When I first started mountain biking back in 1993, there were no seat post droppers. A quick release clamp was as close as you were going to get to lowering the seat without tools. I didn’t really think about it much then because most of my riding involved going up a long fire road and then descending another longer fire road. It was no big deal to get off the bike and drop the seat.
Fast forward 20 years, and I started seeing what I referred to as “quick release” seat posts. I saw them as a gimmick that only those with a few extra hundred bucks burning a hole in their pocket would buy. And then one day I had a few extra hundred bucks burning a hole in my pocket, so I bought one.
Since joining the seat post dropper revolution, I find that cable actuated seat post droppers are no longer a luxury item, but almost a necessity. You see, the ability to raise and lower the post without stopping made me a better rider capable of riding far more technical trails. It’s not all about the downhill anymore. It’s about the short up and downs where you don’t have time to get off the bike to adjust the seat height. It’s about saving your energy by not getting off the bike dozens of times during a ride to adjust. It’s about being able to confidently ride trails with constant ups and downs where you’re raising and lowering the seat countless times – even on the climbs!
Seat post droppers don’t last forever. In my experience, they are good for about a year before they need to be rebuilt. But they do keep getting better as the manufacturers continue to refine them. Perhaps one day a dropper post will last as long as your shocks. For now, I plunk down $30-50 per year in maintenance to keep the dropper running smooth.
I’ve been without my dropper post for about a month. I thought of it as unnecessary. I thought I could get by with the old quick release method. Well I was wrong. I’m not hooked on droppers because they are a luxury item. I’m hooked on them because I’m hooked on the abilities I’ve gained from having one. And I gotta tell you, technical trails I love so much are a real pain without a dropper.
If you are looking for that one upgrade that will propel your riding skills, forget about the carbon wheels, the tubeless tires and the 1×11 drive trains for now. Those may help you climb but they won’t improve your skills. Instead, get on the band wagon and get yourself a seat post dropper now. You’ll thank me later.