Best Overall Mountain Bike Dropper Seatpost
Thomson Elite Covert
Dampened return speed
Very little free movement
Long service intervals
Remote snugs up to grips
No 150mm version
Non-serviceable hydraulic cartridge
Thomson waited a while to add a dropper to their lineup. They spent more time on research and development, and nailed it on their first try. Thomson is proud of their dropper and you should be equally proud to add their Thomson Covert Elite
to your mountain bike. With a two-year cartridge service interval, you're more apt to spend time riding your dropper post than fixing it. The soft, easy saddle return rate is smooth and predictable at .3 meters per second. Despite a fixed return speed, we discovered during our testing that it is possible to modulate return by partially depressing the remote lever and "feathering" the saddle back up. Upon fully extending the post, your underside is greeted with a gentle, damped return during the last 15mm of travel. At 592 grams, the Thomson was towards the middle of the weight category of the droppers we tested. At $480, this was the most expensive dropper post we tested, but reliability is often worth a few more bucks. Quality, precision engineering is what made Thomson an industry leader and they carried on that tradition with the Covert Elite seatpost.
Best Bang for the Buck
Giant Contact Switch
Routes internally or externally
Sealed cartridge cheap/easy to replace
Only available in 30.9mm diameter
Cartridge cannot be serviced
Dropper seatposts are expensive. If you haven't had a bike with a dropper yet, you might be questioning what all the rage is about. We have the perfect solution for you and this is definitely no compromise. It's rare that the least expensive option ($280) is one of the best, but that's what we discovered in the Giant Contact Switch
. An often overlooked option outside of being spec'd on Giant mountain bikes, this post should start being added to more shopping carts. Unfortunately, the unique capability to run this post as externally or internally routed is only available to those with seattube diameters of 30.9mm. If you've got the right bike, you're in luck. The versatile design allows you to keep this dropper seatpost if you upgrade to an internally routed frame. The post movement is smooth and the speed is set and cannot be altered. An internal cartridge controls the post and is easily replaceable and readily available if something malfunctions.
Top Pick for "Down n' Dirty" Riding
Rock Shox Reverb Stealth
Adjustable rebound speed
No dirty or gummed up cable
Slow rebound in very cold temps
Field repair unlikely
Rock Shox pioneered "stealth" cable routing that is quickly becoming the norm for dropper posts, particularly with the Rock Shox Reverb Stealth
. The small, hydraulic remote provides unparalleled control and return action that can be adjusted over a spectrum of speeds to suit every rider. Hydraulic fluid is limited to the XLoc remote, hydraulic hose, and small portion within the post where it acts on the main valve. The air spring that returns the post to full extension is separated from the other internal workings. Post oil flows between the inner and outer tubes, making up and down motion smooth and keeping the wiggles at bay. This closed system is a great choice for wet and muddy conditions; foreign matter will not affect the hydraulic lines. The Reverb was not without faults as ours developed a bit of unwanted "travel," although a bleed is typically all it takes to resolve the issue. Rock Shox is continually perfecting the design and a new version was recently released that hopes to address any reliability issue from in the past.
Best for Specific Applications
The Reverb is a solid choice if you end most rides with dirt and mud packed into every nook and cranny. Although it's hard to compete with the smooth action provided by a hydraulic system, you could be left in the dust during a race if anything happens to the hydraulic line. A crash could leave you stuck with a fully dropped post; it's an unlikely scenario, so the risk may be worthwhile, but serious enduro racers may opt for a more field-repair friendly unit such as the KS Lev, Thomson, or Giant. Those up in the air on whether they prefer a multi-position or infinitely adjustable dropper should consider the Specialized Command Post IRCC. Though we contested the 10 Cruiser Control increments stating they felt more like three or four positions, the post still has an obvious middle stop.