Another year, another dropper post is close to market. USE (Ultimate Sport Engineering) has quite the history when it comes to seatposts though, and its Helix post sounds like it could be relatively unique.
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The drop is controlled by a helix-shaped structure inside the post that spins as the post moves up and down — this is then grabbed by a cable operated clutch towards the bottom of the post.
The return is controlled by an air spring. USE says that it tried a number of return spring options, including hydraulic and a physical spring, but ended up back with an air spring because it found this the most reliable option.
Being air, the pressure will be adjustable by the end user to tailor the return speed of the post — some will like it relatively benign, while others (myself included) like a much snappier return speed — higher pressures should give this. The air spring valve is at the top of the post, easily accessible.
Reliability is the aim of the game for USE with the Helix. It says that not only should the mechanism be inherently reliable anyway, but the whole shebang will be user serviceable.
If something goes wrong, it’s likely that most people with a modicum of mechanical nous should be able to fix it (service kits and spares will be available from USE).
Up top, the post uses the Duro head seen on USE's rigid MTB posts, which offers a lot of tilt adjustment for bikes with more extreme seat tubes. There’s 10mm of layback on the Helix.
The Duro head is pretty easy to set up, and it looks like setting the cable should be too.
It appears that more and more cable actuated dropper posts are locating the cable nipple at the base of the post (as opposed to at the lever end) and this makes fitting the posts a lot easier in my experience, because the cable pinch bolt is far more accessible and adjustable at the lever end.
USE is planning to release six versions of the post: 125mm and 165mm drops, with 30.9, 31.6 and (later on) 27.2mm diameters.
As yet I don’t have prices or weights, as the one I saw at Eurobike 2017 was an early sample post. We’ll bring you more news as soon as we get our mitts on them.