The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The Best Dropper Post for Your Mountain Bike

By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Review Editor
Thursday October 25, 2018
  • Share this article:

We want to help you find the best dropper seatpost for your riding style. To do so, we researched the top models and bought the 10 best to test side by side. We put each model through hundreds of miles of rigorous field testing on trails around Lake Tahoe and throughout the northern Sierra. Our testers put each seatpost through its paces over weeks of testing while climbing and descending steep and technical trails, requiring frequent adjustments to saddle height. We also tested them side by side in a more controlled environment, using our custom made dropper post test apparatus. We scrutinized every aspect of their performance and present our comprehensive comparative analysis here to help you find the right model for your needs and budget.


Compare Top Products

Displaying 1 - 5 of 10
≪ Previous | View All | Next ≫
Updated October 2018
This summer, we added three new models to our dropper post review. Our expert testers pedaled up and barreled down Tahoe trails for hundreds of miles while testing these new contenders. We've added two new award winners to our review. The Bike Yoke Revive offers the best performance overall and takes over as our new Editor's Choice Award winner. We've also crowned a new Best Buy, the reasonably priced and high performance PNW Component Bachelor. Our previous overall winner, the 9point8 Fall Line remains a favorite, and we've given it our Top Pick for Innovative Design Award. The KS LEV Integra also maintains its position as our Top Pick for Lightweight Performance Award winner.

Best Overall Dropper Seatpost


Bike Yoke Revive


Editors' Choice Award

$375.00
(17% off)
at Backcountry
See It

Measured Weight: 684g (185mm) | Remote: Triggy 1x
Best in class remote
Smooth infinite travel
Adjustable spring rate
Revive reset valve
Expensive
Long extended length (185mm version tested)
Heavy (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 have ever 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. At a retail price of $450, it's also far from inexpensive, but considering the quality and performance, we feel that it is a good value. Check out the full review to find out more about our Editor's Choice Award winner.

Read review: Bike Yoke Revive

Best Bang for Your Buck


PNW Components Bachelor


Best Buy Award

$199.00
(38% off)
at REI
See It

Measured Weight: 699g (170mm) | Remote: Puget 1x
Reasonably priced
Smooth
Infinite travel
Three-year warranty
Remote lever ergonomics could be improved
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 $320 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. There is little our testers didn't like about the Bachelor, with 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 gripes with the Bachelor are minor. First, we feel that the 1x remote lever, which is pretty good actually, could be improved with slightly better or adjustable ergonomics. Second, 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. 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

$399 List
List Price
See It

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
Zero waste packaging
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. This is the first time the Fall Line has been in the OutdoorGearLab dropper test, and it 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. 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 of $399.

Read review: 9point8 Fall Line

Top Pick for Lightweight Performance


Kind Shock LEV Integra


Kind Shock LEV Integra
Top Pick Award

$222.78
(41% off)
at Amazon
See It

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 the fact that it retails for $379 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.

Analysis and Test Results


Dropper seatposts are among the greatest innovations in mountain bike technology, literally changing the way we ride for the better. A decade ago you were definitely in the minority if you had one of these new-fangled contraptions. Most riders were either unwilling to try something new or to deal with the additional weight. Early versions were heavy, clunky and finicky. They seemed strangely unnecessary.

Slowly but surely we all gave in, and it was suddenly annoying to wait when anyone stopped and lowered their seat for the downhill. These days, droppers are one of the most important parts on any bike. Raising and lowering your seat to the perfect height for climbing or descending is as simple as pushing a remote lever. Now our saddles are always exactly where we want them. They let us ride our bikes better and more comfortably, approach trails differently, and stop far less frequently. If you don't have a dropper, get one.

Many modern bikes are spec'd with droppers, and frames now feature openings to route cables and housing internally. The advent and adoption of 1x drivetrains also opens up handlebar real estate for the dropper levers.


Value


While testing these droppers in the field, we considered their performance, ignoring price completely. But we love a good value, and we know you do too. We are particularly impressed by the PNW Bachelor's reasonable price tag and top-four performance finish. That's why we awarded it our coveted Best Buy award.

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.

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 Race Face Turbine 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.

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 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 post'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, which we list in each individual review.


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 KS polycarbonate remote lever  foreground  while mounted for side-by-side testing.
The KS polycarbonate remote lever, foreground, while mounted for side-by-side testing.

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 difference 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. Please refer to individual reviews for a clear picture of each post's weight penalty.

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, Race Face Turbine, 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.

Both the 9point8 Fall Line and the Race Face Turbine use 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 installation challenges because it uses hydraulic fluid in its housing to actuate the seatpost. 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. You can find more details in our Buying Advice article.

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.

No matter what dropper post you choose we think it will enhance your riding experience.
No matter what dropper post you choose we think it will enhance your riding experience.

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.

Conclusion


Do you want to improve your bike and body position and always have your seatpost in the right spot at the push of a button? Of course you do! A dropper seatpost is a bike upgrade that is worth its weight in gold. Each new crop on the market continues to evolve and improve. So which one is right for you? We hope that our detailed comparative analysis helps you make an informed decision.


Jeremy Benson