Dropper seatposts are a good example of how fast and far mountain bike technology evolves. Less than 10 years ago, a seatpost that moved up and down was a rarity, but it’s near impossible to find a mountain bike without one now.
A dropper post is a must-have these days if you’re riding anything remotely technical, and opens up a far wider range of riding (without having to manually move your post up and down when tackling steep trails).
We’ve got a wide range of dropper post reviews on BikeRadar and this list represents the best of the best. Whether you’re looking to fit a dropper post to your bike for the first time or upgrade your current dropper, you’ll find something here.
For more information on what to look out for when buying a dropper post, read our full buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article.
The best dropper posts for mountain bikes in 2021
- Crankbrothers Highline 7: £270
- OneUp V2: £179
- Brand-X Ascend II: £140
- Brand-X Ascend XL: £170
- RockShox Reverb AXS: £700 / $800
- RockShox Reverb Stealth C1 X1: £395 / $349
- Vecnum NIVO 212 TRAVELFIT: €427
- 9Point8 Fall Line: £379 / $349
- e*thirteen Vario Infinite: £200
- Fox Transfer Factory 2020: £438 / €498 / $409 / AU$658
- KS LEV Integra: £290
- Manitou Jack: £299
- Syncros Duncan Dropper 2.0: £210
- X-Fusion Manic: £220
Crankbrothers Highline 7
- Price: £270 as tested
- Weight: 516g (without remote and cable)
- Stroke length (* tested): 100mm, 125mm*, 150mm, 170mm
- Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
- Max length: 417mm (125mm travel)
With the Highline 7, it looks like Crankbrothers has nailed performance, reliability and ease of fitment.
The post’s construction screams quality and it was very simple to fit to our test bikes thanks to the cable’s nipple attaching to the post end with the lever clamping the cable at the other end.
The stack height — the distance from the bottom of the post’s collar to the centre of the seat rails — was impressively short at 50mm, too.
Although the remote was £55 extra, we thought it was well worth it, thanks to its smooth action and adjustable angle.
Previously, Crankbrothers’ posts had a reputation for being unreliable, but we had no such experiences with the Highline 7, and should the worst happen, it’s backed by the brand’s four-year warranty.
Top-quality Trelleborg sealing and igus glide bearings mean performance is impressively smooth, easily controlled and consistent even on the longest, dirtiest rides or after an extended rest, although the return speed isn’t adjustable but a ‘soft push’ of the lever does make the post return slower.
Latest deals for the Crankbrothers Highline
OneUp V2 Dropper Post
- Price: £179 as tested (plus £42 for OneUp Dropper Post Remote V2)
- Weight: 579g (without remote and cable – remote: 48g)
- Stroke length (* tested): 120mm, 150mm, 180mm, 210mm*
- Diameters (* tested): 30.9mm*, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
- Max length: 554mm (210mm travel)
The OneUp V2 dropper’s party piece is how it lets riders substantially increase their post’s travel, meaning the seat can be lower on the descents while returning to the same position at full extension, without the equivalent increase in post stack height.
OneUp’s done this by making the post’s body, seal head and seat clamp as slim as possible and the 210mm travel post was shorter than RockShox’ Reverb B1 150mm travel post by 34mm. It’s impressive stuff.
To boot, the V2 doesn’t cost a fortune and we had no issues with it sticking or feeling lumpy during the testing period. It also made us wonder why we haven’t upgraded to a longer travel, shorter stack post sooner!
Brand-X Ascend II
- Price: £140 as tested
- Weight: 618g (without remote and cable)
- Stroke length: 150mm
- Diameters: 27.2mm, 30.9mm, 31.6mm
- Max length: 390mm (105mm travel), 400mm (125mm travel), 449mm (150mm travel)
Thanks to its cable barrel attachment at the post end, the Ascend II doesn’t require accurate trimming of the inner and outer cables. The Ascend II is an externally-routed cable dropper, although an internally-routed cable option — the Ascend XL — is also available.
The Ascend II impressed us on the trails with a near-perfect return speed, impressively shaped and easy-to-use remote, and reliable action. Although the supplied cable didn’t last long in wet conditions, suffering from corrosion, simply replacing it with a better quality cable would solve that issue.
Although the Ascend II is impressively cheap, it’s almost identical to Race Face Aeffect-R and Syncros post. If you’re after a bargain, then, look no further.
Brand-X Ascend XL
- Price: £170 as tested
- Weight: 668g
- Stroke length (* tested): 170mm, 200mm*
- Diameters (* tested): 30.9mm*, 31.6mm
- Max length: 499mm (170mm travel), 559mm (200mm travel)
Priced under £200 for a long-travel dropper, the Brand-X Ascend XL is hard to beat. The 200mm version, in particular, is a good bet for taller riders.
Brand-X has upped the shaft diameter and improved the internals in the Ascend XL for less flex and a smooth action.
The post comes with a shifter-style under-bar remote and internal cable routing, unlike the regular Ascend (also included in this guide), which has external routing.
Although the post isn’t light, it proved reliable over months of use. Stack height isn’t bad, but fitting might be an issue if you’ve got a kinked or extra-tall seat tube.
RockShox Reverb AXS
- Price: £700 / $800 as tested
- Weight: 650g
- Stroke length (* tested): 100mm, 125mm, 150mm*, 175mm, 200mm
- Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
- Max length: 440mm
As RockShox’ halo dropper post, it comes as little surprise that the Reverb AXS is a top-scorer. Building on the hydraulic Reverb’s performance, the electrical AXS takes the simplicity of use one step further.
The button’s especially light and easy to push, and the post doesn’t require the physical depression of a lever to actuate, making its use more intuitive to operate even over rough, jolty terrain.
The lack of cables makes fitting easy and it would be possible to share this one post across many bikes. After months of abuse in adverse British weather, it’s still running as it should.
RockShox Reverb Stealth C1 with 1x remote
- Price: £395 as tested
- Weight: 516g (including remote and cable)
- Stroke length (* tested): 100mm, 125mm, 150mm*, 170mm, 200mm
- Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
- Max length: 519mm
The Reverb’s popularity comes as no surprise thanks to the number of different travel and diameters available. This latest iteration improves on reliability and reduces the post’s overall length and stack height, while keeping travel figures the same.
Plenty of accessories – including a bleed kit and MMX matchmaker system – are included in the box.
When previous iterations of the Reverb were slammed for top-stroke bounce issues, RockShox went back to the drawing board and added Vent Valve Technology to the latest model. This lets you ‘bleed’ the system of air if it starts to sag without needing to attach syringes.
The latest Reverb appears to have hit the sweet-spot of performance, reliability and user serviceability.
Vecnum NIVO 212 TRAVELFIT
- Price: €427.93 (approx £388) as tested
- Weight: 530g (212mm post and remote)
- Stroke length (* tested): 122mm, 152mm, 182mm, 212mm*
- Diameters (* tested): 30.9mm*, 31.6mm, 34.9 mm
- Max length: 571mm
The Vecnum NIVO is available in four lengths and the 212mm version we tested is one of the longest-travel seatposts available on the market. That amount of travel is liberating for tall folk on bikes with rider-forward geometry.
The TRAVELFIT system allows you to shorten the travel in 4mm steps to find the perfect fit for your frame and the overall package is surprisingly light.
However, it’s a pricey option and we needed to up the pressure to the maximum allowed to get the post to reach full extension.
9Point8 Fall Line
- Price: £379 / $349
- Weight: 623g
- Stroke length: 75mm, 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm, 200mm
- Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
- Max length: 455mm
- Internal length: 245mm
One of the longest posts on the market, the Fall Line is light and loaded with great features, but we’ve had irritating leakage issues with our samples.
The ‘DropLoc’ cable shuttle needs to be set up exactly right, but having the cable anchored at the lever end makes it easier, and once you’ve got it sorted the whole mechanism can be unscrewed for easy removal/refitting.
There’s a wide range of stroke lengths, with super-long 175mm and 200mm versions available for an extra £40. It’s lightweight and short for its travel.
The saddle clamp gets large titanium bolts for security and separate angle adjustment, and there’s a layback head option for £35.
Whether you choose the ‘universal’ remote or the sweetly-machined shifter-style ‘Digit’ unit seen here, the action is very smooth. Return speed can be altered and stop-point modulation is excellent.
The 9point8 post has a great reputation for reliability too, although we’ve had gradual pressure leakage problems.
e*thirteen Vario Infinite
- Price: £200 as tested
- Weight: 628g
- Stroke length (* tested): 120mm-150mm, 150mm-180mm*
- Diameter: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
- Max length: 535mm
e*thirteen’s post offers 30mm of tool-free travel adjustment in 5mm increments, without needing to remove the post from the bike. It’s quick and easy to adjust, although we questioned how often you’d change your travel after the initial setup.
The post’s stanchion and head are forged as a single piece to add rigidity, although the post did develop some play during testing. e*thirteen says its gas-sprung cartridge is designed to reduce the force needed to drop the saddle. We did find return speed a little slow though and it isn’t adjustable.
We really liked the Vario remote, which is sold separately for £50 and has an angle-adjustable paddle. It comes with a standard bar clamp and is also SRAM Matchmaker compatible.
Fox Transfer Factory 2020
- Price: £438 / €498 / $409 / AU$658 (including lever)
- Weight: 646g
- Stroke length (* tested): 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm*
- Diameters (* tested): 30.9mm, 31.6mm*
- Max length: 505.7mm
- Internal length: 298.5mm
If you can afford it, Fox’s Transfer is a robust, sweet-performing post that can be switched between internal and external routing.
It uses a typical hook-ended actuator lever design, but cable clamping and cutting is done at the lever end, making it a much easier process.
The light-action remote lever is available in under-bar shifter style or vertical ‘universal’ format too. You do have to buy that separately at £69 on top of the £369 post cost, which seems steep given its average, wobbly-from-new design.
Fox recently announced the addition of a 175mm stroke length post to the Transfer lineup, which is compatible with the Race Face 1x lever, and the new post and remote will cost the same as the other length models.
Function is silky smooth though, with excellent speed and position control. Every Transfer we’ve used has stayed that way indefinitely, no matter how bad the conditions or minimal the maintenance.
That makes the high price a reasonable investment, and the Performance version skips the gold Kashima coating of the Factory post to save £50. You can even switch to external operation using an actuator at the collar.
Latest deals for the Fox Transfer Factory
KS LEV Integra
- Price: £290 as tested
- Weight: 484g (without remote and cable)
- Stroke length (* tested): 100mm, 125mm*, 150mm, 175mm
- Diameters: 27.2mm, 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
- Max length: 450mm
- Internal length: 250mm
KS’s LEV is light, well priced, flex-free, available in lots of options and more reliable than most of its rivals. It’s been on the market for a while now, so we’ve had plenty of time to work out what it is – and isn’t – good at.
Its large-diameter upper shaft means it flexes noticeably less than most posts when pedalling in longer lengths and on bikes with slack seat angles .
The low weight will appeal to XC/trail riders, and there’s even a 27.2mm version (100mm stroke) for hardtails and older frames. It’s got a smooth and easily controlled stroke with a solid top-out thunk that leaves no doubt that it has re-extended.
Pricing is okay too, with a 100/125mm model at £290, 150mm at £310 and 175mm at £340. KS’s shifter-style ‘Southpaw’ lever (£37 alloy, £59 carbon) is much nicer to use than the short ‘universal’ knuckle lever that comes as standard.
The way that the post extends if you pick the bike up by the saddle is a pet hate of some people. We do still occasionally get LEVs that need a nudge or pull to extend them too, but that’s less common than it used to be.
Our main criticism of the LEV is how the cable is mounted – it’s clamped at the post end instead of the lever. This means accurate cable tension and length is needed to get it working well and it takes longer to set up than posts where the cable is clamped at the remote end.
Latest deals for the KS LEV Integra
- Price: £300 as tested
- Weight: 601g (including lever)
- Stroke length (* tested): 125mm, 150mm*
- Diameters (* tested): 30.9mm, 31.6mm *
- Max length: 499mm
Surprising us with its consistent performance, the Jack post didn’t miss a beat during the testing period, compressing and extending with the sort of regularity you could set your watch by.
Its return speed is a little slow for our tester’s tastes and we weren’t able to adjust how quickly it rebounded. The lever is basic when compared to RockShox’ Reverb 1x offering, but it’s light and functional.
The clamp remained tight and the two-bolt system makes adjusting your seat a doddle. Setting the post up – once you’ve tackled the internal cable routing on your frame – was also easy.
Syncros Duncan Dropper 2.0
- Price: £210 as tested
- Weight: 562g
- Stroke length (*tested): 125mm, 150mm*
- Diameters: 31.6mm
- Max length: 458mm
Because the Duncan Dropper 2.0 comes in solely one diameter (31.6mm), it’s only possible to fit it to bikes with a 31.6mm or larger — using a shim — diameter seatpost. Further restrictions in available travel options also limit choice.
But if you’re lucky enough to have a bike with a seat tube that it’ll fit and need either a 125mm or 150mm travel post, the Duncan Dropper 2.0 is a cracking performer.
With the remote included with the post, a smooth and predictable action, and an easy-to-use and reliable two-bolt seat clamp, there are few reasons to not spend your cash on the Duncan.
It does appear to be pretty similar to Race Face’s Aeffect-R and Brand-X’s Ascend II posts, the latter of which costs around £60 less and, in our opinion, has a better remote and cabling. If you’re dead set on the Syncros you can’t go wrong, but there are similar posts out there for less money, so shop wisely.
Latest deals for the Syncros Dropper 2.0
- Price: £220 as tested
- Weight (claimed): 672g
- Stroke length: 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 170mm*
- Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 24.9mm
- Max length: 478mm (170mm travel)
- Internal length: 290mm
The latest Manic is proving to be an excellent, cost-effective post.
While the neat shifter-style remote wobbles a bit from new, it has plenty of leverage for a light action. The stroke is smooth and easily controlled in both directions, with reasonable return speed and an easily felt top-out clunk.
While the Manic was updated fairly recently, all the reliability feedback we’ve had from users has been excellent so far. Replacing the sealed-cartridge internals only costs £20 if there’s an issue.
The cable can unhook if you move the post in the frame without keeping it taut, but we’re assured there’s a fix imminent for that glitch.
Latest deals for the X-Fusion Manic
Dropper post buyer’s guide: what to look for
What is a dropper seatpost?
A dropper post is a height-adjustable seatpost that allows you to lower your saddle quickly and easily on the fly by pushing a handlebar-mounted remote.
Why do mountain bikers use dropper seatposts?
Mountain biking is a dynamic sport with riders moving all around the bike. Dropping your saddle down gives you much more space to get behind the seat on steep sections, moving your weight back on the bike.
Dropper posts aren’t just for getting rad on the descents; a tap of the remote pops your saddle back to the correct height for efficient pedalling, all without having to stop.
Having the ability to gain standover height is beneficial for nearly every type of mountain biking. In fact, even gravel and cyclocross riders are embracing the added control, where being able to quickly switch from grinding uphill to attacking a descent is essential.
How much travel do I need?
Travel refers to how much the posts slides up and down, and it dictates just how far out of the way you’ll be able to get your saddle while still having the best position for pedalling.
Less expensive posts often have less travel. The longer the travel, the stronger and more precise the internal mechanisms have to be.
100mm is the starting point for most dropper posts. That amount of drop makes a noticeable difference, but we’ve found that longer travel posts do a much better job of maximising the clearance while maintaining a proper seated pedalling height.
The typical amount of drop is around 125mm to 170mm of travel, which works well for most riders.
Longer travel posts do exist, from 170mm up to 210mm, but can be difficult to use for shorter riders or on certain bike frames. That said, longer travels are becoming more and more common as technology improves and bike manufacturers design frames with shorter seat tubes.
To figure out how long of a drop you can use, measure your existing seatpost from the saddle rail to the top of seat collar, then compare this to the length of the dropper post from saddle rail to below the post’s collar.
If the number is the same or less, you’re in business. If the dropper post’s length is longer, you’ll have to use another option.
Fixed or infinite travel adjustment?
There are two travel styles for dropper posts, those that have fixed height settings where the post stops (20mm down, 75mm down, etc.), and those that do not, often referred to as stepless or infinitely adjustable.
Stepless posts let you stop the saddle anywhere within the post’s travel range. The majority of posts on the market are stepless designs.
Dropper seatpost internal workings
All posts require some sort of spring to return the saddle to the fully upright position and a locking mechanism to hold it in place.
Early designs simply used coil springs and pins to do the job, but these were less refined and often returned the saddle back towards your bottom at an unnerving speed.
You can still find mechanically locking designs with an air spring, but most dropper posts now use a fully sealed hydraulic cartridge that contains both a pressurised charge and a mechanism that allows the adjustment.
There are a number of advantages to this, namely that the body of the post, which needs to cope with very heavy loads, doesn’t also have to be airtight and so lower friction seals can be used for a lighter action.
If something does go wrong with the post, then it’s also much quicker and easier to drop in a replacement cartridge rather than repairing the entire post.
Dropper seatpost remotes
On most droppers, lowering the saddle is done by a handlebar-mounted remote.
The remote lever commonly sits under the bar, taking the place of the front shifter paddles on bikes equipped with a single-ring drivetrain. On bikes with a front shifter, remotes that integrate into the lock-on grip collar or sit above the bar are available.
On bargain-priced dropper posts, the lever may be just under the saddle on the post’s head. The obvious downside to this style is having to take a hand off the bar, something you don’t want to do when coming into a section worthy of dropping the saddle.
Most remotes on the market use a cable to operate them but some, such as the RockShox Reverb, use a hydraulic system.
There are drawbacks and benefits to each. Cables are cheap and easy to replace if they fail, but over time they become stiffer to use as dirt enters them.
That isn’t a problem for hydraulic units, but they are much harder to fix should you damage one in the field.
The overwhelming majority of dropper post cables are internally routed. That requires a hole in the frame to route the cable up through the seat tube – virtually every modern mountain bike, and the latest gravel bikes, have this option.
The other cable option is an external cable that either attaches at the dropper post’s collar or up at the head where the saddle attaches.
Benefits of an internally routed cable include clean looks, better protection from dirt and debris, and zero cable movement when dropping the post. But, like any internally routed cable, set up can be tricky, and swapping cables and housing can be a chore.
The upsides to an externally routed cable are compatibility with any frame and a more simple setup. The negatives deal primarily with cables that attach to the seatpost head, because the cable can interfere with the bike’s rear tyre or hit your leg if not carefully routed.
The final option does away with the cable completely – the RockShox Reverb AXS is an example of a wireless dropper post.
Removing the cable from the equation makes installation super easy and also makes swapping the seatpost from bike to bike a reality, provided they share the same seatpost diameter.