Should urban bikes have dropper posts?

Being able to put feet down at a stop might boost cycling

In this week's Over to you we're discussing height-adjustable seatposts, aka: dropper posts. Dropper seat posts are just what the name implies, a seat post that allows the rider to lower the saddle for more standover clearance and to place their feet on the ground.

After a few years with questionable reliability and performance, new players to the dropper post game have upped their function and acceptance. Now, it’s rare to find a mountain bike without a dropper post – even XC race rigs and the occasional cyclocross or gravel bike are equipped. But has the bike industry missed a demographic of bike riders that could benefit the most?

I’m talking about adding dropper posts to hybrid and urban bikes. You know, the type of bikes commonly ridden by riders who aren't helpless bike addicts. The type of casual rider who might just be starting out, or returning to cycling, or may not have loads of confidence.

Dropper posts on these types of bikes afford the riders numerous benefits. The biggest has to do with seat height. Many novice riders find raising the seat high enough for a proper pedaling position challenging, since putting a foot down on the ground isn’t easy to do. But with a dropper post, a beginner rider could cruise along with correct leg extension then drop the post when coming to a stop and place their feet on the ground easily – perfect for urban commuters.

They're also a fine way for newbies to try out numerous saddle heights without having to pull out tools or mess around with seat post collars, making cycling longer distances seem technically easier.

Pedal with proper seatpost extension, lower the saddle and place your feet on the ground at stops
Pedal with proper seatpost extension, lower the saddle and place your feet on the ground at stops

Not only could dropper posts make riding less offputting for beginners, they could make it more fun – lowering the saddle and therefore the center of gravity could also play a huge role in increasing confidence and speed on downhills.

There are some downsides, however. The big one is cost, as some dropper posts can cost as much as a complete low-end bike. Couple that with the fact that budget height-adjustable posts are often prone to malfunction, which adds another mechanical thing to go wrong and prevent riding.

Also, while minimal, it does introduce a bit more complexity to bikes designed with non-cyclists in mind. There’s a reason single speeds and cruisers are popular with urban riders, and a big part of that is that they are simple and unintimidating.

So over to you…

Is the bike industry missing out or doing it wrong by excluding dropper posts as standard equipment? Should urban and hybrid bikes be fitted with dropper posts? Is it an upgrade you've done to your townie? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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