Magura Vyron eLECT Dropper Seatpost

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Magura Vyron eLect
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First Ride: Magura Vyron eLECT Dropper Seatpost

Feature by AJ Barlas // Photos by Colin Meagher, AJ Barlas and Fred Robinson

The mountain bike world has reached a point where every brand is clamoring to produce a solid, reliable dropper post for today's increasingly popular trail riding segment. But with the market beginning to see a lot of great options, how can a brand differentiate themselves? Wireless? Electric? Sure! It’s certainly unique, and the idea of not having to feed yet another cable through the frame makes it pretty appealing.

Magura are the first to offer a mass produced, electronically actuated, wirelessly activated, infinitely adjustable dropper with their new Vyron post, but how does it stack up to what’s already on the market? We recently had the opportunity to take it for a few rides in Sedona, Arizona.

Vyron eLECT

Feature by AJ Barlas // Photos by Colin Meagher, AJ Barlas and Fred Robinson

The mountain bike world has reached a point where every brand is clamoring to produce a solid, reliable dropper post for today's increasingly popular trail riding segment. But with the market beginning to see a lot of great options, how can a brand differentiate themselves? Wireless? Electric? Sure! It’s certainly unique, and the idea of not having to feed yet another cable through the frame makes it pretty appealing.

Magura are the first to offer a mass produced, electronically actuated, wirelessly activated, infinitely adjustable dropper with their new Vyron post, but how does it stack up to what’s already on the market? We recently had the opportunity to take it for a few rides in Sedona, Arizona.

Vyron eLECT Seatpost Highlights

  • 150mm travel
  • Magura eLECT remote with ANT+ wireless technology and CR-2032 battery
  • Rechargeable NiMH battery in post with micro-USB charging port
  • Single three hour charge lasts up to 400 actuations (approximately two months)
  • 30.9 and 31.6mm diameter options
  • Zero-offset, two-bolt seat clamp
  • 446mm post length
  • Minimum installation height (top of seat tube to saddle rails) of 57-207mm
  • Hydraulic internals with air spring speed adjust (189-218psi)
  • Weight: 595 grams including remote (claimed)
  • MSRP: $499 US

Initial Impressions and Installation

The post is a sharp bit of engineering, with a very professional look that screams quality. Installation and setup is very easy thanks the lack of cables, requiring only a short configuration process to pair the remote to the post. This is fairly straightforward, but like any electronic device it can be a little finicky, especially if there are a lot of other electronics around. Our bike fell victim to this initially, but once removed from the congestion it was smooth sailing.

The post uses Magura's eLECT technology, which is also found in their line of suspension components. This means the same bar-mounted remote can be used to adjust the fork, shock, and seatpost (each with one button).

Instead of a bolt, the remote is mounted to the handlebar with a thick rubber band which makes installation and adjustment faster, though the lever is less secure. When the center remote button is pressed, it sends a wireless signal via ANT+ to the post, which then activates a hydraulic needle valve inside the post and allows it to move freely. There's no need to hold the button down while you adjust the seat position. Saddle height can be set to anywhere within the post's 150mm of travel, which is a great benefit in our eyes, and the post moves through the travel very smoothly. It has hydraulic internals with an air assist that can be tweaked to adjust the post's return speed.

Considering the ease of installation, owners should be aware that the post is equally easy to remove, which may make it a target for theft. It could also allow you to quickly transfer the post to another bike in your stable.

On The Trail

We spent our time aboard Magura's Vyron post on the ever changing, physical trails of Sedona. Constant and quick terrain changes from descending to climbing and back again require an adjustable post that responds quickly in order to elevate the fun factor, especially for those unfamiliar with the trails.

We found the post performs very smoothly and quietly when activated on the trail, so much so that we often didn't know it was at full extension without allowing the seat to tap our inner thigh. It lacks a distinct "thunk" noise when it reaches the top of its travel, which some will love and others will miss.

The 150mm of adjustment was welcomed while descending, providing plenty of room to move around as Sedona's relentless square edges came at our bike like pissed off mojave green rattlesnakes. The ability to place the seat at any height was also a nice touch, allowing riders to leave it where they prefer for given sections of trail.

Activation is where the post's silence ends, however. We found that with the seat fully extended or lowered the post had a tendency to "thud" as the bike moved over choppy terrain. We’re not using the term "rattle" because it doesn’t sound like a shopping cart coming down the trail, nor were we able to feel it through the bike like others on the market. It does make some sounds, however, although they are muffled. Today's quiet bikes can make any sound other than tires ripping through dirt an annoyance, especially when they come from a brand new post.

While the post is smooth and quiet while being adjusted, getting it to do so is somewhat unintuitive. How can a dropper post be unintuitive? Push the button and the seat can go up or down, right? Because the remote also contains buttons for suspension adjustments (whether you're running Magura suspension or not), we often found ourselves fumbling to hit the correct button, and usually in a time of desperate need. Given enough saddle time we'd no doubt get used to it, though there really isn't enough differentiation between the buttons when you just want to slap it and keep going. There's also no tactile or audio feedback when the button is pressed. As a result, we found ourselves rallying through rock gardens with the seat up, or just leaving it down on short, steep uphill bursts. Magura assures us they are working on amending this issue, with the possibility of a new remote containing only the post trigger to be released later this year.

While the prior points for potential improvement could be overlooked by some riders, there is a fairly substantial delay between the moment you press the button and when the post can be raised or lowered. It’s said to be one second (though it can feel like much longer), and while it may not sound like much, that time can be the difference between making a section or going down with the ship in a blaze of high-posting glory. Once the post is down, you also have to wait for the hydraulic valve to close or risk the post re-extending to full height. This proves to be a real problem on trails that change quickly, and may be a deal-breaker for an otherwise good product.

The delay is a result of the time it takes for the electronics to communicate and the hydraulic clamping mechanism to actuate within the post. During the development process Magura made a version that worked more quickly thanks to the use of magnets, but the force required to release the magnets resulted in unacceptable battery life.

As it sits currently, the seatpost battery will last an impressive 400 cycles before it needs to be recharged for three hours via the micro-USB charge socket, which equates to roughly two months of use by an average trail rider according to Magura. The post enters an energy-efficient mode when the bike is not in use, and wakes up when an accelerometer feels movement. Just before the battery dies the post will switch to a manual adjustment mode, requiring the rider to activate a small switch under the seat for the final few height adjustments. The battery level can be checked by referencing an LED under the white port cover. The remote relies on a small, non-rechargeable but readily available battery.

What's The Bottom Line?

The concept of an electronic, wirelessly activated dropper post is a great idea for those that seek easy setup and a clutter-free cockpit. Unfortunately Magura's Vyron eLECT dropper has a few shortcomings that may make it a tough sell, including a bulky remote lever and substantial actuation delay.

Nevertheless, the post may be just fine for the casual mountain biker who consistently rides trails they know well. If that sounds like you, then rest assured you're getting something that will make you very happy. If you're someone that feels instantaneous action is a necessity, whether for racing, an aggressive riding style, safety, or even lack of patience, then the current version of the Magura Vyron likely isn't the right post for you. If Magura are able to rectify these problems they'd be hitting a homer out of the park, because the concept is solid and the finish is superb.

Visit www.magura.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas - Age: 35 // Years Riding MTB: 15+ // Height: 6'3" (1.91m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)

"Smooth and fluid." Hailing from Squamish, BC, AJ's preferred terrain is chunky, twisty trail with natural features. He's picky with equipment and has built a strong understanding of what works well and why by riding a large number of different parts and bikes. Observant, mechanically inclined, and always looking to learn more through new experiences and products.

Specifications

Product Magura Vyron eLECT Dropper Seatpost
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Seatpost Type Dropper
Interface Railed
Remote Adjustable Remote Operation: ANT+ Wireless Radio Transmission from the Handlebar via an eLECT Remote, Either Just for the Dropper Seatpost or as a Combined Remote for Seatpost, Forks and/or Shock.
Diameter 30.9 and 31.6mm
Travel 150mm (Stepless)
Length Overall Length: 446mm
Tilt 0mm Offset, 2-Bolt Adjustment
Materials Aluminum
Colors Black with Laser Markings
Weight 1 lb 5 oz (595 g)
Miscellaneous Adjustment via Air Spring, Hydraulic Clamping via Magura Royal Blood
Remote Power Supply: CR-2032 Button Battery.
Seatpost Power Supply: NiMH Rechargeable Battery with Micro-USB Charge Socket. Charge Time Approximately 3 Hours. A Full Charge Is Sufficient for Around 400 Actuations of the Dropper, or Around Two Months.
Installation Height (Top of Seat Tube to Saddle Rails): 57-207 mm
Price $460
More Info

Magura Website

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