Neater and more reliable, dropper posts are a great upgrade. Here’s a round up of the best.
Dropper posts mean you can change your saddle height on-the-fly and, despite the obvious weight penalty, that has to be a good thing in anyone’s book.
Right then, reviews first, conclusions after and general buying advice at the end. Let’s drop in!
FSA Gravity Dropper
The FSA dropper post’s action, thanks to sealed cartridge internals, was beautifully smooth, and during testing never stuck or hesitated, no matter where it was set in the travel.
Fox Transfer Factory
To justify the cost, this Factory model does come with a Kashima coat on the upper shaft. It’s hard wearing and also looks coordinated if you have a Kashima fork or shock on your bike. If you prefer a black post, there is a Performance Series model with a plain black anodised shaft, for £271.
Bontrager Drop Line
The Bontrager Drop Line dropper post is typical of the vast majority of Bontrager’s products — good value, well made, easy to use and fully serviceable.
Shimano’s expertise means the Koryak feels well made, with absolutely no play in the post even after months of riding. It’s well priced too, £200 for an internally routed dropper that weighs just 520g makes it something of a bargain, especially when you consider it comes with a new shifter style lever.
The BikeYoke Revive is stunning, well made, easy to use and the most versatile post out there. It’s also lightweight and reliable.
E13 TRS+ Dropper
E13’s TRS+ dropper is killer value, fully serviceable and, in the long term, may be more reliable than a conventional post, but fundamentally the function is no different to the 15 year-old Gravity Dropper. The reason most dropper post manufacturers have gravitated towards infinite versions is because you never have to compromise on saddle height, and that makes a huge difference off-road.
Crank Brothers HighLine
I’ve had the post on my bike for the last four months, and so far I’ve not had a single issue with reliability. There’s a little bit of play in the shaft — like most droppers — but it hasn’t got worse. Neither has the action — I’ve operated the post hundreds of times and it’s still smooth, with no stickiness in the cable or remote. Return speed isn’t the fastest, but it tops out with a soft clunk, so you always know it’s fully extended.
RockShox Reverb Stealth
The Reverb Stealth is lightweight, has a low ride height and offers trouble-free performance. It’s also available in a load of options: three drops, two lengths and two sizes. It might be getting old but it’s still one of the best on the market.
Giant Contact SL Switch
At over 600g, the Contact SL Switch isn’t the lightest cable actuated dropper on test, but the extra sizes, dual routing and low price make it ideal for new users.
KS LEV Integra
The KS Lev Integra is smooth, doesn’t rattle, comes in a range of options and has a relatively low ride height for the amount of drop. It’s also great value and a reasonable weight.
Nukeproof Oklo Air Internal
This is a good value option that has plenty of drop and is easy to set up. It’s a shame it’s carrying a bit of extra weight, is too tall, and sluggish on the return.
X-Fusion Hilo Strate
The Hilo dropper is lightweight and easily boasts the best remote lever on test, but for a £300 post, there’s a bit too much play in the shaft, and the fact it pulls up when you carry your bike over a stile or stream, can get pretty tiring.
Compared to a Reverb, the Easton Haven is similar in weight and ride height, but it’s £30 cheaper and has less play between the upper and lower shafts. We haven’t rated it as highly because it’s not fit-and-forget, and we think the under-bar remote should be included in the price, not as a £50 up-charge.
We’re going to recommend three posts. One money-no-object. One best all-rounder. One best budget dropper.
The best money-no-object dropper post is the BikeYoke Revive. They’ve thought of everything with this dropper.
The best all-rounder dropper is the Crank Brothers Highline, after their original Joplin and the disastrous Kronolog, the Highline is faultless. It’s light, reliable and cheaper than the RockShox Reverb and Fox Transfer.
The best budget post is the Pro Koryak, some posts have cheaper SRP but you’ll find this post for sale a lot cheaper than its list price. Sure, with only 120mm of travel, it’s limited but it’ll suit a shorter rider looking for a lightweight, cheap and dependable post.
Dropper post buyer’s guide
Providing your frame is compatible, fitting a stealth dropper post will route the remote hose (or cable) internally, which means there’s no exposed cable to scuff the paintwork or flap about and catch on the rear tyre. It’s cleaner, neater and, on cable-operated posts, keeps dirt away from the release mechanism, improving reliability.
Fitting a cable-controlled dropper is much easier but you may run into issues with cable routing as it usually runs through the bottom bracket shell. This can create a tight curve in the outer casing, causing the inner cable to bind and the post to feel sluggish or slow to operate. It all depends on the frame it’s being fitted to.
With a fully-sealed hydraulic hose there are no such issues with navigating tight spaces, or sharp bends that create excess friction, and they will generally require less maintenance.
However, you may need to cut the hose to length and bleed the system, which requires a specific kit; this can be a bit of a daunting process if you’ve never done it before.
There are pros and cons to both designs but whatever stealth dropper you choose, having the cable tucked inside the frame will look neater and require less maintenance than one flapping about on the outside.
Ride height is the distance from the base of the collar to the saddle clamp. There can be up to 30mm difference in the height of the posts, so if you’re a short rider, or don’t have a lot of post showing on your current frame, you may have to opt for one with a shorter 100mm drop.
Most dropper posts come in two common seat tube sizes — 30.9 and 31.6mm. If you fit a shim (USE Seatpost Shim, £6.99) to a 30.9mm post, you can run it in a 31.6 or 34.9mm frame. Unfortunately, there’s limited choice if you have an old-school frame with a 27.2mm seat tube.
Fitting an internally routed dropper post can be a head-banging experience, so to make the process easier, we recommend Park Tools’ IR-1 Internal Routing Kit. It’s pricey, at £49.99, but it’s the best tool for installing internal cables and you can also use it for your derailleur and brakes.
Most droppers come with a simple remote that mounts on top of the bar between the grip and brake lever. Those on the cable-operated posts have cable tension adjustment and often a noodle guide to route the cable away from the brake lever.
If you’re running a single-ring drivetrain, you may want to try an under-bar remote. This design is tucked neatly out of the way, is more ergonomic and less likely to get damaged in a crash.