24 Dec Complete guide to buying a dropper post
Who does not remember to release the quick release clamp on their Seatpost to lower the height of the saddle and face a descent? Or leave it up and delay the position behind the saddle?
Although there are riders who do not believe at all necessary the use of the dropper, telescopic seat post, or “Seatpost” in the endurance slang, there are those who think that it is a breakthrough in comfort, safety, and control. There are even those who almost consider it the best invention when it comes to the world of mountain biking.
Read on if you are interested in putting a dropper post and forget about the discomfort of having to get off the bike to adjust the height of the saddle every time the terrain conditions change.
What is a dropper post and what is it for?
Unlike conventional seat posts (seat posts), the telescopic ones have a system that allows them to be lowered and raised automatically, thus adapting the height to the terrain circumstances and the type of driving. You can get the best hardtail mountain bike under 1000 that has a high duality Seatpost.
The system is activated by a button on your handlebar or under the saddle. When engaged, your own weight retracts the Seatpost to give you the room you need to move comfortably on the toughest descents without sacrificing your balance. Your center of gravity is lower and gives you stability.
By pressing the button again, the mechanism pushes the Seatpost back to its original position. In this way, you can bring the saddle to its highest position at times when pedaling efficiency is most important and lower it to tackle the more technical parts where control is key.
Types of telescopic Seatposts
The vast majority of models use pneumatic or hydraulic systems to push the Seatpost to its extended position. So when it comes to classifying the Seatposts, we could classify them according to their drive.
Telescopic mechanical seatposts
This type of Seatpost is operated by means of a cable inside a sheath that connects to the pushbutton on one side and to the Seatpost on the other end. When you press the button, it pulls the cable and activates a mechanism or spring that fixes the position you give it when you put your weight on the saddle.
By activating the mechanism again, without you supporting your weight on the saddle, the mechanism is released and the Seatpost is pushed to its extended position.
Being something mechanical, the return is rather abrupt. With the advantage that this type of telescopic Seatpost is relatively affordable and you will find a variety on the market.
Telescopic Seatpost control
The little maintenance that you will have to perform will consist of cleaning the dust from the seat post and changing the cover and cable (or cleaning them well with pressurized air if you have the opportunity) when pressing the button does not work.
Advantages of mechanically seatposts
- Easy maintenance
- More affordable price
Disadvantages of mechanical seatposts
- Abrupt return
- Hydraulic telescopic seatposts
- Telescopic Seatpost with internal wiring
Instead of having a cable or whip as in the mechanical seatposts, this type uses mineral oil to actuate. By using the pushbutton, you vary the oil pressure to move the pistons so that the Seatpost retracts or comes out.
Obviously, this implies a higher price and more expensive and complex maintenance (seals, oil …). As it is oil, the route will be much more modulated. However, pressure varies with temperature and on extremely cold days, performance may be affected.
Advantages of hydraulic seatposts
Smoothness in the journey
Disadvantages of hydraulically seatposts
- More expensive than mechanical
- More complex maintenance
- Cold affects performance
Electronic telescopic Seatpost
It is the latest on the market. They are wireless and allow you to control the height of the saddle just by pressing a button. Its installation is very simple and takes a few minutes as it does not have cables, so it also does not spoil the aesthetics of the frame.
It is smooth on the road, very fast, and also requires little maintenance. As it is electronic, you will have to monitor the autonomy and put it to charge when you need it. Some have batteries in the handlebar control, so you will also have to take that into account. As it is something quite recent, there is still little variety to choose from and its prices are high.
- Cleaner aesthetics
- Smoothness in the journey
- Easy installation
- Minimal maintenance
- Little variety on the market
- Great cost
- You have to recharge the battery
- Spending on batteries
Seatposts with internal wiring vs external wiring
The remote control from the handlebar consists of a button located next to the brake, from which the order to lower the saddle is sent. Although on the market most of them are designed to be operated from the left hand, it is also possible to find a model designed for the right.
In the case of the seatposts with mechanical and hydraulic drive, there are models with internal or external wiring. An internally routed Seatpost will mean a cleaner frame, however, it will make maintenance difficult.
On the other hand, an external wiring Seatpost can spoil the aesthetics of the frame and it is more exposed to pitting from stones or blows. However, when it comes to replacing the cover or the cable or doing maintenance, it will always be much easier. In the case of electronics, there is no cable inside or outside, so you will not be in danger of snags.
Seatposts with push button under saddle
As telescopic Seatpost technology advances, there are fewer models of this type. Mainly by requiring to release the handlebar when wanting to activate the mechanism.
This type of telescopic Seatpost has a lever under the saddle that operates the mechanism. Although this system is the cheapest, as we already mentioned, it is also the least safe since it forces you to release one of your hands from the handlebar.
However, another of its advantages is that there are no cables that can get snagged during the route.
Extra considerations about dropper posts
On the market, there are seatposts with a setback, a pre-established intermediate position, and a variation of the angle of the saddle.
The setback seatposts are used for more traction uphill by putting more weight on the rear wheel and to vary the position on the bike if the geometry of the frame does not allow you good biomechanics with respect to the pedals.
Some models have a preset intermediate position, which can be useful for those areas of little steep descents where you do not need the saddle all the way down.
There are also some models that allow the variation of the angle of the saddle, which with the fully compressed Seatpost tilts the tip of the saddle upwards, focused for the descent.
When choosing a dropper post, you should take certain measurements into account:
Measure your current length from the frame to the top of the saddle to get an idea of how much travel you may need.
As for the diameter of the seat tube, there are several measurements (27.2 mm, 30.9 mm, 31.6 mm, 34.9 mm). Make sure you choose the one that corresponds to yours. Look at the specs of your model, or measure it if you have a gauge on hand.
Be especially careful with your frame design, as a curved shape can mislead you as to the actual length measurement you need.
You will have to take into account the size of your bike, the length of the seat tube, and the minimum insertion in the frame since you do not want either of these two things to happen to you:
That the length of the Seatpost is longer than the seat itself in the frame, so the height of the seat post will be too high.
That the Seatpost does not respect the minimum insertion in the frame, leaving little material inside and putting your safety at risk.
As for the route, generally for enduro, we would recommend that you choose the maximum possible taking into account the rest of the previous measures since it will give you more space to be able to move freely and better face obstacles, descents, jumps, and curves.
Do not forget that you must have the Seatpost fully extended, do not use it to compensate for the height of the saddle.