Best Dropper Post of 2021
|Price||$324 List||$268.99 at Competitive Cyclist|
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|$176.00 at Amazon|
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|$249.99 at Backcountry|
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|$407.00 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Innovative, easy compression, adjustable spring rate, six travel lengths, available parts||Very smooth, easy-to-use seat clamp, quick setup||Very reasonably priced, comes in three drop lengths, adjustable air spring, smooth travel||Reasonably priced, decent remote lever, easy to install, available in 4 drop lengths||Adjustable return speed, hydraulic actuation, no cable to get dirty, smooth in travel|
|Cons||Finicky installation-cable tension, poor performance if set up improperly||Long overall length, above average weight||Longer overall length, no bling-factor||Awkward seat clamp bolts, not as smooth as competition||Performance affected by temperature, more difficult to install than others, field repair unlikely, history of unreliability|
|Bottom Line||An interesting, high-performance dropper with many unique design features||A solid cable-actuated dropper with reliable, smooth action||Reliable and consistent performance at an unbeatable price||If you're on a budget, this reasonably priced model is a good option to consider||This dropper once set the standard, but now it's showing its age|
|Rating Categories||9Point8 Fall Line||CrankBrothers Highl...||Tranz-X Kitsuma Air||SDG Components Tellis||Rock Shox Reverb St...|
|Smoothness And Functionality (30%)|
|Saddle Clamp (20%)|
|Ease Of Setup (15%)|
|Specs||9Point8 Fall Line||CrankBrothers Highl...||Tranz-X Kitsuma Air||SDG Components Tellis||Rock Shox Reverb St...|
|Measured Weight (length tested)||617g (150mm)||696g (170mm)||732g (200mm) 611g (200mm post only) 51g (remote and hardware) 70g (cable and housing)||712g (170mm)||685g (175mm)|
|Grams per millimeter of travel||4.1||4.1||3.7||4.2||3.9|
|Remote tested||Thumb convertible||CrankBrothers Highline Remote||Tranz-X Kitsuma 1x||Tellis remote||Reverb 1x|
|Positions||Infinitely Adjustable||Infinitely Adjustable||Infinitely Adjustable||Infinitely Adjustable||Infinitely Adjustable|
|Available Travel Lengths/Extended Lengths (mm)||75/100/125/150/175/200mm, 325/350/375/440/500/560mm||100/125/150/170mm, 367/417/467/507mm||150/170/200mm, 455/495/558mm||125/150/170mm, 390/440/480mm||100/125/150/175/200mm, 301/351/414/467/519mm|
|Drop length tested/Extended length, claimed||150mm/440mm||170mm/507mm||200mm/558mm||170mm/480mm + 27mm actuator||175mm/467mm|
|Saddle layback||Offset or inline geometry, purchase of conversion kit required||Zero offset||Zero offset||Zero offset||Zero offset|
|Remote||Thumb:(tested) universal with 1x adapter, Trigger: finger actuated, or Digit: 1x left undermount||CrankBrothers Highline Remote||Tranz-X Kitsuma 1x lever||1x thumb remote||1x Lever left side|
|Cable Style||Internally routed, tool free quick connect system||Internally routed, cable actuated||Internally routed, cable actuated||Internally routed, cable actuated||Internally routed, Hydraulicly actuated|
|Stack Height/Ride height||59mm compressed, 209mm extended||47mm compressed, 217mm extended||55mm compressed, 255mm extended||61mm compressed, 230mm extended||65mm compressed, 215mm extended|
|Included||Torque key, cable, housing, 2 year warranty||Cable and housing, 4-year warranty||Cable and housing, 2-year warranty||Cable and housing, 1x remote lever, 2-year warranty||Hose, Reverb Fluid, tools|
|Tested Diameter and travel length.||31.6, 150mm travel||31.6/170mm travel||30.9, 200mm travel||31.6, 170mm travel||30.9, 175mm travel|
Best Overall Dropper Seatpost
Bike Yoke Revive
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 one of the best droppers we've ever used. It has incredibly smooth travel and a very easy compression force. It features a unique design and the innovative Revive Valve, which lets you quickly and easily reset the hydraulic internals should it develop sag over time. This post comes with Bike Yoke's Triggy 1x remote lever, which is among 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 a little pricey, but considering the quality and performance, we feel that the expense is justified.
