Without a doubt, the greatest innovation of mountain biking from the last few years is the dropper post. The humble dropper post is almost single-handedly responsible for the meteoric rise of enduro bikes. These posts have blurred the lines between XC and downhill, and are now almost as essential to any modern bike as the seat they hold.
If you went out and bought a new mountain bike today, you would be hard-pressed to find one without a dropper post included. However, if the stock post breaks, isn’t long enough or is just plain old terrible, which post should you replace it with?
The biggest thing to consider before buying any dropper is how much it drops. Dropper posts come in a variety of drops, ranging from 90 to 220mm. How much you need depends on what type of riding you do and how tall you are. A good rule of thumb is, unless you’re looking to save every possible gram, get at least 125mm. Taller enduro riders above 180cm should consider a post with 150mm of vertical movement, and for those who like to either have the latest bling or mount XXL frames, your only option may be the 170mm RockShox Reverb.
Not the original producers of the modern dropper post, but the first company to manufacture a post actually worth its salt. Historically, dropper posts have been more unreliable than they are expensive. However, with RockShox Reverb‘s proprietary take on the internals within the post, utilising a hydraulic rather than the standard mechanical system, for years it was seen as the only option.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. The post still had terrible reliability issues that no doubt would ensure its failure in the modern market. In the many years since its first inception, the Reverb has come a long way, and SRAM has sorted out many of the reliability issues that plagued it in the past. Now, the modern iterations are sleek, reliable, durable, and has become the bar against which all dropper posts are measured. However, as a premium product, the post comes at a premium price. With adjustable return speed and limitable drop, the Reverb is perfect for the trail rider looking for a product that won’t fail them when the conditions turn sour. Be warned however, you will need to bleed the thing once every few months.
The Reverb is available as both internally and externally routed, 30.9 and 31.6 seatpost diameter, and drops ranging from 100 to 170mm.
If the reverb is flashy, the Fox Transfer is opulent. With the option of a gold post just because (well, why the hell not?) the Transfer is the Reverb’s latest competitor. A relatively new offering from Fox, the Transfer serves as a replacement for their ‘function over form’ post, the DOSS. The transfer is a cable actuated, infinitely adjustable dropper post. Fox has thought of everything with this post, even going as far as to include a pressure release valve, to compensate for rapid changes in elevation. With a light, consistent action, the Fox Transfer is said to be the most reliable dropper post on the market. Available in two iterations, gold (Factory) and standard black (Performance), Fox has a post for all riders. Be warned however, the post does not come with a lever out of the box, and you’ll have to buy one of those yourself.
The Transfer is available as both internally and externally routed, 30.9 and 31.6 seatpost diameter, and drops ranging from 100 to 150mm.
As newest dropper post on the market, the Pro Koryak is also one of the more wallet friendly options. Designed specifically as a value-for-money dropper post, the Koryak comes in at 200 dollars cheaper than a large proportion of its competition. With internal cable routing and infinite adjustability, the Koryak has the major features that today’s rider needs, but lacks some of the bells and whistles that you may be accustomed to. The Pro is available only in 120mm drop, lacks return speed adjustability and uses a single bolt saddle clamp. This makes the Pro Koryak perfect for the more budget-minded riders. The post does also come with a cheap and easily replaceable air cartridge, meaning that if the post does go cactus, it won’t cost you your soul to repair.
The Koryak is only available as internally routed, 30.9 and 31.6 seatpost diameter and 120mm drop.
Better known for their road products, FSA have recently entered the dropper post game. Designed for a lower price point, the FSA dropper post covers all the basics and not much more. 100 or 125mm of travel and internal cable routing, no bells and whistles, nothing fancy, but that’s not always a bad thing. FSA has produced a reliable dropper post for the masses. If you’ve been looking for a dropper post but don’t want to cough up the dropper post price tag, this may be the post for you.
The FSA post is available as internally routed, 30.9 and 31.6 seatpost diameter, and in 100 and 125mm drops.
For those looking to get their hands on a premium dropper post, you can’t go past the Fox Transfer Factory (come on, it’s gold), but on top of the added bling, it’s currently the best post on the market, in both form and function. If you’re looking to get yourself a post without the dropper post price tag, the Pro Koryak is the post for you. With Shimano build quality, combined with the ease and affordability of replacement parts, it’s the ultimate value-for-money dropper.