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Vital MTB Face Off: The Best Dropper Seatposts

The dropper post has gone from a curious novelty to being spec'd on any trail or enduro bike worth its salt in just a few short years, and that has inevitably lead to an explosion in the number of options available to choose from. With many of the early posts suffering durability issues of some kind, the internet is awash with horror stories and firmly held opinions regarding which up-and-down-at-the-press-of-a-button seat holder is the one to go for, and you’d be forgiven if seeing the forest for the trees seems a little daunting at times. Especially if you’re new to the sport, or about to get your first dropper. But fear not! Vital is on the job, and we’ve put all the best options out there through the Face Off wringer to let you know what’s what.

This article originally featured nine posts, but was subsequently updated on November 7, 2017 to include three additional contenders, with a further six posts joining the fray in 2020 to take the total to an impressive 18 products. Some of the scores have been adjusted since this test was first published as the performance bar has been continuously rising during this time.

Down to business then - after thousands of hours of testing, here is the answer to the question on everybody's mind: which dropper is number one?

1st Place: BikeYoke Revive ($400)

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BikeYoke started life making aftermarket yokes for those wanting to run different rear shocks on their Specialized bikes. With a creative approach to looking for novel solutions, it was only a matter of time before the company decided it could make a better dropper post too. The cable-actuated Revive offers a short overall post length, excellent ergonomics and low weight. All this without asking for more money than most competitors. But what really sets this post apart is the fact that you can bleed the internal hydraulics without opening the post – in fact, you don’t even have to take it off the bike. At a time when 100% reliability is proving hard to achieve, BikeYoke’s approach is much more realistic in how they choose to be clever.

Shop the Revive at Jenson USA.

2nd Place: RockShox Reverb "C1" ($399)

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Never not a polarizing product, the RockShox Reverb has a long and storied past - and not always the good kind of stories, it has to be said. We have always been fans of the ergonomics and performance of the Reverb, but while this post has been incredibly prevalent on OEM builds it has certainly managed to leave behind a legacy of spotty reliability which will no doubt not sit all that well with many a previous owner. So how can we have the "C1" version sitting here in second place then? Simple - the post has been entirely redesigned from the ground up, which has led to much improved performance but more crucially, an external "reset valve" has been added to let a user remedy the dreaded soggy post syndrome without having to open up the post's internals. With the need for frequent servicing then seemingly a thing of the past, we think users will be stoked instead of sad when it comes to the Reverb going forward.

Shop the Reverb at Competitive Cyclist.

3rd, 4th, and 5th place: BikeYoke Divine ($379), OneUp Dropper V2 ($250), FOX Transfer V2 ($414)

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After earning so much popularity with its reset valve on the Revive, BikeYoke promptly went a made a version that does away with the need for an external valve thanks to an internal mechanism that resets the post automatically each time you drop it. It's a tiny bit less smooth than the best-in-test Revive, but still good enough to grab third place overall. In fourth, OneUp's intriguingly named "Dropper" puts in a great showing. Smooth action, short overall dimensions and adjustable max travel make for a compelling choice, especially when you factor in the very competitive price. In fifth, the FOX Transfer V2 takes everything we liked about the first version squeezed into a shorter overall package. Smooth and ultra-reliable, this post dropped a couple of spots in the latest update of this test, but don't take that as a sign of weakness, just the competition outdoing itself to come out slightly ahead.

Shop the Divine at Competitive Cyclist, the OneUp Dropper V2 at Jenson USA, and the FOX Transfer V2 at Jenson USA.


How We Tested

We have prior long-term experience with many of the posts tested here, while some more recent offerings were new to us. In addition to our combined long-term experience with the posts, we’ve also had each post ridden under the same tester on his home trails, over a period of several years in some cases. Of course, conditions change during this kind of testing, but this was the optimal solution to allow us to test a large number of posts and have them face off against each under under equitable circumstances. Reliability is one of the key aspects of evaluating dropper posts, and although not all the posts were tested to failure, we feel that we know enough to provide a ranking that includes reliability as a parameter. Also note that we only tested internally routed posts, as this is by far the most popular category.

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Looking at a bunch of dropper posts, they all look deceptively similar – but the devil is as always in the detail. As a general rule, the more drop you can get away, the better, but this also means you might be pushing the limits of your frame design, particularly if it features an interrupted seat tube of some kind. Alternatively, you may be an XXL specimen looking for as much seat post as possible to get you to your ideal saddle height for pedaling. To help you figure out whether a particular post is suitable for you and your bike, we broke out the tape measure to document the critical dimensions. Since the actuation mechanism is part of the post, all relevant measurements were taken from the bottom of the mechanism, and not the bottom of the post itself. Note that if your frame features a pivot in the seat tube, you may need to add 10-20mm to the overall measurement to allow the cable to get out of the way – you can only bend cables so much.

Does my butt look big in this?

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So what do the numbers tell us? For example, overall post length is not very interesting in itself, since many other variables may affect whether or not a particular post will fit you. “Collar to Rail” already tells more of a story – this measurement indicates the lowest possible saddle height (measured at the bottom of the rails) you will get with the post fully extended, when it’s fully inserted in the seat tube. Then use the “Collar to Base” number to figure out if indeed you have enough room inside your seat tube for full insertion (as mentioned above, add 10-20mm to this number if your seat tube is interrupted in such a way as to interfere with cable routing). The “Minimum Insert” number tells you how far you MUST insert the post into the seat tube, but that number in itself is less interesting than “Max Extension” – the latter telling the taller riders exactly how far above the seat tube collar a given post will extend, while respecting the Minimum Insert.

