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Are dropper posts essential?

rwooferrwoofer Posts: 106
edited May 2019 in MTB general
Since nearly every review magazine review I've read has said a dropper post is an essential upgrade, I splashed out on one. After 3 months of riding I found I haven't used it or felt the need for it once.

So why do magazines rate them so highly?

My advice would be only get one if you consistently find the seat in the way.

(my usual rides are around Swinley and Peaslake)

Posts

  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    edited May 2019
    They are if you need to constantly adjust your saddle height.

    Might be an obvious statement, but it's as simple as that. I find them a real game changer, but that's because of the riding I do. It's quite hilly, with steep decents and big climbs.The terrain fluctuates so much that a dropper is really helpful.

    Like a lot of things MTB, you don't always need it, despite what the marketing machine says.

    I do only have a dropper on my FS. My HT doesn't really need one as that is used on more sedate terrain.

    I did cope for 20+ years without one riding HT's, but now I've got a FS and ride more challenging terrain, I love having a dropper.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • tom_howardtom_howard Posts: 792
    All my MTBs have droppers. If you look at every discipline at top level, save for DH/DJ as they only have to ride down, everyone is running them. They mean you can have your saddle at optimum height for whatever it is you are riding, no compromise, without having to stop and adjust. I don’t care what anyone says, having a saddle high up is awful when riding tech terrain, or where the are lots of undulations or short climbs and descents. Hell, they even make mounting and dismounting easier, or allow you to vary position for a bit on long flat rides. Anyone who doesn’t use one that has one while rides off road for any length of time, frankly, is doing it wrong. I’d take a dropper over suspension or gears every time.
    Santa Cruz 5010C
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  • LagrangeLagrange Posts: 652
    In answer to your question, the mags rate them because they get paid to by the manufacturers.
  • tom_howardtom_howard Posts: 792
    Lagrange wrote:
    In answer to your question, the mags rate them because they get paid to by the manufacturers.


    Horse****. Some (not all) publications may favour certain brands, or feature those brands more in group tests, but as a concept, everyone is sold on them, like they are on the concepts of gears and suspension.
    Santa Cruz 5010C
    Deviate Guide
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Pivot Mach 429SL
    Trek Madone 5.2 Di2
    Salsa Mukluk Carbon
    Specialized Turbo Levo Expert 29er
  • Long_Time_LurkerLong_Time_Lurker Posts: 1,068
    Useful, not essential.
    I've only had one in the last year or two but managed perfectly well in the last 20 years without one.
    (Although I have ripped two pairs of shorts when they caught on the saddle when I was going over the handlebars - that wouldn't have happened with a dropper.)
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
    2012 Cube Ltd SL (the hardtail XC 26er)
    2014 Lapierre Zesty TR 329 (the full-sus 29er)
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,787
    Lagrange wrote:
    In answer to your question, the mags rate them because they get paid to by the manufacturers.

    That is tired old thinking! In fact, I wonder if it was ever true? If the bike mags were being paid then they would be paid to give high ratings to censored stuff. Are YOU stupid enough to keep buying censored stuff just because a magazine says it is great? No, I didn't think so, and neither is anyone else! It is a losing proposition for a bike mag to give false reviews. People keep buying it because they like reading it and they trust the reviews. The more people buy the mag, the more the advertisers can be charged. Once it got round that the reviews were biased, good bye credibility, goodbye circulation, goodbye journalists' jobs.

    I believe that the only benefit that the magazines get is that the manufacturers lend them kit to be tested. If they had to buy the kit, rag it to hell and then sell it on the used market, the mags would cost twice as much, maybe more.

    Declaration of interest: I have three times bought bikes because they were given rave reviews by several different bike mags: Norco Sight, YT Capra, Whyte T130. I test rode them of course (sadly not the Capra as that was an import), and each time they were absolutely cracking bikes. I don't use the bike mags to tell me what to buy, but to filter out the censored and help me to choose which bikes to concentrate on. In the case of the YT Capra, in the absence of a test ride, it was the rave reviews and the geometry table that sold me on it.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,269
    I've got multiple mountain bikes. The only one which doesn't have a dropper is the lightweight hardtail XC bike. I use this for longer rides and races on smoother courses, where the dropper is of less use. I'm still considering fitting one to that bike though, but I'd prefer to go for something like the Magura Vyron or AXS Reverb so that I could easily take it off for the rides I don't want it for. If I only had one MTB, it would definitely have a dropper.
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    I'm seriously considering getting one, most of my riding is fairly on the level so I like to have my saddle high, for pedaling efficiency.

