akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Monday 7 March 2016

Drop That Post!

Basically influenced by Dino's experience  with his manual dropper on his steel hardtail, I jumped at the opportunity to own a rather exotic dropper post offered by a friend's friend in Shah Alam. One of the best in the market though a bit dated and basic, Thomson Elite Dropper is golden (in finish too!). Anyway, due to restriction in $ and time, I delayed the purchase for a month. Luckily for me, the seller is not in an urgent sale.

I know that I don't have to think twice to own a Thomson given their reputation for quality and performance. Still, I read some reviews and watched youtube clips about it before getting my hands on this piece of top notch marvellous mechanical wonder. Simple, practical and best of all, it is maintenance free. I guess by the time I paid COD for the item its 2-year warranty period has lapsed. Not a bad thing for the price I paid, I'd say.

Primarily dropper posts are normally found (and perhaps expected) on Enduro bikes. Its weight at about 500-600 grams in a set comprising lever and cable/hose is a hindrance to have it installed on lightweight XC setups. I decided to put it on my already heavy Trance, hoping that it would add to the fun enjoying (mild) downhills.

I installed it the night before an offroad ride at Panchor. It didn't take me a long time to install (it's still a seatpost). I find that Thomson's simple saddle clamp design in particular makes it easy to adjust the position of the saddle - fore/aft and horizontal adjustment are dead easy.

there's still enough room for a bell,
but my thumb won't be able to reach it
However, my handlebar is now a bit cluttered with clamps at both ends; 4 on each - grip, brake, shifter and remote lever. There are 4 cables and 2 hoses sprouting out from the handlebar now, which is quite an overwhelming sight if I really look at it. Anyway, I wouldn't be bothered with it for now unless I want to revamp the whole drivetrain/brake/fork system as my next expensive tinkering/upgrade while getting the overall weight down a bit.
For now, call me Captain Handlebar.

A simple test ride around the neighbourhood past midnight after the installation was quite good. I love how the lever works. Press it down, and with my body weight the post drops all 125mm down in a smooth fashion. Press it again and the dropper goes up at a rate which is quite gentle to the bum (and balls). Depending on the rate of how the lever is pressed, the rate of the dropper going back up can be controlled. That means if I want to have it partially up, I just have to press down the lever up to a point where I needed the post to be. Simple and practical.
simple remote lever

Alas, there is one more item added on the handlebar, and one more decision to make on the trails now. Do I need to bring the post down? Should I bring the post back up? People who are using single chainring are now claiming that they are having one less burden of thinking about the front shifter (as well as the weight benefit). My Trance setup currently has everything. Triple front shifter, remote lockout for the fork, remote lever for the dropper seatpost, brakes and 10-speed rear shifter. I purposely didn't install a cyclometer on Trance to keep it as a fun bike. No need to bother myself on the ride data and such; rather relegated it to Strava on my smartphone (if it works correctly).

busy cockpit
Having the service of the dropper post on an offroad descend is a bliss. It is simply awesome. I am now talking about the dropper post in general. The benefits are as mentioned by Dino i.e. better control of the handlebar and the bike in general while descending. In order to lower my center of gravity during steep/technical downhill, I don't have to bring my butt to the back past the seatpost as much. This reduces arm stretch. Hence, reduced fatigue as well as having better play of the elbows. There is now a 125mm clearance on my bum to negotiate the bumps while descending so no worries on the saddle hitting my rump. The result: I could go faster. And I did, I think. That certainly brought more fun to the already fun Trance. Worth the dough and the weight penalty.

Now, about the weight...

Thanks for dropping by.
Enjoy your rides!

No comments: