If you enjoy a spot of mountain biking, you have probably already heard all about dropper posts. Many people describe them as one of the most important advancements for mountain bikes since the release of suspension technology. As such, more and more people who appreciate mountain biking are adding dropper posts to their must-have list. Whether you are already using dropper posts and need a replacement or are just looking to learn more and potentially purchase your first, you’re going to want to understand everything there is to know about the dropper post.
Today, we’ll look at the best dropper posts out there, but we’ll also explain why they’re in the top tier. We’ll also go over the specifics of dropper post technology, so you can make the right purchase for yourself. But first, let’s define what a dropper post is. It’s essentially a seatpost that is height adjustable, so a rider can lower the seat while riding without a lot of trouble. A remote lever is open the source of operation. We’ll look closer at what dropper posts are and how to choose one later. For now, let’s take a look at the nine best dropper posts on the market today.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Dropper Post for 2019
- 2 PNW Cascade Dropper Post
- 3 PNW Rainier IR Dropper Post
- 4 Crankbrothers Highline Dropper
- 5 RaceFace Aeffect Dropper Post
- 6 Carbon SeatPost
- 7 Fox Racing Shox Transfer Performance Series Dropper SeatPost
- 8 Kind Shock eTen Remote Height Adjust Post
- 9 Fox Transfer Factory Series SeatPost
- 10 RaceFace Aeffect Dropper SeatPost
- 11 Things to Consider When Buying a Dropper Post
- 12 Seatpost Travel and Length
- 13 Infinite or Fixed Adjustment Options
- 14 Hydraulic or Mechanical
- 15 Positioning of the Remote
- 16 Selecting Internal or External Routing
- 17 Diameter of the Seatpost
- 18 What to Know About Saddle Clamps
- 19 Thinking About Your Budget
- 20 Wrapping Up
The Best Dropper Post for 2019
|Dropper Post||Weight||Diameter||Travel Options|
|PNW Cascade Dropper Post||1.8 Pounds||30.9 / 31.6 mm||125 / 150 170 mm|
|PNW Rainier IR Dropper Post||30.9 / 31.6 mm||125 / 150 / 170 mm|
|Crankbrothers Highline Dropper||2.2 Pounds||30.9 / 31.6 mm||Infinite Travel Adjustment|
|RaceFace Aeffect Dropper Post||1.99 Pounds||30.9 / 31.6 mm||125 / 150 mm|
|Carbon SeatPost||9.6 Ounces||27.2 / 30.8 mm|
|Fox Racing Shox Transfer Performance Series Dropper SeatPost||2 Pounds||30.9 / 31.6 mm||100 / 125 / 150 mm|
|Kind Shock eTen Remote Height Adjust Post||1.39 Pounds||27.2 / 30.9 / 31.6 mm||100 mm|
|Fox Transfer Factory Series SeatPost||2 Pounds||30.9 / 31.6 mm||100 / 125 / 150 mm|
|RaceFace Aeffect Dropper SeatPost||2 Pounds||30.9 / 31.6 mm||125 / 150 mm|
PNW Cascade Dropper Post
If you are looking for the ability to customize your dropper post, the PNW Cascade could be a fantastic buy that meets your needs. The company itself was founded by bikers who were annoyed by how expensive a lot of mountain bike components are. As such, most of the items that come from PNW are both high-quality and less expensive than the alternatives. The team works with high-end brands and institutes low overhead costs to bring value to the customer. The products are also made to be approachable for anyone, not just professionals. That means that there isn’t a ton of maintenance needed.
This dropper post is named Cascade as a way to give a nod toward the popular mountain range that many mountain bikers have fallen in love with. It comes with a travel of 125, 150, or 170, depending on the rider’s needs. It also comes in two separate diameters at 30.9 and 31.6 mm. It was built to be reliable and last a long time, so you won’t need to pick up a new post for years. While it has many options in diameter and travel, it does only come with external routing. However, that also means that you can use it on nearly any bike that you would like to.
