Light, reliable and good value
Crank Brothers hasn’t had a lot of success with its dropper posts over the years, having produced two questionable designs in the Joplin and Kronolog, so hopefully it will be third time lucky with the new HighLine.
In fact, Crank Brothers is so confident that its new post won’t go south, that it’s backed up by an extended three-year warranty.
At the heart of the HighLine is a fully sealed hydraulic cartridge. The big advantage is that, should anything go wrong, the cartridge can be stripped out of the post in minutes for servicing or replacement.
As well as a fully sealed cartridge, Crank Brothers is also using quality hardware. Trelleborg — a world leader in engineered polymer seals — makes the main seal in the upper collar. German brand Igus produces the glide bearings and keys that limit play in the post, and Crank Brothers is also running Jagwire’s top-of-the line Elite Ultra-Slick cable and Lex-SL housing.
The best thing about its two previous designs was the remote lever, and Crank Brothers has got this totally dialled once again. To provide infinite rotation and tilt adjustment, the HighLine controller uses a unique spherical mount, which can either be run below the handlebar (for use with a 1x system) or on top, sandwiched between the controls, if you’re still rocking two shifters.
Another neat design is that the cable is anchored at the remote end, so you don’t have to fiddle about with a tiny grub screw or barrel anchor, like you find on KS and Fox posts. The whole cable assembly also quick-releases from the bottom of the post, which makes servicing easier, and it’s all sealed, so if your bike has an interrupted seat tube, it won’t get bunged up with mud.
The HighLine is only available in 125mm drop right now, but a 150mm version is coming. It has a few unique features — such as the two-bolt seat clamp features a slotted hole for the rear bolt which makes saddle installation a doddle — but in truth it’s a pretty conventional design. And that’s a good thing, because there’s no point making something overly complicated if it doesn’t offer any advantage.
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.
I can’t fault the HighLine — it’s light, reliable and cheaper than the RockShox Reverb and Fox Transfer. It’s taken a while, but Crank Brothers may have finally cracked the dropper post.