    But it quickly becomes a liability on descending anything remotely technical.

    The only real reasons I've not got one yet is frame compatability, price and reliability issues.. You don't need to look far to see people complaining about them wobbling, sticking, sinking etc. From various makes. And even the cheaper ones aren't really cheap.

    I wouldn't want a handle bar switch for example, an under saddle lever would suit me.
  • tom_howardtom_howard Posts: 792
    mattyfez wrote:
    I wouldn't want a handle bar switch for example, an under saddle lever would suit me.

    Totally defeats the point. Why would you want to be fiddling around under your saddle, taking your hand off the bars, just as you are getting to a technical bit? Maybe fine on the trails you ride all the time, but what about new places?

    Plus hardly anyone makes one without a remote now. Thats why.
    Santa Cruz 5010C
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    Trek Madone 5.2 Di2
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  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    Well not for me, I prefer less handle bar gubbins, I wouldn't have a remote fork lock out for example, it's more weight, more complication and servicing when I can just reach down and flip the switch on the fork. Only takes a second pause at a convenient time.

    So a seat dropper equivalent would suit me better.
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    Droppers are a good idea which can be very useful. I don’t have one on either bike but if the trails I ride frequently called for one it would be handy.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,269
    mattyfez wrote:
    Well not for me, I prefer less handle bar gubbins, I wouldn't have a remote fork lock out for example, it's more weight, more complication and servicing when I can just reach down and flip the switch on the fork. Only takes a second pause at a convenient time.

    So a seat dropper equivalent would suit me better.
    It's really not the same thing. A fork lockout you would use when coming onto a fire road section, for example, when you have a lot of time to reach down and turn it on. I don't have a remote lockout on any bike, though I use the crown lockout frequently. A dropper post is most useful if you're adjusting it during the more technical parts of the trail - You might drop it for a steep descent, immediately raise it for the following climb, drop it again at the top, and so on. It would be dangerous to take a hand off each time you wanted to do this.

    I would suggest going to a demo day or something where you can ride a bike with a remote dropper to see how they are. I think I'd rather have a fixed post than a dropper with no remote, because I'd never use it.
  • yonnyyonny Posts: 36
    mattyfez wrote:
    Well not for me, I prefer less handle bar gubbins, I wouldn't have a remote fork lock out for example, it's more weight, more complication and servicing when I can just reach down and flip the switch on the fork. Only takes a second pause at a convenient time.

    So a seat dropper equivalent would suit me better.

    So a QR seat clamp is what you want bud.

    Of course a dropper isn't essential but imo it's one the best upgrades you can get if you ride trails with climbs and DH sections.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,787
    My first dropper was without remote and I very quickly realised how it was OK on smooth trails, but dangerous on rough ones. I soon paid the extra to get a remote.

    When I'm bouncing down a rough trail, I need both hands on the bars. The thought of taking my hand off the bars for even a second gives me the willies! :shock:
  • mattyfezmattyfez Posts: 638
    Would you not just drop it before you bounce down a rough trail though and raise it afterwards?

    Anyway the main thing putting me off it routing an extra external cable and the extra servicing. My frame doesn't have internal cable routing.
  • thistle_(mbnw)thistle_(mbnw) Posts: 3,328
    yonny wrote:
    mattyfez wrote:
    Well not for me, I prefer less handle bar gubbins, I wouldn't have a remote fork lock out for example, it's more weight, more complication and servicing when I can just reach down and flip the switch on the fork. Only takes a second pause at a convenient time.

    So a seat dropper equivalent would suit me better.

