It’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago most riders were still riding without a dropper seat post, and even then they were reserved only for the enduro bikes. In today's world, dropper seat posts are an essential on any mountain bike specification list as they let you instantly lower the saddle for maximum confidence and control when tackling demanding terrain.
Droppers have advanced considerably since their release and nowadays we’re seeing big travel drops of 210mm, seamless wireless electronic actuation, and bulletproof longevity, but which post is truly the best? Bike Perfect has been testing the best models and compiled a guide with all the necessary information.
If you’re an XC or gravel rider looking to reap the benefits of a dropper, check out our guide to the best short-travel dropper posts.
Best dropper posts
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PNW sets out to answer all the glitches of one of the most vital yet potentially problematic components of modern mountain biking. It has not only nailed length, frame and saddle fit but also easy installation issues with the Rainier.
The Rainer Gen 3 can actually be used for any off-road bike in your stable since it's available in a range of stroke options as well as diameters so everyone from mountain bikers to gravel riders will be happy.
We found that the Rainier Gen 3 is almost impossible to fault from price to weight and performance. There's even a lifetime warranty. Read more about why we rated this dropper post 5/5 stars after putting it through the paces on a gravel bike in the full PNW Rainier Gen 3 review.
RockShox's renowned Reverb post goes electronic as part of SRAM’s revolutionary AXS wireless groupset. You obviously pay a dear premium for this vanguard technology as an early adopter of electronic mountain bike components, but there are some real advantages to be had.
Wireless operation eliminates the need for cable routing and cutting. You don’t risk any cable tensioning issues over time either, which could influence this dropper’s actuation. Simply keep the battery charged and you’ll have 40 hours’ worth of flawlessly reliable dropper-post operation guaranteed.
Your frame will gain a clean look without the hassle of cable routing and also look better after a season’s hard riding, as there is no risk of cable rub damage. Read more about the post and its performance in our full RockShox Reverb AXS review.
The BikeYoke Revive is a hydraulic post activated via a cable and a handlebar-mounted remote lever. Besides its smooth action and outstanding build quality, the Revive’s biggest asset is its super compact clamp and short overall design – with the collar measuring a mere 18mm, it’s one of the shortest we’ve used.
The Revive gets its name from the self-bleeding adjuster on the head of the post itself. Not only does this make general maintenance a total cinch it also means BikeYoke has been able to do away with an IFP which results in much smoother overall action. A downside to the IFP-free design is that oil and air can mix if you turn your bike upside down, but should this happen a simple flick of the revive lever gets things running exactly as they should again – it’s only something we had to do twice during four months of rigorous testing – a small price to pay for a smooth action and blissful reliability.
While the BikeYoke Trig lever does have to be purchased additionally, thanks to its sealed cartridge bearing operation it's one of the smoothest out there. BikeYoke also offers several lever lengths to suit different riders' individual ergonomics better.
While we tested the 160mm travel post, the Revive is also available in 125mm, 185mm, and 213mm drops. It's on the pricier end but we think the performance, low-stack height, and trusty reliability ensure you’re getting your money's worth.
For more info, head over to our full BikeYoke Revive 2.0 review.
Crankbrothers has chosen to spec a completely sealed hydraulic system on its Highline 3 post for smooth actuation and to keep the worst of the muck out. The brand is also offering a three-year warranty.
The Highline comes in a range of sizes from shorter 80mm XC/ gravel options to long-range 200mm lengths to accommodate low-slung gravity bikes. While Crankbrothers has a couple of other dropper post models in its line-up, the Highline 3 offers the most variety in size.
The lever is smooth and easy to use, resisting flex when you slam it in a rush. Frustratingly, Crankbrothers doesn't include a lever with the post. While this does open up the opportunity to customize your lever option , it seems odd given other manufacturers include it in the package.
If you're interested in learning about the Crankbrothers Highline short-travel dropper post for XC and gravel riding, check out our full review.
RockShox's Reverb remains the dropper post you are still most likely to encounter. The current line-up offers a good spread of stroke lengths and seatpost diameters, along with a much-improved remote design.
The Reverb has developed an undeserved reputation for unreliability, simply by the virtue that there are more of them out there than any other dropper – and that will return a proportionally higher volume of individual unit mechanical issues. If regularly serviced, they run very well.
Potentially problematic in very cold weather, due to the hydraulic-actuation system – but we are referring to temperatures that would probably also preclude you from considering any high-speed technical descends.