When it came time to score and rank the droppers, we looked at a few key aspects and measurements. Starting with the easy ones, weight and price are purely a matter of ranking the facts and attributing a relative score to each one. What we called the “Dimensions” score refers to how many travel options are provided and how many seat tube diameters are supported. If a post only offers 150mm of travel it will score less than a post that also offers 100mm and 125mm. House brands Giant and Bontrager only come in the seat tube diameter used by the each brand’s bikes, which also led to a deduction here.

For the more subjective measurements, we scored the posts both on a general “In Use” category, as well as the remote lever specifically. The In Use score takes into account smoothness, ease of use, the general “feel” as well as certain aspects of durability and longevity (i.e. if the post felt rough after some time, this would affect the In Use score). The levers were judged both on the number of options provided (i.e. do both shifter-style and thumb levers exist, how many different cockpit configurations can be support out of the box etc), as well as how good the remote is in use.

By The Numbers

Here you have it, two tables with nearly all the answers! First up, the specs and measurements:

 Seatpost Full Length
(mm)

Collar to
Rail (mm)
Minimum
Insert (mm)
Collar to
Base (mm)
Max
Extension (mm)
Weight (grams,
with hardware)
BikeYoke Revive 160 463 198 130 264 332 620
RockShox Reverb ("C1") 175 495 225
110 270 385 654
BikeYoke Divine 185  515 225 165 290 350 630
OneUp Dropper V2 180
480 213  135  267
345 644
FOX Transfer ("V2") 170 500 210 130 290 370 731
PNW Rainier Gen 3 170 483 224 145 259 338 694
Race Face Turbine R 150 480 207 128 270 352 675
9point8 Fall Line 150 455 210 127 247 330 623
RockShox Reverb ("B1") 150 480 215 126 270 353 643
KS LEV Ci 150 440 198 128 240 310 481
PNW Bachelor 150 456 208 122 248 332 652
Crankbrothers Highline 160 527 207 157 317 368 706
X-Fusion Manic 150 490 198 148 290 342 733
e*thirteen TRS+ 150 502 220 219 280 290 721
Bontrager Drop Line 150 468 195 106 270 360 688
Thomson Covert 150 487 215 135 265 352 698
Race Face Turbine 150 460 212 100 245 358 663
Giant Contact SL Switch 150 468 197 116 270 360 665

And now for the actual results, with a few explanations of how the scores were attributed and tallied:

  • Weights: In Use (35%), Dimensions (15%), Weight (20%), Remote (15%), Price (15%).
  • In case of a tie, the highest number of category wins placed higher.
  • The Dimensions score also includes consideration of how many seat tube diameters are supported (not shown in table).
  • We started this test back when 150 mm was pretty much the most travel available on the market, but since then things have changed. Some of the later models have been tested at different lengths, which makes it harder to normalize some of the numbers. In most cases you can judge the equivalence, by for example subtracting 10 mms from the overall numbers when comparing a 160 mm post to a 150 mm competitor.
Seatpost
TOTAL
SCORE
In Use
Score
Min Travel
(mm)
Max Travel
(mm)
Infinite
Travel?
Dimensions
Score
Weight (grams
,
with hardware)
Weight
Score
Remote
Score
Price
($USD)
Price
Score
BikeYoke Revive 9.50 10 125 185 Y 10 620 9 10 400 8
RockShox Reverb ("C1") 9.30 10 100 200 Y 10 654 8 10 399 8
BikeYoke Divine 9.18 9.5 125 185 Y 9 630 9 10 379 8
OneUp Dropper V2 9.15 9 100 210 Y 10 644 9 8 250 10
FOX Transfer ("V2") 9.15 10 100 175 Y 9 675 8 10 409 8
PNW Rainier Gen 3 9.08 8.5 100 200 Y 10 694 8 10 239 10
Race Face Turbine R 8.98 9.5 100 175 Y 9 675 8 10 365 8
9point8 Fall Line  8.85 9 100 200 Y 10 623 9 9 447 7
RockShox Reverb ("B1") 8.60 8 100 170 Y 10 643 8 10 399 8
KS LEV Ci 8.40 8 65 175 Y 10 481 10 8 545 6
PNW Bachelor 8.33 8.5 125 170 Y 9 652 8 8 320 8
Crankbrothers Highline 8.30 9 100 160 Y 8 706 7 9 350 8
X-Fusion Manic 8.25 9 125 150 Y 8 733 6 8 199 10
e*thirteen TRS+ 8.25 8 125 170 Y 9 721 7 9 279 9
Bontrager Drop Line 8.15 9 100 150 Y 6 688 7 9 299 9
Thomson Covert 8.15 9 100 150 Y 9 698 7 8 480 7
Race Face Turbine 7.95 7 100 175 Y 9 663 8 10 470 7
Giant Contact SL Switch 7.85 8 100 150 Y 6 665 8 8 300 9

Shifter Style Remote Lever - A Definite Plus

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If there is one thing we don’t miss here at Vital, it’s the front derailleur. Not only because a 2x drivetrain weighs more and doesn’t work as well as its 1x counterpart, but also because the left shifter occupies a piece of handlebar real estate that can be put to so much better use – providing a home to your “shifter-style” dropper post lever. Simply put, this type of lever is always superior: it provides more control, is easier to operate, and requires the least amount of movement of your thumb – which crucially leaves it to do its other, more important job which is holding onto your grips for dear life as you shred the gnar. If you can, go shifter style.

Weight

Most vendors claim “a lighter post” but very few actually specify what exactly they are referring to with that statement. Most of them also fail to inform you as to the real weight of their product, probably preferring to publish the weight of a 100mm sample in the smallest seat tube diameter without cables or the lever. Since that is actually a useless piece of information, especially if you want to compare different posts before making a purchase decision, we weighed them all with the supplied hardware and lever. We've taken a normalized approach to scoring the weights, since not all the posts were tested at the same length.

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Type of Travel

Is infinite travel better? Only one of the posts tested here features preset drop positions as opposed to being infinitely adjustable within the travel, and going by that statistic one might assume that the majority is right for a reason. It’s not that simple however, as we generally find ourselves using our posts at either end of the travel spectrum, only using a middle position infrequently when tackling technical climbs (which, frankly, is no way to get up a hill if your purpose in life is earning your turns). And with just a bit of time, you quickly get used to finding that preset “cruiser” position when you need it, whether on an infinitely adjustable post or not.

Electronic – Yay or Nay?

It’s early days yet, but there are now a couple of wireless, electronically activated posts already on the market. The one that has impressed us the most is the RockShox Reverb AXS, which provides incredibly quick and intuitive actuation. At $800 MSRP, this thing is still a bit of an outlier, which is why we have not included it in this group test - but that didn't stop us from stating that it might well be the "dropper perfected" for those with deeper pockets. You can check out our full review of the Reverb AXS to learn more.

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Our Picks

The best 5 dropper posts in the world, starting with our winner:

1st Place: BikeYoke Revive - Best in Test

BikeYoke is a small company from Germany, which literally made a name for itself creating replacement yokes for Specialized owners wanting to run non-OEM shocks on their bikes. They also introduced a replacement rocker arm to remove the ShapeShifter feature on Canyon’s first Strive, and the "DeHy" remote for the RockShox Reverb dropper, which replaces the hydraulic remote with a cable-actuated one. Finally, their Triggy universal dropper lever was and still is a much-loved upgrade for other brands' cable-operated posts. It was only ever a matter of time before they would turn their attention to the actual dropper itself, and they did so with an open mind and an eye for innovation and creativity.

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BikeYoke Revive Highlights

  • Mechanically activated
  • Hydraulic, non-IFP internals
  • Air spring
  • “Revive” external bleeding feature
  • Shifter-style or thumb lever remote options available
  • Infinite height adjust
  • 125mm, 160mm, and 185mm travel options
  • 30.9mm, 31.6mm, and 34.9mm (Revive MAX) seat tube diameter
  • Weight: 620 grams (31.6/160, including cable and remote, verified)
  • MSRP: EUR 369 (~$400 USD)

Initial Impressions

The Revive is quietly understated while exuding an unmistakable air of quality. A couple of tubes and some bolts is not necessarily the most exciting product in the world, but at BikeYoke they sweat the details and it shows. Little things like the cable cutting guide printed on the base of the post make life easier and point to a company where somebody thought long and hard about how to make the user experience the best possible.

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The Revive also scores points with its dimensions. By making the post collar approx. 10mm shorter than many others, BikeYoke is able to offer a 160mm travel post that is not any longer externally than its 150mm competitors. In other words, if you can currently fit a 150mm dropper, you can fit the 160mm Revive. BikeYoke also managed to keep the overall weight of the Revive slightly below most competitors, bar the carbon LEV Ci. The shifter style “Triggy” lever is equally well put together, with a compact profile and smooth action.

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The Revive owes its name to the unique feature that lets a user bleed the internal oil circuit free of air by simply activating a release valve. Operating the valve requires a ¼ turn of a 4mm allen key (or an optional integrated "mini lever") and takes all of five seconds – which sounds a whole lot better than sending your post in for service every time it starts going saggy on you…

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On The Trail

Installing the Revive is simple and straightforward, as always the caveat being how hard your frame maker tried to make your life miserable with their implementation of internal cable routing. Once you have routed the housing and cut it to length, the rest of the process is painless. The Revive is not very sensitive to cable tension, and the barrel adjuster on the lever offers more than enough range to easily take up any slack in the cable. Being Matchmaker compatible, we also enjoyed how clean the relatively small remote looked on our handlebar. The seat post head is a classic two-bolt design, with smooth hardware that is a pleasure to work with, and which remained creak-free for the duration of the test.

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The action of the Revive is as smooth and controlled as they come. The lever does not require a lot of pressure, and the post itself is easy to compress. It comes back up with good speed and an audible “thwack” when it tops out, letting you know your seat is back up and ready for action. It is equally easy to stop the post at any point in its travel. It is completely free of any sagginess, and side to side play out of the box was minimal and has remained so after several years of service. We did find ourselves having to use the Revive feature every now and then, such as after a crash which left the bike upside down for a while (the same could happen if you store your bike in an abnormal position with the dropper in the low position). After each Revival, the post is as good as new.

Durability

We've had the Revive running on different bikes over a period of several years by now. We did notice a very slight increase in side-to-side play after all that time, but it was still well within the norm and certainly not worse than most competitors. The lack of an Internal Floating Piston and the corresponding reduction in the number of seals is good news for longevity in general (in addition to making for the super smooth and light action that sets the Revive apart from many others). Thanks to the unique Revive feature, it should never have to be necessary to service this post just because it starts to sag (a common ailment with many other offerings), which will contribute to keeping you out of the workshop and on the trails instead. When the time finally comes for an overhaul, BikeYoke sells a number of spare parts and service kits directly on its website, and the Revive was designed to make working on it easy. You can for example replace the internal key guides and bushings without even having to open up the hydraulics. BikeYoke also has a growing worldwide network of distributors and dealers, so chances are you will be able to find support in your country as well.

Summary

Instead of trying to engineer a product that never fails (impossible), BikeYoke took a unique approach to solving the most common dropper post reliability problem, by creating an external bleed feature for the internal hydraulics. This means that instead of worrying about how to fix your saggy post, you are now free to enjoy the excellent ergonomics, low weight, and overall sober appearance of the Revive. It all adds up to one awesome product, and the clear winner of this test.

