Taking us from lung-busting uphill crawls to thrill-filled gravity fun at the touch of a remote lever, dropper posts have become an essential component of our bikes. With the market growing ever more competitive, weaknesses are unforgivable and unreliability is no longer tolerated – perfection is the new status quo. We test ten of the best internal droppers to find out which is king.
What makes a good dropper post?
As a largely fit-and-forget part, the best dropper posts go unnoticed; through rain or shine they perform their function smoothly and without fuss. A good dropper post needs to perform faultlessly, require minimal maintenance, and be totally reliable. The best posts will have an ergonomic remote that harmonises with the existing controls on the bar and be simple to install. Crucially, the post needs to have long service intervals and provide trouble-free fun.
New kids on the block
It’s safe to say that 2017 was the year of the dropper post, with many new brands keen to throw their own designs into the mix. Many established brands like Shimano, KS, and e*thirteen focussed their attention on the more affordable end of the spectrum, while new kids on the block like BikeYoke delivered a sucker punch to the established luxury kings.
What about the elephant in the room, electronic seatposts? Why are there no wireless posts in this test? Wireless electronic dropper posts are the future, but currently they do not offer the same performance as traditional designs. A new wireless post from KS is almost ready and Shimano are yet (perhaps never) to release a model in their top-of-the-line Tharsis group – will these be the posts that change everything?
Anatomy of a good dropper post
Adjustable return speed
Some of the best posts allow you to adjust the return speed of the post, moving from slow and lazy to family-jewels-threateningly fast to suit your riding style!
Cable, Hydraulic, or Electronic
Cable-operated posts are simple and easy to fit, and allow you to run a shifter-style remote for a clean cockpit with a 1x drivetrain. Hydraulically actuated posts have the benefits of being sealed from mud or rain and do not suffer from cable stretch. The latest wireless electronic posts offer effortless fitting, but rely on batteries and need to be charged up occasionally.
Some posts have predetermined stops in the top, middle, and bottom, while some models offer infinite adjustment. Infinite adjustment allows you to stop the post at any point in its travel to fine tune the ride height.
All the posts in the test feature a bar-mounted remote, allowing you to drop the post without taking your hands from the grips. With the universal uptake of 1x drivetrains, the best remotes use a shifter style that provides functional and ergonomic operation.
Stack height is the distance the post extends above the frame in its lowest position. Differences in seat clamp head design mean some posts are taller (or shorter) than others. The best posts now have very low stack heights, allowing you to fit more travel into a shorter space.
Seat Clamp Head
Not all seat clamp heads are created equally. Fitting a seat to some of the posts on test requires the dexterity of a brain surgeon and at least twelve fingers. A good seat clamp will allow fitment of the seat with minimal stress and also allow easy independent adjustment of angle and position. With modern geometry, the layback post is dead – inline is the future.
Most dropper posts come in either a 30.9 or 31.6 mm seatpost diameter, allowing them to be fitted to most current frames on the market. Shims can be used to increase the seatpost diameter to allow posts to be fitted to 34.9 mm frames.
Dropper seatposts are now available in a wide range of drops, from 100 mm right through to a whopping 200 mm, but most manufacturers have settled on a 150 mm drop as a solution that works best for most riders. Very tall riders may want to look for manufacturers that offer longer travel.
Dropper posts are getting lighter and lighter, but there are still significant differences among the brands. A good post will be lightweight and reliable.
|Model||Price||Weight (post) g||Weight (remote) g||Maximum insertion depth||Stack||Installation ease||Performance|
|9Point8 Fall-line||€499||515||28||230||58 mm||**||*****|
|BikeYoke Revive||€369||545||23||265||45 mm||****||****|
|Brand X Ascend||€160||550||33||190||65 mm||**||****|
|Crank Brothers Highline||€349||578||37||285||46 mm||****||*****|
|Easton Haven||€445||548||17||230||65 mm||*||*****|
|e*thirteen TRS+||€299||576||64||280||65 mm||***||****|
|Fox Transfer Factory||€478 (dropper €399 + €79 remote)||588||28||272||60 mm||*****||*****|
|PRO Koryak||€199.99||530||27||230||70 mm||***||****|
|KS Lev SI||€287||562||20||249||50 mm||***||***|
|RockShox Reverb Stealth||€491||519||69||245||68 mm||**||****|