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Rock Shox Reverb Stealth Review

The RockShox Reverb Stealth is a high quality dropper post from one of the industry's leading suspension manufacturers.
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Price:  $349 List | $243.93 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Adjustable return speed, hydraulic actuation, no cable to get dirty, smooth in travel
Cons:  Performance affected by temperature, more difficult to install than others, field repair unlikely, history of unreliability
Manufacturer:   SRAM
By Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue  ⋅  Nov 18, 2019
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 25% 8
  • Saddle Clamp - 25% 8
  • Remote - 25% 9
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 5
  • Weight - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The RockShox Reverb has been around for approximately a full decade. This dropper post was one of the first to hit the market before adjustable posts became a major craze in the mountain bike industry. Despite being somewhat of a trailblazer, the Reverb has earned a questionable reputation for being high-maintenance and unreliable. Well, the Reverb has seen an update for the 2020 model year. Long story short, the post gets an external Vent Valve to remove air from the system without needing to fully service it. Additionally, there is a new internal floating piston and seals. All of this is designed to make the post smoother, easier to actuate, and more reliable. Most users won't find a dramatic difference in performance between the old Reverb and the updated one. That said, the Vent Valve is a nice touch. Our test post is still operating flawlessly. The 1x lever is great, the drop action is smooth, and the return speed is generally adequate. The Reverb is still heavily affected by temperatures, though the rest of its performance is an improvement over previous versions.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Adjustable return speed, hydraulic actuation, no cable to get dirty, smooth in travelInfinite travel, smooth action, triggy remote, revive reset valveInnovative, easy compression, adjustable spring rate, six travel lengths, available partsLoam lever is excellent, reasonable price, smooth actionInexpensive, highly customizable, lightweight
Cons Performance affected by temperature, more difficult to install than others, field repair unlikely, history of unreliabilityLong extended length, expensiveFinicky installation-cable tension, poor performance if set up improperlySlightly grainy feelNot the smoothest, less refined lever
Bottom Line The RockShox Reverb Stealth is a high quality dropper post from one of the industry's leading suspension manufacturers.The Bike Yoke Revive is without a doubt one of the best dropper seatposts we've tested.The 9point8 Fall Line is an interesting new dropper with many unique design features, winning our Top Pick for Innovative Design Award.The Bachelor is quality dropper seatpost at a reasonable price from the new(er) kid on the block, PNW Components.An inexpensive and adjustable post that delivers solid on-trail performance.
Rating Categories Rock Shox Reverb Stealth Bike Yoke Revive 9Point8 Fall Line PNW Components Bachelor IR OneUp Dropper
Smoothness And Functionality (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Saddle Clamp (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
9
Remote (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Ease Of Setup (15%)
10
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5
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
Weight (10%)
10
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6
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
Specs Rock Shox Reverb... Bike Yoke Revive 9Point8 Fall Line PNW Components... OneUp Dropper
Measured Weight (length tested) 685g (175mm) 684g (185mm) 617g (150mm) 701g (170mm) 636g (170mm)
Positions Infinitely Adjustable Infintely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable
Available Diameters 30.9/31.6/34.9mm 30.9/31.6/34.9mm 30.9/31.6/34.9mm 30.9/31.6mm 30.9/31.6mm
Travel/Extended Length (mm) 100/125/150/175/200mm, 301/351/414/467/519mm 125/160/185mm, 396.2/466.2/516.2mm 75/100/125/150/175/200mm, 325/350/375/440/500/560mm 150/170mm, 458/498mm 150/170mm
Drop length tested/Extended length, claimed 175mm/467mm 185mm/516.2mm(484.8mm not counting the actuator at bottom) 150mm/440mm 170mm/498mm 170mm/450mm
Saddle layback Zero offset Zero offset Offset or inline geometry, purchase of conversion kit required Zero offset Zero offset
Remote 1x Lever left side Triggy 1x remote lever(2x, 1x I-Spec B, 1x I-Spec II also available) Thumb:(tested) universal with 1x adapter, Trigger: finger actuated, or Digit: 1x left undermount Loam lever Carbon remote
Cable Style Internally routed, Hydraulicly actuated Internally routed, cable actuated Internally routed, tool free quick connect system Internally routed, cable actuated Internally routed, cable actuated
Stack Height/Ride height 65mm compressed, 215mm extended 42mm compressed, 226.7mm extended 59mm compressed, 209mm extended 60mm compressed, 225mm extended 37mm compressed, 207mm extended
Included Hose, Reverb Fluid, tools cable and housing, Triggy remote, Air valve adapter, Quick Reset lever Torque key, cable, housing, 2 year warranty Cable and housing, 3-year warranty Cable and housing, travel adjust shims, one year warranty
Tested Diameter and travel length. 30.9, 175mm travel 31.6, 185mm travel 31.6, 150mm travel 31.6, 170mm travel 31.6, 170mm travel

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Reverb is a solid dropper post. It comes stock on a lot of bicycles and it delivers impressive performance when it's functioning properly. It works well enough that it isn't a component that you will need to immediately swap off your shiny new bike, and recent updates like a Vent Valve should keep you out of the bike shop if/when your post develops sag. That said, if you are in the market for a post to replace your blown up dropper or if you're replacing a rigid post, we feel there are better options than the Reverb. This seat-post just cannot stand up to the best in any of the performance metrics.

Performance Comparison



The newest version of the Reverb works better than its predecessors. The 1x remote is great and it's smoother in its travel than ever.
The newest version of the Reverb works better than its predecessors. The 1x remote is great and it's smoother in its travel than ever.

Smoothness and Functionality


The Reverb is a smooth post that has a solid and quality feel. The hydraulic actuation, as opposed to the more common cable actuation, feels generally pretty consistent. The air spring works flawlessly and the process of dropping the post down and raising it back up is beautifully smooth. There are no hitches in the stroke. Some mechanical posts can feel a little inconsistent throughout the motion. If there is one thing the Reverb does exceptionally well is delivering a buttery and consistent stroke.


When you hit the remote/lever with your thumb, the post reacts instantly. We will discuss lever-feel in more detail later on in the review. The main takeaway is the remote delivers a consistent stroke no matter where you are in the throw of the lever. Whether you are 25% into the lever throw or 80% the feel is consistent. Put your weight on the saddle and the post smoothly drops. When it is time to pop the seat back up, hit the lever and the post returns to the raised position with an audible clunk when it tops out. The return speed of the post is adjustable and it can be set anywhere from reasonably slow, to pretty darn fast. This is done on an adjustment dial located under the hood of the remote. It should be noted that some posts do not react well with a super fast top-out. As a result, we don't recommend using the highest speed setting.

Another noteworthy item is that the post height can be adjusted without consequence. This means you can adjust the height of the entire post (we aren't taking about the dropping mechanism) in small increments without consequence. If you need to achieve a higher pedaling height, you can simply pull the whole post up. Cable-actuated posts can have trouble with this maneuver as lowering or raising the whole post can throw-off the cable tension causing the system to temporarily not function. A quick pull or jiggle of the housing typically fixes this. Still, it is noteworthy. If you are adjusting the post height a significant amount you will still want to pay attention to the hydraulic hose and feed it one way or the other as you move the post up or down.

The sleek and stealthy RockShox Reverb delivers solid performance and features quite a bit of engineering.
The sleek and stealthy RockShox Reverb delivers solid performance and features quite a bit of engineering.

A particular lowlight of this post is how poorly it functions in cold temperatures. We won't harp on this point too much as many riders will not be riding when the temperatures are in the 30s. The main takeaway is that this post has an extremely slow return speed in cold temperatures. Adjusting the return speed on the remote is useless, it simply doesn't perform well or consistently when temperatures dip towards freezing.

If you are researching the Reverb, you will undoubtedly read about the high rate of failure with this post. Everyone and their mother has a story about how this post has failed them or a friend while riding. These problems range from a little bit of sag at the top of the stroke to complete and total failure. There is no doubt this post requires more maintenance and attention than others. Many people find the service intervals to be too frequent and it is a real concern. During our testing period, our Reverb worked flawlessly. We didn't even have to use the new Vent Valve feature, though we are glad it is there. That said, we have had plenty of experience with failing Reverbs of various generations. There is no arguing that they require more attention than other posts…but they also work quite well when they are well taken care of.

Saddle Clamp


The Reverb uses a plain and simple two-bolt clamp with no offset. There is nothing special going on here and we have nothing to complain about. The zero-offset aspect should work for a lot of riders. An offset post is one where the center of the saddle clamp is set back behind the main axis of the post. This is a way to tinker with the fit of a bicycle and luckily it hasn't reared its head in the realm of dropper posts.


The clamp features two bolts. A lower cradle sits on top of the post. This is a rockered piece of metal that sits in a recessed spot. Lay the saddle onto the cradle, drop the upper clamp into place on top of the rails, and insert the bolts through the clamp into the nuts. It is exceptionally awkward to get the bolts into the nuts while having to reach under the seat. Unfortunately, it is more or less the same with every design.

