Dropper posts have provided one of the most significant steps forward for mountain bikers, and many (this writer included) struggle to ride a mountain bike without one.
With the saddle out of the way, riders can easily shift their weight backwards when rolling into steep terrain, but also more easily put the bike on edge and take full advantage of beefy shoulder tread for cornering traction.
The best dropper posts have improved from a reliability and performance standpoint, however the OEM remotes that come with many posts don’t quite stack up to hours of use and abuse. That's why replacing a stiff, wobbly, or harsh-lever-throw remote with a superior aftermarket model can make all the difference. The best dropper post remotes will feature a long lever that focuses on ergonomics, and smooth out the dropper action while also cleaning up your cockpit.
Below are the best dropper post remotes for cable-actuated dropper posts. If you have a hydraulic or electronic dropper, your choices are limited — though Wolf Tooth does make a hydro-to-cable conversion kit. Scroll down for a rundown of the best dropper post remotes, or head for the bottom to find out what to look for when shopping for a dropper remote.
Best dropper post remotes
Made from machined 6061 T6 aluminum with a Delrin axel, Wolf Tooth’s Light Action ReMote utilizes the same internals as the standard version but has a longer paddle to provide more leverage to the silky-smooth action. Rotating on an oversized bearing, Wolf Tooth uses a plastic axle pivot that’s designed to break away in a crash to prevent damage to the lever assembly or your bike or bars — a replacement axle pivots cost $5.
As a Wolf Tooth product, the lever is machined, including the texturing on the thumb paddle and comes in a range of anodized colors with laser-etched graphics. Instead of the multiple bolt mounting points used to adjust most levers, the entire assembly slides on the clamp to allow millimeter-perfect placement.
The PNW Components is one of the most highly regarded dropper levers on the market thanks to its adjustability, high-end materials and tight manufacturing tolerances - it looks pretty great, too. Available with a standard hinged bar clamp, MatchMaker X or i-Spec ii, the lever itself offers mounting points for the clamp. The lever also has a position set screw that allows you to tweak the angle of the paddle.
The thumb paddle is covered in silicone for all-weather grip and adds a bit of customization potential to your cockpit too as it comes in a variety of colors — including a few limited-edition hues. Everything rotates around an oversized sealed bearing to keep the action smooth. The lever accepts cable routing from either direction and sees an integrated barrel adjuster.
Like many of the others on this list, the OneUp Remote is based around a machined lever that spins on a sealed bearing and can be placed in one of three clamp mounting positions. What makes this remote unique is the high placement of the thumb paddle.
The brand says it is designed to mimic your right-hand shifter's inboard upshift paddle, instead of the usual downshift paddle. The calculus here is that less thumb movement is required to reach the lever which means you’re able to maintain a better grip on the bars. It’s cable-actuated and is available with a 22.2mm bar clamp, MatchMaker X, or I-Spec EV/I-Spec II clamps.
A 25g the BikeYoke Triggy is one of the lighter dropper post remotes available. It’s made from 6061 T6 Aluminum, while the polished finish and cut-outs on the thumb pad give it a premium look. There are two horizontal mountain points to allow you to position it in the right spot and it’s available with the I-Spec or MatchMaker mounts or the standard 22.2mm hinged bar clamp — in our experience, the hinge is a little stiff, so you may need to remove your grips.
Unlike some of the other remotes listed here, it spins on a bushing instead of bearing; however, we've not experienced any loss of smoothness, nor has it developed any play.
In our experience, with most people running 1x drivetrains, the under-the-bar shift-lever-style dropper remotes just make sense. They allow you to maintain more grip on the bars and are simply easier to use. However, whether you’re running remote lockout or a 2x drivetrain, there's a chance you may not have the space for an under-the-bar lever.
In this case, the Wolf Tooth Remote BarCentric is one of the best over-the-bar options money can buy. It’s designed to take up as little space as possible and uses a lock-on clamp to ensure it doesn't go spinning around your bars. The ring shape goes all the way around the handlebar, which serves as a pivot point for leverage. it also has an Enduro ball bearing inside to ensure smooth actuation. Made from 6061 TG aluminum, it weighs 41g and has an integrated barrel adjuster.
While the 1x movement cleaned up MTB cockpits, running a dropper post and remote lockout still causes some issues. One of the cleanest solutions we’ve found is Bontrager's new DropLock Remote. This option brings back what is essentially a 2x shifter to the left-hand side of your bars: the lower lever controls your dropper and the upper looks after the suspension.
It’s not compatible with three-position lockouts like you'll find on Scott and Orbea bikes. Still, it works with the two-position lockout found on the Trek Supercaliber and Canyon Lux and can be used with a fork and shock, or just one, depending on your suspension setup.
With dropper posts finding their way onto a growing number of gravel bikes, mounting a dropper lever on a set of drop bars has proved to be a problem. In our experience, the vast majority of the levers are no good and take quite a bit of faffing to get the tension right and, even then, they still feel vague and unpolished. If you’re running a 1x drivetrain, there is always the possibility of bodging your dummy shifter into a dropper remote — or if you’re not keen on voiding the warranty, you can just slot a GRX dropper remote into your bars.
It looks more or less like a GRX shifter: the lever blade is the same and it houses the hydraulics for your brakes (including the brand’s Servo Wave Action) but has a cable stop and can operate your dropper (with an 8.3mm lever throw). The lever still has the anti-slip coating and reach adjust, too. That said, you will need an inline barrel adjuster.
What to know when shopping for a dropper remote
1. Over or under the bar
The vast majority of riders have transitioned to the under-the-bar, left-hand shifter style dropper remotes because there is space now that the front shifter is gone. They are straightforward to use and allow you to maintain a grip on the bars while playing with your seat post.
If your MTB still has a front derailleur or a remote lockout, it may not allow the needed real estate for an under-the-bar dropper. It’s here an over the bar style lever will be useful.
Many OEM droppers are made of plastic and, while they will get the job done, they will develop play and can break over time. Look for something made from metal as it will stand up to more abuse.
3. Barrel adjuster
There is nothing worse than when a dropper post decides not to play ball in the middle of a ride. Sometimes a bit of cable testing adjustment will fix the problem, easy if you have a barrel adjuster — some levers don’t have one.
Dropper remotes will usually come in a standard 22.2mm hinged clamp or mounts specific to SRAM or Shimano brake levers. If you are running brakes that are compatible with the Matchmaker or I-Spec system, it can further clean up your cockpit because there is one less band to go around your handlebars. However, it does limit adjustability ever so slightly.
Dropper levers, just like dropper posts, are moving parts and require some degree of maintenance. Before you buy, we recommend checking whether you can get parts to rebuild your remote - if not, we would suggest you steer clear.
Also, check if your dropper post remote spins on a bushing or a sealed bearing. Sealed bearings require very little maintenance but can be difficult to replace when things go wrong. Bushings on the other hand may need more maintenance but are much easier to work on, fix and tweak.