Read review: Bike Yoke Revive
Best Bang for Your Buck
Tranz-X Kitsuma Air
Tranz-X has recently expanded their distribution and they now offer some of the least expensive aftermarket dropper posts on the market. The Kitsuma Air is the most affordable model we've ever tested, yet we were pleasantly surprised by its consistent and reliable performance throughout testing. Installation is easy, and it can be used with any remote lever you choose. We opted to test it with the Tranz-X 1x remote, which is also affordable and has good ergonomics and a light lever feel. We were thoroughly impressed by this post's super-smooth travel in both compression and extension. It also features an air spring that allows you to adjust the rate of return. A simple but sturdy two-bolt clamp secures the saddle rails and gave us no issues during testing.
The 200mm post we tested is among the heaviest in the test. That said, it's also the longest post we tested, and its weight is actually quite reasonable considering the drop length. It is sold as a post only, so you will need to purchase a remote if you don't have one already. Extended post lengths are also a bit longer than some of the competition, so fitment could be an issue for some riders and bikes. Beyond that, we were extremely impressed by this post's performance, especially for the price.
Read review: Tranz-X Kitsuma Air
Best for Maximizing Your Drop
OneUp Components V2
The OneUp V2 thoroughly impressed our testers and is among the best dropper posts we've tested. Combine that stellar performance with a low price tag, and the V2 is easily one of the best values in the test. This dropper easily performs as well or better than models that cost twice as much. OneUp wants you to get all of the drop you can squeeze onto your bike, and every millimeter of length has 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. For 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. It is also offered in 120, 150, 180, and 210mm lengths and the three most common diameters.
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
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, with a number of unique design features. 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 was also one of the easiest droppers to compress and had the lightest remote actuation force in our side-by-side testing. We were 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
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 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-level 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
Another Top Performer
Fox Racing Shox Transfer Performance Elite
The recently-updated Transfer is one of our favorite all-around posts. Fox targeted some weak points of the older model and improved them considerably in the newer version. With a lower weight, shorter stack height, redesigned saddle clamp, and shorter overall length, this post made the jump from a mid-pack offering to one of the best posts available today. It uses the same buttery-smooth internals as the previous version, which provide fast and easy adjustment on the trail. It doesn't take much weight to drop the post, and the return is fast and reliable with a nice thump at top out. In addition to the post updates, Fox also redesigned their 1x remote lever. The new large, high-leverage, textured thumb paddle mimics a shifter and operates using a sealed cartridge bearing for consistent, smooth action. On the whole, the post and remote package was one of our favorites in the test.
While the update offers a whole lot to like, this post still has a couple of minor weak points. Despite the fact that Fox lowered the weight, it's still on the heavier end of the spectrum. At 4.2 grams per mm of travel, it isn't a lead weight, but it doesn't match the lightest posts available. Additionally, the Transfer is lacking some features offered by other new posts on the market. The travel is not adjustable to dial in the fit, and the return rate is fixed. These things certainly aren't deal-breakers, but they would be nice options to have.
Read review: Fox Racing Shox Transfer Performance Elite
Why You Should Trust Us
Our dropper post teat team consists of three 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 and Zach Wick join Pat as dropper post testers. Benson is our current Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor. He spends an inordinate amount 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. Wick has been riding and racing just about every kind of bike you can think of for the last twenty years and has spent years working in a bike-industry test lab. He's developed a keen sense for what comprises a good product and has done his fair share of both destructive and non-destructive testing.
