Dropper Seatposts: The Complete Buyer’s Guide 2022
Dropper seatposts have been widely hailed as the most significant technological breakthrough in mountain biking since suspension technology. They are fast becoming one of the most desired features on a mountain bicycle.
No matter if you are looking to get into the dropper post world or just looking to upgrade your skills, the detailed information below will help you to drop it like a hot potato in no time.
What is a Dropper post?
A dropper post allows riders to adjust the height of their seatposts quickly and easily while riding. Dropper seatposts are operated by a remote lever located on the handlebar or at the seatpost.
Dropper seatposts offer many benefits, including the ability to lower the seatpost and out of the way, which allows you to lower your centre-of gravity and allow you to carve, pop, and shred to your hearts content when you are on technical sections of trail.
How a Dropper post works
Dropper seatposts function in a very similar way to office chairs. You place your weight on the post and push the lever. The seat will then drop. The seat will return to its original position when you lift your weight off of the post. The technical inner workings of the seat are much more complex than this, but you get the gist.
Dropper posts’ innards are usually pneumatic. This means that pressure gas or air is used to hold the seatpost in its fixed or infinitely variable position.
The first dropper posts were originally adjusted by a lever located at the base of the post. Although this method is still occasionally used, dropper posts are now almost entirely operated by remote levers mounted to the handlebars. They can be connected at the base or atop of the shaft via a hydraulic cable or mechanical cable.
Why Dropper Posts Are Beneficial
Dropper posts allow riders to adapt quickly to different terrains. Riders can choose between comfortable, efficient pedaling or confidently descending without the need for a saddle.
Frame manufacturers can also create bikes with steeper seat tube angles. This is great for getting your weight forward to climb easier, and then allowing you to remove the seat from the way when the trail turns around. You can use dropper posts on any bike. If it’s a mountain bike, hybrid bike, or road bike. But the important part is you have to know the differences between bikes.
How to Choose a Dropper Post
Dropper posts are being developed more frequently, which means that more important players are entering this market. This is a good thing from a technical and durability standpoint, but it can also be overwhelming for new buyers due to the sheer number of options available. We have listed the most important aspects of dropper seat posts, and some things to keep in mind when you are searching.
Travel and the length of the Seatpost
A dropper’s travel amount refers to how much up-and-down movement it offers. Posts will often come in different lengths. This is often tied to the amount of drop of travel offered.
Droppers come in a range of lengths, including 80mm, 100mm, 125mm, and 150mm. However, there are also shorter and longer options.
Make sure that the pedaling height you prefer is achieved by ensuring that the length of your post is sufficient when extended before buying. In a fully extended pedaling position, measure the amount of seatpost that is visible. Droppers will have a minimum line of insertion, just like standard posts.
The overall length of the post will increase as travel length increases. A dropper that is too short will be more common than one that is too long. Make sure the height is not too high when the post is fully extended. Look for a shorter travel distance and a simpler design if it is.
Consider how much the post will fit within your frame. Most droppers posts can’t be trimmed so it is important to choose a length that allows for perfect pedalling height and doesn’t leave too much extra length.
When choosing a dropper post, you should consider your riding style, size, and height. For example, a 150mm travel dropper will not fit into a small frame. A post with extended travel may be more suitable for taller riders.
Fixed or infinite adjustment
Two ways a dropper can extend their travel are preselected (aka fixed travel) and infinitely adjustable.
Most posts will allow for infinite adjustment. This means that you can stop the post at any stage of its journey. This option is the most popular because it allows riders to adjust their saddle height according to the situation.
Some dropper seatposts can also be supplied with fixed, or preset positions. The number of preselected heights can vary depending on the type of seatpost. Fixed dropper seatposts offer riders consistent heights that are easy to adjust to. A few brands claim that fixed designs are easier and more reliable. Our experience shows that both designs are equally durable.
Hydraulic vs. Mechanical
Dropper seatposts most often use hydraulic or pneumatic pressure for raising and lowering the unit. However, the question of mechanical or hydraulic refers only to the way the remote lever is attached in order to control it.
The seatpost of a full hydraulic dropper is controlled by a sealed hydraulic remote. The system works in the same manner as a hydraulic brake cable. A piston pushes fluid through the hose, which then activates the dropper at one end. Hydraulic cabling has many advantages. It is impervious and resistant to debris. The cable doesn’t wear out, the hose can be routed at any angle without increasing friction. This system will require hydraulic fluid to be replaced on a regular basis. RockShox currently offers a complete hydraulic seatpost.
Comparatively, almost every dropper post on market uses a mechanical handle, which is connected to a control cable. A mechanical lever uses a braided stainless-steel cable, which is connected to the dropper post through the gear housing. A mechanical lever has the advantage of being simpler and more straightforward to set up than their hydraulic counterparts.
Handlebar Remote vs Seatpost Lever
Dropper seatposts can be actuated using either a remote control or a lever. The dropper post will be connected to either the remote or lever via a cable or a hydraulic line.
While seatpost levers were more common in the early days of technology, dropper seatposts have become more sophisticated. Handlebar remotes, on the other hand, are far more popular. It’s easier to adjust the handlebars on the fly than to take your hands off of them.
Each brand has its own dropper post lever design. Older designs usually place the lever on the handlebar’s left side. This allows for space to have a left-hand (frontal) gear shifter. With the rise of 1x gearing, there is now more space for the dropper remote to be placed below the handlebar.
The latest remotes work in a similar way to a shift lever and can be operated with your left thumb. Some posts may not come with a remote control, but there are many options available. These include WolfTooth, OneUp PRO, RockShox (to use with RockShox posts only), and other aftermarket options that can be purchased for a relatively low cost.
Dropper seatposts can be ordered in many different sizes, just like standard or fixed seatposts. There are three most popular options: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, and 34.9mm. However, there are some models that have skinnier posts (27.2mm).
The frame in which you intend to place the dropper seatpost will determine the overall diameter. This can be checked by removing your current post and looking at the markings at its bottom. You may need to reduce the size of your post by using a dropper and then find a suitable shim.
A larger diameter seatpost is thought to increase stiffness and strength. It also provides more space for reinforced internal parts. This leads to better durability. Many mountain bikes now have larger seat tube diameters.
A dropper can also be used to check the design of the saddle clamp. The twin-bolt design is the most common and allows for wide compatibility with both carbon and metal-railed saddles. It also allows for near-infinite angle adjustment. This is the preferred choice.
However, some posts use a single bolt side clamp. This requires additional parts to switch between carbon-railed saddles and metal.
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