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e*thirteen Vario Seatpost

Average User Rating: (Spectacular) Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Tested: e*thirteen Vario Dropper Post

Simplified construction based on a proven cartridge and adjustable travel for e*thirteen's new dropper post.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: e*thirteen Vario Dropper Post

E*thirteen jumped into the dropper post game a few years ago with a fully mechanical offering that was meant to offer great reliability and simple service procedures. Sadly, that post had a less-than-stellar service record and it was prone to developing issues both with the internals as well as the post head. To put all those issues in the rear-view mirror, e*thirteen went back to the drawing board and came up with an entirely new product – the Vario. We covered the Vario in a recent edition of Gear Show, jump ahead to 9:03 in the video below to watch the presentation and see the post in action, or keep reading this article if you prefer to learn more that way.

e*thirteen Vario Highlights

  • Internal cable routing
  • Infinite travel gas spring
  • 3D forged stanchion with integrated head
  • Extra 12mm of fore/aft saddle adjustment
  • 28° seat angle adjustment
  • Tool free travel adjustments in 5mm +/-
  • Cable actuated
  • Color: Dual matte black/polished finishing
  • Sizes: 30.9mm / 31.6mm
  • Travel options: 120-150mm / 150-180mm
  • Total overall adjustments can be made in +/- 5mm increments with a max total of 30mm
  • Weight: 627 grams (180/31.6, post only, verified)
  • Vario 1x Lever: 73 grams (155 grams including cable)
  • MSRP: $209 (post only), $49.95 (Vario lever)

Based around a sealed gas cartridge (made by Wintek, as found in many other posts on the market today), the Vario also features a one-piece stanchion and head, eliminating the possibility of any problems arising in this critical area. The Vario’s big party trick however is the possibility of adjusting the travel, reducing it in 5 mm increments up to 30 mms in total reduction. In other words, the 180 mm version can be adjust down to 150, while the 150 mm version can be adjust down to 120. Why is that a good thing? If you are just a bit too short to be able to run a particular post at full extension, adjusting the post travel by just a little bit is better than having to size down and not get the maximum amount of travel you could get away with. With the Vario, adjusting the travel is super easy to do, it takes all of two minutes and does not require any tools – just unthread the collar, line up the bushing with the desired travel, and pop it all back together again.

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E*thirteen also made improvements to the dropper lever. The previous generation was often praised for its ergonomics and feel, this new version ups the ante by providing more adjustability and simplified installation. There are 3 lateral positions available for the main lever body, and the starting position of the lever can be adjusted as well – which should make it easier for most riders to achieve a perfect set-up, regardless of what else they are running in their cockpit.

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In terms of physical dimensions, the Vario is a little bit longer than a RockShox Reverb (C1) with comparable travel and considerably longer than a OneUp V2 dropper at 185. However, the overall length has been reduced a bit compared to the previous post from e*thirteen. Here is a table with all the key dimensions (you can check out our big Dropper Post Face Off feature to see the dimensions of many other posts):

Seatpost Full Length
(mm)
Collar to
Rail (mm)
 Minimum
Insert (mm)
 Collar to
Base (mm)
 Max
Extension (mm)
 Weight (grams,
with hardware)
e*thirteen Vario 180 520 230 125 290 395 782
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
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On The Trail

The action of the Vario is best described as robust. The post itself is not exceptionally smooth, and we wish it was a bit faster both in terms of return speed and compression. The cartridge is a bit noisy as well, but that is not something that actually bothered us on the trail. The lever is excellent, it is very comfortable and intuitive in use. The thumb falls in the right place, and it is very easy to modulate the action of the post by varying the pressure on the lever. The extra grip tape applied on the lever paddle makes sure you’ll never slip.

Long Term Durability

The Vario has been super solid for the three months we’ve been testing it – there is no vertical play in the cartridge, and not much side-to-side wiggle either. The bolts and clamps have been quiet so far, and they have not required any tightening or other attention since we first installed the post. These are all good signs, as the main objective of the Vario is not to wow users with something new and incredibly innovative, but rather to prove that e*thirteen can deliver a robust post that will not require all too frequent servicing. So far, so good!

What’s The Bottom Line?

Fueled by fierce competition that has led to the emergence of many good products, the dropper post market will not allow you to get away with sub-standard products anymore. E*thirteen's initial offering left much to be desired when it came to reliability, and they have sought to right the ship with the all-new Vario. It's based around a gas cartridge that has proven itself reliable, and other aspects like the one-piece forged stanchion and head reduces the number of potential issues that may occur down the line. After three months of testing, the Vario has remained quiet and trouble-free, and it seems as though the ownership experience with the new post should be a lot smoother than the old one.

More information at: www.ethirteen.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 47 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

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.

Video and Photos by Johan Hjord // Additional Video Footage by Nils Hjord

e*thirteen Vario Post and Lever Close up and adjustment guide

Rating:
The Good:

Highly adpatable, replaceable and repairable parts.

The Bad:

So far there isnt a bad. Once I have it on the bike longer I will update.

Overall Review:

This post can adapt to almost any frame and rider height to ensure that you get the most available drop that you can use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecjsp3HjZEA&t=4s

Specifications

Product e*thirteen Vario Seatpost
Riding Type Cross Country, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Seatpost Type Dropper
Interface Railed
Remote Adjustable Yes; cable actuated; lever not included
Diameter 30.9mm or 31.6mm
Travel 120-150mm or 150-180mm
Length - 120-150mm travel version: 172-202mm
- 150-180mm travel version: 202-232mm
Tilt 28° seat angle adjustment
Materials
Colors Dual matte black/polished finishing
Weight
  • 1 lb 3.4 oz (550 g)
  • 1 lb 5.1 oz (597 g)
  • 1 lb 4.1 oz (571 g)
  • 1 lb 5.8 oz (618 g)
  • 0 lb 2.6 oz (73 g)
Miscellaneous - Infinite travel gas spring allows for infinite travel within desired limits
- 3D forged stanchion with integrated head
- Extra 12mm of fore/aft saddle adjustment
- Tool free travel adjustments in 5mm +/- (max total of 30mm)
Price $209
More Info

e*thirteen Launches All-New Dropper Post: The Vario (press release)

ethirteen.com

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