Thomson Elite Dropper post set for April 1 release
By James Huang | Sunday, March 3, 2013 2.57am
A recent addition is this plastic housing guide, which is free to rotate about the post as needed James Huang/BikeRadar
Thomson's long-awaited Elite Dropper post made an appearance at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show on a Retrotec 29er made by Curtis Inglis. According to Thomson marketing manager David Parrett, the new post is on track for an April 1 release and after discussing some of its latest changes and details, it certainly sounds like it's going to be a contender.
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Claimed weight – 592g, with remote, cable, and housing – on the 127mm-travel (5in) post has creeped up a bit since we last checked out Thomson's new dropper at Interbike but the touted durability and features might make up for the extra grams. Thomson's post not only uses a larger-diameter stanchion than other droppers but the Norglide bushing and self-adjusting preload mechanism promises to keep play at a minimum.
Thomson's post will also include a built-in damping mechanism that slows down the movement at either end of the travel range. This makes for a gentler extension for sure but according to Parrett, this will also give the rider a more tactile sense of where the post is in its range without affecting the overall speed.
Thomson's promise of a stealth-style routing is still on schedule, too, with a planned release in May. Parrett says a 27.2mm version is in development as well although given the total redesign required, that one is further off with no official ETA.
The new Elite Dropper will be offered in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters, both with the impressively tidy handlebar remote included. A manual lever will be available separately. Suggested retail price is US$450.
The dropper post's compact remote
Wholly unexpected from Thomson, however, is the news that the company is also working on a road dropper. Aimed at Paris-Roubaix or any other type of road event with that sort of punishing terrain, Thomson's new, minimal-travel "pavé" post will let riders drop their saddles a touch before hitting the cobbles but then easily raise it again afterward – something they can't easily do currently.
Parrett says the new pavé post will include adjustable damping, too, to provide some suspension.
Thomson's handlebar options continue to trickle on to the marketplace with limited availability due to high demand. Parrett says the main advantage of the company's carbon fiber road and 'cross bars is their true one-piece design and foam mandrel manufacturing process. This leaves no seams to potentially fail and also allows Thomson to vary the drop proportionally with width.
Thomson's road bar features longer reach and deeper drop than the ’cross bar
According to Parrett, in-house fatigue testing shows that Thomson's own incredibly reliable stem actually fails before the bars do.
Suggested retail on both carbon drop bars is US$249.95 and weights range from 188-206g depending on size and model.
Mountain bike flat and riser bars are all available as well. Carbon bars (US$149) are all 730mm wide with flat or 12mm rises while titanium options (US$250-350) are offered with up to 780mm of room. For extra strength, Thomson also has a 780mm-wide, aluminum downhill option (US$110) with 12mm of rise.
Claimed weight for Thomson's new titanium bar is 310g for the narrowest width
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