Shop the Revive at Jenson USA.


2nd Place: RockShox Reverb "C1"

When talking about the RockShox Reverb, there’s an elephant in the room. The Reverb has always impressed us in terms of ergonomics and usability, but as many a disgruntled owner will attest to, it’s a pain to have to send your post in for service every now and then to have it free of any vertical play. The third generation of this iconic - some will say infamous - dropper is here to address the squishy post syndrome once and for all. With the introduction of a Vent Valve, the new Reverb (C1, as per SRAM's internal denomination) can be bled from the outside without having to disassemble the post to get to the internals.

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RockShox Reverb (C1) Highlights

  • Post Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
  • Travel: 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm, 200mm
  • Post Length (excl. actuator): 301mm, 351mm, 414mm, 467mm, 519.5mm
  • “Connectamajig” connections
  • Vent Valve technology
  • Faster and easier dropping action
  • Weight: 690 grams (31.6, 175 mm, verified)
  • MSRP: $399 for post with 1x remote ($349 with standard remote)

Initial Impressions

When you first lay eyes on the new Reverb, there is little to distinguish it from its predecessors. However, closer inspection reveals a number of tweaks. The total length of the post has been significantly reduced thanks to a new connector design at the base of the post, a shortened collar and a lowered saddle cradle. This means that more riders are likely to be able to fit a longer Reverb in their frames. To compare, a Reverb (C1) 175 is 10 mm shorter than a BikeYoke Divine shimmed to the same amount of travel, while the BikeYoke wins the collar-to-rail matchup by 7 mm.

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As we mentioned in the intro, the Reverb has a history of developing a certain amount of “squish”, requiring it to be serviced relatively frequently. The C1 now offers a feature that lets riders bleed the internal mechanism of the post without taking it apart, just by activating the new Vent Valve that can be found under the seat clamp. Pressing the valve and compressing the post removes any air that may have found its way over to the wrong side of the internal floating piston, eliminating the dreaded squish in just a couple of minutes.

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RockShox didn’t stop there. The internals have also been completely reworked to provide smoother and faster post action. Thanks to a smaller piston diameter, new oil and new seals, RockShox claims to have reduced the force required to drop the C1 by up to 50% compared to the B1.

On The Trail

Installing a Reverb may seem like a daunting task to those not familiar with the bleed process. In reality, it’s not much more difficult than cutting a cable and adjusting the action of a cable-activated post, although it does of course require a specific bleed kit. Note that SRAM’s “Bleeding Edge” connector is easy to work with and will help avoid oil spillage during the procedure.

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On the trail, we immediately noticed how much faster the post moves and how much easier it is to compress compared to the previous generations. We’ve always been big fans of this 1X shifter-style remote option, and when paired with the new post it really shines even brighter. The ergonomics are perfect, the action of the lever is incredibly precise and as a result, it’s super easy to modulate the movements of the post to help find the perfect position. Press the lever all the way, and the post drops or shoots up with authority (note that you can also adjust the max return speed with a bolt on the lever body). There is a solid “thunk” at the top of the travel to let you know that your post is fully extended and ready to be sat on.

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Durability

The C1 presents very little side-to-side play out of the box, and it has remained completely free of any squish after a good few months on the trail. The post feels very solid in action, things like picking up your bike by the saddle or compressing the post whilst seated do not phase the C1 in the slightest. The post head is also very confidence-inspiring, and has remained free of any annoying squeaks so far. All in all, we’ve been very impressed with the new post, and we feel like RockShox has finally managed to deliver on the promise of their design. For what is probably still the world’s most prevalent post at the OEM level, this should be good news for many buyers who may have been put off by the spotty service records of the previous generations of this design.

Summary

To conclude, at $399 USD including the 1X shifter-style remote lever, should you pull the trigger on the new Reverb? We think it offers some of the best ergonomics around, and it is absolutely a pleasure to use it on the trail. With improved speed, reliability and the introduction of the external Vent Valve, the new Reverb is back, and ready to challenge the best. We’re going to keep using the post to make sure it can really stand the test of time, but at this point we’re certainly ready to endorse it.

Shop the Reverb at Competitive Cyclist.


3rd Place: BikeYoke Divine

In 2016, when BikeYoke released their first dropper post – the Revive, they shot straight to the top of the heap thanks to a particularly innovative feature that lets riders easily bleed the internals using an external valve, a process that takes no more than 10 seconds to complete with a simple allen key. Additionally, the action of the Revive is incredibly smooth, and the many different sizes and lengths available and the super short overall stack height mean that there is a Revive to fit any bike and rider. In fact, the Revive is so good that it has been occupying the top spot in our big Dropper Post Face Off ever since we first published it in 2017. With such success, why would BikeYoke feel the need to try something new? First and foremost, it’s probably because BikeYoke is a small, engineering-driven company that likes new challenges. They also felt that they could make a slightly cheaper and simpler post by coming up with a new internal system that does away with the need for the external bleed valve. Meet the all-new Divine.

