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SDG Components Tellis Review

If you're on a budget, this reasonably priced model is a good option to consider
SDG Components Tellis
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $270 List | $249.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Reasonably priced, decent remote lever, easy to install, available in 4 drop lengths
Cons:  Awkward seat clamp bolts, not as smooth as competition
Manufacturer:   SDG Components
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 2, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 12
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 30% 7
  • Saddle Clamp - 20% 7
  • Remote - 25% 8
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 8
  • Weight - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The SDG Tellis is a newer addition to the growing field of reasonably priced dropper seatposts. Despite its lower price tag, the Tellis impressed our testers with its reliable and consistent performance during testing, both head to head with other competitors and over several months while testing complete bikes. It can't quite match the refined feel or smoothness of our top-rated posts, but the difference hardly went noticed out on the trail. The simple two-bolt head design was solid and noise-free, and the Tellis was one of the easiest cable-actuated models to install. The included 1x style remote works well enough with pretty good ergonomics. It may not have taken home any awards, but that doesn't mean you should overlook this affordable competitor.

Compare to Similar Products

 
SDG Components Tellis
Awards  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $249.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$309.00 at Backcountry
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$195.99 at Amazon
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$199.00 at Backcountry$176.00 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Reasonably priced, decent remote lever, easy to install, available in 4 drop lengthsshort stack height, easy setup, great leverAffordable, very short stack and extended length, adjustable travel with shims, lightweightAffordable, highly-adjustable, lightweightVery reasonably priced, comes in three drop lengths, adjustable air spring, smooth travel
Cons Awkward seat clamp bolts, not as smooth as competitionLever sold separately, above average weightRemote lever sold separatelyFirm lever feel, average stack heightLonger overall length, no bling-factor
Bottom Line If you're on a budget, this reasonably priced model is a good option to considerA high-quality, easy-to-set up dropper with one of the best remote levers we testedWith a reasonable price and high performance, this post also helps you get the most drop possibleAn affordably-priced and reliable option with plenty of adjustabilityReliable and consistent performance at an unbeatable price
Rating Categories SDG Components Tellis Fox Racing Shox Tra... OneUp Components V2 PNW Components Loam... Tranz-X Kitsuma Air
Smoothness And Functionality (30%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Saddle Clamp (20%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Remote (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Ease Of Setup (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Weight (10%)
7.0
7.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
Specs SDG Components Tellis Fox Racing Shox Tra... OneUp Components V2 PNW Components Loam... Tranz-X Kitsuma Air
Measured Weight (length tested) 712g (170mm) 733g (175mm) 662g (180mm) 640g (170mm) 732g (200mm) 611g (200mm post only) 51g (remote and hardware) 70g (cable and housing)
Grams per millimeter of travel 4.2 4.2 3.7 3.8 3.7
Remote tested Tellis remote Fox Racing Shox Transfer Remote OneUp 1x PNW Loam Lever Tranz-X Kitsuma 1x
Positions Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable
Available Diameters 30.9/31.6mm 30.9/31.6mm 30.9/31.6/34.9mm 30.9/31.6/34.9mm 30.9/31.6mm
Available Travel Lengths/Extended Lengths (mm) 125/150/170mm, 390/440/480mm 100/125/150/175/200mm,
308/363/418/475/531
120/150/180/210mm, 360/420/480/540mm 125/150/170/200mm, 385/440/480/540mm 150/170/200mm, 455/495/558mm
Drop length tested/Extended length, claimed 170mm/480mm + 27mm actuator 175mm/475 180mm/480mm + 16mm actuator 170mm/480mm 200mm/558mm
Saddle layback Zero offset Zero offset Zero offset Zero Offset Zero offset
Remote 1x thumb remote Fox Racing Shox Transfer Remote 1x (comes with standard clamp, MMX, and I-Spec EV mounts), 2x option available Not included. 1x, SRAM Matchmaker X, Shimano I-Spec EV or I-Spec II available for $49 PNW Loam Lever sold separately (SRAM MMX, Shimano I-spec II and I-spec EV, and standard 22.2mm clamp available Tranz-X Kitsuma 1x lever
Cable Style Internally routed, cable actuated Internally routed, cable actuated Internally routed, cable actuated Internally routed, cable actuated Internally routed, cable actuated
Stack Height/Ride height 61mm compressed, 230mm extended 38mm compressed, 213mm extended 33mm compressed, 213mm extended 50mm compressed, 220mm extended(claimed) 55mm compressed, 255mm extended
Included Cable and housing, 1x remote lever, 2-year warranty 1 year warranty Travel adjustment shims, 2-year warranty Lifetime warranty to original owner Cable and housing, 2-year warranty
Tested Diameter and travel length. 31.6, 170mm travel 31.6/175mm travel 31.6, 180mm travel 31.6, 170mm travel 30.9, 200mm travel

