Jul 23, 2023

The Best Dropper Posts of 2023

With lots of options to choose from, finding the best dropper post for your mountain bike can be a challenge. We tested nine of the best models available in 2023 to help you find the right dropper post to suit your needs and meet your budget.

Dropper posts allow us to adjust our saddle height with the push of a lever, helping to enhance comfort, efficiency, and most importantly, control while out on the trail. Many people would argue that dropper posts are one of the most important innovations in mountain bike technology, essentially transforming the way we ride.

The ability to adjust the height of your saddle on the fly ensures that it is always positioned perfectly for the terrain you are riding, and dropper posts have become a staple on nearly all new mountain bikes and are working their way onto gravel bikes these days as well. With their meteoric rise to becoming a standard part, we now have more great options to choose from than ever before.

If you’re looking for a new dropper post for your bike, we can help! We rounded up nine of the top options available in 2023 to test and compare side by side. Over the course of several months, we put each model in this review through its paces while assessing important performance characteristics like the smoothness of travel, saddle clamps, installation, adjustability, weight, serviceability, and design. When possible, we also tested each post with its own brand’s remote to see how they work together.

Our top recommendations are listed below, followed by the best of the rest which are also great options to be considered. To see the specs of all the models we tested at a glance, check out our comparison chart. If you need help deciding what you need or how to find a dropper post that fits you and your bike, you can refer to our detailed buying advice and FAQ section.

The Wolf Tooth Resolve is a new dropper model from Wolf Tooth Components. It features a short overall length and low stack height, a self-bleeding cartridge, the option to buy with travel-reducing spacers installed, a sensible seat clamp design, and is one of the best models on the market. After addressing some initial stickiness, our test post performed reliably and smoothly with light action, quick return speed, and a good feel when making small changes to saddle height. This performance is enhanced when paired with the beautifully machined Wolf Tooth Remote Pro lever, which is one of the best available. At 514 grams for the post in the 160mm length, the Resolve is also one of the lightest posts around outside of the super-light XC posts (the Fox Transfer SL and BikeYoke Divine SL).

Installing the Resolve is a snap and easier to fit in most frames with the short overall length/stack height, and attaching the saddle is very easy with the bottom of the seat clamp attached to the post. This feature makes the two-bolt design much easier to use than the two-piece (top and bottom) standard. The visual seat angle reference is also always a welcome touch. It comes in three travel lengths, 125, 160, and 200mm, and it can be shimmed to reduce travel for fitment purposes. Wolf Tooth will pre-install shims for you in 5mm increments (or you can order them to do it yourself or bring it into your local shop) so you can maximize your drop on your specific frame. Additionally, the post is fully self-serviceable (with the right tools and good mechanic skills), and every part is available from Wolf Tooth. You can even swap the lower portion of the post for a different diameter if you ever change bikes and need a different size.

The first impression of the Resolve wasn’t perfect with some sticking near the top of the stroke. After troubleshooting seat clamp tension and air pressure, we reached out to Wolf Tooth for assistance. They suggested cleaning the stanchion with alcohol and lightly greasing it with suspension grease (we used Slick Honey). After this, the post returned to normal function and was smooth throughout its travel, always went to full extension, and continued working well for the duration of testing, even through weeks of super wet and muddy conditions. In terms of micro-adjustability and smoothness, the Wolf Tooth Resolve is solid – not as quite smooth, predictable, and precise as the Fox Transfer or BikeYoke Revive, but similar in feel to the Crankbrothers Highline 7. It does require a bit more compression force than some, but nothing excessive and it may actually contribute to the ability to make small, precise adjustments, especially while climbing. The self-bleeding feature also means that it should never develop sag over time.

The Remote Pro lever is a standout on its own, with three horizontal mounting options, the ability to adjust the start angle, and short throw/light action, making it easy to find the perfect ergonomics. The medium size paddle is easy to find, there are no sharp edges, and the machined texture provides traction with or without gloves in all weather conditions.

The Wolf Tooth Resolve is a great post that performs solidly and sports an exceptionally smart design, low stack height/overall lengths, an easy-to-use clamp design, and self bleeding cartridge. If you are looking for a user-serviceable, reliable, relatively smooth, and easy-to-install option, the Resolve should be on your list. And riders using any post should certainly consider the Remote Pro when considering any lever upgrades.

You can find out more in our full review of the Wolf Tooth Resolve dropper post.

The OneUp V2 Dropper is our pick for the best value dropper post, and it provides the widest range of travel and fitting options. It comes in a whopping 6 travel lengths between 90 and 240mm and all 4 post diameters (including 27.2 for gravel and XC bikes). At $230, the reasonably-priced OneUp V2 is smooth and performed reliably throughout the test period.

The setup for the OneUp V2 is quite simple. The barrel end of the cable slots into the bottom of the post and gets clamped at the remote where it is easier to deal with. Maximizing travel with the V2 Dropper is made easy thanks to the relatively short overall lengths and the super low, 33mm (compressed) stack height. The travel is also adjustable in 10mm increments and can be reduced using small pins, and it is fairly easy to do yourself using the procedure on their website (thanks to OneUp for providing detailed instructions in written form). OneUp also gets bonus points for their excellent online dropper post length selector tool, which also lets you know which competitors’ posts will fit your frame. The OneUp V2 uses a slotted head design to make saddle installation easier and although it is an improvement over most standard two-bolt designs, the larger heads (in the slots) make it slightly less functional than the slotted design on the Fox Transfer.

The latest OneUp V3 Remote ($45) uses a textured rubber thumbpad (which is replaceable and has a variety of color options) with a great shape and profile. The lever clamps are sold separately for $14.50, and they offer options for I-Spec, MMX, and a 22.2mm bar clamp. The V3 lever sits very close to the bar and is easy to keep out of the way with three horizontal positioning options to get it right where you need it. While it does not allow rotational adjustment, the position, ergonomic shape, light action, shorter throw, spring-loaded return, and tidy cable management make it among the best levers tested.

On the trail, the OneUp V2 post and V3 Lever perform reliably and flawlessly. It is worth noting that the V2 post compresses very quickly making it slightly more difficult to make precise micro-adjustments to saddle height. While not a deal-breaker by any means, it does require some getting used to compared to the Fox and BikeYoke posts, as well as the similarly priced PNW Loam post. Either way, it gets out of the way quickly when you drop it, returning consistently with an adjustable air spring to dial in the return speed to your liking.

With its reliable performance, low cost, a huge range of sizes, and adjustable travel lengths, the OneUp V2 Dropper is a great value that should appeal to riders of all sizes and budgets. The short overall length and stack height along with adjustable travel means most riders should be able to maximize drop on their setups, making it a particularly attractive choice for riders on small frames to replace stock posts to get more travel. For those with gravel and XC bikes, they also make the OneUp V2 27.2 in 90 and 120mm lengths.

The Fox Transfer Factory impressed with its smooth travel, light action, and a great seat clamp design, as well as maintaining relatively low stack height and overall lengths. At $359, it is towards the higher end of the price spectrum, and it doesn’t have a ton of fancy features or adjustment options (or any really). It is also the second heaviest post in the test (only lighter than the RockShox Reverb AXS). But the performance on the trail is simply outstanding.

The Fox Transfer comes in 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters and 5 travel lengths, increasing by 25mm between 100 and 200mm. The Performance Elite version uses the same internals but lacks the Kashima coat and retails for $309. While it is hard to quantify if Kashima is actually lower friction, the gold bling certainly helps it stand out.

Setting up the Transfer is straightforward due to the standard design and lack of adjustment options – put the barrel on the end of the cable and onto the actuator, feed the cable through the housing, clamp in the lever, and go. Saddle installation is very easy as well thanks to the pivoting clamp bolts.

The Fox Transfer 1x Remote we used is similar to the post – no fancy bells or whistles, but a simple, ergonomic design with light action. The metal thumbpad is lightly textured for a bit of grip, and two mounting holes allow you to shift the lever laterally to find the right position. The low profile design is easy to keep out of the way, and the relatively short throw and light lever action make for easy post actuation.

On the trail, the Fox Transfer Factory performs reliably and extremely smoothly. It drops quickly when necessary but remains precise when making small adjustments with a consistent return speed. The Transfer does not have an adjustable air spring but the fixed spring rate seems pretty perfect anyway. While some people may prefer greater adjustability, we found it to work great while having one less thing to need to fiddle with.

We’ve seen complaints about reliability issues with the Fox Transfer post, but ours has worked perfectly at all temperatures and conditions throughout our test period. In fact, along with the Bike Yoke Revive 2.0, it’s one of the smoothest posts we tried. So smooth that it made many of the other posts we tested feel sub-par in comparison.

The Fox Transfer Factory isn’t the cheapest, lightest, most adjustable, or easily serviceable, but it still managed to seriously impress us with its overall performance. Given the range of sizes, relatively low stack height, and shorter overall lengths, most riders should be able to find a Transfer that works for them.

Exhibiting reliable, smooth performance and as the lowest cost post in our test, the PNW Loam Dropper is easily one of the best values around. With its solid, consistent feel, the PNW Loam post is a great option for most riders looking to upgrade from a stock post regardless of your budget.

The setup for the PNW Loam is about as standard as it comes. You install the saddle on the standard two-bolt design, attach the barrel nut, pull the cable through the housing (hopefully already in your frame), connect the cable to the lever, cut/crimp, and go ride. The overall length of the 150mm version is pretty good at 440mm (in line with the Wolftooth Resolve 160 (which has 10mm more travel) and Fox Transfer 150, though about 20mm longer than the OneUp V2 150) and the stack height is a reasonable 50mm (compressed) which is a bit taller than some other models we tested. Should you need to reduce the travel for ideal fitment, the Loam features a nifty tool-free travel reduction option. While most people won’t use this outside of the initial setup, it is a nice touch that will make fitting for folks right on the edge of the maximum travel length easy and straightforward.

The PNW Loam Lever Gen 2 utilizes a replaceable/customizable rubber thumb pad and a larger, rectangular shape. This is a quality remote lever, but we found the position of the lever is slightly less ergonomic than some due to the set angle, even with the three horizontal positioning options. The Loam has a reasonably light action (in line with the OneUp V3 lever but requiring more effort than the Fox Transfer) and the pad color can be customized along with the collar on the post if that’s something you’re into. Just be careful that your fingers are not covered in grease when you set the post up – especially if you have one of the lighter color pads like the bright orange we tested.

On the trail, the PNW Loam post fades into the background, exactly as a dropper post should. It works, and it works well. Return speed can be adjusted to dial it how you like, and the moderate compression force needed to lower makes micro-adjustments to saddle height straightforward.

At just over $200, the on-trail performance of the PNW Loam Dropper post hits well above the price point. The Loam should be shortlisted by any riders on a budget who are looking for an affordable and smooth dropper, and chances are you’ll be able to find an option that fits you and your bike. If you’re on the fence about upgrading your post, the PNW Loam is a top option that significantly outperforms its low price. For those with gravel bikes or older bikes with external cable routing, PNW also makes a variety of other models to suit your needs.

Check out our full review of the PNW Loam dropper for more info.

The Bike Yoke Revive 2.0 uses a unique, non-IFP (internal floating piston) design, as well as a Revive Valve to keep the post going up and down smoothly by allowing excess air to bleed into the shaft instead of into the oil. It also performs flawlessly and is one of the smoothest and most intuitive posts on the market, losing a tiny bit to the competition only due to its relatively long overall length and stack height. But, if it fits you and your frame (likely easy for anyone on a size medium or larger), the Revive provides top-of-the-line performance and an additional guarantee of reliability through the easy-to-use Revive Valve.

The Revive 2.0 comes in the standard 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters as well as the Revive Max 34.9 and Revive 27.2 (80mm travel only) to cover all possible sizes. It comes in 125, 160, 185, and 213mm drop lengths that should suit most riders’ needs, and while the stack height is quite reasonable at 42mm (compressed), the overall length is a bit longer than some others due to the 32mm long actuator at the base of the post.

Installing the Revive is a fairly standard procedure, although the cut end of the cable is at the post and needs to be inserted into a barrel which is a bit fiddlier than other posts. The seat clamp is a standard 2 bolt and barrel design and the Triggy Alpha remote has two horizontal positioning mounts and the option to adjust the lever angle. While the lever does have a slightly longer throw, it is light action, highly adjustable, relatively ergonomic, and the perforated machined thumbpad even matched the Hope Tech 3 brake levers on the test bike.

The BikeYoke Revive 2.0 has an adjustable return speed, allowing pressures of 210-290 psi and providing an incredibly smooth, controlled stroke. It is worth mentioning that adjusting the air pressure requires an adaptor supplied by BikeYoke with the post, but you can get around this by removing the Reset Valve. After setting up the post initially, the Revive proved to be the smoothest post in the test group, slightly smoother even than the Fox Transfer. It is actually uncanny just how smooth this post really is. The high-end feel of the Revive post makes small imperfections in the feel of other posts much more noticeable.

The most unique feature of the Revive is the Revive Valve, a reset feature that bleeds air out of the system if your post develops sag over time. It takes just a 4mm hex key and mere seconds to reset the post if/when needed. This helps keep your post running smoothly, consistently, and reliably.

If the longer insertion length works for you, the Bike Yoke Revive 2.0 is arguably the smoothest, most intuitive, reliable design on the market and should absolutely be considered if you are looking on the higher end of the dropper post price spectrum.

For more information about the unique design of the Bike Yoke Revive, check out our deep dive into the original model just after it was released.

The RockShox Reverb AXS is the electronic version of RockShox’s longstanding Reverb dropper post. It was one of the first electric droppers on the market, and while it is very expensive, it is arguably one of the best droppers available. It isn’t plagued by any of the issues of the hydraulically-actuated version, like temperature sensitivity and more challenging installation (due to hydraulic fluid in the hose and remote), and it works impressively well.

The Reverb AXS comes in 30.9, 31.6, and 34.9mm diameters as well as 27.2mm in the Reverb XPLR AXS that’s made for gravel bikes. The larger diameters all come in 100, 125, 150, and 170mm drop lengths which should work for most people. Unfortunately, for the long-legged folks, it does not come in a 200mm length. The overall lengths are pretty reasonable, but it does have a longer stack height of 62mm (compressed) as a result of the taller silver collar and the motor/battery housing at the top of the post. It is also one of the heavier options with a measured weight of 655 grams (150mm length) for the post and 54 grams for the remote. For comparison, that is 162 grams heavier than the OneUp V2 and remote in the same drop length.

Given the lack of cables and/or hoses, setting up the Reverb AXS couldn’t be any easier. Simply insert the post into the seat tube, attach the remote to the handlebar, charge the AXS battery (takes about an hour), and then pair the two together (like pairing to a Bluetooth speaker). Attaching the saddle is super quick and easy too with a single T25 bolt to clamp the saddle rails as well as a super user-friendly tilt adjustment. The battery locks into place at the back of the post securely and firmly. Pressing a button on the post shows battery life, and it lasts a surprisingly long time. During testing, it was 42 hours of ride time (according to Strava) before the battery indicator turned red. The Reverb AXS remote uses a CR2032 watch battery, which SRAM says should last over two years and it is cheap to replace (less than $10 for any two pack). You can also use the SRAM AXS app to see battery percentages for both the post and remote.

Electronics aside, the Reverb AXS remote is quite different from any cable-actuated post remote. It is ergonomic, sits close to the bars, and has extremely quick action. Instead of pushing a lever to pull a cable, it is essentially just a light press of a button. Your thumb barely needs to move, and while it takes a few minutes to get used to, it makes regular remote levers seem archaic pretty quickly. The AXS remote, combined with the quick action of the post, provides an incredibly precise feel on the trail. For the post to continue dropping, you need to keep your thumb on the lever, so a quick tap on the lever won’t drop the post the entire way but does make it super easy to micro-adjust the saddle height. Because of the light action and ease of dropping 5-15mm with a quick tap, we found ourselves making those smaller adjustments notably more than with other posts.

The Reverb AXS has one of the fastest return speeds among the models we tested (second to the Fox Transfer SL), topping out audibly but not excessively hard. It isn’t adjustable, but for those who like a quick return speed, it will be just right. The overall action is quite smooth but requires moderate force to compress compared to some other models. The Reverb AXS includes SRAM’s “Vent Valve” to remove air from the internals located at the bottom of the post, which is easy enough to access with no cables to speak of. Our test post has not developed any squishiness at all, but the relief/vent valve is a good feature to have to avoid more complex maintenance. Ours has worked flawlessly through the test period, however.

Should you buy an $861 seat post? That’s entirely up to you and how much disposable income you have. That said, if you have the means, we think it’s one of the best droppers available and doubt you’ll be disappointed by the performance and quick, precise feel of the RockShox Reverb AXS.

For more info, check out our complete technical overview of the RockShox Reverb AXS near its launch.

The Bike Yoke Divine SL is the German brand’s top-of-the-line XC dropper. Weighing in at 451 grams for the post, the Divine SL is the second lightest post in the test and will save at least 50 grams off any trail/enduro option. Given its XC focus, it is only currently offered in shorter drop lengths of 80, 100, and 125mm.

Setting up the Divine SL is straightforward but does require the plastic sleeve tool included with the post to attach the cable nut assembly at the bottom of the post. This takes a few minutes longer than the direct cable end connection on most posts, but is very straightforward and poses no difficulties – just don’t lose the plastic tool to remove and attach the cable nut inside the bottom of the post tube, or the nut and plastic plunger piece!

The Divine SL has what Bike Yoke calls the “Tech-Climb” feature which adds a small amount of suspension action to the post, but only when it is in a middle position – fully extended or dropped are still locked. While this seems like an interesting feature, it managed to go completely unnoticed and didn’t seem to impact its performance either positively or negatively. Pressing on it by hand, you can feel about ½ to 1 cm of motion, and perhaps not noticing it while riding could be considered a success. Bike Yoke does say that reducing the air pressure in the post will increase the action of the Tech-Climb feature but even when lowered to 250psi, it didn’t seem to change the action much. Like the Revive 2.0, accessing the air valve at the top of the post to adjust pressure does require the use of the included adapter.

The Divine SL shares some of its internals with the Revive 2.0, and it is similarly smooth in its action. It doesn’t have the Revive feature, but Bike Yoke says it is designed to fully reset the hydraulic system with every full drop, much like the Wolf Tooth Resolve, and we never experienced squishiness or noticeable play. The micro-adjustability and smoothness were not quite as strong as the Revive 2.0 or Fox Transfer (non-SL version), but still near the top of the class for the posts in this test.

With max travel of 125mm, the Divine SL probably won’t be on everyone’s shortlist, but it is a strong contender for riders looking for a shorter travel, superlight, XC dropper post. The Bike Yoke Divine SL is very smooth, quick and snappy, and very lightweight, making it a great choice for XC riders looking to add an infinitely adjustable, high-performance dropper to their lightweight rigs.

At $300, the Crankbrothers Highline 7 sits directly in the center of the price range for the cable-actuated posts in this review. For a slight premium over some lesser-priced competitors, it performs exceptionally smoothly, features an easy-to-use pivoting bolt seat clamp, and everything except the cartridge is serviceable with very standard tools. It does have a longer stack height and overall length and fixed compression/extension speed, but the Highline 7 is a solid mid-range option for riders looking for smooth, controlled action in a post they’ll be able to pull apart and keep running for quite a while.

The Highline 7 comes in both the standard 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters and 100, 125, 150, 170, and 200mm drop lengths. The overall lengths and stack height are a little bit longer than most other models we tested, so that is something to bear in mind depending on your frame. For anyone with smaller seat tube diameters on their gravel or XC bikes, Crankbrothers also makes the Highline XC Gravel in a 27.2mm diameter that comes in 60, 80, 100, and 125mm lengths. Crankbrothers also makes the affordable Highline 3 dropper that retails for just $200.

Setting up the Highline 7 is very easy – you don’t even need a barrel for the end of the cable as it connects directly. We did not test the Crankbrothers Highline Remote, so we can’t comment on it, instead testing it with the Wolf Tooth ReMote Pro, which posed no problems. The rear bolt of the seat clamp pivots, making saddle installation easier than a standard 2-bolt design.

On the trail, the Highline 7 is reliable and has a very consistent, smooth feel in both compression and extension. It isn’t adjustable and the fixed rate is a touch slower than other posts like the BikeYoke Revive, Fox Transfer, PNW Loam, or OneUp V2, and it has a less audible top-out. While it isn’t too slow, necessarily, some may find themselves wanting the ability to speed it up.

Even with the slower speed, the Highline 7 is super smooth, probably the smoothest action of the low-to-mid price point posts tested. And, being fully user-serviceable with very standard tooling, along with including quality components like Trelleborg seals and IGUS LL glide bearings and keys, it should be easy to keep the smooth feel for the lifetime of the post. While the longer stack height and overall length, combined with the slightly slow compression and extension speeds, didn’t make it stand out compared to the best, we think most riders who can make the fit work and are looking for a serviceable, exceptionally smooth, controlled, and reasonably priced post will be very happy with the Crankbrothers Highline 7.

