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The Best Dropper Post for Your Mountain Bike

Thursday April 2, 2020
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Are you looking for the best new dropper seatpost for your mountain bike? After researching the best models on the market we purchased 12 for side by side testing and comparison. This innovative product allows you to raise and lower your seatpost to ensure that it is always in the right spot for every rise and fall in the trail. Dropper posts have literally transformed the way we ride, but with so many models on the market, it can be a challenge to find the right one. Our professional testers rode for hundreds of hours and thousands of miles with these seatposts on a huge range of terrain, elevation, weather, and temperature conditions. We installed and removed them repeatedly while swapping between models for side by side comparison.

Top 12 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 12
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Best Overall Dropper Seatpost


Bike Yoke Revive


Editors' Choice Award

$359.95
(20% off)
at Amazon
See It

89
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 30% 10
  • Saddle Clamp - 20% 8
  • Remote - 25% 9
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 7
  • 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 over time. 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 a bit heavier with a longer overall length than the shorter travel competition. That said, in terms of grams per millimeter of travel it ends up being one of the lightest. It's also far from inexpensive, but considering the quality and performance, we feel that it still represents a solid value.

Read review: Bike Yoke Revive

Best Bang for Your Buck


OneUp Components V2


Best Buy Award

$199.00
(23% off)
at REI
See It

85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 30% 9
  • Saddle Clamp - 20% 8
  • Remote - 25% 8
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 8
  • Weight - 10% 10
Measured Weight: 662g (180mm) | Remote: OneUp 1x
Reasonably priced
Smooth travel
Very short stack height
Adjustable travel with shims
Lightweight
Remote lever sold separately

The OneUp V2 thoroughly impressed our testers and is among the best dropper posts we've tested. Combine that stellar performance with the lowest price tag in the test, and it was a no brainer that the V2 took home our Best Buy Award. This dropper easily performs as well or better than models that cost twice as much. or a cable-actuated post, it was super easy to install with the cut end of the cable at the remote. Testers were thoroughly impressed by its smoothness of travel and easy compression force. The OneUp remote has good ergonomics, a light lever feel, and short throw, all of which help to make saddle height adjustments easier. OneUp wants you to maximize the amount of drop you can squeeze onto your bike, and every millimeter of length has also been shaved from this post giving it an impressively short stack height and extended length. It also has adjustable travel so you can fine-tune the drop length and fit even further.

Our biggest gripe with the V2 dropper is that it doesn't automatically come with a remote lever. While it can be frustrating to purchase a remote separately, it does ensure that you get the lever you want. We purchased the OneUp remote to test with the V2 post and found them to work very well together. Beyond that, we found little else to complain about this affordable high-performance dropper post. Whether you're on a budget or not, you should give the OneUp V2 a look.

Read review: OneUp Components V2

Best for Innovative Design


9Point8 Fall Line


9Point8 Fall Line
Top Pick Award

$324 List
List Price
See It

80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 30% 8
  • Saddle Clamp - 20% 10
  • Remote - 25% 8
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 6
  • 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

Best When Money is No Object


RockShox Reverb AXS


Top Pick Award

$800.00
at Backcountry
See It

89
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Smoothness and Functionality - 30% 9
  • Saddle Clamp - 20% 9
  • Remote - 25% 10
  • Ease of Setup - 15% 10
  • Weight - 10% 4
Measured Weight: 768g (150mm) | Remote: AXS 1x remote
No cables
Easy Installation
Excellent remote
Improved performance compared to regular version
Very expensive
Heavier weight
You have to remember to charge batteries
Not compatible with saddlebags

The RockShox Reverb AXS is one of the most exciting new dropper posts to hit the market in some time. By combining their proven Reverb design with their AXS technology, RockShox has finally brought wireless technology to the masses (the masses who can afford it anyway). Without cables or hoses, it couldn't be easier to install and remove and it allows for a super clean handlebar setup. The post moves very smoothly in compression and extension, and we did not find it to be sensitive to cold temperatures like the standard Reverb Stealth. Should your post ever develop sag, RockShox has also added a Vent Valve so you can fix it at home. The saddle clamp is solid and user-friendly with a single bolt clamp and a separate tilt-adjustment. Finally, the remote is outstanding with a large paddle-shaped button that requires far less force or movement compared to any cable-actuated system.

The biggest issue with the Reverb AXS is its price. It is very, very expensive, and this is as far from a value purchase as you can get. Despite the high price tag, it's also a little bit heavy. Our 31.6mm diameter 170mm test post weighed in at 768-grams with the remote and battery, the heaviest in the test. It does have a claimed 40 hours of ride time, but you've also got to remember to charge your batteries every once in a while. Since we're all so used to charging things in this day and age that isn't too difficult, but it is an extra step. All those concerns aside, the Reverb AXS offers next lever ease of installation, outstanding performance, and one of the best remotes on the market, if you can justify the expense.

Read review: RockShox Reverb AXS


Testing dropper posts requires lots of hours in the saddle  our testers aren't complaining.
Testing dropper posts requires lots of hours in the saddle, our testers aren't complaining.

Why You Should Trust Us


Our dropper post teat team consists of 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 12 of the most compelling models 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. Each post is cycled through its travel in our workshop hundreds of times to closely examine their smoothness and functionality. 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 real-world use. Posts are swapped out often for back to back comparison. 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 build, and now even most budget models 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 adjust your saddle in the perfectly for the trail ahead is as simple as pushing a lever. 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 continued 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 OneUp V2 earned our Best Buy award. The V2 has impressive on-trail performance, a great remote, a relatively easy installation process, and a low price tag.

On the other end of the spectrum, the RockShox Reverb AXS costs roughly three times that of our Best Buy Award winner. The Reverb AXS brings cutting edge wireless technology to the market along with a very impressive performance, absurdly easy installation, and the best remote we've tested to date. Whether or not you can justify the expense is up to you.

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 SDG Tellis?


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 by hand hundreds of times. We used a custom-made OutdoorGearLab test apparatus, mounting the droppers 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.

A smooth  consistent  and reliable dropper allows you to focus on the trail ahead.
A smooth, consistent, and reliable dropper allows you to focus on the trail ahead.

Several seatposts impressed us with their unflinching smoothness. The Bike Yoke Revive is by far the smoothest dropper post we've ever tested. The Revive drops like a rock beneath your body weight and is buttery smooth in compression and extension. It also has a Revive Valve to quickly and easily bleed air out of the system should it ever develop sag or squishiness over time. The One Up V2 and Reverb AXS also 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 V2 deserves an extra mention in this category as it delivers solid 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 20mm to achieve an optimal fit. We assume most users will not use this feature, but its nice to have the option.

The best saddle clamps make it easy to install and remove your saddle  and they don't make any unwanted noise while you're seated.
The best saddle clamps make it easy to install and remove your saddle, and they don't make any unwanted noise while you're seated.

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. Most 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 Reverb AXS has a unique saddle clamp design necessitated by the presence of the wireless system at the top of the seatpost. This single bolt clamp is super user-friendly and mounting a saddle couldn't be easier, plus it has a separate angle adjustment screw.

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.


Without question, the best remote we've tested is the wireless AXS remote on the Reverb AXS. Essentially a paddle-shaped button, this remote requires the least force and movement to actuate the dropper. It may sound trivial, but the ease of pressing the AXS remote makes saddle height changes that much easier and allows you to focus more on the trail ahead.

It may not look all that revolutionary  but the AXS remote is next level.
It may not look all that revolutionary, but the AXS remote is next level.

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 perfect ergonomics. 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. Another 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.

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. Most 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. It is also worth mentioning that some droppers are sold as a post only and you can choose whatever remote lever you want. Examples of this are the OneUp V2 and the PNW Bachelor. Both OneUp and PNW make their own remotes, but you can use any remote that has the cable cut at the remote end of the 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 for the performance gain. To compare these droppers, we weighed each with its cable, housing, and remote.


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. It seems obvious, but a shorter length dropper will typically weight more than the longer versions. In an effort 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.

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.

In general, the 185mm Bike Yoke Revive and 180mm OneUp V2 are the lightest posts for their length. Both of these posts weighed out to be 3.7 grams per millimeter of travel. In contrast, the heaviest dropper we tested was the RockShox Reverb AXS at 768 grams for the 170mm travel version. This is roughly 100 grams heavier than the OneUp V2 despite having 10mm less travel.

With no cables or hoses  the wireless Reverb AXS is astonishingly easy to install.
With no cables or hoses, the wireless Reverb AXS is astonishingly easy to install.

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.

On the OneUp V2  the head of the cable fits into a cable bushing that sits in the cradle on the post's actuator. Installing this post is quite easy.
On the OneUp V2, the head of the cable fits into a cable bushing that sits in the cradle on the post's actuator. Installing this post is quite easy.

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, SDG Tellis, and OneUp V2 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 RockShox Reverb Stealth 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 XXL 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.

In stark contrast to the Reverb Stealth, the Reverb AXS is the easiest dropper to install that we've ever tested. Without cables or hoses, installing it is as simple as sliding it into your set tube, attaching the remote to your handlebar, and pairing the wireless connection by holding the buttons for a few seconds.

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 in appearance.

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 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. Ideally, you want the dropper's highest point at your ride height, and you want it to drop as low as your bike will allow. The OneUp V2 has an impressively low stack height and extended length, plus they have a system to adjust the travel length so that riders can theoretically squeeze more travel onto their bikes.

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, Cable, or Wireless 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. The Reverb AXS is the first post that we've tested that uses wireless actuation. This technology is currently quite expensive, but we found that it works incredibly well and helps to simplify the installation process.

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. We hope this detailed comparative review helps you find the best dropper seatpost for your needs and budget.

Jeremy Benson, Pat Donahue