The newest craze in the mountain bike industry is the dropper seatpost – a post that can be raised or lowered while riding with the push of a button. It’s certainly not a new concept as XC riders have been manually lowering their seats before descents for years, and products attempting to automate it with springs existed even in the 1980s (just google Hite Rite seatpost). However, technology has finally made the dropper post a viable option for racers and recreational mountain bikers.
Montague folding bikes are the only folders on the market that are truly capable mountain bikes, so you may be considering a dropper post for your Montague. Let’s take a look at why you might want one, the pros and cons, and what we might see in future dropper post designs.
Why use a dropper seat post?
The idea behind the dropper is to provide optimum saddle height for both climbing/flat riding, and for descending. When you need to pedal, you want your saddle at the height where you’ll get the most efficient power transfer. When it’s time to descend, the ideal saddle height is a lot lower.
Descend faster. Lowering the seat for a descent allows you to shift your weight around much more easily without the saddle and post getting in the way. When you need to position your weight over the rear wheel on a steep downhill, getting your body behind the saddle can be quite difficult. With it out of the way you can descend more confidently, perhaps ride sections you walked before, and get downhill faster. And while we aren’t all racers, going faster generally means more fun.
Descend more safely. Regardless of speed, getting down the mountain safely is the most important thing. When you can position yourself on the bike to properly take on obstacles, you can avoid those crashes.
Component makers have been working on dropper posts for years, but they still have their drawbacks.
Weight. A dropper post is naturally going to have a lot more material and mechanical parts than a standard post. For hardcore XC racers (and self proclaimed weight weenies), the extra grams are a serious consideration.
Cost. Dropper posts are still quite expensive, putting them out of reach for all but those willing to put serious money into their bike. If you ride off-road a lot, it could very well be a worth while investment. And you get to make your riding buddies jealous of your new gear.
Added Maintenance. It is one more fairly complicated component of your bike that may end up needing maintenance.
The future of dropper posts?
Now that they’re gaining popularity, you can bet they will continue to improve. Lighter weight and less expensive is a give in, but more ergonomic handlebar mounted levers, electronic controls, and posts that drop without the need for you to sit and put your weight on them should be just around the corner.