This dropper post comes with a lever kit which includes the cables, housing, remote lever, and other hardware you need for it. A standard lever is available for the 125 mm versions while the other options come with a 1x shifter type. One of the greatest perks of snatching up the PNW Cascade is that it even comes with a three-year warranty. The reviews for the dropper post are largely positive and PNW makes a point of being accessible for questions or suggestions, as well.
PNW Rainier IR Dropper Post
Coming right back to PNW dropper posts, we also looked at the Rainier IR. As you might expect, this dropper post is also named after a mountain range. In this case the name harkens to Mt. Rainer. PNW are based out of Seattle by bikers who have tons of experience in the industry. As with the other dropper post by PNW, you can expect to get plenty of features out of the Rainier IR without having to empty your bank account. In fact, right now the prices of the two posts are exactly the same so choosing one comes down to personal preference.
As far as the specifications go, this dropper post comes in both 30.9- and 31.6-mm diameters. It’s also available in three travels, which are 125, 150, and 170. The idea behind the Rainier IR is that you can set it up and then completely forget about it. This is a great dropper post for someone who doesn’t want to futz around with adjustments and tweaks and would rather get back on the trail and ride. It has a coil spring system which makes it highly reliable and is known for super smooth actuation when you switch from descending to climbing and vice versa.
The routing for this dropper post is internal, which some mountain bikers will appreciate since it’s completely out of the way. It also comes with the full lever kit with the hardware, remote lever, housing, and cables that are needed to set it up and get going. Even beginners using this dropper post should have little to no problem getting it installed. It also comes with the typical PNW warranty which is good for three years. You will want to measure the seat tube on your bike before purchase to ensure it will fit, though.
Crankbrothers Highline Dropper
We’re going to step away from PNW for now and bring in a new brand known as Crankbrothers. This company has been around since the late 1990s and has a design philosophy that many bikers will appreciate. “Start with a clean slate, and finish with a product that makes each ride better than the last.” Crankbrothers started out in a tiny garage in Laguna Beach but has grown to be a global presence across the globe. In addition to offering posts, they also sell wheels, pedals, tools, pumps, and other bike accessories.
The Highline dropper post comes in 30.9 and 31.6 diameters and has a drop of 100, 125, and 160. It also comes in several lengths from 345 to 370 and even 465 mm. That means you have lots of options and nearly any bike will take the dropper post easily. The lever that comes with this dropper post is ergonomic and has a spherical adjustment system. It allows nearly infinite rotation and tilt options, which makes it extremely versatile on the trail. It has internal routing and offers a quick connect mechanism to make installing the cable a breeze. It also features a quick release bolt system for saddle installation.
As with other components from Crankbrothers, you can expect everything to be machined and finished in a beautiful fashion. It also allows the rider to disassemble and service their own dropper post provided they have a few simple tools. The hugest plus with the Highline is the cartridge, which can be replaced and comes with a three-year warranty. It’s an aesthetically appealing dropper post which is simple to install. It is a tad bit more expensive than the droppers by PNW by not by a lot. It’s not going to break the bank if those posts were in your budget.
RaceFace Aeffect Dropper Post
If you’re looking for a budget friendly dropper post that doesn’t skimp on the features, the Aeffect by RaceFace seems to be a solid option. RaceFace is straight out of Vancouver, Canada and has been in the mountain bike world for over two decades. At this point, the company is distributed in more than 40 countries and numerous professional athletes are on the team roster. Every product has been designed to handle all the abuse a mountain biker can throw at it. It’s a company that most bikers will have heard of before and those who haven’t probably should be aware of them.
The Aeffect dropper post is designed for beginners and comes in 30.9 and 31.6 diameters, as well as being offered in a universal travel style. It’s black in color, like most other posts. It’s offered in travel of 125 or 150 mm and is a length of 385 or 425 mm. With the 150 mm version, it’s return speed adjustable. There is also a 1x level that is ergonomic, but it is sold separately so consider that when you decide on your purchase. Otherwise, the dropper post offers a standard housing and shifter cable.
You can expect this dropper post to be smooth going down or up and it won’t drop out of position unexpectedly. The company itself is known for offering fantastic support for small parts and for those who are bike mechanics, the post is easily serviceable on your own. Both the 125- and 150-mm versions have fantastic ratings from riders and combined with the low price, it’s a bargain for the beginner or even someone more experienced without a ton of cash to burn. You can expect the feel of a much more expensive dropper post every time you use it.
Next on our list of the nine best dropper posts is the Carbon SeatPost. This is one of the least expensive dropper posts out there no matter what diameter you need. It comes in 27.2 and 30.8 diameter and easy size offers a length of 375 or 400 mm. This is perhaps not the fancies brand out there, but it does the job and at a price that is a small percentage of most of the other dropper posts here. That means if you are looking for a starter post, this is a great option to save some cash until you’re sure you want to move up to a more well-known brand.
This dropper post is made of genuine carbon fiber which is extremely lightweight and will not rust like other materials might. It’s built to be simple to install and includes an adjustable head. The dropper post is compatible with mountain bikes, fixed gear bikes, road bikes, track bikes, downhill bikes, BMX bikes, and more. You’ll just want to be sure you measure for the correct diameter of the seatpost and frame tube before purchasing this dropper post.
All in all, the reviews for the Carbon dropper post are fairly good and there is a lot of talk about how lightweight this post is compared to aluminum options on the market. It also seems to last a reasonable time considering the price is so low. If may not have all the bells and whistles that a professional or experienced rider needs, but it’s not trying to be that dropper post. What it does offer is a budget option for a beginner or someone who needs to save money on this mountain bike accessory. For a newbie or someone who only rides their bike on occasion, it’s sure to do the job quite well.
Fox Racing Shox Transfer Performance Series Dropper SeatPost
Fox Racing is a well-known brand in the cycling circuit and their Shox Transfer Performance Series dropper is one to consider. The company is a leader in the mountain biking and motocross sector and offers gear and clothing for riders. With tons of championship winners on their team, everything is thoroughly vetted to offer exactly what riders are looking for from their gear. Fox Racing is a global company that can be found in dozens of countries and a top pick for dropper posts.
This seat post has won awards and features an adjustable design with the choice of external or internal routing of the cables. It also has two different lever designs and three drop options. The drop options include 100, 125, and 150 mm while the diameters offered are 30.9 and 31.6. With the performance series option, the dropper post has a Kashima Coat that protects against wear, friction, and vibration. As you can guess by the series name, this is made for a big-time biker who wants the best of the best under their seat. It is a bit more expensive than most of the other options, but it makes up for that by being one of the best out there.
It includes a sealed nitrogen cartridge which offers a smooth and reasonable rate during extension. It’s known to be easy to use with only a small amount of pressure needed when using the 1x lever. It actually has been shown to outperform even more expensive dropper posts on the market. That said, the Transfer Performance doesn’t come with the cable, housing, or remote so you’ll need to pick one up as well. However, you can choose from two different levers to meet your needs. It’s also amazingly simple to install so you can get out and ride.
Kind Shock eTen Remote Height Adjust Post
Moving back to a less professional model, we have the eTen from Kind Shock. It’s a basic dropper post but it gets the job done well. Surprisingly for an inexpensive post, it does offer three different diameter options: 27.2, 30.9, and 31.6. It has a travel of 65 or 100 mm, an insert length of 173 or 245 mm and a weight that ranges from 620 to 670 grams. The dropper post is made with a steel stanchion with an alloy mast along with a sealed spring hydraulic cartridge which makes it just as easy to install as it is to use.
Kind Shock, also known as KS, is based out of Taiwan and specializes in dropper posts. In fact, some people believe that the absolute first dropper posts came from this company and made way for all the innovation seen today. Even the oldest dropper post from KS looks extremely similar to the ones seen today. However, the older posts relied on air pressure and were not as controllable as the ones coming out today. It just goes to show how a company can adapt with the times and continue to put out great products.
