E*Thirteen’s new Vario post is unique in offering 30mm of travel adjustment without even removing it from your bike
Two lengths are available; 120-150mm, or the longer, 150-180mm, model tested here. Despite the convenience and adjustability, neither weigh significantly extra or require prohibitive insertion depths compared to popular rivals either.
The fixed (5mm) steps in overall travel can be changed in five minutes by unscrewing the seal head and rotating an indexed bushing, and the cable-activated Vario works like most droppers while riding. The benefit of the travel adjustment is you can set exactly how much you need by slamming the post in the frame for maximum standover clearance, and then dialling in the extended height to your leg length for maximum pedalling efficiency.
On the trails, saddle position is infinitely-adjustable (within limits!), controlled by a remote handlebar lever (E*Thirteen’s own is sold separately). Inside the post, a proven, gas-charged, spring controls movement, and the brand claims its internal design tweaks, including more bushing overlap than previously, have reduced friction to require 20 per cent less lever force.
At the seat end, the 3D-forged clamp is integrated into the upper stanchion, so there’s no join to work loose, and boasts extra fore and aft spacing to allow optimum saddle position on bikes with sub-optimal seat tube angles. Tightened with durable T25 bolts, the clamp has 12mm more scope front-to-back than the older E*Thirteen design and a 28º saddle tilt range.
So, all these features sound great on paper, but how did the Vario actually work out in months of wet, gritty UK conditions?
Well, the short answer is flawlessly. Even set in the longest 180mm position (that should theoretically put the most leverage and pressure on the internals), E*Thirteen’s post has remained silent and never become graunchy or sticky – despite many wet and muddy rides – and there’s still zero play in the stanchion or saddle clamp. Yes, like every other post, there’s a very slight (less than 1mm) sideways waggle, but nothing you can sense while riding.
E*Thirteen’s lever is also one of the best with three different mounting positions and a close-to-the-bar stance for better ergonomics and clearance. In fact, with its adjustable ‘reach’ screw you can almost exactly mirror your right-side gear shifter. Pressed by this comfy, grippy paddle and rotating on two sealed bearings, Vario’s activation is as light as claimed, with only the BikeYoke Revive and the X-Fusion Manic offering as smooth a cable pull. Indeed the Vario may even have the edge on those because its stiffer return spring makes it feel crisper.
One drawback is that this post is marginally heavier than some droppers, and you’ll need to buy a remote lever to pull the cable, which adds to the cost. E*Thirteen’s own sorted lever, used here, is an extra £50 and adds 73g to the system weight.
Overall, I’ve been very impressed with this Vario; the price is good, performance and durability are excellent and it also packs an extra feature over rivals that could be a deal maker for some riders.