GETTING THE DROP ON THINGS.
A dropper seatpost is a good upgrade for mountain bikers who favour flowing single track, technical trails and downhills. Cycling Malaysia takes a look at the current state of dropper seatposts and what’s available in the market.
MOUNTAIN biking is a very physical sport, calling for lots of bike handling skills and body english. When riding off road, there comes a time when a rider needs to move their body weight back or forward, up or down, to change their center of gravity and aid handling. Other times, especially on technical trails and downhills, a saddle needs to get out of the way to accommodate the rapid body movement of the rider. When climbing, the saddle needs to be raised, to get maximum power to the pedals.
A dropper seatpost allows the rider to, with the flick of a lever, get the saddle out of the way in a split second, without having to stop and fiddle with seatpost collars. As a time saver and preventing interruption to enjoying the trails, dropper seatposts are becoming more common, especially on long travel MTBs.
Dropper seatposts fall into 2 categories, fully mechanical, where a spring props the saddle up, and activating the lever allows the spring to compress under the rider’s weight. The other is a hydraulic seatpost, which uses hydraulic pressure to raise and lower the post. Actuation of the dropper is via a remote handlebar mounted lever, although some manufacturers offer versions where the lever is located on the dropper post. Some posts will offer infinite adjustment through the post’s travel, letting the rider set exactly the ride height they want, while others will default to pre-set positions between fully raised and dropped. Most riders will tend to default to 1 to 2 positions between raised and dropped, depending on their riding style and preference.
Like all moving parts on a bike, dropper seatposts require maintenance in order to perform efficiently and prevent stiction in operation. Another argument against dropper seatposts is weight, but unless the rider is an XC weight weenie, the additional 300 grams or so shouldn’t matter, uphill or downhill. If a rider can’t power an extra 300 grams uphill, perhaps they should think about taking up another sport.
While there are many dropper posts available in the market, Rockshox’s Reverb is pretty much the market leader, having gained a reputation for dependability and reliability. New offerings from X-Fusion and Fox are also coming on the market, and manufacturers are offering their own dropper seatposts, like Giant, Specialized and Cannondale.
As a time saver and preventing interruption to enjoying the trails, dropper seatposts are becoming more common, especially on long travel MTBs.
Specialized Command Post Blacklite – RM999.00
The Command Post Blacklite is available in 3 drop heights; 125mm, 100mm and 75mm. Actuation is via remote cable and the head is bonded to the seatpost for a secure fit and to decrease weight. For 31.6mm seat tubes.
Specialized Command Post XCP – RM1,690.00
The XCP is a carbon fiber bodied dropper that gives XC riders 2 height positions for maintaining body position and efficiency. Total travel is 35mm and it’s compatible with both carbon and alloy seat rails. Suits 27.2mm seat tubes and 2 lengths are available.
X-Fusion Hilo – RM750.00
Coming in 2 drops, the HiLo is a hydraulic dropper that suits all types of MTB riding styles. The 2 bolt seat rail clamp prevents lateral twisting of the seat. The 31.6mm diameter post has a 125mm drop while the 27.2mm diameter model is 100mm drop only.
Crankbrothers Kronolog – RM950.00
The Kronolog is an evolution from the earlier Joplin. Air driven with a remote control, this dropper offers a full 125mm drop. Spacers are available to reduce travel height in 20mm increments. The one bolt seat clamp is secure and steady.
Fox D.O.S.S. – RM1,039.00
This dropper has 3 set positions for rider control, and uses air pressure to set the return speed of the post. The remote bar control is ambidextrous and can be located on the top or bottom of the bar. 2 drop sizes are available, 100mm and 125mm.
Thomson Elite Dropper – RM1,485.00
Infinitely adjustable through its 125mm range, the Elite Dropper has side mount actuation and a single forged inner tube for strength and reliability. The short throw remote enables quick seat height changes and the last 15mm of post travel is damped to slow it down.
Rockshox Reverb Stealth – RM1,564.00
The Stealth takes the original Reverb and hides the remote cable inside the post and routes it through the frame. The Connectamajig quick release hydraulic coupling allows for several disconnects of the hydraulic hose before bleeding is required. Four post lengths and 3 drop heights are available.
X-Fusion Hilo Strate – RM1,100.00
With internal seatpost cable acutation and BAT Remote for easy set up, the Strate suits the XC/All Mountain/Enduro type rider. Suits 31.6mm seat tubes, and 2 lengths are available, giving either a 120mm or 150mm drop.
KS Lev Integra – RM1,320.00
The LEV Integra has up to 150mm of drop available at a flick of the remote switch. The lock is hydraulic while the post itself uses an air spring. There are three travel lengths available, 100mm, 125mm and 150mm. The seat clamp is micro adjustable, making fine tuning easy.
KS Lev 2014 – RM1,550.00
This hydraulic dropper features a carbon head clamp and ultralight cable system that makes it 50 grams lighter. The seat clamp uses a 2 bolt micro adjustment system, and the Lev come in 4 seat post lengths and 3 drop heights to suit different frame and riding styles.