Our Analysis and Test Results

SDG stands for "Speed Defies Gravity," and this small component manufacturer is known primarily for its line of mountain bike saddles. In addition to saddles, SDG also makes the Tellis, an affordable dropper seatpost. We've used the Tellis as an OEM spec on several complete bike builds in the past couple of years, but we went ahead and bought one for head to head testing to include in our review. With its affordable price tag and good all-around performance, it was a contender for our Best Buy Award, but in the end, it was bested by the smoother and more refined competition.

Performance Comparison


The Tellis is a quality dropper that performs its duties admirably...
The Tellis is a quality dropper that performs its duties admirably and is offered at a competitive price.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Smoothness and Functionality


The Tellis performed consistently and reliably throughout our testing. It has a sealed hydraulic cartridge with a fixed rate of return. It's relatively smooth in its travel during compression and extension, though not quite as refined feeling as our top-rated models. While we felt a little hitch-iness when compressing the Tellis by hand, this is not something we noticed out on the trail or that affected its overall performance in any way.

Unlike most of the competition that have adjustable air springs, the Tellis has a sealed hydraulic cartridge with a fixed rate of return. While we like the option of having an adjustable air spring, the rate of return of the Tellis worked just fine for us during testing. It's fast enough that your saddle returns to full height as fast as you need without fear of any bodily harm. A sealed cartridge is also quite easy to replace on your own, and SDG sells replacements for just $45.

It's not the smoothest post we've ever tested, but you'd be...
It's not the smoothest post we've ever tested, but you'd be hard-pressed to notice when you're riding down chunky rock gardens...
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

The Tellis is relatively smooth in both compression and extension. On the trail, it drops with a slight amount of force under your body weight, not quite the freefall feeling of some other models but not terribly far off. When running this post through hundreds of compression cycles by hand, however, we noticed that it had a bit of a hitch-y feel to it during its stroke. It was subtle, but certainly noticeable compared to the smoother competition. We figured that perhaps we'd overtightened the seatpost clamp, so we backed it off a little and found that it was still there. On the trail, the less smooth nature of the Tellis went unnoticed, and it performed as expected otherwise.

The saddle clamp on the Tellis works just fine, although the front...
The saddle clamp on the Tellis works just fine, although the front bolt is annoying close to the stanchion.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Saddle Clamp


The Tellis has a standard 2-bolt zero-offset saddle clamp design. Installing and removing a saddle is relatively easy because it has long bolts that can be loosened enough to slide the saddle rails into the clamp without removing them completely. Once tightened, our test model never made any unwanted noise to speak of, and our saddle clamp bolts remained tight throughout testing.

It is worth mentioning that the angle of the saddle clamp bolts makes them slightly less user-friendly than other 2-bolt clamps we've tested. On the Tellis, the clamp bolts are positioned straight up and down while other designs have them angled. The bolts are also very close to the stanchion, and when adjusting them, we found ourselves making frequent allen key to stanchion contact. It can be avoided; it just requires a little more attention than with other posts.