This is a durable post that won’t wobble like some out there. However, it is a budget model and doesn’t have all the fanciest features like some of the dropper posts on our list. However, it will do the job for a beginner or someone who isn’t too concerned about the extras. The travel isn’t the highest, but it will be enough for many occasional riders out there. If you want something a bit more powerful than the Carbon, this might be a nice little upgrade without breaking the bank. Reviews are largely good, and people seem to be happy with the performance they get from it.
Fox Transfer Factory Series SeatPost
We already had a look at the Transfer Performance, but the Transfer Factory is also worth a viewing. It’s similar to the other one but is built for those who want the absolute best of the best. This dropper post has three drop options at 100, 125, and 150 mm. It also provides the option for having an external or internal routing for cables depending on your preference. Just like the performance series, this one has Kashima Coat, so you know it’s going to be durable and last you a good long while. It comes in 30.9 and 31.6 diameters, as well, so you have options depending on the size of your bike.
Fox has put out quite a few great dropper posts and is known for their work with mountain bike suspension. While the remote is sold separately, there are two options. One is an over the bar front shifter and the other is an under the bar remote made for those on a 1x drivetrain. Either choice is placed well, easy to set up, and simple to use while you’re on the trail. That said, people with smaller hands may want to play the remote near the grip side for comfort sake.
As with all factory products, you get all the technology available with this dropper post. It has smooth action and the self-adjusting pressure relief valve works like a dream. It’s also been said to be great in all types of weather without slipping up at all. That may be partially due to the internal cartridge which is in the upper shaft of the post. Regardless of the reason, this is a dropper post that is going to provide everything you could possibly want in a small package. It might be more expensive than other posts here, but it is well worth it to those who perfection matters to.
RaceFace Aeffect Dropper SeatPost
Our last dropper post to showcase is the RaceFace Aeffect Dropper, which comes in at a moderate price and would be perfect for a beginner or more experienced mountain biker on a budget. It features a damping system that is sealed and wrapped in aluminum to offer durability as well as a light weight. This post has an internal routing cable system that will fit most modern frames. You can get the dropper with a 30.9- or 31.6-mm diameter and choose from a travel length of 125 or 150 mm.
The Aeffect is built for endurance and aggressive trail use and it does a great job at either. It has a cable actuated hydraulic cartridge which allows for crazy amounts of adjustment within the travel. It also comes with the 1x lever, so you don’t have to find money for an extra purchase. If you already have a lever, it is compatible with both 1x and universal levers. Additionally, it comes with the housing and shifter cable you need.
While this seatpost may not be the most expensive, that doesn’t mean it can’t compete with the big boys on the trail. One of the only disadvantages of the dropper post is that it’s a bit finicky when it comes to setting up the remote. It has to be mounted in a specific way to work correctly. However, once you get that managed, everything else is straightforward. It performs quite well for the price and will last you a decent amount of time. Plus, it’s aesthetically neutral since it’s black so it will fit nearly any bike out there, regardless of the design.
Things to Consider When Buying a Dropper Post
Dropper posts make it simple for you and your bike to adapt to changes in terrain when mountain biking. All you need to do is flip a switch to have more efficient and comfortable pedaling. Their advent and popularity have also led to allowing bike manufacturers the option of building bikes with a steeper seat tube angle which makes for easier climbing.
If this is your first time choosing a dropper post, there are a few things you should know. We’ll go over the most important, so you can make a solid choice with your purchase.
Seatpost Travel and Length
We’ve talked a lot about travel in this article and that simply means how far up and down the post lets you travel. In most cases, there are options here. The most common travel lengths include 80, 100, 125, and 150 mm but some companies have larger or smaller options available. When you buy a dropper post, you want to be certain it is long enough when extended that you can hit your preferred height for pedaling. You don’t want it to be either too short or too long of it can get uncomfortable quickly.
Infinite or Fixed Adjustment Options
You can select an infinitely adjustable dropper post or one that has a fixed travel. Infinite adjustment means that you can stop the post at any point you like in the travel. This is often preferred as you get more customization to fine tune the height of your saddle. However, there are also many posts with fixed positions. There might be only one or two or some have up to a dozen. The reason some people prefer this option is because the heights are consistent and repeatable. In some cases, these are also simpler to use and can be more reliable so it’s worth considering which factors matter most to you.
Hydraulic or Mechanical
The majority of the dropper posts you’ll see will use pneumatic or hydraulic pressure to move the seat up and down, however the remote lever is attached in unique ways for each. Full hydraulic posts will have a sealed remote that controls the post. This can be a benefit since there is no cable to worry about and the hose can be routed any way you like without causing problems. On the other hand, it also may require fresh fluid on a regular basis. Other dropper posts use mechanical levers which involve a cable being threaded through your gear housing and then attached to the dropper post. These are much easier to setup and keep in good shape than a hydraulic would be.
Positioning of the Remote
When dropper posts were new, seatpost levers were the most common option for mountain bikers. However, with refinement to the systems, handlebar remotes have surpassed them in popularity and use. The reason for that is because it’s much easier and more intuitive to use the remote on the handlebars since your hands are there already. Every company that offers dropper posts will have their own remote design and some may work better for you than others. One of the newest options, spurred by the new interest in 1x gearing, is a below handlebar position that is better ergonomically.
Selecting Internal or External Routing
Just as with your gear and brake cabling, your dropper cabling can also be external or internal. Most of those using mountain bikes prefer internal cabling. It offers a better aesthetic and there is less of a chance of getting dirt and debris into the works. It also decreases your chance of damaging the bike or yourself when and if you crash. However, less expensive dropper posts often utilize external cabling which can be routing outside of the down or top tube and attach to the shaft or head of the post. The perk of an external cable is that it’s easier to fuss with and service when needed. If you choose this type of cabling, it’s best to go with one that attaches to the shaft, as it is safer.
Diameter of the Seatpost
As with your fixed or standard seatpost, a dropper seatpost can come in various diameters. You’ll most often see options of 27.2, 30.9, 31.6, and 34.9 but this can vary by manufacturer. You’re going to want to select the diameter that corresponds to the frame you will use the dropper post on. In order to find out this information, all you need to do is take off your post and look at the side markings which should be on the bottom. If your size doesn’t fit the ones listed, you can choose one a bit smaller and use a shim to fit it to your frame. In most cases, mountain bikes will utilize a larger diameter which is associated with strength and stiffness.
What to Know About Saddle Clamps
While this isn’t the most important factor of choosing a dropper post, the saddle clamp design is something worth at least think about. In most cases, you will find that it will use a twin-bolt design. This is the option that allows compatibility with various carbon and metal railed saddles. It also gives you a much larger amount of angle adjustment options. However, some of the less expensive dropper posts may have a single-bold side clamp. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it does mean you’ll need extra parts if you move from a carbon railed slide to a metal railed slide or vice versa.
Thinking About Your Budget
You can find a dropper post for anywhere from $20 all the way up to over $500. Obviously, this means there are going to be differences in terms of quality. You can expect that sub $200 dropper posts may be heavier and have fewer features available to you. You’ll probably also find they feature external cable routing. If you move up past the $200 level, you’ll find more feature and internal cabling will be more likely. This can also mean the weight is less and the durability is higher. Going above $350, you’ll find some of the best dropper posts out there. These will have top specs and be lighter than any of the less expensive options. Any feature you could want will be included to justify the price. When you move about $500, you are going to get a dropper post that has suspension and pneumatics of an advanced level. You may also find special coatings and high-quality internals that need less servicing.
At this point, you should be able to find the perfect dropper post for your needs. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to mountain biking or a long-time pro, these nine posts will suit you well. Consider exactly what you want from your ride and look at your budget before narrowing down your options. Now you know exactly what to look for and where to start your search. Good luck out there!
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