Considerations For Buying A Dropper Seat Post
I've held out for long enough.
Dropper posts aren't known for their longevity. I like longevity. I don't like the idea of having to buy a new dropper post every year or two. I know, many of you buy a new bike every year so that's not an issue for you. Everyone I ride with easily transitions from uphill to downhill or quickly adjust on rollers while I’ve become too lazy to adjust my seat height mid ride. It’s time to cave. Now, which one to buy.
Make sure the post fits you and your bike
Most posts have between 100 and 150 mm of drop. Some bikes or people can't fit posts with longer drops. Make sure you have enough room to insert the post far enough down that the seat is at your comfortable flat-land riding height. The seat will naturally stop at that height when you raise it.
Get the right cable routing. Many posts require the cable to be internally routed. Even if your bike supports internal routing, it may not support internal routing for the seat post. All bikes can support an externally routed seat post cables, but there seems to be more options for internal routing.
Lastly, make sure you get the right diameter to fit the seat tube. I knew this, but still almost bought the wrong size. Look for diameter listed on your post, use calipers to measure the post, or visit your local bike shop to figure out which size you need. Typical sizes these days are 27.2, 30.9, and 31.6 mm.
Get the right lever for you
Traditionally, the lever to control the seat post has been an over-the-bar lever similar to where a bell might go. With the advent of 1x systems, an under-bar lever can be used on mountain bikes instead. This lever looks and operates similar to the front deraileur shift lever. After using both, I find the under-bar lever much easier (and safer) to use while moving at speed.
How serviceable the post?
Each manufacturer has a different dropper mechanism. Some are cartridge and easy to replace. I've even heard of some air-oil posts. Research how serviceable the post is because you will be servicing it much like a front or rear shock. A number of people I ride with replace their dropper posts every year or two as they stop working because the repair costs approach the price of a new post.
- Overtightened seat clamps can damage the sliding mechanism. Check torque specs on your frame and use grip paste if the post won't stay.
- Don't lift your bike by the seat post.
- Don't leave the post dropped when not using it.
It's funny. Some people swear by the Fox Transfer with Kashima coating, but I've seen those same people swap to Chain Reaction's in-house Brand-X dropper post and love it. At the end of the day, I went with the KS Lev for it's easy serviceability.
Long Term Care For Dropper Posts