Dropper Seat Post, or Carbon Fiber Wheels?...don't say both.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Dropper Seat Post, or Carbon Fiber Wheels?...don't say both.

    I'm looking at two used bikes that are pretty much identical, except one has carbon fiber wheels, DT Swiss XMC 1200, and the other has a dropper seat post and aluminum wheels, DT Swiss M1700 25mm BOOST F&R w/ 36T star ratchet upgrade.

    I plan on doing endurance races in the 4-6 hour range and I'm trying to decide which would be more beneficial for that type of racing.

    I'm leaning toward the carbon fiber rims, because I'm guessing endurance races aren't all that technical, which is where I think I would find the dropper seat post to be the most useful.

    Thanks so much.

  2. #2
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    Definitely the wheels. You can add a dropped post later.

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    I know nothing. I've been told so by a few people on the forum.

    That said, go for the wheels. Based on the number of posts I've read here about droppers that cease to work in a short time (from numerous mfgrs), the wheels seem a much better choice.

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    Wheels definitely... you won't need the dropper, nor the extra weight it brings.

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    I have a dropper (got it for BCBR) but don’t use it all that much now - and likely won’t all that much next year, but carbon wheels will cost you more than a dropper anyday and if you end up doing a race that it is likely a good idea to have a dropper the prices are dropping on them with lots of new options coming out regularly.

    I’d do wheels.

    It is a good question actually, if you were to ask this same question on PinkBike I bet you would get Dropper! It’s all about the audience!
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  6. #6
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    It sounds like the dropper isn't required for this application.

    Also, I'm guessing a bike with a dropper and M1700 wheels is 2 pounds heavier than one without a dropper and M1200.

    I can't live without a dropper, but I'm not doing 4 to 6 hour endurance races!

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    Thanks so much.

    Carbon fiber wheels it is, then.

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    The wheels. Those are very nice, and very spendy, wheels.
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  9. #9
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    Good carbon wheels: $1200-3000
    Dropper post: $300-400
    So...
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by myt1 View Post
    I'm looking at two used bikes that are pretty much identical, except one has carbon fiber wheels, DT Swiss XMC 1200, and the other has a dropper seat post and aluminum wheels, DT Swiss M1700 25mm BOOST F&R w/ 36T star ratchet upgrade.

    I plan on doing endurance races in the 4-6 hour range and I'm trying to decide which would be more beneficial for that type of racing.

    I'm leaning toward the carbon fiber rims, because I'm guessing endurance races aren't all that technical, which is where I think I would find the dropper seat post to be the most useful.

    Thanks so much.
    My Endurance race bike has those XMC1200 wheels and no dropper. I have though about a dropper, but I don't want to carry the weight. Most Endurance races either don't need it or may be there could be 5 mintues of total time where the dropper would help and the rest of the time it is just dead weight.
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  11. #11
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    Once again, thanks so much.

    The seller of the bike with carbon wheels accepted my offer.

    I'm getting excited.

  12. #12
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    Definitely the wheels, because a used dropper post is a time-bomb.
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    It really depends on the courses you race/ride and how good you are handling the bike.

    Nini Schurter does not need a dropper post, yet in some courses he has one. If your courses are on the easy side, definitley go for the wheels. But if there is one trail that forces you to go slow or even walk, you can easily lose the 2 minutes the wheels bought you uphill.....


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  14. #14
    jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpi69 View Post
    It really depends on the courses you race/ride and how good you are handling the bike.

    Nini Schurter does not need a dropper post, yet in some courses he has one. If your courses are on the easy side, definitley go for the wheels. But if there is one trail that forces you to go slow or even walk, you can easily lose the 2 minutes the wheels bought you uphill.....


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    It's an endurance race - the wheels are a bigger factor over that length of time.
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  15. #15
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    Which actually makes you faster? That is a good question.

    Those are super nice wheels, I have a set myself. But am I faster on them on a set of 1700s? If so, not by a lot.

    Am I faster with a dropper then a straight post? That isn't an easy question to answer. Even the best riders in the world are not sure if droppers are the way go. For most people I suspect that droppers are not making them slower, I suspect that in most case they actually make them quicker. And they probably make a bigger difference then a set of Carbon wheels.

    But if the bikes are the same price buy the one with the Carbon wheels. Droppers are cheap when compared to carbon wheels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpi69 View Post
    It really depends on the courses you race/ride and how good you are handling the bike.

    Nini Schurter does not need a dropper post, yet in some courses he has one. If your courses are on the easy side, definitley go for the wheels. But if there is one trail that forces you to go slow or even walk, you can easily lose the 2 minutes the wheels bought you uphill.....


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    I say BS, and I'm a mostly-DHing dropper-post user (that also XC races). It won't take you 2 minutes to navigate the hardest downhill section on your feet and if it's some kind of shit where you have to repel on anything short of a full DH bike, you probably wouldn't be doing that with a dropper post on your XC bike either. Marginal/small losses on DHs are easily made up on flats and climbs, because you spend such a small fraction of time descending comparatively. I'm not saying a dropper isn't nice to have, I sure appreciate on a 50+ mile race with big descents, but to say it's going to be a deciding factor for time is stretching it for 99.999% of all people and situations, even ones with lots of DH. Wheels will benefit you all the time, requiring less watts to be output. A dropper will give you a faster speed through a few very short sections and cost you watts everywhere else (weight). Another perspective, during the summer short-distances races we would often have portions of the course on some of our flow trails, where there are doubles and table-tops. For many of these, I wouldn't bother to lower my saddle because I knew I could clear them with the seat up AND I could get back on the power faster. Being able to start pedaling again vs. having to raise the saddle is a small difference, but every small difference adds up in a race.

    Again, I'm not against the dropper, its a luxury, it's nice to have at times, in some cases it might be a good move, but it's not the same thing as getting some nice light wheels. Wheels win every time IME.
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  17. #17
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    The bike with the carbon wheels is likely a much nicer overall build. Those were like $2000 new MSRP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I say BS, and I'm a mostly-DHing dropper-post user (that also XC races). It won't take you 2 minutes to navigate the hardest downhill section on your feet and if it's some kind of shit where you have to repel on anything short of a full DH bike, you probably wouldn't be doing that with a dropper post on your XC bike either. Marginal/small losses on DHs are easily made up on flats and climbs, because you spend such a small fraction of time descending comparatively. I'm not saying a dropper isn't nice to have, I sure appreciate on a 50+ mile race with big descents, but to say it's going to be a deciding factor for time is stretching it for 99.999% of all people and situations, even ones with lots of DH. Wheels will benefit you all the time, requiring less watts to be output. A dropper will give you a faster speed through a few very short sections and cost you watts everywhere else (weight). Another perspective, during the summer short-distances races we would often have portions of the course on some of our flow trails, where there are doubles and table-tops.
    Well we have a marathon where I saw people losing a ton of time. Not talking tabletops or manmade trails, but natural, rootie hard downhills that last for 700m/2100ft. If you are not used to that then a dropperpost would give you a lot more confidence and gain you time, than a few grams on the wheels would save you.
    But that depends on your skills and the courses. You have more fun riding with the dropperpost......

    My 2cents. Personally went for a dropperpost and light aluwheels.


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  19. #19
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    This summer, during a longer race, I was able to ride past racers who were walking their bikes up the hill climbs.

    On the downhills they passed me like I was standing still and I never saw them again.

    I doubt if a dropper seatpost would've made the difference, but it makes me think technical prowess will beat hard headed suffering, particularly in a technical race.

  20. #20
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    The wheels are an obvious choice in the original question. However, a dropper usefulness spinoff discussion is not solely just time saved downhill versus time lost uphill with added weight. The minimal weight on flats is not a factor. Crashing is always slower. So although rider skill dependent, if you can descend faster and be less likely to crash with a dropper then it makes sense to use it. The more technical the course the more it makes sense
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  21. #21
    jms
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I say BS, and I'm a mostly-DHing dropper-post user (that also XC races). It won't take you 2 minutes to navigate the hardest downhill section on your feet and if it's some kind of shit where you have to repel on anything short of a full DH bike, you probably wouldn't be doing that with a dropper post on your XC bike either. Marginal/small losses on DHs are easily made up on flats and climbs, because you spend such a small fraction of time descending comparatively. I'm not saying a dropper isn't nice to have, I sure appreciate on a 50+ mile race with big descents, but to say it's going to be a deciding factor for time is stretching it for 99.999% of all people and situations, even ones with lots of DH. Wheels will benefit you all the time, requiring less watts to be output. A dropper will give you a faster speed through a few very short sections and cost you watts everywhere else (weight). Another perspective, during the summer short-distances races we would often have portions of the course on some of our flow trails, where there are doubles and table-tops. For many of these, I wouldn't bother to lower my saddle because I knew I could clear them with the seat up AND I could get back on the power faster. Being able to start pedaling again vs. having to raise the saddle is a small difference, but every small difference adds up in a race.

