Dropper seat posts have quickly become a must-have for mountain bikers of all levels. However, many styles, models, and fitment options can make it challenging to find the right one. This guide will help you make the right choice.
Dropper seat posts allow you to adjust your saddle height while riding. They use a spring and some system to keep it at a specific height. These seat posts have become more popular among mountain bikers of all types in recent years, and there are many on the market.
This article will address critical questions regarding who could benefit from dropping posts, the main drawbacks, and benefits, and how to choose the best one for you and your bike.
Why should I use a dropper post?
Off-road riding is a lot more difficult because of the importance of your saddle height. It should be high enough to provide efficient and effective pedaling but low enough to quickly move your body weight about on technical terrain or steep descents to keep you in control.
Before dropper posts, your saddle could be set at a fixed height, making it difficult to climb or descend. Or you could stop and drop your Seatpost manually, which was tedious and time-consuming.
Dropper posts allow you to have both positions, and sometimes anything in between, on demand. It allows you to move seamlessly from technical descending to climbing without any pauses or loss of efficiency.
Can a dropper post benefit all types of riders?
Answer: Almost every mountain biker who doesn’t place a weight over all else. Enduro racers will need one to race in the mixed-up down stages. Trail riders, regardless of whether they are on trail centers or off-piste wild trails, can use one.
However, the jury is still out on pure cross-country riding. You can probably ride without one if you don’t like going on technical trails. But cross-country racers now realize they’re much more helpful than you think.
A dropper post will allow you to ride faster, safer, and more efficiently. You don’t have to worry about your weight or be on a tight budget if you are obsessed with it.
Which is the best dropper for my bike?
It is not easy because many variables are involved, not just cost. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
What size dropper post do I need?
You will need to know the inside diameter of your bike’s tube. This information will be on the current post in millimeters. You can also refer to the specifications of your frame manufacturer. You can measure the post yourself using a set of Vernier calipers if you don’t know where to find it. Most Seatpost sizes can now be standardized, with 30.9mm, 27.2mm, and 31.6mm being the most popular.
You’ll be able to choose from all the sizes if you own a bike with one of the larger sizes. However, if you have the best hybrid bike with a post that is 27.2mm in diameter, your options may be limited.
Which is the longest post I can make for travel?
The game’s goal is to get as much travel as possible for as little money as possible. It will allow you to maintain your pedaling height and maximum clearance. There are many options for travel, with some offering as much as 200mm of drop. In reality, however, your options are limited by many factors.
It would help if you first calculated how many drops your frame can take and what height you can allow for. Measure from the top tube of your frame to the top rail of your saddle when it’s at the ideal pedaling height. Then, take the measurement down.
The next step is locating a dropper post that interests you. Compress it entirely and measure from the top, where the saddle rail would be, to the lowest point the post can fit into a frame.
Add one to the other, and you get the theoretical maximum travel dropper per travel that you can have with this design. You can fit anything below it, but your travel options will be limited.
Suppose you’re just getting started with drops and want to know which ones might be the best for you, easy measure them. You’ll see that not all droppers are created equal.
Is it possible to fit it into my frame?
That’s it! You’re right because a longer travel post requires a longer body to drop into. In turn, it will need a deeper insertion into the frame. A frame with a narrow seat tube, or one that is kinked or offset, might make it difficult to insert the post into the frame. You’ll need to determine the maximum depth your frame can accommodate.
You can do this by using a standard, fixed post. Stick it as far as your frame will allow it to go. If it does, mark it by the collar and then measure from the collar to the end.
You should be fine if the total length of the extended post plus the optimum pedaling height that you measured earlier is less than your frame’s maximum insertion depth; you should also be aware that some internal dropper posts have fixed gubbins, such as actuators, that can extend beyond the stated post length. It can cause a problem and could lead to a delay. Posts don’t like to see the cable bent or crushed at this point, so be cautious and ensure there is adequate clearance.
It doesn’t matter if the numbers crunching is too intense. You won’t buy a long travel article that doesn’t fit. People constantly try to swap or sell new dropper posts that they can’t fit in their bikes.
Which is better: External remote routing or internal?
It is also essential to determine if your frame supports remote dropper post cable routing. It’s easy to determine if your frame has an internal dropper post remote cable routing. There will be a small hole at the base of the seat tube that allows an internally routed cable out. However, sometimes the routing is entirely internal to the headtube. This feature is standard on most modern bikes and frames. Although it can be a hassle to fit, it’s much easier and less likely to cause problems once installed.
You will need to use an externally routed remote or an actuation lever on your post if you don’t have any internal routing. These designs have the downside of more cable flapping around on the bike, which makes it less neat and more susceptible to dirt ingress and damage.
If you need to move the post from one bike or another, an internally routed post can make it difficult.
If you can, we recommend that you choose internal routing. However, there are wireless dropper options available from SRAM or Magura that may make this question moot.
What kind of remotes do you have?
You have two options: one that is fixed to the post or one that is bar-mounted. These are usually only available on budget items. We wouldn’t recommend them.
You will need to choose a bar-mounted remote that is compatible with your existing controls regarding remotes. Most people prefer to place the remote under the bar on their left-hand side. It makes it easier to use and doesn’t loosen your grip on the bar. It works well if you have a single chainring drivetrain system. Most designs now mirror the way a left-hand shifter would operate.
You’ll need to ensure that your chosen shifter fits in that space. While many designs can work above or below the bar, some don’t. Try one out to find the right design for you.
You should also remember that remote lockouts for your bars for the front and rear suspensions will need to be set up correctly. Consider which controls you will use most often and prioritize bar space accordingly.
Which remote control is better: cable or hydraulic?
Most remotes operate using a cable, except for the RockShox Reverb range, which uses hydraulics. There is no consensus on which one is better. Hydraulic lines are less susceptible to friction increases from dirt ingress or tighter bends. They also feel more consistent over time. Cables, however, can be more expensive and require special tools for repair or replacement. If a hydraulic line goes down, you need to bleed with a special fluid.
Wireless dropper posts are now an option. Although they are still costly, they can be used to swap between bikes (assuming all the parts fit) and will allow you to only worry about routing through frames or charging batteries. Both RockShox and Magura have choices, but it’s difficult to say if they work well or are reliable.
What are the disadvantages of using a dropper pin?
The biggest drawback is the expense. They are significantly more expensive than regular posts. The newest wireless designs cost over $700, and budget items start at $100.
Carbon items are heavier than standard aluminum posts.
Complexity can also be a problem. Although the days of poorly functioning and unreliable posts are long gone, they can still go wrong. Sticky cables, for example, are a prime example of this. Cold weather is not something that many people like. It can cause problems with rubber sealing rings and lead to stuck-up or down posts.