The new Reverb lever is dialed and is an enormous improvement on the old plunger-style remote.
The new Reverb lever is dialed and is an enormous improvement on the old plunger-style remote.

Remote


The Reverb has a dialed remote that has been improved drastically in recent years. Those familiar with the old model of this post will remember the plunger-style remote that resembled a short and stout rod with an accordion-looking rubber casing. This was historically awkward and difficult to use. Luckily, RockShox unveiled a new lever, a nice 1x-style undermount that is much easier to reach with your thumb.


The main body of the remote houses some of the Reverb fluid and resembles a reservoir on a brake lever. Protruding from this main body is the actual lever that operates the post. This paddle-style remote is relatively narrow where it connects to the remote body and tapers into a larger area where your thumb hits it. This is a user-friendly and well-thought-out design.

The remote is one of the highlights of the Reverb. Some of the cable-actuated posts can have a little bit of a lag at the very start of the stroke. Additionally, some of the cable-actuated droppers can have a hitch or inconsistent feel to the lever action. The Reverb remote is not plagued with any of these issues. From the first millimeter of push, the stroke is consistent and smooth. The lever has a bit of a heavier feel than other posts which means it can take a little bit more effort to push the remote. This isn't crippling by any means, but it is noteworthy.

There is a plastic hood on the end of the remote body where the hydraulic line exits the remote. If you pull this hood off, you have access to the return speed adjustment that is altered with an Allen key.

You will likely need to shorten the hose to avoid excessively long lines.
You will likely need to shorten the hose to avoid excessively long lines.

Weight


The Reverb weighs 685-grams with the hydraulic line, remote, and saddle clamp in the 175mm length we tested. This puts the Reverb on the heavier end of the spectrum of test posts. We aren't as concerned with the weight of a dropper post as it is located in a relatively inconsequential spot. Wheel weight is important as it is constantly rotating. Seatpost weight is less important, though this is noteworthy if you're trying to shave some grams off of your ride.

Ease of Setup


The Reverb is among the more difficult posts to set up. The hydraulic aspect of things makes it inherently more challenging. With a mechanical system, you simply feed the housing through, attach some ferrules, and run a shifter cable from the post to the remote (or vice versa). The Reverb isn't quite that simple.

Many bikes  like this 2020 Tallboy  come with a Reverb as an OEM spec. This is nice because installing one on your own is more complicated because of the hydraulic actuation.
Many bikes, like this 2020 Tallboy, come with a Reverb as an OEM spec. This is nice because installing one on your own is more complicated because of the hydraulic actuation.

The major challenge comes in the fact that you will most likely need to cut the hydraulic line. The actual connecting method from the hose to the post is pretty slick. RockShox calls this the Connectamajig. They say it can be connected and disconnected multiple times without getting air in the hydraulic system. This is fine and it does work well. The challenge comes in the fact that the hydraulic line will likely be too long unless you ride a XXL frame. Any shortening of the line will likely require a bleed for optimal performance.

Most enthusiasts can figure out how to set up a mechanical dropper post. The Reverb is a horse of a different color.

Value


At $349, the Reverb delivers a decent value. There is no denying that a whole lot of engineering has gone into this dropper post. During normal operation, this is one of the best seatposts on the market. Unfortunately, it does require significant levels of maintenance to keep it working properly and it is nearly impossible to fix on the trail if it stops working.

The Reverb is a quality dropper but not without its quirks.
The Reverb is a quality dropper but not without its quirks.

Conclusion


The RockShox Reverb Stealth is a solid post that delivers high-end performance. The hydraulic actuation has a totally unique feel compared to the cable-actuated dropper posts on the market. The remote lever has a dialed design and delivers a solid and substantial feel, the drop and rise action is consistent and smooth most of the time. That said, this post does not function well in colder temperatures and it is quite a bit more complex than the cable-actuated options should things go wrong on the trail.

Other Versions and Accessories


The Reverb is available in quite a few flavors to meet your needs.

This seatpost is available in the 30.9, 31.6, and 34.9mm diameters. That covers all of the major sizes on your mountain bike. The post is also available in 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm, and an enormous 200mm drop length. The total post lengths range from 301mm to 519.55 mm. Yes, that is a lot of options. The main takeaway is that you can find a size that works for you.

The new Reverb AXS is a wireless version that sells for $800. This post is touted as the lightest and most reliable iteration.


Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue