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Dropper Post on a Hardtail

paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
edited July 2013 in MTB buying advice
Thinking of adding a dropper post to my Cove Handjob. Its a 27.2mm so my options for posts are restricted in any case but I had heard that droppers on hardtails wore out faster as any seated jarring deals a heavier blow to the mechanisms than on a FS bike. This makes sense to me in my head but wanted to check if anyone had experience of this.

Also given the 27.2mm issue would anyone recommend a KS Lev over a KS Supernatural or a X-Fusion Hilo over either of those? I am drawn to the Hilo as it is lighter (and cheaper) but would appreciate any suggestions.

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  • milko9000milko9000 Posts: 533
    Something to bear in mind about the Lev at that size is there's no user way to add air to it should it be needed, has to be sent for a full service. Not the case on their wider models (I run a 30.9 one).

    With that said, the cable being at the base of the post is really nice, only a small thing but definitely a good one. On the others you get a loop of cable which tends to get in the way a little bit. I can only compare it to a reverb in actual use, got plenty of miles on both and rate the Lev just slightly higher at the moment.

    singletrackworld had quite a forum thread on the ebay specials recently I think, worth a search.
  • Cat With No TailCat With No Tail Posts: 13,581
    I've run droppers on a few hardtails over the years, never had any problems, *although* I can understand the logic behind someone suggesting they'd wear out quicker, if you are quite a heavy rider who is seated most of the time.
    Think about the number of times you've taken a jarring blow when seated though. Shouldn't be that often.

    FWIW, with a 27.2 tube, I'd go gravity dropper all day long. They might not be pretty, but they just work, and they're one of the easiest bike related items I've ever serviced. Turbo-multi version if you've got the budget.
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    I'm erring toward the Hilo to be honest for the inexpensive price, nice looking lever (esp compared to the GD). Hilo £140 from Wiggle and GD 225 from CRC.But the budget ebay ones are 78 quid and look like GD copies in any case.

    I am not a heavy rider at all and dont go smashing through components so I am thinking the risk is low but I was considering the post while out riding at Swinley the other day and the man made armoured trails there are quite seated oriented (especially as my legs were aching) and I could feel myself pinging on the saddle as I pedalled so was wondering what sort of damage I'd be doing to a mechanism in the seat post in the same position!
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  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    So I ended up going with a Tmars Dropper post from ebay - with delivery it was £84. Comes as a 3 position post, 27.2mm fitting. Looks pretty decent out of the box. The rubber sleeve boot thing over the moving part of the post is not so good looking but otherwise it is reasonably weighted, has a nice couple of touches of red anodizing on the post and lever and a simple design.

    The first thing I noticed was that the seat clamp itself was a little awkward to use, the two bolt design is pretty standard but without a ball ended allen key the front bolt is pretty tricky to tighten as a standard set of multi tool allen keys tend to foul the boot unless you do a lot of small turns of the bolt - annoying but not the end of the world - just compared to my old Race Face seat post which has one of the best clamps around.

    I popped the clamp on the bar and post in the bike to have a play with it. It came set in the mid position so I decided to extend it first. First operation of the lever pulled the cable out of the grub screws which was not so good.

    A quick study of the design and I undid the plate on the cable housing, pulled out the cable and replaced it with a standard mtb gear cable. After a bit of faffing where I couldn't get the post to release - I had left the housing cover off in order to remove the cable later to shorten the cable outer and the mechanism needs the cover on to operate - I finally got it to work and lift the bike. Playing around in the house I was struggling to get the lowest position to engage - I had emailed the supplier to ask why but went out for a ride to try it out in any case. In motion I found I could get all three positions so I must sit differently riding as opposed to just sitting stationary in the house.

    In operation the system just takes a little getting used to - to lower you need to de-weight the seat, press lever then sit and allow the seat to go low enough to engage the position needed while releasing the lever. I found I missed the mid position a couple of times and had to try again. On the up you do the reverse, weight saddle, press lever, de-weight and it rises, I have taken two turns out of the tensioner allen key and the rising speed as a consequence is good rather than nether region threatening.

    The lever action is good - it looks like a little joystick and operates in 360 degrees depending on preference and it sits in parallel with the bars so is not too intrusive and doesn't add to the clutter of the bar too much. It doesn't need a huge push to operate the mechanism either. The cable fits through the centre of the lever and is secured in place with two grub screws. In order to fit it and make sure it is tensioned the easiest approach is to cut it once secured with the grub screws but this leaves a stub end of cable out the end of the lever. The lever comes with a little rubber end cap to go over the cable but I lost mine on the first ride. I am not sure how easy it would be to secure the cable having cut it first but this would certainly make for a more pleasing finish and maybe might have retained my rubber end for longer.

    The other thing I discovered is that the Chilterns barely call for a dropper post - I can see it will be useful for trail centres and steeper terrain but my local hills really dont need me to drop my post.

    Good - not too heavy, decent looks, no moving cable as it secures at the base, price

    Room for improvement - no manual or instructions, seat clamp design, cable snapped on first use.
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  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Not that a weight weenie would ever have a dropper....but what is the weight? (or don't you want to remove to find out?).

    Thanks for the review, sounds like it's good value for money, as long as it continues to work.
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    I don't have any scales to weight it on. Sorry!
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