Best dropper posts 2019: buyer's guide and recommendations

Our guide to the best height-adjustable seatposts on the market

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 now, it's near impossible to find a mountain bike without one. 

We've tested a huge range of dropper posts and this list represents the best of the best. 

Best dropper posts tested

Brand-X Ascend XL

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Reliable, no-nonsense performance from Brand X
Reliable, no-nonsense performance from Brand X

  • £164.00 / €191.99 / $251.99 / AU$317.99 for the model tested
  • Weight: 637g
  • Stroke length: 150mm
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
  • Max length: 455mm
  • Internal length: 255mm

The Ascend range from Brand-X offers reliable, no-nonsense performance in sizes to suit most bikes at total-bargain prices. 

This 150mm-stroke XL version is the latest addition to the family, but uses the same proven mechanism as the 120mm post (£139.99). It comes with a wobbly but functional shifter-style remote lever for 1x transmissions, but a vertical 'universal' lever is also available. 

Cable fitting and set-up is a typically fiddly affair with the nipple at the lever end, but the linkage actuator means operation is smooth enough. Return speed is acceptable without any danger of neutering you, and the top-out is discernible. 

Despite costing less than it does to service some droppers, Ascend reliability is better than most, making it a no-brainer if you're watching your wallet. There's also an externally-routed 125mm Ascend II for £139.99 and a 27.2mm version for the same price (85mm or 105mm stroke, internal). 

Crankbrothers Highline

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The Crankbrothers Highline has proved to be a truly outstanding option
The Crankbrothers Highline has proved to be a truly outstanding option

  • £299.99 / €350 / $350
  • Weight: 696g
  • Stroke length: 100mm, 125mm, 160mm
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
  • Max length: 465mm
  • Internal length: 320mm

Crankbrothers had a bad reputation for dropper posts a few years ago, but the Highline has proved to be a truly outstanding option, in terms of user-friendly operation and reliability.

At just under 700g it's no lightweight. There's a lot of post south of the collar too, which could cause fit issues if you have to run it slammed to fit the 160mm stroke between you and the bike. 

The nipple sits inside the post and it comes with the cable already installed. That makes fitting a breeze because you just have to thread it through the outer, pull it tight and clamp it into the shifter-style remote. Just make sure to line up the arrows on the mechanism and main body. 

We had issues with cable tension on the first bike we tested it on, which had tight internal routing, and marked it down accordingly. But further use involving multiple samples, bikes and testers has thrown up no such problems, so we're confident in raising the score. 

The hinged bar mount clamps onto a spherical section on the remote body for massive angle/position adjustability, and you can even get coloured paddle covers. If you need to remove the post from your bike, the bottom end unscrews complete with the cable and actuator, so you just screw it back in and you're good to go. 

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. 

While there aren't many Highlines out on the trails, every one we've used or spotted and asked about has been trouble-free, even with minimal maintenance. The reasonable pricing is the same across all sizes and stroke lengths, and there's a three-year warranty should you need it too. 

Fox Transfer Factory

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Fox's Transfer Factory post is one of the best
Fox's Transfer Factory post is one of the best

  • £438 / €498 / $409 / AU$658
  • Weight: 646g
  • Stroke length: 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm
  • Diameters: 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 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 silk 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.

9Point8 Fall Line

BikeRadar score4/5

9Point8's Fall Line offers smooth action and adjustable return speeds
9Point8's Fall Line offers smooth action and adjustable return speeds

  • £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 175 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 leak problems.

BikeYoke REVIVE

BikeRadar score4/5

BikeYoke's Revive lets you bleed out problem-causing air
BikeYoke's Revive lets you bleed out problem-causing air

  • From £299
  • Weight: 620g
  • Stroke length: 125mm, 160mm, 185mm
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
  • Max length: 463mm
  • Internal length: 265mm

BikeYoke got into the dropper business by designing remotes to fix problems on other posts, and its own REVIVE dropper is designed with a unique self-fixing feature. 

There’s an extra-long 185mm option and the low saddle clamp means the 160mm version we tested fits where most 150mm posts do. It’s secure and easy to adjust too. 

The minimal shifter-style lever has a drilled-out paddle to stop dirty thumbs slipping and contributes to low overall system weight. It’s loose on its pivot from new though. 

By leaving out an internal floating piston to separate oil and air, BikeYoke reduces shaft drag for a smooth, adjustable speed stroke. If the post does start to sag or bounce, turning the 4mm bleed valve under the saddle while compressing it ‘revives’ it back to proper function. 

We’ve got one post that needs ‘reviving’ irritatingly often, but our other samples hardly ever require it. The BikeYoke dropper is a reasonable price too.

KS LEV Integra

BikeRadar score4/5

The KS LEV Integra has above average reliability
The KS LEV Integra has above average reliability

  • £347 
  • Range €379 to €449, $329 to $389, AU$449.95 to AU$519.95
  • Weight: 576g
  • Stroke length: 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 175mm
  • Diameters: 27.2mm, 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
  • Max length: 450mm
  • Internal length: 250mm

KS’s latest LEV is light, well priced, flex free, available in lots of options and more reliable than most of its rivals. 

Its large-diameter upper shaft means it flexes noticeably less in longer lengths or on bikes with slack seat angles than most posts when pedaling. 

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.

RockShox Reverb B1 X1

BikeRadar score4/5

When it works, it's in a class of its own... and happily reliability issues seem to be a thing of the past
When it works, it's in a class of its own... and happily reliability issues seem to be a thing of the past

  • £395 / $349 / AU$TBC
  • Weight: 695g
  • Stroke length: 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 170mm
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 34.9mm
  • Max length: 530mm
  • Internal length: 290mm

When RockShox’s latest Reverb works, it’s truly in a class of its own, and recent experience with multiple samples suggests that initial build quality issues are now behind it. 

Fully-hydraulic operation means the Reverb can cope with much more tortuous internal routing than the cable-operated competition. Lever feel from the new shifter-style 1x remote is fantastic too, although that adds £67/$98 and 45g (with clamp) over the standard universal push-button remote. 

The post now comes in a wide range of diameters and lengths, it’s short for its stroke and the twin-bolt saddle clamp is secure and easy to use. 

It’s impossible to ignore the initial build quality issues that saw B1 posts being slammed for widespread top-stroke bounce issues. We’ve had flawless function from our own long-term samples and the large number of Reverbs we’ve used on test bikes recently, though, so hopefully SRAM’s assurance that all new posts will be fine will prove accurate.

Specialized Command Post IRcc

BikeRadar score4/5

Specialized's Command Post IRcc features 10 pre-set stopping points and quick return speed
Specialized's Command Post IRcc features 10 pre-set stopping points and quick return speed

  • £230 / $350 / AU$500
  • Stroke length: 75mm, 100mm, 125mm
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm

Unlike other posts with infinitely adjustable travel, Specialized's Command Post IRcc has a stepped design with 10 increments. Having pre-set positions can make nailing the just-right saddle height over and over easier for some riders.  

The saddle height return speed is adjusted by adding or removing air through the bottom of the post, but it's one of the fastest returning posts out there for better or worse.

Interestingly, Specialized delivers the Command Post with two remotes. The Single Ring Lever bar remote copies the shape and position of a SRAM shifter paddle, making it super easy to find and operate. The lock-on grip collar remote plays nicely with or without front shifters.

The Command Post is available in 75, 100 or 125mm of travel and 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters.

Syncros Dropper 2.0

BikeRadar score4/5

Reliable, reasonably light and priced dropper from Syncros
Reliable, reasonably light and priced dropper from Syncros

  • £179
  • Weight: 635g
  • Stroke length: 120mm, 150mm
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
  • Max length: 440mm
  • Internal length: 245mm

Scott’s house-brand (Syncros) dropper is a slightly crude but reliable and reasonably light option at a good price, but costs £15 more than the essentially identical Brand-X post. 

Okay, some of the laser-etched markings are different and it’s got a slightly glossier finish, but mechanically the two posts and their remotes are identical. Even the boxes they come in are the same, apart from colour and printing. 

Obviously that makes the Brand-X slightly better value, but the Syncros post is still a decent option compared to other droppers and a welcome sight on complete Scott bikes

The lever is rattly from new. There’s also a bit of saddle twist, but the twin-bolt clamp is secure and easy to use. The rattle doesn’t get any worse over time either, and reliability of this family of posts is better than that of most more expensive and complicated options. 

Weight is reasonable too and it comes in the most popular stroke lengths and diameters.

X-Fusion Manic

BikeRadar score4/5

An excellent cost effective post from X Fusion
An excellent cost effective post from X Fusion

  • £200 / $200 / AU$TBC
  • Weight: 735g
  • Stroke length: 125mm, 150mm
  • Diameters: 30.9mm, 31.6mm
  • Max length: 490mm
  • Internal length: 290mm

The last generation of X-Fusion droppers did the brand’s reputation no favours, but the latest Manic is proving an excellent cost effective post. 

At over 700g it’s heavy. It’s also longer than most 150mm posts, which may make it a squeeze to fit between you and your frame or just into your seat tube. 

It’s really well-priced, though, and 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 is a relatively new design – particularly the 150mm version – all the reliability feedback we’ve had from users has been excellent so far. Replacing the sealed-cartridge internals only costs £20 if there is 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.

Dropper seatpost buyer's guide

What is a dropper seatpost? 

It's 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 in steep sections and it greatly improves the bike to body disconnect that allows riders to conquer all sorts of terrain.

They're not just for getting rad on the descents, a tap of the remote pops your saddle back to the correct height for efficient pedaling, all without having to stop.

Having the ability to gain standover 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 is 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 pedaling.

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 100–150mm of travel, which works well for most riders. Longer travel posts do exist, from 170mm up to 200mm, but can be difficult to use for shorter riders or on certain bike frames.

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 that the post stops at (20mm down, 75mm down, etc.) and those that do not, often referred to as stepless or infinitely adjustable.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Posts with fixed travel settings allow you to very quickly move the post into the required position without having to hover your rear end on the post until it reaches the correct height.

Stepless posts let you stop the saddle anywhere within the post's travel range. The majority of posts on the market at the moment 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.

It's common to still see mechanically locking designs in conjunction with an air spring, but most designs 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 bike's 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. 

Cable routing

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 set up. 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 last option does away with the cable completely. A few companies, such as Magura, offer wirelessly operated dropper posts

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.

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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