Words by Tom Worsfold
The situation: It's 2019, and you still haven't bought your trusty steed a dropper post - how has this happened? �Dropper posts are expensive�, �I do just fine on my standard post� are phrases that spring to mind, but the reality is that there is no longer any excuse to be without one. They are an accessory that has become the norm, even permeating the ranks of world cup XC where even the strictest of weight-weenies have realised the benefits outweigh the weight penalty. Once a boutique accessory, it rode the wave of popularity and is now more accessible than ever, with a host of options to suit almost all bikes and low, wallet friendly price points. Still not sure you need one? Here's why you need a dropper post!
More Than a Fad
There are no two ways about it, dropper posts have changed mountain biking forever. No, this is not an exaggeration, it is truly hard to describe the flow they add to your trail rides. Ever been stood at the top of a sweet looking descent, asking your mates for allen keys to drop that post down after the fire-track climb? Many people have, and there is nothing worse than compromising your safety, fun and speed by descending with a post that's just too high.
There is a reason that almost all mid-range and above mountain bikes now come equipped with a dropper and that is because they add a whole new dimension of flow to your riding. Anticipating the trail ahead is key and dropper posts allow you to safely tackle obstacles that would be near catastrophic with a raised saddle. A low saddle makes it easy to transfer your weight effectively over the bike, a crucial ability to have when riding tricky sections of trail. When approaching a steep descent all you need to do is drop the saddle down with your trusty handlebar mounted remote and boom! Instant confidence from the ability to lean your weight back over the back wheel, meaning you stay in control and safely behind the bars. Having a low saddle increases your standover height, meaning that on fast, undulating terrain you can bring the bike up into you to effectively �squash� rollers and jumps. This in turn allows you to keep your speed on the trail, with techniques such as pumping becoming far easier when the saddle is dropped. See more on pumping here.
But wait - there's more! Dropper posts mean no more compromises when it comes to saddle height on both ends of the spectrum, set the maximum extension at your perfect climbing height and you are good to go. This is perfect for mixed gradient trails, with the ability to raise your saddle height on the fly leaving you to tackle those 'out of nowhere' steep climbs that plague UK trail centres without a fuss.
Still not sure a dropper seatpost is for you? Here's a summary of what a dropper can do:
- Add speed and flow to your riding
- Improve your descending
- Improve your ascending!
- Never faff with a quick release again
- Improve your confidence on tricky trails
- Various models to suit almost all bike models
Types of Dropper
On the market you will find three types of dropper post, some of which use handlebar remotes and some which do not:
The most common of these is an internally routed post, which requires the frame to have suitable ports for routing the cables from the handlebar remote to the underside of the post. Many bikes on the market are suited for this style of dropper, with this design being preferential for its clean aesthetic.
Externally routed posts are another type, and are great for their convenience or if your bike isn't capable of internal routing. These are incredibly easy to fit with cable being routed on the outside of the frame from remote to post, meaning there is no fiddling about with sometimes tricky internal routing.
Now a slight relic due to the dominance of remote style droppers, you may still find these available. These come in and a cheaper price point and use a lever mounted underneath the seat to activate the posts actuation. For ease of use it is easy to recommend a remote style post, but these are still a viable option if a remote isn't required.
How to Size a Dropper
In a world of ever-changing standards there are two key dimensions to keep in mind when upgrading to a dropper post:
Make sure you check the post diameter that your frame is designed for and match it to the correlating seatpost. This information can easily be found on the manufacturer's website or bike specification sheet, but if in doubt contact our handy customer service team!
This one can be a little harder to gauge. You will need to ascertain how much height you wish to have on your dropper post, with standard amounts ranging between 100-170mm of drop distance. The way to do this is to measure how much post you currently use when at full climbing height, and correlate that number against how much drop you require. There is nothing worse than a dropper that is too long as it will constantly try to extend further than necessary, and of course having one too short defeat's the posts purpose. Find a happy medium - for reference, small and medium bikes will often come equipped with a 125mm and a size large 150mm+. Finally, some frame designs cannot accommodate 150mm+ dropper posts, such as those with interrupted seat tube designs, so it is worth checking the manufactures recommendations.
As previously stated, there are no excuses to not equipping your MTB with a dropper post, but why stop there? Why not equip your gravel bike with a dropper post, or give a new lease of life to your old hardtail? Dropper posts really have changed the game and are constantly improving. Here at Rutland Cycling we stock a range of dropper posts in a multitude of specifications to get you up to speed with how they can help your riding, as well as a huge range of mountain bikes that come with one as standard. Want to know more? Get in contact with us, and don't forget to use #RutlandCycling & #TeamRutland on all your favourite social media platforms!