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BikeYoke Divine 185 Highlights

  • Auto-Reset Function: every full drop automatically bleeds the hydraulic circuit for sag-free lock-out
  • Adjustable maximum travel: the maximum extension can be reduced in 5mm increments, using the included clip-on extension/travel spacer
  • Rotatable actuator: in order to get maximum insertion into the frame, the actuator can be rotated by hand to avoid interference with one-sided bearings or dents inside the frame´s seat tube.
  • Fully user-serviceable: all spare parts are available for end-consumers
  • Weight: 630 grams (31.6/185, including cable and remote)
  • MSRP: 397 EUR (including standard remote)

Initial Impressions

Nobody likes a saggy dropper, especially not if it’s going to be complicated to fix. Time spent messing about with stuff that doesn’t work is less time spent on the bike out riding, which explains the high levels of rage often expressed online when discussing various dropper posts on the market. BikeYoke posts feature an open bath design, which in the case of the Revive can be bled externally using the aforementioned reset valve. This design means that there is no need for an internal floating piston, and it also means you can run lower internal oil pressure. This removes a number of seals from the equation and it also does away with the number one cause of dropper post failure – air getting into the oil side of the piston. As a side effect, this design is also incredibly smooth in action, something we’ve always loved about the original Revive. The new Divine goes about things in a slightly different way. It is still an open bath design, but instead of an external reset function, it has an internal auto-reset that activates every time you drop your seat. For this to work, the Divine requires slightly bigger seals and higher internal pressure compared to the Revive. 

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The Divine also offers something that the Revive does not: adjustable travel. You can reduce the travel of each Divine dropper by up to 20mm in 5mm increments, by installing one or more spacers onto the main piston shaft. The process is simple and does not require any proprietary tools. This means that if for example a 160mm drop is too much for you and your frame to handle, you can reduce it down to 150 or 140 mms, instead of buying the shorter 125 mm version. This way you get the benefit of the maximum amount of drop your set-up will allow. The short overall stack height of the post ensures that it has a higher chance of fitting completely into the seat tube as well. For example, the Divine 185 is significantly shorter than a 175 Fox Transfer V1, while at the same travel the OneUp is about on par with the Divine.

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Installing the Divine is straightforward. After routing the cable through your frame, you’ll want to make sure you have exactly the right amount of cable showing at the post end. There is a helpful guide etched onto the base of the post to help with this part. After that, you simply need to attach the small cable clamp onto the cable, slip it into the activator, then adjust any slack with the barrel adjuster on the remote. The remote can be installed with a separate collar of its own, or it can be attached directly to a Shimano or SRAM brake lever with the correct adapter (available to order together with the post).

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On The Trail

On the trail, the Divine is a pleasure to use. It may be a tiny bit less smooth than a Revive, but it still compares favorably with pretty much any other post out there. The position and the action of the BikeYoke lever are perfect, and it’s super easy to modulate the return speed of the post. The maximum return speed of the post is definitely quick enough to deal with any situation on the trail, and a fairly loud thunk lets you know that the post has reached the end of its travel – on either side. We’ve had the Divine out on the trails for about 6 months now, and in that time it has done nothing but go up and down on command – as needed, and when needed. No issues, no sag, come rain or shine this post simply keeps doing its job.

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Durability

Given our excellent experience with the Revive, and BikeYoke's general level of quality and attention to detail, we fully expect to get great long-term performance out of the new Divine post. The fact that the post resets itself automatically each time you drop it will also help ensure that it won't develop any sag, which will keep service intervals very long. Should things take a turn for the worse, BikeYoke makes all the spares needed for rebuilding the post available, and they have a growing network of service centers around the world ready to help you out if need be.

Summary

So who is the new Divine for? Well, if you are a fan of a smooth dropper that does its job without fuss, with an auto-reset feature to ensure it won’t go saggy on you, you owe it to yourself to take a good look at this one. The fact that it comes in a bunch of different sizes and lengths, and that travel can be fine-tuned to match you and your bike perfectly should make the decision even easier. Yes, even though the Divine is 40 EUR cheaper than a Revive, it’s still not a cheap post – but in our opinion, it’s worth every penny and cent.

Shop the Divine at Competitive Cyclist.


4th Place: OneUp Dropper V2

We know OneUp Components as a company that likes to push innovation as much as they can, except perhaps when it comes to product names. It should therefore come as no surprise that their dropper post is simply called the “Dropper Post”, but looking beyond the very simplistic name this post has plenty of aces up its sleeve. Short overall stack height, great reliability and a clever travel adjust system - not to mention that they make one of the longest posts in the world with the 210mm travel option. There's a lot to like about this one.

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OneUp Components Dropper v2 Highlights

  • Lengths: 120mm, 150mm, 180mm, 210mm
  • 10mm travel adjust shims
  • Cable actuation
  • User replaceable cartridge ($60 USD)
  • Diameter: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, or 34.9mm
  • Weight: 698 grams (210mm,31.6mm, including remote and cable, verified)
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • MSRP: $258 USD including remote

Initial Impressions

What’s rad about OneUp’s droppers? First of all, they’ve proven themselves to be reliable, which is easily the biggest bone of contention many riders have with this particular piece of equipment. Dodgy droppers, no thanks! We’ve collectively paid our dues there. Now OneUp’s droppers also come in a huge variety of different sizes and lengths, and because they offer among the lowest stack height and total post length of any dropper out there, chances are you can squeeze more dropper travel out of a OneUp dropper than anything else. The 210 mm version is barely any longer than a FOX Transfer V1 at 175 mm:

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Not only does OneUp make the v2 dropper in a bunch of sizes – you can also easily adjust the travel of your dropper in 10mm increments. The v1 version used a plastic shim that could be cut to a specific length to achieve this, on the v2 OneUp has moved to a system based on a set of small little brass spacers instead. The 210mm version shown here can be set to 200 or 190 by just unscrewing the collar and sliding in a couple of the aforementioned spacers. As for the remote, it comes with a separate clamp, or it can be attached directly to your brake levers if you run SRAM or Shimano.