Our testers are obsessive riders and gear nerds who keep up on the latest product releases throughout the season, and our test selection features 12 of the most compelling models on the market today. In testing these posts, we started by weighing and measuring everything for consistency. Each post was then installed on our tester's personal bikes to examine ease of installation/setup and saddle clamp design. Each post was cycled through its travel in our workshop hundreds of times to closely examine their smoothness and functionality. The majority of our testing took place in the field where our testers scrutinized the design and performance of the remote levers and posts during compression and extension to see how they fared during repeated and extended real-world use. Posts are swapped out often for back-to-back comparison. Detailed notes were kept and compared and the posts were rated across our metrics when testing concluded to determine our favorites.
Related: How We Tested Dropper Posts
Analysis and Test Results
Dropper seatposts hit the market a little over 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 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 new budget models come with one. We would venture that the dropper post is the single most transformative innovation in recent mountain bike technology. Having the ability to adjust your saddle on the fly opened the door for faster, 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 super clean look. Meanwhile, the proliferation of 1x drivetrains has freed up handlebar space for dropper post remotes.
Related: Buying Advice for Dropper Posts
Our testing approach focuses on field performance. We are on the hunt for the very best seatpost and we do our best to ignore how much they cost. That said, we do appreciate a good value. Mountain biking is a sport where price and performance often go hand in hand, but that is not always the case. The OneUp V2, Tranz-X Kitsuma Air, and PNW Loam are three of the least expensive models we tested, yet they rival the performance of the more expensive competition.
On the other end of the spectrum, the RockShox Reverb AXS costs 2-4 times more than any other post. 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.
Smoothness and Functionality
How smoothly and consistently a dropper seatpost raises and lowers your seat is the most important aspect of its performance. When the time comes to adjust your saddle height you often only have seconds to do it, so you want to know that your post will drop or rise reliably and at a consistent rate each time. 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 Crankbrothers Highline 7 or Fox Transfer?
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.
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, Reverb AXS, and Fox Transfer 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, and PNW Loam deserve an extra mention in this category as they deliver solid performance with a travel adjust feature. These posts both allow riders to reduce the travel of their post—the V2 in 10mm increments and the Loam in 5mm increments. Riders who want to get the most possible seatpost travel can buy a longer post and shorten the travel by up to 20mm with the V2 or 25mm with the Loam to achieve the optimal fit. We assume most users will not fiddle with this feature, but its nice to have the option.
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. Additionally, the saddle clamp design plays a key role in the post's overall stack height. The shorter the stack height, the more travel you can squeeze onto your frame. Most of the dropper posts we tested feature a relatively standard 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 features 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 and Fox Transfer came in a close second, with their unique slotted heads 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.
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. In testing 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 posts are sold as a post only so you can choose to use whatever remote brand or style you prefer. In these cases, we purchased the remote lever that was designed to go along with that post. An example is the Tranz-X Kitsuma Air. The Tranz-X post is sold by itself, but Tranz-X also sells three affordable remotes. We purchased and tested the Tranz-X 1x remote to see how it performs alongside the Kitsuma Air post. Both the OneUp V2 and the PNW Bachelor are also sold as the post only. For testing, we bought each brand's remote to accompany its dropper post.
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.
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 Fox Transfer post features another excellent lever. The new Transfer 1x lever has a thin CNC construction, a nice ergonomic shape, and a large, textured thumb paddle. The quality of the design and execution really stands out as stellar. We would recommend this lever for use on any cable-actuated dropper that clamps the cable at the remote. 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.
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.
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 it than other performance metrics. We also tested a few different dropper sizes, complicating the results. It seems obvious, but a shorter length dropper will typically weigh less 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.
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.
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 7 have quick connect systems which, once installed, allow tool-free post removal.
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, SDG Tellis, Tranz-X Kitsuma Air, OneUp V2, and PNW Loam 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. 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 seat tube, attaching the remote to your handlebar, and pairing the wireless connection by holding the buttons for a few seconds.
Types of Dropper Seatposts
Infinite or Multi-Positional Travel
All 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 the current 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, which some riders prefer.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 many brands offering 170, 175, 180, or even 200+ millimeters. For example, 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. Many models 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. The Reverb AXS is the first post 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.
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. No more stopping at the top of the climb to manually drop your seat for the descent! 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, Zach Wick