    Again, I'm not against the dropper, its a luxury, it's nice to have at times, in some cases it might be a good move, but it's not the same thing as getting some nice light wheels. Wheels win every time IME.
    Agreed.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by jms View Post
    Agreed.

    Go to RedbullTV and watch the Women's XCO finals @ Mt. St Anne and La Bresse - Langvald remains more than competitive despite having to walk numerous tech bits that others are riding down.
    And she was walking stuff with a dropper and a dually that others were riding with a hardtail and straight post.
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  23. #23
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    People tend to over estimate how big of a gap they are putting on someone too. At 20-30mph on a DH, 30 seconds is going to look HUGE in terms of distance, as in "no one else around for miles". On a climb, 30 seconds you are going to easily see the guy in front of you and it's going to be just as hard to close that gap, but you have a lot more time to do it in and situations to make up time, compared to that DH. I've been in both situations countless times, passing people on the DH, only to get passed on the uphill, or making up time on the DH and holding that advantage. Two years ago at the season finale the XC was held at the bike park using a combination of trail, access roads and some bike-park trails, ones that were of course tamer than the black diamond trails, but for XC riders on XC bikes they can still be pretty challenging. That is my element though and I was able to edge out one of my closest competitors and hold him off on the climbs, but that margin is so razor thin it's far better to concentrate on increasing your climbing power, speed and focusing all efforts there. In other words, trying to make my XC bike "more downhill" wouldn't make me faster in XC. That was a great race for a dropper post, and still it wasn't some insane time difference, we are talking a couple seconds each descent, of which there were about 3 per lap x3 laps. On a longer race, I wouldn't be able to hold off those other guys, because the climbs would be longer and their slight advantage over me would easily win out.

    A dropper definitely makes it more fun though! Just like the conclusion of many here, the results are inconclusive as far as time/being faster. Wheels is a more solid choice.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpi69 View Post
    It really depends on the courses you race/ride and how good you are handling the bike.

    Nini Schurter does not need a dropper post, yet in some courses he has one. If your courses are on the easy side, definitley go for the wheels. But if there is one trail that forces you to go slow or even walk, you can easily lose the 2 minutes the wheels bought you uphill.....


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    On thing to point out. Nino already has carbon wheels. Some times he has dropper, sometimes not. When does he chose to NOT use carbon wheels?

    If this were a build built for gnar and chunk then a dropper by all means. I have 5" trail bike with dropper post and aluminum wheels, but as stated earlier my Endurance XC bike has carbon wheels and no dropper. It is horses for courses to some extent.
    Not to mention the value of wheels vs dropper and cash needed to ad one later
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    A dropper definitely makes it more fun though! Just like the conclusion of many here, the results are inconclusive as far as time/being faster. Wheels is a more solid choice.
    A dropper also makes the same speed as with a rigid post safer.

    Disclaimer: if you're stuck in the '90's and refuse to bend your knees you'd never notice though.

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    Dropper post.

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    Disclaimer: if you're stuck in the '90's and refuse to bend your knees you'd never notice though.
    I think you'd be surprised how fast the expert and pro riders can descent without a dropper. I'm not going to claim it's as safe. People tend to think they are going 3x the speed with a dropper post. At the elite levels, the racers have plenty of handling skills (and many compete in multiple disciplines) and can push the speed on the DHs with XC bikes past what intermediate riders can do on DH bikes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I think you'd be surprised how fast the expert and pro riders can descent without a dropper.
    That's really not the point and is similar to the argument that singlespeeders are teh fasterist because some guy on a SS beats up on everybody in town. What that IS is a sign of their ability, not necessarily an endorsement of their approach, because we don't see what they could do without the hindrance of a rigid post.

    That said, if I was an elite XCO racer, I'd probably go without a dropper, if only for the sake of consistency...but I'm not, so I don't. There's also the possibility that droppers don't matter because they're not widely used, everyone is riding in a certain way, so there's not as much of an advantage on the tight courses.

    For example: If everyone else is slower on the descents (riding at a quick but safe speed), but the descents have very few alternate lines, your extra speed doesn't really mean anything because you're being held up. Very little advantage for the DH, but you've got the extra weight (which matters more to athletes at the edge of human performance) on the climbs.

    OTOH: In amateur racing, everyone is at varying levels of fitness and that heavy seatpost doesn't matter because your diet makes a far bigger difference. There's also longer descents and more technical features possible in an endurance race.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I'm not going to claim it's as safe. People tend to think they are going 3x the speed with a dropper post. At the elite levels, the racers have plenty of handling skills (and many compete in multiple disciplines) and can push the speed on the DHs with XC bikes past what intermediate riders can do on DH bikes.
    But we're not going to dispute that it isn't slower or less safe to use a dropper, right? Because that's the entire point. Nobody "needs" a dropper post, but a lot of people "like" them, because it allows them to better position themselves on the bike. Now, if someone refuses to change technique to utilize technology, they aren't going to find a benefit and that's not the fault of the seatpost.

    What does the straight-legged descending hero Nino do with a dropper post? He bends his damn knees.
    Dropper Seat Post, or Carbon Fiber Wheels?...don't say both.-p5pb10230020.jpg

    But one thing I definitely know is that crashing is slow, and for any given speed, using a dropper post is safer and is marginally less likely to reduce your speed to 0mph (as a best case scenario).

    There's also the fact that being able to descend marginally faster means that you're traveling marginally faster when the descent stops. The easiest way to go faster is to not slow down as much, it takes zero effort.

    You are only as strong as your weakness...so stop having weaknesses.

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    Just to add another angle... Endurance racing, you want to pick gear that will increase your speed over time and reduce potential points of failure.

    Carbon wheels are lighter, sure, but they are also stronger than aluminum rims. Win/Win

    Dropper offers a minimal potential for speed improvement over a tiny fraction of the overall course, introduces more weight (probably offsetting any gains) and introduces another failure point. Win/Loose/Loose
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTUB View Post
    Just to add another angle... Endurance racing, you want to pick gear that will increase your speed over time and reduce potential points of failure.

    Carbon wheels are lighter, sure, but they are also stronger than aluminum rims. Win/Win

    Dropper offers a minimal potential for speed improvement over a tiny fraction of the overall course, introduces more weight (probably offsetting any gains) and introduces another failure point. Win/Loose/Loose
    Yes, this.

    I have a buddy who is the best technical rider I have ever met and he regularly rides black diamond and even double black diamond trails. He won't shut up about how much he loves his dropper seat post.

    Sadly, I will never come close to riding as well as him technically and I'm not even sure I aspire to ride like him. I just don't want to endure the requisite crashes, and injuries, that I think would be necessary for me to even approach the same sandbox as my buddy.

    At least for now I'm going to be an endurance xc racer, and I'm hoping this means the trails are not terribly technical and I will be better served by a lightweight set of wheels, rather than a dropper seat post, for all the reasons stated in the above quoted post.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by richde View Post
    A dropper also makes the same speed as with a rigid safer
    Word!👍😎
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

  32. #32
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    I put a dropper on my bike and i didnt use it. Im so use to getting back behind my high seat and using it for leverage i felt weird seat down.

    Love my carbon wheels.


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  33. #33
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    From my perspective watching people race with a dropper: They are worthless if you don't use it. Carbon wheels are always working for you.

    I see people on courses all the time navigating tech with their post up. "Oh, it's a short section", "Oh, it's only ONE rock", "Oh, it's not that technical, I don't need the seat down." If you are one of these guys, you are first of all...wrong...second just save your money and weight and don't run a dropper. At least the strength and weight of the carbon wheels are always helping you, whether you ask for them to or not.

    Pro tip: the position of a dropper seatpost should ALWAYS be down...unless it is needed in the up position, not the other way around. If you need to sit on the seat, put it up. If you don't, put it back down and leave it there. Every turn, every rock, every obstacle, it should be down unless you are sitting and pedaling.

    Still undecided about a dropper for me on my XC. I am already getting more air and hitting harder tech on my XC bike with a rigid post than most people I see on enduro bikes (most of my riding is on an Enduro). Safety isn't my concern, and I don't think the time gained descending will make up for my time lost climbing as my power is weaker than my tech skills. Again...somewhere the wheels help!

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    Carbon wheels. The lighter rotating mass is more better in XC racing.


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