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On The Trail

On the trail, the action of the OneUp dropper is smooth, quick, and fairly precise. A distinct clunk lets you know your post has reached full extension, but it doesn’t shoot up like a rocket either. The remote is fairly easy to modulate, squeeze it to less than full travel and you can easily fine tune your saddle height. Our only gripe with the remote is that it is positioned a little bit awkwardly. It’s meant to mimic the placement of the smaller shifter lever (from back in the days when we all had front derailleurs, you’ve probably seen one in a museum somewhere). It sits in the right place which is all well and good, until you press it. It then ends up traveling a bit too much forward, leaving you to stretch your thumb to get all of it.

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Other than that, thanks to the short seat tube of modern bikes (and this tester's long legs), we were able to test the full 210 mm with room to spare. This tester did actually find it a bit too much, probably preferring around 180-190, but that’s what’s so rad about this one – you can shim your way to your own preferred number.

Durability

We've been running several versions of OneUp's dropper for a couple of years now (both V1 and V2). The post presents almost no play whatsoever (a tiny amount of side to side play, nothing more than what was there out of the box). The remote itself is equally free of rattle and solid in use. We have noted that the post will sag a minute amount after an extended climb, only detectable by dismounting the bike and depressing the lever – a tiny little “pop” from the post will then indicate that it re-extended to full travel. This is not really visible to the naked eye, and it has not gotten worse over the duration of our testing. The post is backed by a two-year warranty which includes the cartridge, and OneUp will ship you one wherever you are in the world if you need one. Outside of warranty, a replacement cartridge is only $60 USD, not an astronomical sum by any means.

Summary

The dropper post market is certainly heating up, with more and more viable options emerging as companies begin to lay to rest the longevity demons that plagued the pioneers and the trailblazers in this product segment. With lower stack heights and a clever shim system that lets you adjust your max travel range, OneUp’s dropper has moved right in to shake things up in the pecking order. The post is smooth and reliable in action, and while the remote could be perfected the overall package is still pretty hard to beat, especially when you factor in the particularly competitive price point.

Shop the OneUp Dropper Post at Jenson USA.


5th Place: FOX Transfer Factory V2

FOX’s very first dropper post, the DOSS, was never a big hit despite its well-deserved reputation for being nearly indestructible. We had one running for a few years straight with absolutely zero maintenance back in the day, and it never failed to the day it was replaced (when it found a new home and carried right on working just fine, thank you very much). The chief culprits behind the lack of commercial success were the very large and unwieldy lever and the decidedly crude ergonomics. When designing the Transfer, FOX attempted to recreate that same reliability in a slicker, sleeker and altogether more modern product. And they delivered - the Transfer is one of the most reliable posts on the market today. The recently released V2 takes that bombproof reliability and addresses a few other issues with the V1, notably the imposing overall length and the somewhat stiff lever action. The result is an excellent post - it may have slipped a couple of spots down in the rankings here, but that's really down to its slightly portly weight and a relative lack of size options. In terms of pure performance, it's hard to beat.

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FOX Transfer V2 Highlights

  • NEW lightweight under-bar 1X lever design – or existing 2X lever
  • Patent-pending clamp design dramatically reduces stack height
  • Proven Transfer internals with even easier serviceability than 2020 model
  • Internal routing only
  • 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters
  • 100, 125, 150, and 175mm drop options
  • Reduced overall length and insertion depth
  • 25g lighter than 2020 Transfer
  • 1x lever is Matchmaker and I-SPEC EV compatible
  • Available in Kashima and Black Anodized
  • MSRP $299 - $349 USD
  • Levers sold separately for $65 USD

Initial Impressions

There’s no denying that the Transfer is a good looking post, and the Kashima coating certainly helps it stand out in a sea of black (opt for the Performance series if stealth is the name of your game). The Transfer is a cable-actuated post with hydraulic internals, featuring FOX’s “Spool Valve” which is meant to help provide more control and better modulation throughout the post’s travel. All the hydraulics are housed in the upper portion of the post instead of in a cartridge, which FOX claims allowed them to increase the diameter of the hydraulic circuit and run lower internal pressures. The air pressure is set from the factory. New for V2 is the ability to easily remove the collar to perform a basic service without having to send the post in to a service center.

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For the V2, FOX reduced the overall length of the post by between 30-50 mms (that's pretty huge for a dropper post). This translates to more riders being able to run a longer post, which is generally a good thing. Most of the height reduction happened in the head, which features a whole new mechanism that sits much lower on top of the stanchion.

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The head also sits about 2-3 mms further back compared to the V1, something to take into account if you are currently running your saddle as far forward as it will go in the rails. The difference is not big, but it's there (it's not a set-back post, just the shape and position of the cradle which ends up protruding further out back than the V1).

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There are two optional levers for the Transfer, a small, thumb-operated number or the all-new and redesigned shifter-style version that mounts under the handlebar where your front derailleur shifter used to live, before being summarily sacrificed on the altar of the 1x transmission. The nipple end of the cable goes on the post side, with a bolt and washer clamping it down on the lever side. A neat little slot in the lever gives the cable end somewhere to hide after you lop its head off, which complements the generally sleek and light appearance of the new lever nicely.

On The Trail

Installing the Transfer is devoid of drama. A nice touch is the use of a slightly over-sized cable end bushing on the post side, which means it gets clamped by the actuator mechanism and can’t really fall out while you’re installing the post in the frame. The hardware is of good quality, especially when it comes to the new post head – these bolts are amazingly smooth and solid to wrench on, and their captive design means there are no little bits that can fall off or generally make life miserable as your work away under the seat. The large head and the generous dimensions of the cradle also convey a general sense of strength and quality.

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On the trail, the overwhelming first impression of the new Transfer is just how smooth it is to operate. The lever action of the V2 feels about 50% lighter to the touch compared to the V1, and the modulation is right up there with the very best. With just a gentle squeeze, the post starts to creep upwards, press the lever all the way and it shoots right up. The action is hydraulically controlled and you can really feel the know-how of a suspension expert behind the design. The second standout aspect is how solid the post feels. Everything about its movements is deliberate, there’s a loud mechanical clunk both at the top and the bottom of the stroke, which may seems off-putting initially, but is actually a blessing on the trail. If there is one thing we dislike, it’s wondering if our post is fully up or down. No such doubts with the Transfer. Lift the bike by the seat? Check. Press the lever to drop your seat while seated? Check. Silent and creak-free? Check!

Durability

The Transfer V2 presents a tiny bit of side-to-wide play out of the box, but absolutely no sponginess was detected during initial testing. We still own the very first Transfer we ever tested, and it was only after 2.5 years of use on several bikes that it started to sag a little bit under the rider's weight. A rebuild has it back to its former glory. In addition to our own own great experiences with this post, the Transfer seems to have earned a reputation as one of the most reliable offerings out there.

Summary

FOX took the already excellent Transfer and made it better with the V2. This post is a pleasure to use, its positive and solid action quickly becoming second nature on the trail. Easy to modulate, the Transfer never leaves you guessing as to what it’s doing or where you might be in the travel. Add in a great reliability track record, decidedly bling looks, and you’re looking at one serious contender.

Shop the Transfer at Jenson USA.


The Contenders

We chose the dropper posts for this test fairly carefully. We went with mostly high-end products, but we still ended up with a reasonably large spread in price points. We stopped short of considering the super cheap, sub $150 dollar “generic” offerings out there, but even so we ended up with 18 droppers to test. Although the contenders listed below failed to make the top-five in this Face Off, they still put in good performances and should be considered as quality products that are more than deserving of your consideration as well.

PNW Rainier Gen 3

The 3rd generation of the PNW Rainier post showed up looking fairly similar to its predecessor, with just some minor graphics updates pointing to something new. Closer inspection revealed some interesting changes however: the overall length of the post has been slightly shortened, and there is now a tool-free travel adjust system that allows you to reduce the max travel of the post by up to 30mm, in 5 mm increments. This travel adjust system is among the easiest we’ve seen to date. Just compress the post slightly, the unscrew the collar, lift up the travel adjust spacer and align it with the number corresponding to the amount of travel reduction you need, then press it back down and re-attach the collar. Boom, you’re done! Out on the trail, the Rainier v3 feels very similar in action to the v2. It requires a medium amount of force to activate at the lever, not as light as the lightest posts out there but also not very heavy. The movements of the post are smooth and easy to control, and the ergonomics of the excellent Loam lever are spot on. At $239 USD for the post and lever, the Rainier v3 comes in at $20 less than the excellent OneUp v2, and while it may be ever so slightly less sophisticated in action, it still offers an impressive amount of features and great reliability.

Shop the PNW Rainier Gen 3 at Jenson USA.

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Race Face Turbine R

When Race Face first got into the dropper post game, they licensed the technology for the original Turbine dropper from 9point8, a Canadian company specializing in this component in particular. Whilst the original version of that dropper, the 9point8 Fall Line scored very highly in this test, the licensed version manufactured by Race Face ultimately failed to live up to expectations. We rated it highly at first, but we had to back pedal later in the face of a spate of reliability issues. Race Face knew it had to do something different to remain relevant in the dropper market, and since the company is now is owned by FOX, the solution must have seemed pretty obvious: rebadge the outstanding FOX Transfer post. The result is called the Turbine R, and it performs just as well as the FOX Transfer V1. To boot, Race Face came up with a lever that was much better than the original FOX Transfer lever, and even though FOX has now developed a whole new lever for the V2, the Race Face version remains a favorite of ours.

Shop the Race Face Turbine R at Competitive Cyclist.

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9point8 Fall Line

9point8 wanted the same thing we all want from our dropper posts, which is slip-free performance in any conditions. To achieve this, they looked past the ubiquitous hydraulic locking cartridge design and came up with a mechanical brake that is said to be less sensitive to variations in temperatures and of course not at risk of hydraulic air ingestion, possibly the most common cause of dropper post failure today. It also locks equally effectively in either direction, meaning you are free to pick up your bike by the seat at any time, regardless of what position it happens to be in and without running the risk of actually causing the post to fail. The design of the mechanical brake is licensed to Race Face and Easton and used in their Turbine and Haven dropper posts, respectively. As for 9point8 themselves, they manufacture most parts in their factory in Canada, where the posts are also assembled and tested - this proved crucial as the company enjoys a far better reliability track record than those who licensed the technology and produced it elsewhere. Quick connect cable attachment, independent adjustment of seat angle and fore/aft position which also allows air valve access without modifying the angle of your seat, a design that is convertible between a straight and an offset head, optional clamps for oval seat rails, and a massive range of travel options from just 75 to a full 200mm all add up to one impressive product.

Shop the 9point8 Fall Line at 9point8.

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RockShox Reverb "B1"

The 2016 redesign of the Reverb left it far more reliable and consistent than the original version, while retaining all the features that made it great in the first place - but that reliability does demand fairly consistent servicing, something that still requires sending the post in to a qualified shop or service center (the all-new Reverb "C1" goes about things in a different way, which explains how that post scored the 2nd place in this test). The love-or-hate original Reverb "plunger" remote is still one of the most versatile solutions out there when it comes to finding a place for your dropper lever on a crowded handlebar, but the 2016 addition of a new 1x specific, shifter-style lever took the Reverb’s game to a new level.

Shop the RockShox Reverb "B1" at Competitive Cyclist.

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KS LEV Ci

KS is another one of the dropper OGs, their LEV and LEV Integra posts earning a good reputation since the early days thanks to their smooth dropping action and good lever ergonomics (especially with a “South Paw” shifter-style remote). To tackle one of the chief complaints about dropper posts, the fact that they weigh a fair bit more than a traditional seat post, KS turned to carbon when putting together the LEV Ci. Combined with a carbon remote and the company’s super-light “Recourse” shifter cable, KS were able to shave nearly 200 grams off the post compared to many of its competitors. Of course, this accomplishment comes with a premium price tag, but if you want to drop a serious amount of weight this is currently your best bet by far.

Shop the KS LEV Ci at Jenson USA.

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PNW Bachelor

Boasting a competitive weight, a fair price and excellent reliability, PNW's Bachelor holds its own in the ring against the competition. Our time with the Bachelor post has been trouble free throughout the months of abuse we have put it through, while it drops the ball at little bit when it comes to the travel options and the execution of the shifter-style remote. With that said, the best parts on any bike are the ones you can install and forget about because they just work – the PNW Bachelor post is on that short list of parts.

Shop the Bachelor at Jenson USA.

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Crankbrothers Highline

While Crankbrothers used up more than their fair share of goodwill with multiple failed products among their first dropper post designs, this should not prevent us from giving credit where credit is due. Launched in 2017, the Highline is smooth in action and easy to use, with a robust design that was able to address the durability concerns. Since it is a very long post overall, you’ll need to check that it fits your particular frame and body measurements, but if you tick that box you’ll find a lot to like about this post. We certainly did. Note that Crankbrothers recently released the all-new Highline 3 and 7 posts, which we have not yet been able to test. Those posts are shorter in overall length and also offer a wider range of travel and size options.

Shop the Crankbrothers Highline at Worldwide Cyclery.

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X-Fusion Manic

There’s no shortage of good dropper posts out there, but most of those do tend to come in at a significantly higher price point than what X-Fusion has managed to hit with the Manic. Yes, it is a bit on the long and heavy side of things, but it makes up for it with silky smooth actuation and solid performance on the trail. Our time on the post revealed no reliability issues, but it's still good to know that a replacement cartridge runs $25 if anything happens to it outside of the 2-year warranty window. If you are looking for a quality option that is easy to maintain at home, at a price that defies most competition, look no further. If you can live with the length and the weight, it puts up a great case for best budget post too.

Shop the Manic at Jenson USA.

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e*thirteen TRS+ Dropper

Reliable, easy to service, and affordable, that’s how e*thirteen described their TRS+ dropper post. With a 100% mechanical design and a list price of just $279 USD at launch, it seemed ready to take on the world when it first appeared. Our long-term experience has pointed to some durability flaws however, which obviously is not something today's riders will be ready to accept. That's unfortunate, because the idea was good and the post is a pleasure to use when it's new (note that e*thirteen has just released a completely new dropper that we have not yet been able to test).

Shop the e*thirteen TRS+ at Competitive Cyclist.

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Bontrager Drop Line

Bontrager produced a fairly “generic” post with the Drop Line, but they pulled it off remarkably well. The remote is a pleasure to use, and the action of the post is smooth and well controlled. The return speed is a tad on the slow side, and we found the lack of a distinct top out sound to leave us guessing sometimes, but overall, the Drop Line does its job and does it well. Reliability is not absolutely top-notch however, this post has a tendency to ingest a bit of grime and can quickly end up feeling a bit rough when it does. It is one of the cheapest options out there, but note that it only comes in the 31.6mm flavor – not a surprise from Trek’s house brand since this size is used on all their bikes. Judging it as a mass market, general public offering, we knocked its score a bit on this aspect alone.

Shop the Bontrager Drop Line at Trek.

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Thomson Covert

Thomson was always the gold standard in regular seat posts, so it's no wonder they took their sweet time coming up with a dropper worthy of their name. With nothing but top-quality components and a sturdy construction, Thomson went all in at the reliability table. All this goodness comes at a price though, in this case both weight and dollars. Although this ultra-smooth, sophisticated post is a pure pleasure to use, the lack of a shifter-style lever option and a hefty price tag made it impossible for the Covert the challenge for the top spot here. Consider it if you’re after an exclusive product with long service intervals.

Shop the Covert at Competitive Cyclist.

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Race Face Turbine

Race Face took their time joining the dropper post party, and from the functionality point of view they were on the right track. The first Turbine addressed a few common complaints with existing dropper posts (cold weather operation is one), and the light and intuitive remote is a pleasure to use on the trail – among the very best on test here. The innovative locking mechanism (licensed from 9point8, the company that placed 8th in this test) is designed to be all-weather reliable, and rock solid to boot. Unfortunately, the reliability of the Turbine proved to be its Achilles heel as Race Face never managed to pull of the actual production of the licensed technology to the same high quality standards as those achieved by 9point8. The post is also finicky to set up, and the high price meant that these shortcomings were even more harshly judged.

Shop the Turbine at Jenson USA.

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Giant Contact SL Switch

Giant’s own-brand dropper post shares a lot of its tech with the Bontrager post also tested here. It delivers a functional option at a good price, but it is only available in the 30.9mm size (which is what Giant uses on all their bikes today). The thumb lever feels cheap, but is actually one of the best on the trail, a just-right combination of travel, shape, and the pressure needed to activate the post. The action of the post itself is a bit on the clunky side however, and it did not seem to take too kindly to getting down and dirty on the trail, developing quite a bit of roughness as the test went on. On the positive side, this post is easily convertible between external and internal routing out of the box, a plus if you move posts between different frames for example.

Shop the Contact SL Switch at Giant.

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Want to browse more seatposts? Check our Product Guide!


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 47 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Weight: 190-pounds (87kg)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

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