The Fox Transfer SL Factory is an extremely lightweight, two-position dropper post intended for XC and gravel riding. To achieve such light weight, the Transfer SL uses a much simpler mechanical spring (as opposed to a hydraulic cartridge), that only stops in two positions, fully up or fully down. Weighing only 441 grams for the 150mm travel option tested (less than 3 grams per mm travel), the Transfer SL is a good option for XC, gravel, or particularly weight-conscious riders, provided they get along with the two-position approach.

Given the lightweight focus of the Transfer SL and the intended audience of cross-country and gravel riders, it comes in sizes that line up with the bikes it’s designed to be used on. In the 30.9 and 31.6mm diameter, it comes in 75 and 100mm drop lengths. In the 31.6mm diameter, it also comes in 125 and 150mm lengths for weight conscious trail riders. For those riding bikes with 27.2mm seat tube diameters, the Transfer SL 27.2 is available with 50 or 70mm of drop. In addition to the Factory version we tested, the Transfer SL Performance Elite skips the Kashima stanchion and retails for $309. Likewise, the Transfer SL 27.2 comes in both Factory and Performance Elite configurations at the same prices.

Setting up the Fox Transfer SL involves clamping the cable end in the cutout at the bottom of the post and running it through the plastic end cap, which was comparably easy to the standard barrel at the cable end used in most of the droppers tested. Unlike the BikeYoke Divine SL, the Transfer SL cannot be cut down to reduce the overall length/weight, and it has the longest overall length of any post in the test at 485mm for 150mm of drop (17mm longer than the Crankbrothers Highline 7). This shouldn’t pose too much of an issue on most XC frames but it is longer than average and should definitely be noted depending on the insertion length on your frame.

We tested the Transfer SL with Fox’s Transfer 1x Remote. It’s a simple lever but it works well with light actuation force and good ergonomics. Fox does offer a drop bar compatible lever for $55 for gravel riders who want a short travel post.

While riding, the mechanical spring gives the Transfer SL the fastest return and drop speed of any post in the test. The spring only works to extend the post and doesn’t support the rider’s weight. It is so easy to drop, in fact, it feels like the floor is falling out from underneath you. It is impressively smooth, but the drop speed takes some getting used to, as does the fact that it will come back up to full extension if you don’t lower it all the way down. If you like to ride with your saddle in any position other than fully up or down, the inability to stop it anywhere in its travel will surely be missed. It is also worth noting that the two-position nature of the Transfer SL is not super visible in Fox’s marketing materials, but it is something that prospective buyers should definitely be aware of.

Fox claims that most XC and gravel riders surveyed ride mainly with their posts in a fully extended or compressed position and the Transfer SL Factory is a well-performing, quite snappy option if you do the same. This post is incredibly lightweight and sure to help you keep the weight of your race rig or gravel bike as low as possible while still enjoying the benefits of a dropper post.

It’s fair to say that the team at Bikerumor is obsessed with all things bike related. This is especially true of products like dropper posts that enhance our riding experience and performance out on the trail. While there were some reservations about adopting this new-fangled technology when they initially came out, you’ll find droppers on virtually all of our mountain bikes and even some of our gravel bikes these days. And, we’ve tried a lot of them. Whether for product launches, individual reviews, or on test bikes, we’ve had the chance to try nearly every model on the market.

For the purposes of this buyer’s guide, we rounded up nine of the best dropper posts available in 2023 to test and compare side-by-side. Review author, Paul Clauss, spent months testing these posts in a wide range of weather conditions on technical northern Vermont trails that require lots of raising and lower of the saddle. A mechanical engineer by trade and a skilled bike mechanic, Paul enjoys scrutinizing different designs, tinkering with adjustments, and is adept at differentiating subtle performance differences in the workshop and out on the trail. Each post was weighed and measured for comparison to manufacturers’ specs and installed on either his Santa Cruz Bronson or Chromag Widangle hardtail for testing. Paul has an affinity for technical features and rock slabs, and fortunately, the terrain near his home in northern Vermont is an ideal testing ground for dropper posts with plenty of ups, downs, and rocky, rooty challenges that require frequent changes to saddle height.

In addition to testing dropper posts, Paul has also contributed to Bikerumor for our best mountain bike flat pedals review and is currently testing more products for upcoming mountain bike accessories and component buyers’ guides.

There are numerous reasons to use a dropper post on your mountain bike, but it can be tricky to find exactly what you need. Here we’ll break down some of the important considerations that may impact your purchase decision.

Using a dropper post will allow you to raise and lower your seat with the touch of a handlebar-mounted lever. When your saddle is at the appropriate height for pedaling and climbing, it can get in the way when trying to move your body and bike while descending. But when your saddle height is set low for descending, it is not in the proper pedaling position.

Dropper posts allow you to adjust your saddle height on the fly while riding, ensuring you have the proper seat height for the terrain you encounter. With a dropper post, you will experience:

When purchasing a new dropper post, the fit for you and your bike is your first priority. Not only does it need to fit your frame to be compatible, but you want it to suit your body size and needs as well.

This is one of the easiest steps – just make sure you select a post that matches the seat tube diameter of your frame. Most modern mountain bikes have 30.9mm or 31.6mm seat tubes, and dropper post manufacturers often provide options for less standard options like 27.2mm (for gravel and some XC frames) or 34.9mm diameters. If you are unsure of your seat tube diameter, you can typically find it printed on the seat post that is currently on your bike, or you can look it up on the manufacturer’s website. While you should be able to find a post that matches your seat tube diameter, you can sometimes purchase a smaller one and shim the seat tube in a pinch.

Dropper posts come in a range of travel lengths to suit varying needs, preferences, bodies, and bikes. For mountain bikes, they typically range between 100 and 200mm with some outliers on either end. For example, the OneUp Components V2 Dropper comes in the most size options, with 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, and 240mm travel lengths available. Not surprisingly, as post travel increases, so does the overall length of the post.

While many people try to fit the most drop possible on their bike to increase mobility, some riders may prefer a shorter drop length for various reasons. How much drop you want usually is a matter of personal preference, but also it is often a function of what will fit on your frame and work for your body size. Fortunately, some brands are doing their best to minimize the overall lengths and stack heights of their posts which makes it easier to fit a longer travel dropper, and some also provide the option to reduce travel with adjustments to make fitment much easier than it used to be. At the same time, many modern bikes are being designed with lower stand-over heights and shorter/straighter seat tubes that help make fitting longer travel droppers easier.

Most manufacturer’s websites have a tool to help you appropriately size a post for your bike to maximize travel (and the OneUp website will even show you which competitor’s posts will fit with their Dropper Post Length Selector). To use these tools, you’ll take two measurements from your frame and consider a few post measurements:

With these numbers, use the tools available on most manufacturers’ websites to determine the maximum travel for their post on your frame. To double-check if a dropper post will fit on your own, make sure that:

Most dropper posts available today use a cable to actuate an internal floating piston (IFP) to release a pressurized chamber, typically an adjustable air spring or a sealed hydraulic cartridge, to raise and lower the seat. While they all perform the same task of raising and lowering your seat on the fly, dropper posts came in a variety of different designs.

Many dropper posts have an adjustable rate of return. Typically, this involves an air spring, the pressure of which can be raised or lowered (within a recommended range) to speed up or slow down the rate at which the post compresses and extends. This gives the user greater control over their post and the ability to dial in its performance to meet their needs or preferences. The OneUp V2, Bike Yoke Revive 2.0 and Divine SL, Wolf Tooth Resolve, and the PNW Loam all feature adjustable air springs.

Some posts use sealed cartridges that have a fixed rate of compression and extension. These posts have a predetermined spring rate chosen by the manufacturer that usually aims to hit the happy middle ground of compression force/return speed. The Fox Transfer Factory and Crankbrothers Highline 7 are two examples of droppers that do not have adjustable air springs.

The vast majority of dropper posts feature what is called infinitely adjustable travel, meaning they can be adjusted anywhere within the available travel range between full compression and full extension. While it is most common to ride with the post all the way up or all the way down, there are plenty of circumstances where dropping the post just a little bit is more ideal, and infinitely adjustable posts allow you to do so.

A few posts on the market have fixed interval travel, meaning they stop only at certain spots within their travel range. Typically, this style of post uses a simpler mechanical spring to control the travel. The only post we tested that adjusts at fixed intervals is the lightweight Fox Transfer SL, which stops in only two positions, fully compressed and fully extended.

Most modern mountain bikes are designed to be used with dropper posts and usually feature internal cable routing. Consequently, most droppers are also designed to be used with bikes that have internal cable routing, and the actuator where the cable connects is at the bottom of the post inside the frame. All of the droppers we tested are made for internal cable routing, other than the RockShox Reverb AXS which is wireless.

Many older bike frames and some gravel bikes do not have ports for internal cable routing. Thankfully, there are some externally routed droppers on the market, though they are less common. PNW components makes several models of externally routed droppers and you can often find similar options from Brand-X and PRO if you look around.

The majority of modern dropper posts are cable-actuated, meaning that a cable connects between the remote lever and an actuator at the bottom of the post. When you press the remote lever, it pulls on the cable, which in turn actuates the post and allows it to move up or down. Cables are relatively easy to deal with and inexpensive to replace.

This style of actuation is much less common than cable-actuated posts, but it works in a similar way using hydraulic fluid. The RockShox Reverb (not AXS) is the only post on the market that uses this system, and it works fairly well. The main drawback is that it is more difficult to install and remove your post given the presence of hydraulic fluid in the hose and remote lever, and it can be quite messy. Older models were also quite sensitive to cold temperatures.

Given the rapid pace of technological development, it comes as little surprise that more and more products are electronic. Wireless or electronic posts forego the cable or hose altogether and instead use a small control unit on the handlebar that pairs via Bluetooth to a small motor on the post to raise and lower it. The RockShox Reverb AXS is the only electric post to really gain a foothold in the market thus far, although there are other brands working on bringing more options to market.

Some posts allow you to decrease the maximum post travel, ensuring you can get the maximum drop available for your bike. For example, on the bike used for testing with a stack height of 260mm and maximum seat tube insertion of 210mm, the OneUp size calculator shows the maximum drop for my setup as 170mm, achieved by reducing the travel of their 180mm post by 10mm.

The PNW Loam Dropper uses a tool-free system to decrease the maximum travel by up to -25mm (in 5 mm increments) with a built-in nylon shim. The OneUp V2 Dropper uses a similar system but limits travel adjustment to 10 or 20mm and uses pins and guide slots rather than the nylon shim. The Bike Yoke Revive 2.0 also allows up to 20mm of travel adjustment but the set of four 5mm shims need to be purchased separately and the post must be removed from the bike for installation. Similarly, the Wolf Tooth Resolve can have maximum travel reduced and they will install spacers for you when you order the post, or you can purchase travel reduction shims after the fact and install them yourself or bring it to a shop to have it done for you.

All hydraulic dropper posts can experience air ingestion into the inner tubes over time, which can result in a saggy or spongy feel when sitting on the saddle. To combat this without requiring a full rebuild of the post, the Bike Yoke Revive 2.0 uses a reset valve and the RockShox Reverb AXS uses the “Vent Valve” to reset the hydraulic circuit. While Bike Yoke only expects Revive users to use the reset valve once or twice a year, this is a nice feature to ensure consistent performance of the post without needing to pull it out of your frame.

Other posts, like the Wolf Tooth Resolve and the Bike Yoke Divine SL have “self-bleeding” cartridges designed to purge any air from the system every time the post is fully dropped.

The saddle clamp, at the seatpost head, is where your saddle rails attach to the seatpost. Good saddle clamps are quiet, stay at the appropriate torque, and make saddle installation/removal easy. Most of the posts in this test used a standard two-bolt head design to adjust saddle angle and fore/aft position. A few models have clamp designs that help make the installation and removal process slightly easier. Both the Fox Transfer and the Crankbrothers Highline 7 have hardware that swivels while the OneUp V2 dropper has slotted plates. Though we don’t typically install/remove our saddles frequently, these seemingly trivial design features are really quite helpful when testing dropper posts back to back.

Every dropper post uses a remote to actuate the travel up and down. While many posts used to come with a lever, most posts are sold without one these days, meaning you can usually choose whatever remote you like. Most levers for cable-actuated dropper posts (that clamp the free cable end at the lever) are compatible with any post, allowing you to choose the lever that works best with your ergonomics and cockpit setup. The exception to this rule is the RockShox Reverb AXS, which comes with its own electronic control unit. For most of these posts in this review, we tested them with their brand’s respective remote levers to get a feel for how they work together.

The advent and proliferation of 1x drivetrains freed up some space on the left side of the handlebar where the front derailleur shifter used to be, so the majority of dropper remotes are 1x levers that resemble a shifter paddle that you press with your left thumb. Examples of 1x remote levers include the Wolf Tooth Remote Pro, Fox Transfer 1x Remote, Bike Yoke Triggy Alpha, PNW Loam Lever, and OneUp V3 Lever. Many have textured metal surfaces to provide traction for the thumb, while some now use replaceable rubber pads for grip. Some brands still make remote levers that are designed to be used with 2x drivetrains and/or suspension lockout levers, and drop-bar levers are becoming more common as droppers gain popularity on gravel bikes.

Like any other handlebar-mounted control, it is important to consider ergonomics, lever feel, and actuation force when selecting a dropper post lever. While most lever manufacturers do provide options for Shimano i-Spec or SRAM MMX shifter/brake mount connections, they also offer basic 22.2 and 31.8mm handlebar clamps. Often you can find adaptors for other brake configurations like Magura, Hayes, Hope, etc, so that’s something you’ll likely want to consider depending on the brakes you use.

Because most levers have multiple attachment points to adjust the horizontal position of the lever, it is usually fairly easy to position the remote in a good spot so that reaching it with your thumb feels natural and intuitive. Some levers have additional adjustments that allow ergonomics to be customized even further.

Dropper posts will always weigh more than a standard seatpost, but most riders (and increasingly, even competitive cross-country racers) are willing to take a weight penalty for the increased handling benefits of using a dropper post. Of course, all other things being equal, lighter is generally considered better, assuming performance isn’t compromised in the name of weight savings. For this test, we weighed the post only, knowing that the weight of the cable housing will vary slightly depending on the length required for your frame, and that will also generally be consistent for your bike regardless of which cable-actuated post you choose. It is also worth noting that longer travel posts weigh more than shorter travel versions of the same post due to the additional materials needed to make them longer.

While a heavier dropper post won’t be as noticeable on the trail as a heavy set of tires or wheelset, it will add to the overall weight of your bike and may be a consideration for you. All the posts in this test weighed between 441 grams (Fox Transfer SL) and 655 grams (Rockshox Reverb AXS). For the regular droppers, the OneUp V2 is consistently one of the lightest weight options, weighing in at 505 grams in the 150mm travel length. The Wolf Tooth Resolve is close behind at just 514 grams at 160mm of travel (with 10mm more travel). For those super conscious about weight, like XC racers, there are some “superlight” options on the market nowadays like the Fox Transfer SL and the Bike Yoke Divine SL. These lightweight models do save a fair amount of weight, coming in at 441 grams and 451 grams, respectively, but they are offered in a narrower range of drop lengths.

If you purchase a new dropper from a bike shop, it is common that they will install it for you. If you purchase a dropper from an online retailer, you can bring it to a local shop and pay to have it installed, or if you like wrenching on your own bike, doing it yourself is relatively straightforward assuming you have cable/housing cutters and reasonable mechanic skills.

The installation process is largely the same regardless of the actuation method:

Similar to moving suspension parts, most dropper post manufacturers recommend cleaning, inspecting, and lubricating your post after every ride and performing their version of a full service between 100-200 hours of riding. For a deep dive on dropper post maintenance, please see our Suspension Tech: How to maintain your dropper seatpost article.

As the gravel bike market continues to grow and mature, some models are coming equipped with dropper posts and/or the frames feature internal cable routing to accommodate one. Of course, not everyone needs or wants a dropper on their gravel bike, but those who ride steeper, rougher roads or like to venture onto singletrack trails may find that the benefits outweigh the slight weight penalty.

Most, but not all, gravel bikes have smaller 27.2mm seat tube diameters, and fortunately, many brands now make droppers in this size to meet the growing demand. In general, dropper posts made for gravel bikes have less travel, ranging from around 50mm to 125mm. On the more affordable end of the spectrum, OneUp Components makes the V2 27.2 in 90 and 120mm drop lengths. Crankbrothers offers one of the largest ranges of drop lengths with 60, 80, 100, and 125mm options for their Highline XC Gravel post. Fox makes a 27.2mm version of their lightweight Tranfer SL in both Factory and Performance Elite in both 50mm and 70mm drop lengths. At the high end of the price spectrum, the RockShox Reverb XPLR AXS brings wireless dropper technology to your gravel rig.

Dropper posts are almost always more expensive than rigid posts, but considering the performance benefits they provide, we feel they are worth their weight in gold. Like anything in mountain biking, we have quite a few options and they come at a pretty wide range of price points. Most droppers cost between $200 and $400 with the exception being the wireless RockShox Reverb AXS at $861. While we absolutely love the Reverb AXS, the price is certainly tough to justify when less expensive options perform just as well (but with cables). That said, if you’re willing and able to spend that much, it is an incredible dropper post.

For those with less disposable income, the two least expensive models we tested, the OneUp V2 and the PNW Loam, will set you back around or just over $200 (plus a bit more for a remote if you don’t already have one). Both posts perform very well and definitely hit the sweet spot of price and performance.

Mountain bikes can certainly be ridden without a dropper post, and for many years we didn’t even have the option. While many riders were slow to adopt this new technology due to weight and reliability concerns with early models, they have since become ubiquitous on most bikes for many reasons. Over the past decade, dropper posts have come down in weight and have become more reliable and durable. Having the ability to raise and lower your seat for the terrain in front of you allows you to always have the appropriate saddle height whether you are riding up or downhill. Being able to adjust saddle height on the fly makes it easier to move about the bike and move the bike beneath you, resulting in greater control. While some posts are quite expensive, there are also many more affordable options that work very well. So, yes, unless you are an elite-level XC racer who is trying to have the lightest bike possible, you should absolutely be riding with a dropper post on your mountain bike.

Leaving your MTB dropper post compressed for an extended period of time is not recommended. When the dropper post is compressed, the internal air pressure is increased, which can put additional stress on the internal components of the dropper post, potentially leading to premature wear and failure.

Additionally, leaving your dropper post compressed can cause the hydraulic fluid to become trapped on one side of the post, which can affect its performance when you next use it. This could lead to damage to the seals and other internal components over time.

To maximize the lifespan and performance of your post, it’s best to store it in the fully extended position when not in use. This will help to ensure that the internal components are not subjected to unnecessary stress or pressure and that the hydraulic fluid is distributed evenly throughout the post.

It’s generally not recommended to hang your bike by the dropper post for extended periods of time, as this can put excessive stress on the internal components of the post and potentially damage it.

While clamping to the dropper post stanchion while working on your bike is not ideal and some manufacturers recommend against it because it is possible to crush the stanchion tube with clamping pressure, we’ve had no issues doing so consistently for short periods of time with any post. You will, however, want to clamp lightly and wrap the post in a rag or use rubber jaws to avoid scratching the post stanchion. Like with suspension components, scratches on the post stanchion can cause premature wear on seals and introduce dirt and dust into the dropper internals.

Drilling a hole in a frame without internal dropper post cable routing is not recommended and will definitely void any warranties on your frame. It may also compromise the structural integrity of the frame, which could cause serious injury. If you have a frame without internal routing, purchase a post with external cable routing. Externally routed droppers are less common, but there are several models on the market to fit bikes without internal dropper routing. On some hardtail frames, you MAY be able to route cable housing through the seat tube water bottle mounts, but this can be quite tricky.

Read more…

Read more…

Dropper posts allow us to adjust our saddle height with the push of a lever, helping to enhance comfort, efficiency, and most importantly, control while out on the trail.MSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightMSRPAvailable Travel LengthsOverall LengthsAvailable DiametersSize TestedMeasured WeightImproved maneuverabilityBetter efficiencyMore comfortable ridingYour Measured Ride Height (X) is GREATER than the Stack Height (extended) of the postThe Overall Length minus your Measured Ride Height (X) is LESS than the maximum seat tube insertion length for your frame (Y)The Insertion Length (from #2) falls between the minimum and maximum insertion lengths of the post.Is it bad to leave my post compressed?Can I hang my bike by a dropper post or clamp it to a work stand?Can I drill a hole in my seat tube to fit an internally routed dropper?not recommended