If you’re into mountain biking, then you know how important it is to have the best gear on your ride so that you can get the best experience and stay safe while out on the trail. One component that is quickly becoming a mountain biker’s best friend is the dropper seatpost. While this relatively new tech is still a bit costly, the benefits of using it are well worth it for some riders.
This device makes it easier to climb the hill and stay safer on the ride down. Today we’ll be going over some of the most effective and desirable dropper seatposts you can find, as well as look at the most important factors you should be considering when making a final decision.
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Although this technology has been around since the mid-80’s, these devices didn’t start to become popular until the last decade or so. Due to increased demand, dropper seatposts are fast becoming more agile and technologically proficient. As a result, there are some important features you should be paying attention to so as to make sure that you get the best seatpost for your ride and your body type.
Because the seatpost mounts onto your current bike, it’s imperative that you find one that will fit perfectly; otherwise, you’ll risk having it be too big or too small. As a rule, these devices come in four different sizes: 27.2, 30.9, 31.6, and 34.9 millimeters.
You can check your bike’s measurements by looking at the engraved numbers on the post or using calipers to measure yourself. You can also look it up online if you want to keep things simple. Once you’ve found a perfect match, then you’re ready to look at the other features.
To control the movements of your seatpost, you have to use a cable to raise and lower it on demand. For most of this device’s history, the cable was either placed at the top near the clamp or on the side where it makes the bottom of the stroke. Pretty much any seatpost made before 2012 will be this way, which is compatible with practically any bike.
Although this term isn’t used universally, modern seatposts have the cable hidden and integrated into your bike’s frame. Thus, if you want to go with a stealthier option, you have to make sure that your bicycle is compatible, as not all models will work with a stealth seatpost. Because this is the current trend, expect all future devices to utilize this setup, meaning that you will have to upgrade your bike along with them.
Now that you’ve determined if the seatpost will work with your bike you can start to customize your results to fit your needs. One of the first things you should look at is the overall length, which is measured from the very bottom to the top of the clamp. The device should be fully extended to get an accurate reading.
Once you have that, then you will need to figure out your optimal stack height and insertion length, which we’ll go over in a minute. Average differentiation between open and closed is between 65 and 170 millimeters, with most riders choosing 125 for better results.
This metric is measured by seeing how far the post extends out of the frame. This is where you will need to determine your ideal travel range (the 65-170 mm stat we just showed you) as that will make sure you can raise and lower yourself perfectly without being too tall or short as you ride.
To get an accurate measurement of how much stack height and travel distance you need you will have to measure the length from the center of the saddle rail to the top of the seat collar when in normal riding position. Normal position is when your leg is fully extended, albeit with a slight bend at the knee. Once you have that length, subtract fifty millimeters.
Thus, if your riding height is 170 mm, you should get a seatpost with a travel of 120 mm or less. Why do you subtract 50? Because if you didn’t, then you run the risk of having a post that is too long and will be too high when you’re at full extension. This way you can ensure you will still meet your normal riding height but can lower sufficiently enough for those downhill climbs.
While stack height is the measurement of the post outside of the bike frame, insertion length refers to how long your device will go into the frame. To get an accurate reading, you should measure from the top of the seatpost collar to the bottom of the post. Some devices have extra components that stick out of them on the bottom, meaning that you should figure that into your length calculations.
Most seatposts will give you a minimum insertion length (for safety), so make sure that it is less than your maximum that your bike can allow. One thing to keep in mind is that if you get an extra long seatpost and it sticks out of the frame that will affect your stack height, so take that into consideration as well.
The collar shouldn’t be flush with the frame, however, as that can damage it when you lower yourself over and over again. There should be some distance, like an inch or so to keep your bike frame in optimal condition.
The size of this model is relatively standard, with 400 mm of total length and a travel distance of 125 mm. The wiring is all internal to keep things looking sleek and to ensure that you don’t accidentally damage the cable while out on the trail. Best of all, it comes with a handlebar remote control so that you can move up or down with ease.
Another excellent feature of the Covert Dropper is that it slows down in the last fifteen millimeters when dropping so that you don’t slam into the frame. Not only does this extend the life of your bicycle (and the seatpost itself), but it makes sure that your sensitive areas are not impacted negatively by the sudden change. Overall, this is one of the better dropper seatposts you can find.
Next, we have another high-quality dropper from DNM. This company is well known for making these kinds of devices, meaning that you will get an excellent ride without having to shell out big bucks for a higher end model.
This seatpost is a bit smaller than the Thomson Elite above, but it is made with durable 7050 aluminum and comes with smooth bearings to ensure easy transitioning from high to low.
The overall length is 330 mm, which makes it ideal for smaller and shorter riders. The travel distance is 110 mm, and it uses an external cable to connect to the handlebar remote control. Best of all, if the remote isn’t working, you can adjust the height manually without using tools. It has an air and oil suspension which means fluid movements and better results overall. The only downside to this model is that it is not designed to carry large riders.
The length of this seatpost is 400 mm, which is ideal for most riders unless you’re particularly short. The frame is made with a durable 7075 aluminum alloy, and it comes with heavy duty components to keep you riding smoothly on the trail. The travel distance for this seatpost is 125 mm, which is about standard for most riders.
What makes this model stand out among the rest is not only the superior construction but also the ease with which you can install it. It comes with internal wiring and a handlebar remote and takes only minutes to mount it to your bike. Other seatposts can be frustrating to install, but not this one.
For the most part, dropper seatposts are rather expensive items to put on your mountain bike. While many would argue that the price tag is worth it for the convenience and safety, some people might not be able to afford higher end models.
Thankfully, this seatpost from Tmars is designed for those who don’t want to drop a ton of money on bike equipment.
Unfortunately, this model only comes in one size, and it’s a bit longer than the other ones we’ve seen. Thus, if you are a shorter rider, you might have some issues with this particular unit. The overall length is 445 mm, with a travel distance of 110 mm. What we do like about this seatpost is that you get three different drop positions, from the full height, midway, and then all the way down. This way you can customize your experience as you descend.
While some complain about external wiring, we think that it can be a good thing, depending on what kind of bike you have. Only modern bicycles are equipped to handle stealth seatposts, so if you’re riding something a bit older, then you need a model with external wires. Finally, as with all of these devices, you get an integrated handlebar remote so you can go up and down at will without stopping.
So far, we’ve seen seatposts that come in multiple sizes but stay the same length. While most companies do things that way, this Dropper Seatpost from FSP-501 adjusts everything with the larger size, so keep that in mind when making your final decision.
On the smaller end, you can get a post that is 390 mm, with a travel distance of 100 mm.
If you opt for the larger model, you get 430 mm overall length and 115 travel. With both units, the cable wiring is external, and they are both made of heavy duty 7075 aluminum alloy. The other thing that sets this seatpost apart from the others is that it weighs a lot more, meaning that it can either be a hindrance or a benefit, depending on how you look at it.
Some bikers prefer to streamline their weight at all costs, whereas others might appreciate having something more robust for safety. Finally, as with all seatposts, this unit comes with an integrated remote control on the handlebar for convenience. Nonetheless, you can adjust the height manually without tools if need be.
As we’ve seen, many seatpost manufacturers produce minimal size variations in their models as they are trying to appeal to the most common needs of bikers.
However, if you want more choice in your seatpost to ensure that you get exactly the dimensions and performance you want, then the KS LEV-DX Dropper is an excellent option.
While the construction and operation of this unit are fairly standard, you have many different options when it comes to overall length, travel distance, and diameter. Best of all, these varieties are available for both of the most common diameters, meaning that you can customize as much as you want.
On the low end, you can get 335 mm of length and 100 mm of travel, whereas on the high end you can have 435 mm of length and 150 mm of travel. Regardless of the size, they all come with external cable wires and a handlebar remote for your convenience.
The length of this seatpost is a bit longer than others we’ve seen, measuring 458 mm overall. The travel distance is also a bit higher with 150 mm, meaning that this particular model is ideal for taller riders. To help ensure proper performance, this post comes with a sealed air chamber and is made of a lightweight yet robust aluminum alloy.
Another great feature of this post is that you get a fully adjustable head so that you can reposition your seat as you see fit. Finally, it comes with internal cable wiring and an integrated handlebar remote for your convenience.
Much like the KES model above, here we have another seatpost that is designed to be as customizable as possible. This way, whether you are tall or short or need extra travel distance, you can find it here.
In all, there are seven different variations from which you can choose, based on your seat diameter and overall length requirements.
On the low end, you can choose a length of 350 mm with a travel distance of 100 mm. On the high end, you can get 450 mm of length with a travel of 150 mm. These models all come with internal cable wiring and a two-bolt adjustable clamp so you can move the seat how you see fit.
Another added feature of this seatpost is that it is hardened against foul weather. These models were tested in the snow and worked well regardless of the frost, so don’t be afraid to take the trails when the ground is frozen.
At first glance, you might think that this Thomson Elite Dropper Seatpost is the same as the one we saw above. However, this is technically a downgrade, especially if you consider external wires to be more of a liability.
In effect, everything else is the same; only this model is the older version and thus does not have stealth cables.
As far as dimensions go, this unit is 400 mm long and has 125 mm of travel distance, which is ideal for most riders. Because it has the wires on the outside, it is compatible with almost any bike, whether it’s old or brand new, making it a bit more versatile than the Covert model.
Other features include heavy-duty aluminum alloy construction, a lightweight frame, and an integrated handlebar remote for your convenience. One other thing that this unit is lacking is the soft landing when you drop, so keep that in mind as well.
To achieve this effect, there is a wireless receiver built into the frame of the post, which gets its orders from a wireless remote control attached to the handlebar. Best of all, the battery is rechargeable via USB and can last for up to two months between charges.
As far as dimensions go, this post is 446 mm long and has a travel distance of 150 mm. Because it’s wireless, you will see faster results each time you use the remote, making this a high-tech wonder that is pioneering a new age in mountain biking.
After looking through these various seatposts, our top picks have to be the Thomson Elite Covert Dropper or the KES LEV-DX models. We like the design and quality of the Thomson post, but we also appreciate the level of detail you get with the KES model. Overall, both of these devices have the best features and performance you can get, making them an ideal choice for any serious rider.
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