Since the introduction of dropper posts a few years back, riders have been raving about this piece of technology that has revolutionised mountain biking. The idea behind the dropper post is to allow the rider to drop and raise their centre of gravity whilst riding so that you don’t need to stop and adjust your saddle height for different sections of trail. By having this button enabled device on your bike, you’ll never have to stop and interrupt the flow of your ride .
THE WEIGHT DISADVANTAGE IS NOT AN ISSUE
Many XC riders have held back because of the weight penalty. XCO riders will do just about anything to shed grams regardless of how it affects bike handling. For a lot of racing this is not a bad decision, but with increasingly technical sections being added to World Cup XCO courses this is due to change. More than a few close races last year were perhaps won in the descents vs the climbs. With the advent of shorter drop (sub 100mm) carbon droppers, the weight penalty may not be as much as it was in the past. For the average rider, a dropper post will assist you on many sections of trail in races and weekend rides.
DESCENDING IN THE RIGHT POSITION
Dropping the seat allows you to shift your weight around. This way you can to find the best possible position to descend. A position, which is often blocked by a high seat post and saddle. Being in a better position results in greater control over your bicycle, which in turn gives you more confidence to go faster. And faster – usually – translates to more fun.
GO DOWNHILL SAFER
It’s not all about speed though, safety is another factor. For newcomers to mountain biking who struggle to navigate singletracks with roots or rocky obstacles, a lowered seat allows them to distribute their weight back behind the saddle briefly, before returning to a neutral position without fear of getting hooked on the rear of the saddle.
IMPROVED LEVELS OF ADJUSTABILITY
The beauty in the technological advancements of dropper posts is the level of adjustability – at the push of a button the rider can lower the saddle to a pre-set setting where they feel comfortable to tackle the singletrack ahead. Advanced riders would like the saddle very low for full maneuverability on steep rough terrain and to hit the odd jump. A beginner or intermediate mountain biker may want the seat lowered only a few centimetres, so that they can still feel the saddle between their legs.
CORNER WITH CONVICTION In a way this was expected; dropper posts are for riding steep stuff right? What I didn’t expect was the newfound cornering speed. Two factors contribute to this; a lower saddle allows you to get lower on the bike gives you a lower centre of gravity. This delivers a distinct boost in cornering ability for the same reason that a low to the ground sports car will corner faster than a raised 4WD.
The other key part is that it becomes easier to move the bike from side-to-side when the saddle is out of the way. Watch a skilled rider corner and you’ll see they lean the bike independently from their body—this becomes far easier and you can swap from turning left to right with greater fluidity. In short, it’s easier to become a better rider without a saddle hindering your movement on the bike.
These benefits were most obvious when tackling a steep downhill turn, but more and more I noticed that dropping the saddle helped on any sort of corner—even on flatter ground. The increased cornering ability was addictive and I wanted access to it all the time, something that wasn’t practical with my lever under the saddle arrangement.
Our advise, is to get out and ride all conditions with your dropper. Not just once or twice but a few times and get used to what feels comfy and what doesn’t. You’ll probably find that when riding a trail, you’ll be constantly adjusting your saddle height, but this is necessary to compensate the changes in the terrain. Even though it may seem like a lot of effort, having a dropper post has significant benefits on your riding performance. When you hit the next race, you will know exactly when the dropper will work for you.
Dropper posts aren’t just for steep stuff.
Lowering the saddle will allow you to improve your cornering technique (think lower and faster).
Without the saddle in the way, you’ll be better able to use your arms and legs as suspension.
It takes time to get used to a dropper; don’t give up on it because you forget to use it initially.
It’ll feel odd at first without the saddle as a reference point but don’t bail on the concept due to unfamiliarity.
Choose one with an easy to reach handlebar remote or you’ll be selling yourself short.
Use it often and it’ll become second nature—I even use it to make hopping on and off the bike easier.
The weight gain is insignificant relative to the confidence and performance gain .