Gets the job done nicely
The Brand X Ascend dropper post comes direct from Chain Reaction for the bargain price of £120 (at time of writing this review).
It’s a popular fixture on lower-priced mountain bikes and well proven. The all-black post has been available with 120mm drop for a while, but there’s now a newer 150mm version (£25 more) to suit longer legs too.
Alongside these two lengths in larger diameters, there’s also a CX (cyclo-cross) version that will fit 27.2mm mountain bike frames. This skinnier post only offers up to 105mm height adjustment, but might be a great option for hardtails, even if you have to fashion a DIY entry for the internal cable routing.
The telescopic movement is smoother than other budget posts and there’s no major wobble or play at the saddle. Returning to full height is a little lethargic compared to some droppers, and the seat collar and clamp is taller, so eats into saddle clearance space. After the winter months, and subsequently gritty cables, you occasionally have to depress the remote twice to return the dropper to full height and unweight the saddle to compress it; the Ascend always gets there in the end though, and hasn’t ever failed us, whatever the weather or temperature.
Brand X’s under bar remote is decent, with a shifter-style thumb paddle, but it sits too low, making it a stretch from the grip. The materials and clamp design are on the flimsy side, so it’s a bit flexy, sticky and unresponsive to push, making the actuation feel less positive.
You may pay less for it, but the Ascend gets the job done nicely, it’s a competitive weight, and durability seems impressive. A better remote would definitely elevate the experience, but even splashing some cash on a superior lever won’t stop the Brand X from being an outright bargain and brilliant value.