Dropper posts don’t get the recognition they deserve as a bike component. Very few parts have such a massive influence on your bike’s handling – i.e. freedom of movement. The affordable E*thirteen Vario Infinite dropper post promises to lower the saddle as far as possible. Will it still do so after 10 months of abuse in our long-term review?
Fortunately, dropper posts come as standard on trail and enduro bikes and they’ve improved dramatically in recent years regarding reliability, function and, above all, available travel. Bike brands themselves have also been involved in this development, offering increased freedom of movement on the bike thanks to ever shorter seat tubes with some production bikes already coming specced with 200 mm droppers. So, what do you do if you want to lower the saddle on your mountain bike even further than you can now? On a mountain bike with a relatively long seat tube and/or a limited insertion depth, it takes a lot of considerations and calculations to work out which dropper post will fit into your frame and provides as much travel as possible. The E*thirteen Vario Infinite puts an end to this problem and is available for just € 209 (€ 49.90 Remote). Thanks to a simple and clever system, you can adjust the travel by up to 30 mm in 5 mm increments. For example, if the 180 mm post is just a tad too long for you, you can reduce the travel to 175 mm in less than 30 seconds. The dropper post is available in both 30.9 mm and 31.6 mm diameters and comes either as a 150 mm version (which can be reduced to 120 mm) or, like our test model, with 180 mm travel (which can be reduced to 150 mm).
The saddle clamp of the E*thirteen Vario dropper post is compact and allows the saddle to be pushed very far forward. Thanks to that, our test boss Felix has been able to compensate for the relatively flat seat tube angle of his Cannondale Jekyll race bike and thereby find a more balanced riding position on steep climbs. Unfortunately, the Vario Infinite has a noticeable amount of radial play that can still be felt while sitting on the saddle. On the upside, the problem hasn’t worsened over the 10 month test period.
Installing the E*thirteen Vario Infinite is easy. As with most dropper posts, the main challenge is how the cable is routed depending on the bike frame. Thanks to the matchmaker clamp, the 1x lever is compatible with all SRAM brakes and keeps your cockpit looking tidy. If, like Felix, you prefer running Shimano brakes, you’ll still be able to fine-tune the ergonomics of the lever thanks to numerous clamping positions. In addition to the clamp, the lever throw can also be adjusted to suit your preferences. Combined with the grip tape on the lever, your thumb will always find the lever, even in the heat of the battle on the trail. We were impressed with the minimal amount of force required to operate the lever and the quick response of the Vario Infinite, which carried on working reliably and quickly even after 10 months of abuse, zero maintenance and a lot of mud.
There’s nothing better than a long travel dropper post, except for one with even more travel! Even if the E*thirteen Vario Infinite “only” offers 180 mm travel, it could be the perfect after-market solution for bikes with a long seat tube. Thanks to the tool-free adjustable travel, you’ll be able to maximise the amount of travel you can get on your bike. The 1x remote is among the best in its class in terms of ergonomics and operation and, in combination with the affordable price, allows us to ignore the radial play.
- ergonomics of the 1x remote
- tool-free travel adjustment
- value for money
- radial play
- no 200 mm version
Test duration 10 months
Price € 209 (dropper); € 49.90 (remote)
Weight 617 g (dropper); 72 g (remote)
More info Manufacturer’s website
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Words: Felix Stix Photos: Peter Walker