British built dropper to compete with the big boys
The USE Helix is the first dropper post the British component brand has produced. The Helix is available in a standard 125mm drop or a full 165mm.
Ultimate Sports Engineering has been making suspension seatposts for about 25years but has only recently launched its first dropper. Called the Helix, it gets its name from the helix spindle, an internal shaft with a spiral design cut into it and when you push the remote lever this shaft spins up and down inside a clutch mechanism. It’s infinite adjustable, so you can set the height anywhere you want but the big advantage is it’s totally mechanical so has a incredibly light action and is also way easier to service.
Like most of USE’s posts, the Helix features the one-bolt saddle clamp. There’s a knack to setting this up but once tight, it’s fit and forget. USE offers the post in three diameters, including a 27.2mm, although you can upsize using a USE seatpost shims – in fact we used one to run all of our test 30.9mm posts in a frame with a 31.6mm seat tube.
Activating the post is a crisp looking remote lever. It has a hinged clamp as standard but USE offers direct mount options for Shimano and SRAM brake levers. The remote has a few sharp edges but it’s easily adjustable to any angle.
At over 500mm, the Helix is one of the longest 165mm droppers here, and on our test bike about 60mm would stick out the top. To be fair our test bike has a kink in the seat tube but at full height we were riding on tip toes. Fully down, our saddle position was way higher than with any other post. We also have a couple of niggles – the clutch doesn’t engage instantly, there’s almost a slight delay in the function, and while it returns smartly it’s not particularly smooth and if you don’t fully engage the lever, you can feel clutch can slip slightly on the shaft.
For a UK made product, the Helix is excellent value but the extra length means it’s stretch for all but the tallest riders and the function feels a little clunky when you compare it to the best droppers out there.