Our colleague EJ has questions. I have answers (or at least opinions).
Ok…rider profile first.
Moderately aggressive recreational rider who has 5″ travel trail bike trying to get faster/better skills. Primarily rides IMBA created trail with flowy berms/rollers or more technical Southeastern US trails with roots, small drops (<3 feet) with loops on a flow track and/or BMX park thrown in. I do not typically do mountainous downhill runs or long cross country type riding.
1.) Is it your opinion, that dropper seat posts are becoming a neccessary bike component that truly improves a rider’s techniques, or are they another “magic bullet” type of item that gear-a-holics glom on to?
They are not a magic bullet, but they are a fantastic tool.
If you suck at riding bikes, you will still suck with a dropper post. But: Getting the seat out of the way makes sucking less dangerous, and it creates space to help you learn proper balance and range of motion.
If you rule at riding bikes, and you learn to use the expanded cockpit, a dropper post is going to help you braaap harder and carry more speed. You won’t be compromising on your seat height or stopping to fiddle with it.
2.) Given the price range of the newer dropper seat posts, is it really worth the investment?
If you have a dialed bike that fits you, and your bills are paid, and your babies are fed, and your wife is happy, and you know how to ride, a dropper post is a smart place to put some money.
I tell my beginning skills clients to get dropper posts before they get clip-in pedals and shoes. This is after they’ve spent time and money learning how to ride. Skill trumps all equipment.
If you really could use that $300 for something else — and who can’t? — you can always rock a $30 seatpost quick release. You’ll have to compromise seat height or stop to fiddle with it, but it’s not like mountain biking is going to be terrible.
3.) Across a variety of Internet sites, user reviews, etc., there seems to be a high degree of customer dissatifaction with the most common products. (KS, Rock Shock, Gravity Dropper, Crank Brothers). Are the newer generation of posts reliable for long rides in more desolate areas, where equipment failure causes a lot of inconvenience.
Honestly, every adjustable seatpost I’ve ridden for any length of time has eventually revealed itself to be a piece of crap. OK, let’s not go that far. So far every post has at some point disappointed me.
• Original Gravity Dropper was fine until a kid to whom I loaned my bike spayed a bunch of water and dirt into the mechanism. I cleaned and lubed everything, but it became impossible to find the right amount of spring preload. Too little and the post didn’t go up; too much and it wouldn’t go down. I eventually gave up.
• My two Maverick Speedballs have been pretty decent, but they have been failing in catastrophic ways. Note: The Crank Bros Joplin uses the same mecanism. The last time I got the Speedballs rebuilt, the tech told me they would always be a liability, and that I should get myself a Specialized Command Post. I hate to spend money on bike stuff, so I’m switching the last surviving Speedball among Captain America, Stumpy and Enduro. It’s working fine right now.
• An X-Fusion Hilo 100 lasted about eight nice months before spraying oil all over the bike and losing it’s ability to stay up. I’ll assume a rebuild with new seals will give me another eight months. I have real things to worry about in my life; I can’t bother with broken bike parts.
I just put in an order for three Specialized Command Posts, paid for with my own money. The hydraulic Rockshox Reverb seems like it has the nicest function out there, but the mechanical Command Post has proven reliable for a whole lot of people. I plan to slap Command Posts on Captain America, Stumpy and Enduro. Done. No more switching, no more worrying.
4.) Specifically, regarding the upcoming KS Lev post. Have you received any feedback from Brian Lopes regarding his testing? Would he actually use something like this on his daily ride? Has the new cable routing and post proved to be reliable without the common complaints of seal failure or side to side play? Would it be better to wait for the new Lev or get the current models now?
Brian and I don’t sit around talking about bike components during Next Top Model commercials. I’ll say this:
Lopes doesn’t tolerate anything that doesn’t further his goals. He would not run the KS post unless it worked for him. Also, if he senses play or sees oil, he’ll get it taken care of right away — unlike me, who runs stuff until it breaks in the back country.
Right now, in order of proven reliability:
• Old fashioned seatpost quick release.
• Specialized Command Post.
The Rockshox Reverb seems really solid (and the function appears to be the sweetest), but we’ll see how it fares over time. Fox is working on something; I doubt it will suck.
Also read: Top 3 adjustable seatposts
Thanks in advance!
You’re welcome. Rip it!
Know more. Have more fun!
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