When we first reviewed the Reverb earlier this year it earned 4.5 stars and set our new benchmark for dropper posts. We found little to criticise, but RockShox have been busy for 2012. They've updated the original 125mm-travel (4.92in) model, added a 100mm (4in) variant and developed a 'Stealth' version with internal cabling for Scott and Trek bikes.
Reverb's running changes
For our 'redux' test of the Reverb, we put a month on the new 100mm model. While its operation remains identical both in use and feel to the original version, there are a few key upgrades. First off, while actuation of the original Reverb relied on the same type of plastic tubing used on RockShox's X-Loc suspension remotes, 2012 models are instead fitted with hydraulic brake line.
Why? While we never experienced the issue first-hand, we've heard feedback from other riders that the first generation Reverb's plastic line and barbed press-fit line fitting detached too easily in bar-spinning crashes – maybe we just weren't crashing hard enough. With the new line, the fittings are also replaced.
At the post end there's a replaceable branded fixture, while at the remote end there's a new thread-in design that should prevent disconnection under duress. The new thread-in fittings also make line adjustment easier; simply unscrew the fitting, cut the line (preferably with a specialty line cutter to ensure a square and clean cut) and then thread the fitting back into the line, after which the system may need to be bled.
For 2012 the Reverb will come in three lengths (355mm, 380mm and 420mm) and two travel amounts (100mm and 125mm)
Bleeding the post is nothing to be scared of – RockShox provide a bleed kit with every 2012 Reverb and we found the process to be much easier than bleeding a brake and nearly as quick as changing the cable and housing (and adjusting everything) on a competitor's post. We do miss the neat little rubber ferrule that the original Reverb had at the connection from line to post, though.
That ferrule might have prevented the kink we put in the new model's line a couple rides into our test. That kink was caused by improper installation, not any fault with the post – we attached the provided line guide to the frame rather the fixed section of post where it was supposed to go. After moving the guide, we had no more issues with the line kinking.
In addition to the new line and fittings, RockShox now offer a black anodized colour option, in addition to the standard silver, for the main seal coupling and a nifty Enduro Collar, which will ship with both 100mm and 125mm posts for 2012. The Enduro Collar clamps to the upper shaft and allows the rider to customize (set a limit) the overall travel of the seatpost.
All 2012 Reverbs come with the Enduro Collar, which can be used to limit the travel of the post
Building upon its solid start
We had a month on the 2012 Reverb and it's unequivocally the best dropper post on the market. Its hydraulic actuation is, and stays (our original model lasted a year with no problems), the smoothest in the business – cable actuated models can't compete, even with fancy slick cables. Despite kinking the line, our 2012 post works as flawlessly as the original.
With its hydraulic damped, air sprung internals, the post offers infinite adjustment throughout its travel range, and even adjustable return speed via a damper adjustment. We've changed the remote actuator, shortened the line and bled the post; all tasks that were easily and quickly carried out. Its main, triple energized fork seal has yet to show the slightest sign of weeping, its brass key prevented any notable slop during our use, and the two-bolt micro adjust clamp is simple to use and adjust, and never slipped once during the course of our testing.
The handlebar adjuster is an adapted version of RockShox's versatile X-Loc remote lever, which comes in left and right versions that also offer MatchMaker X compatibility. The discreet mount (non-MatchMakerX) will no longer be available for 2012 in its current form; however, the MatchMaker X mount comes with a block so that it can be mounted away from a Avid brake lever. We prefer to mount the right-oriented adjuster upside down next to the left grip and apart from the brake lever – a position which best mimics that of a standard paddle shift lever.
The extra mounting block eliminates 2011's 'discreet mount' version of the lever
Despite this praise for the 100mm post, we'd still recommend the 125mm model for most trail riders. It's a little heavier – 550g vs 516g, 355mm length – but we really missed those last 25mm on our 6in-travel bike. So much so that, on occasion, we used our bike's quick-release clamp to drop the post further. The 100mm Reverb is still useful for bikes with less travel though, as well as shorter riders – they're the main reason RockShox created it.
There's a third group who may also embrace the shorter-travel Reverb – downhillers. This year several high-profile riders used the 125mm Reverb on the pedally World Cup course in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Because 'proper' seat height on a downhill bike is generally lower than on a cross-country or trail rig, the 100mm post should be ideal for this kind of usage.