    So a QR seat clamp is what you want bud.
    This is what I do on my bike if I feel the need to adjust saddle height while riding.... (no dropper).
    You have to do it on reasonably easy terrain whereas a remote dropper allows you to adjust it pretty much any time, and the lift mechanism of the dropper is a lot easier than pulling it back up with your thighs :wink:
    I've tried bikes with dropper posts and it seems like a useful feature to me, but not enough to convert my current bike which doesn't allow for internal cable routing.
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,279
    Cables are a necessary evil for the function they deliver. I agree aesthetically it is nicer to have a clean bike with few cables, but the function of a dropper outweighs any aesthetic concerns.

    Extra servicing also comes with the territory. Though in fairness, the Reverb in our family has needed only two bleeds and one replacement lever in the 3 years of ownership, so the servicing overhead is minimal.

    Neither of those are good enough reasons to want to specifically avoid having a dropper for the riding advantages that they bring, provided you can afford one. They are not essential, but they improve 99% of bikes. Your choice whether to take advantage of that improvement or not.
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    No but, you know, yes.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,787
    mattyfez wrote:
    Would you not just drop it before you bounce down a rough trail though and raise it afterwards?

    Anyway the main thing putting me off it routing an extra external cable and the extra servicing. My frame doesn't have internal cable routing.

    In response to your first para. Yes I could, if I could see around corners or past trees. Once I had a dropper I found I was using it all the time, not just for long lengths of rough trails. That log across the trail or that big rock, drop the saddle to get it out of the way and over you go! Down a steep but smooth descent, but you can't see the bottom as it is obscured by foliage or is around a bend' drop the saddle! The other thing that some people don't understand about droppers: they are not digital! They are not either all the way up or all the way down! Most are smooth and you can have the saddle at any height you like. On a new trail, a bit rough, but not too bad, not sure if it's going to get rougher? Drop the saddle an inch, then another inch, oh censored !, drop another two! Then raise up a bit, then a bit more........... I'm sure you get my drift. Droppers are versatile, droppers are a godsend. I would not have an mtb without one.

    Second para. My first two droppers were externally routed and I got on just fine with them. Internally routed ones look nice. But it's a nice to have that's all. Yes they are a bit harder to service, but that's the price you pay for fashion and clean lines. Get an external one, nobody will laugh!
  • tom_howardtom_howard Posts: 792
    The vast majority of frames can take an internal dropper, with the application of a drill. if it doesn't have holes already, chances are its passed its warranty date anyway, such has been the widespread adoption, so fill yer boots
    Santa Cruz 5010C
    Deviate Guide
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Pivot Mach 429SL
    Trek Madone 5.2 Di2
    Salsa Mukluk Carbon
    Specialized Turbo Levo Expert 29er
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,279
    What do you collectively reckon would be a reasonable price to pay for a stealth reverb second hand, assuming all in decent working order and no obvious damage? Thinking of watching eBay for a bit anyway, but curious what the sense here would be if vfm.
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
  • tom_howardtom_howard Posts: 792
    You can get them new for sub £170 from the online places, with a 2 year warranty.

    When I come to sell mine, it’ll be around £100 (170mm with a 1x remote, £250 is the cheapest I’ve seen it new) but shorter ones with the old plunger remote should be less.
    Santa Cruz 5010C
    Deviate Guide
    Specialized Sequoia Elite
    Pivot Mach 429SL
    Trek Madone 5.2 Di2
    Salsa Mukluk Carbon
    Specialized Turbo Levo Expert 29er
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 1,787
    I wouldn't buy one used unless I knew the person.

    I would rather buy a brand new Brand-X dropper for even less money.
  • larkimlarkim Posts: 2,279
    Fair point. 2nd hand Reverb at £70 vs Brand X at £100? We've already got one Reverb in the household so I've got bleed equipment etc already to hand, so there are small economies to be gained by getting a good 2nd hand one. It's the "good" bit that's tricky!
    2015 Canyon Nerve AL 6.0 (son #1's)
    2011 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc (son #3s)
    2013 Decathlon Triban 3 (red) (mine)
    2019 Hoy Bonaly 26" Disc (son #2s)
    2018 Voodoo Bizango (mine)
    2018 Voodoo Maji (wife's)
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