Dropper seat posts. We love to hate them and hate to love them!
If you ever put one of these things on your bike, be prepared, because I can almost guaranty that you will be come addicted to it. You will wonder how it was that you ever rode without one, and will tell all your friends that don’t have one that they need to get one. I can also almost guaranty that it will eventually fail. I work in a bike shop and have to deal with these things everyday, and have watched, I estimate, 90% of them break. Yet people love them. I myself have owned 4 of them, only one hasn’t needed replacement (yet!) It was the first product I ever bought (Crank Bros. Joplin), in full confidence that it would break!
I did it anyways because I hated seeing my friends blast away from me while I stopped to adjust my saddle height. And to be honest, for as long as it was working, it did the most to improve the flow of my ride more than any product since the invention of the suspension fork.
Which brings me to a worthwhile observation. The suspension fork was one of those things that did the most to revolutionize the sport of Mountain Biking. Despite the fact that the early ones felt like crap, needed tons of maintenance, and they broke often. Sound familiar . Yes, and once you had your first taste of squishy up front, you never did go back, did you? No, and that is because the riding benefits were for real.
It took a few years, but eventually suspension forks got to the point they are today, where durability isn’t a really big issue, and maintenance is fairly painless. Few people will ride without them. Of course they will never be as problem free as a rigid fork, and I don’t expect that dropper seatposts will ever be as reliable as a good old fashioned straight seatpost. But just like suspension forks did in the 90’s, dropper posts are going through some birthing pains. On the other side of the tunnel, which is in the very near future, the dropper post should hit its stride.
Crank Bros. got the game rolling by taking over the Maverick Speedball project, and producing the Joplin. These posts became wildly popular 5 years ago, and even though they broke always, and often, they did manage to create a need for a seatpost that was adjustable on the fly. Now other companies have come into the game with offerings that are increasing the performance of dropper seat posts.
With products like the KS posts and the Rockshox Reverb, reliability has been improved dramatically. And with Fox entering the game, I believe the days of dropper post has hit its mainstream moment. Be prepared to see them on almost every bike in the near future. There may
be a few weight weenie hold outs in the cross country field, but in time even they will recognize that the added weight is worth it. And with companies, like Blacx beginning production of a downhill bike specific post, the game is really changing.
Yep, the time is right, and the future is bright for dropper seatposts. If you don’t have one on your bike soon, be prepared to get left behind.