Does Manitou’s Jack seatpost get dropped in a field of top performers?
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Released in 2018, the Manitou Jack dropper seatpost has stiff competition from the likes of RockShox’ Reverb, Fox’s Transfer and the 9point8 Fall Line post. So what distinguishes it from this standard-setting dropper competition? To be totally frank, not a huge amount. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Manitou Jack dropper post specification and details
Like the majority of droppers on the market, the Jack is an internally-routed, cable-operated affair that uses an air spring with a hydraulic release, which is actuated with the push of the remote lever.
The post’s available in 125mm and 150mm drops in both 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters. I tested the 150mm travel, 31.6mm post, which tipped the scales at 580g.
The universal-style remote lever can be mounted on either the left- or right-hand side of the bars, but it can only be positioned one way up. This means the cable exits from the top of the lever above the bars.
The lever weighs 21g.
The lever isn’t as good as a Reverb 1x, but is still functional.Andy Lloyd
At full extension, from the centre of the seat rails to the bottom of the post actuation mechanism, it measures 488mm. In reality, the post’s full length is extended to 499mm once you’ve factored in space for a cable ferrule on the bottom of the mechanism.
Its stack height (how much the post protrudes from the frame when it’s inserted with the collar hard against the top of the seat tube with the post fully compressed) when measured to the centre of the seat rails is 73mm. The post’s head uses a two-bolt design to clamp the seat.
The post’s return speed is controlled by the cable’s tension and there isn’t a dedicated speed adjuster like RockShox’ Reverb. The post’s cable is fastened with a small grub screw on the remote and its tension is adjusted from the lever using a barrel adjuster.
Manitou Jack dropper post set up
Setting up the post is easy, as long as you’re a pro with internal cable routing, but that’s not an exclusive issue with the Jack dropper.
Cable tension was simple to get right; simply pull the cable taught with your fingers and tighten the small grub screw on the remote’s lever. If fine-tuning is required, there’s a barrel adjuster built into the clamp’s cable.
The seat angle is easy to adjust thanks to the two bolts and there’s plenty of adjustment for those who like particularly extreme seat angles. The 4mm Allen key heads feel sturdy, too.
Manitou Jack dropper post performance
There were no problems with water or dirt getting into the post and it proved to be reliable.Andy Lloyd
The post’s on-trail performance has been problem-free, even when subjected to some thoroughly disgusting conditions. Mud, slop and wet don’t seem to have any tangible effect on how the post works, and there has been no stickiness or jolting during either compression or extension from the post’s action during the test period.
Thanks to my test bike’s frame design, the release mechanism on the bottom of the post is fairly well sealed from water ingress, and unsympathetic jet washing hasn’t caused any crunchy cable operation.
But, like any cable-operated dropper post or derailleur, you are going to need to change the inner and outer cables at some point.
The clamp made it easy to adjust seat angle and position thanks to it having two securing bolts.Andy Lloyd
The lever’s actuation is fairly light and surprisingly positive. The post returns at the same speed time and time again but it’s unfortunate that the return speed is a little on the slow side for my tastes, considering there’s no useable speed adjustment.
Having been spoilt with the feel, location and adjustability of the Reverb’s 1x remote lever, I struggled to get the Jack’s remote in a position I was entirely comfortable with. Luckily, the post is compatible with third-party remotes and you could purchase a PNW Components Loam Lever to solve this issue.
When compressed, if you lift your bike by the post it doesn’t extend like some Reverbs do, and there’s absolutely no rattle or rotational free-play in the post’s shaft.
Manitou Jack dropper post bottom line
The post worked like clockwork, although the return speed is a bit slow.Andy Lloyd
The Jack certainly surprised me with its consistent performance and relatively low weight, genuinely offering a viable alternative to any top-performing post on the market at the moment.
The return speed could do with being quicker for my personal tastes and the lever’s quite basic when compared to RockShox’ 1x remote. But, at the lower end of the pricing spectrum, I can forgive it for these problems and a new remote is a few simple clicks away on the PWN website.
Alex started racing downhill at the tender age of 11, later going on to compete internationally representing the UK. At 19, he moved to the Alps to pursue a career as a bike bum clocking up moon-mileage riding the famous tracks in and around Morzine, France. In that time, he broke more bikes than he can remember. Alex then moved back to the UK when he landed a job working for Mountain Biking UK as their Features Editor — BikeRadar's sister title — as their features editor. Since working for MBUK, Alex's focus has moved to towards bike tech and he now wants to find out what bikes and components represent the best value for money regardless of discipline. Alex's current fleet includes his trusty commuter bike, a 2017 Marin Gestalt 3, his long term Orange Stage 6 RS enduro bike, a used and abused 2015 GT Sanction Pro, a Scott Voltage YZ dirt jump bike and a Deluxe Pro 2 BMX.