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The Best Dropper Post for Your Mountain Bike

Monday November 18, 2019
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Are you looking for the best dropper post for your mountain bike? We scoured the internet researching virtually every post on the market and purchased ten of the most intriguing options and tested them back-to-back-to-back. We rode hundreds of miles with these droppers on a huge range of terrain, on various bikes, at different elevations, and in drastically varying temperatures. We painstakingly evaluated every design and performance aspect of each post. We present the findings of our comparative analysis in this review. Carry on to find the very best dropper seatpost to meet your needs and budget.


Top 10 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
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Awards Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $375.00 at Backcountry
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$182.44 at Amazon
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$324 List$239.00 at Backcountry
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$140.05 at Backcountry
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Pros Infinite travel, smooth action, triggy remote, revive reset valveErgonomic universal remote, easy to install, affordable, three-year warrantyInnovative, easy compression, adjustable spring rate, six travel lengths, available partsLoam lever is excellent, reasonable price, smooth actionInexpensive, highly customizable, lightweight
Cons Long extended length, expensiveNot the lightest, non-adjustable spring rateFinicky installation-cable tension, poor performance if set up improperlySlightly grainy feelNot the smoothest, less refined lever
Bottom Line The Bike Yoke Revive is without a doubt one of the best dropper seatposts we've tested.The Highline is an impressive product that checked all our boxes and was among our favorite posts in the test.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 Bike Yoke Revive Crankbrothers Highline 9Point8 Fall Line PNW Components Bachelor IR OneUp Dropper
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Specs Bike Yoke Revive Crankbrothers... 9Point8 Fall Line PNW Components... OneUp Dropper
Measured Weight (length tested) 684g (185mm) 620g (125mm) 617g (150mm) 701g (170mm) 636g (170mm)
Positions Infintely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable Infinitely Adjustable
Available Diameters 30.9/31.6/34.9mm 30.9/31.6mm 30.9/31.6/34.9mm 30.9/31.6mm 30.9/31.6mm
Travel/Extended Length (mm) 125/160/185mm, 396.2/466.2/516.2mm 100/125/160mm, 345/400/465mm 75/100/125/150/175/200mm, 325/350/375/440/500/560mm 150/170mm, 458/498mm 150/170mm
Drop length tested/Extended length, claimed 185mm/516.2mm(484.8mm not counting the actuator at bottom) 125mm/400mm 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 Triggy 1x remote lever(2x, 1x I-Spec B, 1x I-Spec II also available) Universal, ergonomic, spherical adjustment Thumb:(tested) universal with 1x adapter, Trigger: finger actuated, or Digit: 1x left undermount Loam lever Carbon remote
Cable Style Internally routed, cable actuated Internally Routed, tool free quick connect system Internally routed, tool free quick connect system Internally routed, cable actuated Internally routed, cable actuated
Stack Height/Ride height 42mm compressed, 226.7mm extended 47 mm compressed, 173 mm extended 59mm compressed, 209mm extended 60mm compressed, 225mm extended 37mm compressed, 207mm extended
Included cable and housing, Triggy remote, Air valve adapter, Quick Reset lever Cable, housing, 3 year warranty 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. 31.6, 185mm travel 31.6, 125mm travel 31.6, 150mm travel 31.6, 170mm travel 31.6, 170mm travel

Best Overall Dropper Seatpost


Bike Yoke Revive


Editors' Choice Award

$375.00
(17% off)
at Backcountry
See It

92
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 25% 10
  • Saddle Clamp - 25% 8
  • Remote - 25% 10
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 8
  • Weight - 10% 10
Measured Weight: 684g (185mm) | Remote: Triggy 1x
Excellent remote lever
Smooth infinite travel
Adjustable spring rate
Revive reset valve
Expensive
Long extended length (185mm version tested)

Few people had heard of the German company Bike Yoke until they started making one of the best dropper seatposts on the market. We'd heard rumors about the Revive's performance, so we couldn't wait to get our hands on one and test it against the competition. Turns out, the hype is warranted. The Revive is the best overall model in our test, winning the Editor's Choice Award. The Revive has incredibly smooth travel and easy compression force. It features a unique design and the innovative Revive Valve, which lets you easily reset the hydraulic internals should it develop sag. This post comes with Bike Yoke's Triggy 1x remote lever, which is one of the best we've used. The Revive is also easy to set up and has a sturdy two-bolt saddle clamp design.

There was little we didn't like about the Revive. We tested the 185mm version, and as a result, it was one of the heaviest models in our test with the longest overall length. Fortunately, it comes in 125mm and 160mm versions, which are shorter and weigh less than the super long model we tested. It's also far from inexpensive, but considering the quality and performance, we feel that it is a good value.

Read review: Bike Yoke Revive

Best Bang for Your Buck


PNW Components Bachelor IR


Best Buy Award

$239.00
(20% off)
at Backcountry
See It

84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 25% 8
  • Saddle Clamp - 25% 8
  • Remote - 25% 10
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 8
  • Weight - 10% 7
Measured Weight: 699g (170mm) | Remote: Loam 1x
Reasonably priced
Smooth
Infinite travel
Excellent remote lever
Not as smooth as the competition
Heavy

PNW Components is a relative newcomer on the dropper post scene. This Seattle, WA based brand claims to hate how much mountain bike parts cost, and aims to create quality products for less than the competition. The Bachelor dropper post is a prime example of that, and the winner of our Best Buy Award for its quality construction, impressive performance, and reasonable asking price. In addition, the Loam 1x lever is among the best levers on the market. Alas, there is little our testers didn't like about the Bachelor, with relatively smooth infinitely adjustable travel and an adjustable air spring. The post performs consistently and reliably on the trail, which is more than we can say for some of its higher-priced competition.

Our only major gripes with the Bachelor are minor. First, it's on the heavier side of the posts we tested. That said, we did test a 170mm travel version of this dropper and the 150mm versions of a number of others. Second, there are slightly smoother dropper seatposts on the market. It wasn't egregious, but there were a few noticeable sticky points in the drop stroke. Overall, we are impressed by the performance and quality of the Bachelor, especially considering the price.

Read review: PNW Components Bachelor

Top Pick for Innovative Design


9Point8 Fall Line


9Point8 Fall Line
Top Pick Award

$324 List
List Price
See It

85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 25% 8
  • Saddle Clamp - 25% 10
  • Remote - 25% 9
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 7
  • Weight - 10% 7
Measured Weight: 617g (150mm) | Remote: Thumb convertible
Best in class remote
Innovative saddle clamp design
Available in six different lengths
Adjustable spring rate
Two-year warranty
Quick connect
Quick connect
Finicky installation-cable tension
Poor performance if set up improperly

The relatively small Canadian brand, 9point8, has been producing quality products like the Fall Line for a few years and have quickly made a name for themselves as an innovator in the market. The Fall Line quickly proved to be one of our favorites, taking home our Top Pick for Innovative Design Award. The Fall Line uses 9point8's cable actuated mechanical brake system, known as DropLoc, to lock the post anywhere within its travel range. It has an adjustable air spring so you can dial in the rate of return to your liking. The Fall Line is also one of the easiest droppers to compress and has the lightest remote actuation force in our side-by-side testing. We are especially impressed by 9point8's thoughtful features like their convertible remote lever design and well-designed saddle clamp, little things that make a big difference.

The only complaint we have is that this dropper is a little tricky to set up correctly. Get back up if you need it. Parts are readily available for the home mechanics out there in case of breakage, and it has a 2-year warranty. The Fall Line is available in an astounding six travel lengths, three different remotes, and in inline or offset configurations. All this comes at what we consider to be a reasonable price.

Read review: 9point8 Fall Line

Top Pick for Lightweight Performance


Kind Shock LEV Integra


Kind Shock LEV Integra
Top Pick Award

$259.95
(20% off)
at Amazon
See It

77
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 25% 9
  • Saddle Clamp - 25% 8
  • Remote - 25% 6
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 7
  • Weight - 10% 9
Measured Weight: 576g (150mm) | Remote: Polycarbonate universal
Lightest in test
Infinite travel
Smooth and consistent
Easy to install
Low stack height
Reasonable price
Remote design
History of unreliability

KS makes droppers, and aside from a couple of other products, that's all they do. So it's no surprise that the KS LEV Integra was our top pick for lightweight performance. Weighing in at 576g, including cable, housing and polycarbonate remote, the LEV Integra is the lightest in our test by over 40g. Not only is it light, but it also rates highly in our performance comparison, due to is smooth travel and consistently reliable performance. The KS LEV Integra underwent a full season of testing with no more than a routine replacement of the cable and housing. It features a basic but solid two-bolt saddle clamp that hides an air valve for the adjustable air spring. During our side-by-side testing, we discovered that the LEV Integra was among easiest posts to compress, and the small and straightforward remote required light force to actuate, both pluses in our book.

We don't love the remote design, and the dropper has a reputation for unreliability. But combine the KS LEV Integra's smooth and consistent performance with its moderate price and we've got ourselves not just a lightweight performer, but a reasonably priced one at that.

Read review: Kind Shock LEV Integra


Testing the Best Buy Award winning Bachelor high above Lake Tahoe on the beautiful east shore.
Testing the Best Buy Award winning Bachelor high above Lake Tahoe on the beautiful east shore.

Why You Should Trust Us


Our dropper post testers are two very experienced professional mountain bike testers. Our lead tester is our former Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor, Pat Donahue. Pat has spent the past couple decades working in the bike industry and is currently the co-owner of a bike shop in South Lake Tahoe, CA. He has a very critical eye and is adept at finding weaknesses in products. Jeremy Benson joins Pat as a dropper post tester and reviewer. Our current Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor, Benson spends inordinate amounts of time on the bike testing, riding for fun, and training for races. He is constantly analyzing and scrutinizing the performance of mountain bikes and equipment and he is especially hard on and critical of gear. Benson is also the author of Mountain Bike Tahoe, a guidebook for the Tahoe area published by Mountaineers Books.

Our testers are obsessive riders and gear nerds who keep up to date on the latest product releases throughout the season. Our test selection features 10 of the most compelling option on the market today. Our test process starts with weighing and measuring all of the posts for consistency. Each post is then installed on our tester's personal bikes to examine ease of installation/setup and saddle clamp design. The majority of our testing takes place in the field where our testers scrutinize the design and performance of the remote levers and posts during compression and extension and how they fare during repeated and extended use. Detailed notes are kept and compared and the posts are rated across our metrics when testing has concluded to determine our award winners.

Related: How We Tested Dropper Posts

Side by side testing pics

Analysis and Test Results


Dropper seatposts hit the market about a decade ago and have slowly taken over the mountain bike universe. There was a time where these telescoping posts were only found on the top-end build kits that carried a crazy price tag. Long-time mountain bikers viewed this wacky invention as unnecessary as they had survived with their posts jacked up and by laying their chest on their seatposts down steep trails for decades. Additionally, early dropper posts were not the most reliable and were prone to failure.

As the years rolled by we all gave in and soon enough, everyone had one on their bike. Dropper seatposts have slowly but surely found their way onto almost every stock bike, and now even most budget builds come with one. Everyone who has used one has realized how critical this component is and most riders feel naked without a dropper post now. Having the ability to drop your saddle out of the way on the fly is critical. Popping it back up on the fly just in time to scurry back up the mountain is huge. All of this was now as simple as pushing a button. It is not an overstatement that dropper posts opened the door for more aggressive trail and enduro riding. We will stop waxing poetic, the moral of the story is: if you don't have a dropper, get one.

As we mentioned, most new modern mountain bikes come stock with dropper seatposts. Almost all frames now feature internal routing where you can feed the cable and housing through your frame for a supremely clean look. The constant expansion of 1x drivetrains has freed up handlebar space for dropper post remotes.

Related: Buying Advice for Dropper Posts


Value


Our testing approach focuses on on-trail performance. We are on the hunt for the very best seatpost and we do our best to ignore the price tag. That said, everyone wants a good value. Before slapping down your credit card, you want to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Speaking of a ripping value, the PNW Bachelor's earned our Best Buy award. The Bachelor has impressive on-trail performance, an incredible remote, and a relatively easy installation process, and a low price tag. Yes, we love it and you will too.

The Crankbrother's Highline isn't much pricier though and offers more polish. It scores just below the Editor's Choice winning Bike Yoke Revive but costs quite a bit less. The OneUp Dropper is also an honorable mention. It clocks in at an incredible price point and offers unrivaled adjustability. That said, we found that it is just a cut below some of the best options in term of performance and functionality.

Testing the dropper posts side-by-side in a controlled environment on our custom made OutdoorGearLab testing unit.
Testing the dropper posts side-by-side in a controlled environment on our custom made OutdoorGearLab testing unit.

Smoothness and Functionality


How smoothly and consistently a dropper seatpost raises and lowers your seat is the most important aspect of its performance. To rate each dropper we asked ourselves a series of questions: Is the post easy to compress? Is it reliable and predictable? Does it have any free play in the saddle, sag in its air pressure, or other flaws in its performance? Is the travel dampened at the top or bottom of the stroke? Does it have an adjustable rate of return like the RockShox Reverb or 9point8 Fall Line? Or is it set at a fixed speed like the Thomson Elite Covert or Crank Brothers Highline?


We tested each post's Smoothness and Functionality by putting in hundreds of miles of real-world trail riding on each one. We also ran them through a gamut of tests and cycled through their travel hundreds of times. We used a custom-made OutdoorGearLab test apparatus, mounting the dropper side-by-side in a controlled environment. This mount allowed us to scrutinize every aspect of the dropper post's functionality, from the ease of actuation, compression, and extension to travel smoothness and remote ergonomics. Most importantly, it gave us the opportunity to compare them directly.

Several seatposts impressed us with their unflinching smoothness. The Bike Yoke Revive, Thomson Elite Covert, Crank Brothers Highline, and KS LEV Integra set the bar high with incredibly consistent and smooth travel on the way up and down. They also have little to no saddle play and offer a solid feel and predictable performance. The 9point8 Fall Line and RockShox Reverb Stealth also performed impressively well and came close to meeting the high standard set by the top scorers.

The OneUp Dropper deserves a mention in this category as it delivers decent performance with a few interesting features. This post allows you to reduce the travel with a set of shims that are included with the post. Riders who want to get the most possible seatpost travel can buy a longer post and shorten the travel by up to 50mm to achieve an optimal fit. If you buy a 210mm post and its just a little too long for your frame/body, you can drop the travel to 190mm to make it work. This is a super clever idea by OneUp. We assume most users will not use this feature, but its nice to have the option. On the trail, the OneUp post worked fine but it didn't stand out in any performance metric.

You'll never notice a good saddle clamp  some are better than others.
You'll never notice a good saddle clamp, some are better than others.

Saddle Clamp


While it's not flashy, the saddle clamp is important and can make or break an otherwise incredible product. The saddle clamp holds your seat onto your dropper post, and good ones go unnoticed.

Poorly performing saddle clamps, on the other hand, are often noisy, self-loosening, or make it difficult to remove or install your saddle. All of the dropper posts we tested featured a two-bolt head design, fore and aft, to adjust the angle and grab hold of the seat rails. Several of the posts hide a valve to adjust the dropper's air pressure under the saddle clamp.


The 9point8 Fall Line is the highest scorer in this rating, featuring an innovative design that allows for easier saddle installation, independent fore and aft angle adjustment, and quick and easy access to the air valve. The Crank Brothers Highline came in a close second, with their unique slotted head and swiveling design, a user-friendly departure from the standard two-bolt saddle clamp. The OneUp dropper also uses a clever approach. OneUp stuck with the classic two-bolt clamp design but cut out part of the upper clamp. This way you can install the nuts and bolts through the lower clamp and post head and simply slide the upper clamp into position and then tighten. Those with fat fingers will appreciate this approach as it leads to significantly less fumbling in hard-to-reach areas.

The Revive's Triggy lever is one of the best we've ever used.
The Revive's Triggy lever is one of the best we've ever used.

Remote


All of these droppers are actuated by a handlebar-mounted remote for quick and easy access on the fly. Not all dropper remotes are created equal, however. Some have better designs and functionality than others. To rank them, we considered each remote lever's ergonomics, mounting positions, actuation force, and compatibility with shifters or brake levers.

It is worth noting that we only tested the remotes that came standard with each dropper post. Many offer a variety of remote options for various setups.


One of our favorite remote lever designs came with the 9point8 Fall Line. You can orient the Fall Line's thumb lever vertically, horizontally, or under the left side of the bar if you have a 1x set up. We love that versatility. But the Bike Yoke Revive's Triggy remote is our very favorite, with its outstanding ergonomics and excellent lever feel.

The PNW Bachelor post features another excellent lever. The Loam 1x lever has a dialed CNC construction, a nice ergonomic shape, and a grippy rubber thumb pad. The quality of the design and execution really stands out as stellar. In fact, this remote is so fantastic that many riders have been purchasing it separately to upgrade their existing dropper setup. The Bike Yoke Revive has another stellar remote lever called the Triggy. This is a lightweight machined 1x style lever with a light lever feel and a perfect design.

The Loam lever is fantastic  plus you can buy it aftermarket to work with other dropper posts.
The Loam lever is fantastic, plus you can buy it aftermarket to work with other dropper posts.

Keep in mind that the remote design that works best for you may depend on your drivetrain. Many new remote styles are made to work with 1x systems, mounting in the spot where the front shifter used to live. Others may function better with a 2x or 3x system.

Weight


Virtually all mountain bike gear is subject to weight scrutiny, and dropper posts are no exception. Folks like light bikes. We don't blame them. A dropper is always going to be heavier than a standard post, although most riders are willing to accept the weight penalty. To compare these droppers, we weighed each with its cable, housing, and remote.

The weight of a dropper post is equal to the sum of its parts. In this case  the Thomson Elite Covert weighs in at 690g  one of the heaviest in the test.
The weight of a dropper post is equal to the sum of its parts. In this case, the Thomson Elite Covert weighs in at 690g, one of the heaviest in the test.

Since the weight differences aren't all that extreme, we put less emphasis on this rating metric. We also tested a few different dropper sizes, complicating the results. To directly compare the weights of different length dropper posts, we calculated each post's weight per millimeter of travel by dividing the total weight by the length of travel.

In general, the 185mm Bike Yoke Revive and 150mm KS LEV Integra are the lightest posts for their length. The 150mm e*thirteen TRS plus is one of the heavyweights, roughly 125g heavier.


Ease of Setup


Manufacturers recommend having a professional mechanic install your dropper post, and we won't argue with that. Not only do we need to patronize our local bike shops to keep them around for parts, service, and camaraderie, but they will probably do a great job at this somewhat arduous and occasionally complicated task. Installing a dropper post can also be done at home, assuming you have some basic mechanic skills and the right tools for the job.


If you're the DIY type, then you're probably interested in how easy it is to install your own dropper post. We've become quite proficient at installing and removing dropper posts and identifying the ease or challenge of each model. This includes everything from attaching the remote to the handlebar, how the cable attaches to the post and remote, and how easy or hard it is to service each post in the field.

Arguably the most challenging part of installing any internally routed seatpost is routing the housing through the frame. After that, most models vary in setup. Many new models like the 9point8 Fall Line and Crank Brothers Highline have quick connect systems which, once installed, allow tool-free post removal.

We tested these dropper posts so you don't have to. Pictured from left to right: 9point8 Fall Line  RockShox Reverb Stealth  Crank Brothers Highline  Fox Transfer Performance  Thomson Elite Covert  Race Face Turbine  KS LEV Integra
We tested these dropper posts so you don't have to. Pictured from left to right: 9point8 Fall Line, RockShox Reverb Stealth, Crank Brothers Highline, Fox Transfer Performance, Thomson Elite Covert, Race Face Turbine, KS LEV Integra

For cable systems, whether you cut the cable to length at the remote end or the post end makes a difference in how difficult your dropper is to install. For example, you connect the barrel, or uncut, end of the cable to the bottom of the seatpost on the Fox Transfer Performance, Crank Brothers Highline, and Thomson Elite Covert posts. Then you pull tension on the cable and cut it at the remote end by the handlebar. This gives you more space to work with, resulting in less guessing and double-checking. We found all of these posts to be easier to set up.

The 9point8 Fall Line uses a cable-actuated system and quick connect at the bottom of the post for tool-free removal. This system is significantly more finicky and challenging to install than other cable-actuated posts.

The RockShox Reverb Stealth also presents serious installation challenges due to the hydraulic fluid in its housing that actuates the seatpost. If you have to shorten the hydraulic hose, which is quite likely, there is a good chance you need to bleed the system to remove any air that made its way into the system. Yes, RockShox uses the Connectamajig quick-connect system to attach the hose to the post without letting any air in. This is a nice touch. That said, unless you ride a XXXL frame, you are likely going to need to shorten the hydraulic line and bleeding it is generally a job for the professionals as it can get messy in a hurry.

These three dropper posts are the most challenging to install. We would recommend leaving the task to the professionals at your local bike shop.

Internally routed droppers posts are connected at the bottom of the seatpost for a very clean look and no cables outside of the frame.
Internally routed droppers posts are connected at the bottom of the seatpost for a very clean look and no cables outside of the frame.

Types of Dropper Seatposts


Infinite or Multi-Positional Travel

All but one of the dropper posts we tested feature infinite travel adjustment, meaning they can stop anywhere in their travel between fully compressed and fully extended. Infinite adjustment is becoming the standard, but there are a handful of dropper posts on the market that offer multi-positional, or indexed, travel. These offer limited and preset travel positions. The e13 TRS+ is the only multi-position post in our test, and the 150mm version we tested stops at 150mm, 110mm, 80mm, and 0mm.

Internal or External Routing

Routing dropper seatpost cables and housing inside your bike's frame is becoming the norm for modern mountain bikes. All the droppers we tested feature this style of routing. This routing style cleans up your bike's appearance by limiting the number of cables running along the outside. It also makes your bike physically easier to clean. There are still a number of externally routed dropper posts on the market, which are great for frames that do not allow for internal routing. Externally routed dropper posts are typically easier to install but are messier.

Sizing

Dropper posts are available in various travel lengths, typically 100mm, 125mm, and 150mm, with a few brands now starting to offer 170 to 175 or even 200 millimeters. Our Top Pick for Innovative Design Award winner, the 9point8 Fall Line, is available in an astounding six travel lengths. The length you choose will vary based on your height, personal preferences and by what you can fit on your bike. Important numbers to have on hand are your seat tube length, the maximum insertion length of your seat tube, and the minimum insertion length of the dropper post. You want the dropper's highest point at your ride height, and you want it to drop as low as your bike will allow.

All of the posts we tested are available in the standard seat tube diameters of 30.9mm and 31.6mm. A few are also offered in the newer diameter of 34.9mm.

Hydraulic, Mechanical or Cable Actuation

Nearly all dropper posts feature a cable-actuated hydraulic cartridge or air spring. The RockShox Reverb Stealth is one exception that actuates hydraulically. It uses hydraulic fluid in the housing as opposed to a standard cable. Another exception is the fully mechanical e13 TRS+ which uses a coil spring and a cam locking system to move through its four travel settings.

A good dropper post will undoubtedly make you riding experience better.
A good dropper post will undoubtedly make you riding experience better.

Conclusion


If you are new to the world of dropper posts, you need one! These posts allow you to always have your saddle in the correct position to charge hard, work through a techy move, and grind back up the mountain. For you long-time dropper post users, the technology and functionality have made huge improvements in recent years. The Bike Yoke Revive was our clear favorite and took home the Editor's Choice award. The PNW Bachelor post took home our Best Buy award for its rock-solid performance at an impressive price tag. Shred on!


Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue