Giant developed the Contact Switch post for their own bikes but it’s also available as an aftermarket purchase for 2012. It only comes in one size – 30.9mm – and needs a bit of TLC to keep it running smoothly, but it’s potentially a top value option.
The cable-actuated Contact Switch features 100mm (4in) of travel and can be adjusted infinitely within that range using the handlebar remote. Not only is it one of the cheapest remote dropper posts available, it also uses a separate cartridge to house the air sprung and oil damped internals, which means much less chance of contamination.
To keep both lateral shimmy and wear to a minimum, it features a proprietary anti-twist system – the post runs on four triangular-shaped tracks on the stanchion tube, instead of using the more common key-and-slot design.
Setup is quick but slightly fiddly, due to use of an internal cable clamp. This gives the Contact Switch a sleek look but means you have to remove the saddle clamp assembly and fumble around inside the seatpost head every time you want to fit a new cable.
Initial setup is a little cumbersome due to limited workspace, but otherwise gives the contact switch a clean, clutter-free look: initial setup is a little cumbersome due to limited workspace, but otherwise gives the contact switch a clean, clutter-free look Zach White
Initial setup is a little cumbersome due to limited workspace but the internal cable clamp gives the Contact Switch a clean, clutter-free look
Giant’s slimline remote lever has a solid, quality feel to it and is narrow enough that most riders will be able to fit it next to one of their handlebar grips. However, it doesn’t lend itself to many other positions on the bar, which this could be an issue if you run your gear shifters or brake levers up against the grips. The flexible alloy cable guide coming off the remote adds a quality touch but causes the cable housing to stick out ahead of the bike, where it could snag on branches.
Our first ride with the Contact Switch was on a downhill bike at the Red Bull Final Descent 12-hour race at Winter Park, Colorado. It held up the entire day without issue – impressive, considering that our 200lb tester’s finesse and technique faded with each hour in the saddle.
The post then got swapped over to a 5in-travel trail bike. This seemed like a move that would come as a relief to the Contact Switch but instead, it froze into a position about 30mm below full extension on its first proper ride. Thankfully, there was enough post left inside the frame that we could raise the saddle to a decent height, but if the post had locked deeper into its travel, it would’ve made for a long ride home.
The cable guide provides critical cable tension adjustment, but directed the housing awkwardly out in front of the bike: the cable guide provides critical cable tension adjustment, but directed the housing awkwardly out in front of the bike Zach White
The alloy cable guide provides critical tension adjustment but directs the housing awkwardly out in front of the bike
Remedying the locked post was painless and quick, once we’d received instructions from Giant – we simply had to remove the cartridge from the bottom of the post and reset the actuation trigger by fully compressing it. Once the Contact Switch was reset, it didn’t freeze up again during another half-dozen or so rides. However, the remote lever locks up very quickly if cable or lever pivots get remotely sticky or gritty, so cleanliness is essential.
Damping during height adjustment was initially spot-on but as the miles began to rack up, rebound began to wane. Though compression force never varied, rebound was inconsistent in speed and accuracy, and sometimes required grabbing the saddle and manually extending the post into its top position. Side-to-side shimmy was impressively minimal, however, and the post never loosened up. The saddle clamp also held up well.
Though there are a few good ideas thrown into Giant’s Contact Switch, the bugs need to be sorted out before it has any chance in the already-saturated market of finicky and fragile dropper posts. Luckily for both Giant and their customers, the removable cartridge system should make warranty claims relatively easy to sort out. There are 375 and 400mm length options available, each with 7mm or 9mm saddle rail clamps.