Long awaited dropper building on U.S.E's vast seatpost experience
Amongst all their high-tech updated Exposure lights and burgeoning cockpit configurations at Eurobike 2017, West Sussex based U.S.E. (Ultimate Sports Engineering) were using Eurobike to showcase their ‘almost’ ready British built dropper seatpost.
For most of us it almost comes as a surprise that a company synonymous with seatposts has taken this long to produce a dropper post. But U.S.E. want to make sure it works properly, hence them not panicking about being late to the party.
Spin me right round
The name U.S.E. has dubbed the post alludes to the use of a helically shaped rod at the heart of the design. The way Mark and Tom from U.S.E. best describe its movement is of that similar to a spiral ratchet screwdriver. But don’t worry, the saddle doesn’t spin around! It’s just the internals that pirouette. Pushing down on the post when the lever is depressed disengages the clutch controlled locking disc, allowing the post to drop. Releasing the lever locks the disc in place, allowing for infinite positioning. The helical tooling of the central rod ensures the post moves evenly and under full control. Unweight the saddle, depress the lever and the post will return to full height. The working example at the U.S.E. stand had a pretty smooth action and controlled return so it looks like the system works as expected.
Now in its final pre-production version, U.S.E. has experimented with the full gamut of damping mediums to control the return speed, from air to sprung via oil before settling back on air for the final version. The good news is this makes the post entirely mechanical and therefore should be relatively simple to maintain. Currently U.S.E. are experimenting with air pressures and are hoping it should be relatively easy to pump with a regular pump. And did we mention that just like most of their other products, the Helix is fully made in Britain?
Currently U.S.E. are using an aftermarket lever but are intending on furnishing the Helix with their own design once they are happy with the rest of the post. This does show that it should be compatible with existing lever designs though.
To further facilitate an easy maintenance routine the cable affixes with the nipple at the seatpost end. It should also be no surprise that it incorporates the same replaceable key system as U.S.E’s suspension seatposts to minimise lateral play.
With riders often demanding a post with a long drop, U.S.E. are going to offer the Helix in both 125mm and 165mm drop versions, as well as in three diameters (27.2, 30.9 and 31.6mm).
If all goes well we expect to see the post in full production and in shops before the end of the year.