The Tellis remote is pretty good. The hinged clamp makes it easy to...
The Tellis remote is pretty good. The hinged clamp makes it easy to install and ergonomics aren't bad.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Remote


The remote that comes with the Tellis is pretty good, but far from the best we've tested. The 1x style lever mounts on the left side of the handlebar with a hinged clamp. The ergonomics are relatively good, and it works well enough. Currently, the handlebar clamp is the only mounting option, and it is not compatible with matchmaker or I-Spec. You are not limited to the SDG remote only, any aftermarket lever where the cut end of the cable is at the remote should also work with the Tellis.

Thanks to the hinged clamp, installing the Tellis remote is very easy and doesn't require you to remove your grips or take any extra steps. It is easy enough to position it wherever you like horizontally to optimize the thumb reach for your preferences. Testers found the ergonomics to be relatively good and were always able to find and press the lever. Press the lever all the way to drop or raise your saddle all the way, or feather it for a modulated return. The throw of the Tellis remote is a little longer than some of the best remotes we've tested, although when the cable tension is adjusted properly, you don't have to push it far to actuate the dropper. It requires a little more force than our favorite models, but that difference is really only noticeable when testing them side by side. That said, it works pretty well, and there was little to really complain about.

Considering the price, we feel that 712-grams is a respectable...
Considering the price, we feel that 712-grams is a respectable weight for a 170mm dropper, cable, housing, and remote.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Weight


Our test post in the 31.6mm diameter and the 170mm length weighed 596 grams for the post only, and 712 grams with the remote, cable, and housing. This puts the Tellis right about average in terms of weight. It's a far cry from the lightest dropper out there, but its weight is certainly respectable for its drop length and price. In our calculation, the Tellis came out to be 4.2 grams/millimeter of travel.

Installing the Tellis is quite easy since the head/barrel end of the...
Installing the Tellis is quite easy since the head/barrel end of the cable slots into the actuator at the bottom of the post.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Ease of Setup


Like most cable-actuated posts that clamp the cable at the remote lever, the Tellis is very easy to install. We timed our installation, and it took approximately 10 minutes and required only a set of allen keys and a pair of cable cutters.

Once the tedious task of routing the housing through the frame is completed, feed the cable through with the barrel end at the post. Slip the barrel end of the cable into the actuator lever and through the slot in the large green actuator at the base of the post. Pull tension on the cable and fit the end of the housing into the base of the actuator then insert the post into the seat tube. Insert the other end of the cable into the barrel adjuster of the remote and feed it through the hole in the remote lever. Tighten the small set screw on the lever and secure the cable. Cut the excess cable and crimp the end. Attach the hinged clamp around your handlebar in the desired location and angle, and you're done.

We've tested numerous Tellis droppers on complete bikes recently...
We've tested numerous Tellis droppers on complete bikes recently. Each one has worked flawlessly during testing.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Value


The Tellis is a very reasonably priced dropper seatpost. At retail, it is one of the least expensive models in our test selection, just a handful of dollars more than our Best Buy winner. It's easy for us to call it a good value considering its good all-around performance and reliability. It may not have taken our Best Buy Award, but if you're looking for a dropper and don't want to break the bank, this is certainly a good option to consider.

The Tellis is another reasonably priced and quality dropper...
The Tellis is another reasonably priced and quality dropper seatpost. If you're on a budget, this is a great option to consider.
Photo: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The SDG Tellis is a quality dropper offered at a very reasonable price. While it falls a little bit short of the high bar set by the competition, we feel this post is easy to install, offers good all-around performance, and it comes with a relatively good remote lever. It may not be the best in the test, but we feel it is another in a growing list of affordable options for riders on a budget.

Other Version and Accessories


The Tellis comes in 100, 125, 150, and 170mm drop lengths and in 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters.

Jeremy Benson