper Classic Failed - DIY Repair?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    rpt
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    New question here. Gravity Dropper Classic Failed - DIY Repair?

    Long time owner of GD Classic that's broken - so that the part where the cable enters separated from the post. Parts 80 and 48 on the picture below-

    Gravity Dropper Classic Failed - DIY Repair?-gravitydropper-parts-diagram2.png

    As a temporary repair I've got 2 x crossed over cable ties and some tape for the ties to grip on / attempt to keep out mud etc.

    It works surprisingly well - I couldn't tell it'd been broken - but it's not a long term solution.

    I looked on the GD site and it seems they probably don't sell that part - though Ive mailed them today to check.

    Assuming I need a better repair - any suggestions guys?

    I plan to be servicing it as well - so no problem to do what's needed on / off the bike.
    Last edited by rpt; 10-22-2019 at 12:48 PM. Reason: better title

  2. #2
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    I’ve had great luck just talking on the phone with them over the years.

    Interested to know what they say.

    My GD turns 14 this month.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  3. #3
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    Try a company called tmars.

  4. #4
    rpt
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I’ve had great luck just talking on the phone with them over the years.

    Interested to know what they say.

    My GD turns 14 this month.
    Never heard back from them sadly. I'm UK based so phone isn't as easy as mail should be...

    Btw how've you dealt with the cable replacement challenge? This guy uses a vice -

    https://bikes-bikes-bikes.blogspot.c...l#comment-form

  5. #5
    rpt
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    Quote Originally Posted by riyadh View Post
    Try a company called tmars.
    Thanks for the pointer - I'm hoping to keep the GD going for a few years yet.

    If not may take a look at those guys - not the best reviews here

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/TMARS-ADJUS.../dp/B00ADPM9SI

    but I'd do more investigating if looking to order.

    Do you use one?

  6. #6
    rpt
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    I managed to push the magnet out with a g clamp and an old Allen key sleeve.

    Found the gear cable nipple/head needed a bit of sanding to fit, as it was a bit too long.

    Also reminded myself how small the Allen bolts are on the bar lever - forgotten that I'd overtightened those before and needed a new lever!

    I might look at a replacement for the bar lever if the post lasts the winter.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpt View Post
    Never heard back from them sadly. I'm UK based so phone isn't as easy as mail should be...
    Huh, there was one time I called and got a message they were on vacation for a couple weeks.


    Quote Originally Posted by rpt View Post
    Btw how've you dealt with the cable replacement challenge? This guy uses a vice -
    I am trying to remember... I've only had to change the cable a few times, and actually just did this past year. I don't remember it being all that hard, other than keeping the magnets facing the right way as I put it back together. I've never had a problem pushing the magnet out. Don't even recall how I do it.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpt View Post
    Thanks for the pointer - I'm hoping to keep the GD going for a few years yet.

    If not may take a look at those guys - not the best reviews here

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/TMARS-ADJUS.../dp/B00ADPM9SI

    but I'd do more investigating if looking to order.

    Do you use one?
    I used to, and still have mine. The tmars version. I have ordered the parts from them as well. You will be able to find the spares on ebay as well.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Tmars-Ice...prAAlcWum4OspA

  9. #9
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    Also, those plastic bits that slide into the post to prevent it from rotating, have been replaced with a diy alloy version. You will have to use the plastic part as a template.

  10. #10
    rpt
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    Update from a few weeks later - wanted to do at least a couple of proper weekend rides, to see how things with the GD are.

    After stripping down and greasing the spring, post, shims / sliders and replacing the cable it works really well - just the usual front/back play that I remember and don't really notice when riding.

    I've also sealed the 2 parts of the outer post that separated and then re cable tied them - all looks good - think it'll be fine long term now

    There's one thing that's changed - since I serviced it maybe;

    The action of the drop / rise and lever is positive and smooth, but there's some up / down play when pushing directly down on the saddle by hand if its fully extended.

    Its around 1/8 in / 3-4mm of movement and resisted by the spring -so rises up again when I stop pressing. Play is less if the post is part or fully down.

    Any idea what that might be - maybe I reassembled wrongly or damaged something.

    Tried adjusting the collar - made no difference.
    Last edited by rpt; 12-06-2019 at 10:00 AM.

  11. #11
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    I had one years ago and found the bottom threaded base(#68)was very sensitive in the orientation. Too tight and the post wouldn’t lock down and too loose and it seemed every thing rattling more. Try a half turn at a time and see if that works.

    Or is that the collar you are referring to?

  12. #12
    rpt
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    Ah no sorry I meant the plastic collar at the top (#52) that ends up being covered by the bottom of the rubber boot.

    But interesting that you mention it - with #68 I remember that I forgot to pay attn to where it was when I stripped it down.

    So when I was reassembling it I think I screwed it in as far as I could - maybe I should back that off / out a bit to see if it helps?

    I assumed it adjusted the force the spring applied pushing the post back up. Seemed like max force would be best!

  13. #13
    rpt
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    Update after some checking today - backing #68 out doesn't appear to make any difference to the up/down play.

    Also saw this again on my searching - https://www.pinkbike.com/news/Tech-T...uild-2012.html
    hadn't spotted last time that pictures 4 & 15 show #68 in the wrong place Compared to the GD site diagram at least -and they should know right?!

    Anyway I decided to strip everything down to make sure I had it right myself, it's difficult to tell from the GD diagram, but I think #68 needs to go with the 'cup' wrapped around the inner post and the flat bottom downward facing to the spring - seems to make sense when reassembling it that way. I also tried it the other way in case though- no difference to the play

    The GD site suggests that tightening #52 should remove / reduce play but didn't appear to for me - also tried that again just in case .


    After thinking about what limits vertical movement - afaik its the pin that moves in / out under magnet control, then how tightening #52 would affect that - I just can't work it out, so I've decided to live with the problem. Yep I couldve done that the first time and saved me and you all - lots of time investigating and reading - sorry about that

  14. #14
    Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
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    rpt, I thought I was one of the last Gravity Dropper users. Funny. I had 2 fancy Hydraulic droppers fail on me during Mt Bike vacations about 5 yrs ago, so I switched back to Gravity Dropper for its reliability. 2 years ago I bought a Bikeyoke Revive for my main bike, it is alot better than Gravity Dropper. The newer Hydraulic dropper posts are better than what the market offered from about 2012-2017. Bikeyoke, FOX, 9.8, and even newer Thomsons are much improved. My 2nd bike has a 2015 Thomson Elite dropper which has been trouble free for 4 years (Warranty post as original Thomson failed on one of said trips). I recommend $150 ($400 MSRP) DVO Garnet dropper that is on clearance now. If you cannot pull up sale price, call them, they are awesome! I believe it is based off of KS LEV design but I am not 100% sure. No need to get external routing, as it just complicates the design. The internal routing is simpler. Drill a hole in your bike frame. DVO customer service is affordable and the people there are great. I became very disappointed in Gravity Dropper, after supporting them on MTBR, and owning 2 units. They refused to change their geometry to match the trend of slacker seat tubes, and while the owner seems very nice, I felt they had their head in the sand as far updating or improving their product. The rear under saddle bolt hits the rail cradle, and it just became unacceptable on a modern bike geo. Their stanchion seal should also be updated. Very disappointing to see them lose so much market share, but they refuse to modernize. If they sold buggy whips, I would not buy one of those either, as I drive a car to work. History has passed them by.

  15. #15
    rpt
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    Thanks for that write up hoolie.

    As you might be able to guess, I'm just getting back into MTB after a long break and trying to make the most of what I have -doesn't mean I won't replace anything - just that initially at least I'll be looking to minimise big purchases.

    Re replacement droppers - I have a 27.2 seat-tube so having looked at their site it looks like Bikeyoke isn't for me. There are some others out there that do 27.2 but iirc they're at the lower end. I'll probably persevere with the GD at least into next summer (if I can) and take stock then.

    I think I recognise what you mean re GD - their lack of response to my contact surprised me a little. Taking into account their older looking site design and what you say above - kind of feels like seat posts are maybe not their main focus these days. It might be that they have other business interests and seat posts are on the sideline now.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpt View Post
    I think I recognise what you mean re GD - their lack of response to my contact surprised me a little. Taking into account their older looking site design and what you say above - kind of feels like seat posts are maybe not their main focus these days. It might be that they have other business interests and seat posts are on the sideline now.
    I think that’s about right. My impression is that GD (the company) was a essentially couple guys in their garage (a well equipped one) who had an idea that the big companies had zero interest in, so they just did it themselves. I don’t think starting their own company was their first choice. I believe they pitched their idea to at least one major component manufacturer (Rock Shox or SRAM I believe, not sure if they were the same company at the time), but nobody was interested. So they just did it themselves. I think that is about ad far as they planned to take it.

    To my knowledge, the GD “Classic” is essentially unchanged since ~2006 when they re-designed the inner shaft. Turbo got a very minor refresh around 2012. Website is almost comically ancient, and often not fully up to date.

    I think at this point they are fine just selling them as is as long as orders come in, and then.... not. I think they have pretty much nailed the design for what it s niche is (bare bones features, highly robust, and easily serviced) and there is little point in trying to compete with the 20 other dropper manufacturers who are offering more full-featured posts.

    After 14 years of good use from my GD, I was going to buy a turbo last year for a second bike. GD was not answering the phones, and rumor was they might finally be done (turns out they were just away for the week) so I got a PNW instead. I like the infinite adjust, but it is less robust a design as the GD, and I am already having issues with it.

    To the OP: try to call during their business hours. The first time I had an issue like you describe, the owner talked me through the collar adjustments. Now any time I have had an issue with the post (stuck up or down, not able to stay up or down, too much play at the top), I can pretty quickly adjust the thing to work properly again. I can easily do this trailside.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  17. #17
    rpt
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    Interesting background info - thanks. Might give them a ring in the new year

  18. #18
    Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
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    I thought about offering to buy Gravity Dropper, and if they would sell company, that thing could corner the market for its reliability. It needed better Angle for under saddle bolts, they are just WRONG for modern geometry frames. It needs a simpler remote (I used a Thomson Remote lever for my Gravity Dropper). It needs a modern stanchion seal made of rubber, not plastic. I was thinking of selling them as a bag of 10 seals for $10, as I threw my rubber robot boot away. It still worked fine but I had to clean it every mud ride. There was so much to improve upon, but leave the basic design as is. What I noticed about 2016 was everyone elses dropper posts became super reliable. FOX Doss was failure that they learned from, and FOX Transfer is really good, everyone I ride with has one. Thomson just improved theirs. 9.8 came to market and is pretty bombproof if you are smart enough to lube the top. The bikeyoke Revive is the best on the market. Gravity Dropper is too late to take market share back. Oh, I do keep my eye on that E13 mechanical post to see if they get that straightened out, but they too are late to the party as BikeYoke Revive really has figured it out.

  19. #19
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    Try these guys, you will also get spares from them

    https://www.tmars.com.tw/product/17

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    I thought about offering to buy Gravity Dropper, and if they would sell company, that thing could corner the market for its reliability. It needed better Angle for under saddle bolts, they are just WRONG for modern geometry frames. It needs a simpler remote (I used a Thomson Remote lever for my Gravity Dropper). It needs a modern stanchion seal made of rubber, not plastic. I was thinking of selling them as a bag of 10 seals for $10, as I threw my rubber robot boot away. It still worked fine but I had to clean it every mud ride.
    I am not about to suggest that a 15-year old design could not use some updating, and I totally get why a GD is about as appealing as a 1995 Mag21 fork to many folks, but I am a little puzzled about a couple things you are saying here..

    Regarding the seat post clamp: Seat tube angles are getting steeper with modern geo, not slacker. And the post can go as steep as you want as far as I can tell. It has always gone as slack as I needed. I am not sure what problem you are referring to with the rear bolt. Slacker STA (or more forward saddle tilt) makes the front bolt harder to get at, not the rear. The only issue I could see in the rear if you go too slack is needing a longer bolt. And I guess the front bolt might need to be shortened if it starts hitting the bottom of the saddle. What exactly is the issue you run into? I am wondering if we have different clamp designs? Mine is from 2005. I do agree that this is certainly something that could be changed without affecting the functionality of the post.

    Personally, I would not mess with the seal (or lack-thereof).

    I am curious why do you think it needs a rubber seal? The plastic collar is not meant to be much of a seal, and that is by design. Less friction, and less stuff to wear. The boot is what keeps everything out, and in my experience it does just that. Sure, after a muddy ride the boot is filthy, but IME the shaft inside is always clean (if you keep the little holes in the boot facing forwards).

    I think a big part of the reason these posts are so robust and reliable is the fact that their design does not require tight tolerances (or tight seals). I think of GD as the AK47 of dropper posts.... for better or for worse. The inner shaft is not a very precise fit in the lowers. The shaft pin is a loose fit on the shaft holes. Even new, there is some play in all of this, and it gets a little worse over time, but never affects the function (at least it has not for me in 14 years). The design is actually pretty tolerant of contaminates getting down past the plastic "seal". I've only broken mine down to clean it out about 5 times in the 14 years I've had it. They do not even require much lubrication.

    I think at this point it is best for GD just to stay in its lane: high-tolerances, robust, bare-bones features, low maintenance, easily user-serviced... and also among the lightest droppers out there. It has had that lane practically all to itself for 15 years. To try and refine it and add features will just put them in competition with a dozen other companies with better R&D resources. GD is now a niche product, with a limited target market, but they have that niche largely to themselves.

    Yeah, the lever kind of sucks. No good reason for that one.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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