Magura was the first company to launch a wireless dropper post in 2016 and has since updated the Vyron dropper, giving it a quicker response time and return.
As with any wireless setup, installation is a simple affair, no cables to route or systems to bleed, just fit the post and remote. The remote communicates via Bluetooth to activate the motor in the dropper post to open the hydraulic system. The Dropper technique is unconventional as you must hold the post in the dropped position until the hydraulic circuit closes, which takes about 0.5 seconds.
The post is easily adjustable, switching from either 175mm to 150mm or 125mm to 100mm by swapping out the immersion tube bottom.
The latest version of the post opts for replaceable batteries in the remote and post, the remote takes a CR2032 battery and the post uses CR2. The switch to batteries allows for better weather sealing and the Vyron MDS-V3 has an IP-67 rating. On a full charge Magura state that you should expect a year's worth of use before the battery in the post runs out, although this depends on how much your ride
If you like some Kashima-coated bling atop your trail or enduro bike frame, Fox’s Transfer Factory dropper is the solution. It features an ergonomically pleasing remote and smooth actuation, but no matter how good this dropper looks, it remains very expensive – and the cost of ownership cannot be moderated by DIY servicing as you’ll need to have it tended to by an official Fox service center.
Available stroke lengths are satisfactory but there are only two-seat diameter options – an area where its direct rival from RockShox, the Reverb, is superior offering a 34.9mm option. If you possess the budget and simply must match your Fox X2 shock or Factory 36 fork with a gleaming Kashima-coated dropper, this is the only choice.
For riders looking for a lighter Fox dropper with less travel, the Fox Transfer SL is the dropper for you.
If it is value you seek instead of a slick appearance, Brand-X’s Ascend XL is unbeatable. With an ample 150mm of stroke (or more), this is a reliable dropper with specifications ideally suited to trail or enduro riders mindful of budget.
The Ascend XL’s weight is not outrageously heavy and its price represents inarguable value, equating to what more sophisticated droppers often cost to service when abused. If you have mechanical aptitude, there is also the option to DIY maintain this dropper, further reducing the cost of ownership over time.
The KS LEV has a great remote design and smooth actuation, thanks to its roller-clutch bearing design. These posts are reasonably light, too. But the feature which makes the KS LEV range notable is a narrow seatpost option.
If you are running a steel hardtail or ultralight carbon bike with a 27.2mm seatpost, your options for a dropper are limited. KS has endured by offering the LEV in the 27.2mm seatpost diameter option, catering to a dedicated cadre of riders who value the feel of a steel hardtail frame and enjoy technical descending.
Not only do KS offer a narrower diameter post, but they also offer a huge range of travel options from as little as 65mm all the way up to 175mm.
What you need to know about the best dropper posts
What do I need to measure to ensure I get the right dropper?
When measuring up your bike for a dropper post there are a few key things that need to be taken into consideration. First off is to determine which diameter post your frame requires – most modern frames are likely to be either 30.9mm or 31.6mm, while older frames, especially those manufactured from steel could be 27.2mm. To ensure you're getting the correct one simply check your old seatpost to see if the sizing is stamped on the shaft. Alternatively, measure the internal width of your seat tube with a set of vernier calipers.
When selecting the amount of travel, you want to try to work out what the largest amount of drop both the frame and yourself would accept. A good starting point would be to measure your current saddle height, find out the insertion depth of your frame's seat tube and check out the stack stats published in our guide.
How much dropper post travel is best?
When RockShox launched the Reverb, 125mm was considered a lot of dropper post stroke. These days, that number is classified as a short-travel option. With the best dropper posts ranging from short 80mm and upwards of 200mm and beyond, some options can now get you into a lower and more stable position than ever before.
Can I put a dropper post on any bike?
It must be noted that there are constraints. Not all frames are designed to accommodate the latest generation of ultra-long droppers. Mountain bike designers have become cognisant of the grown-in dropper post length and the demand for them among riders, but older frames could limit your insertion depth and ultimately cap the ability of dropper post travel you can use.
Dropper post length and insertion depths is not the only consideration when choosing the best dropper post for your bike, seat tube diameter and potential cable routing must also be considered to assure fitting compatibility.
How do I maintain my dropper post?
Dropper posts carry a lot of rider weight and transfer a great deal of leveraged force onto their bushings when you are seated, pedaling along, and gently rocking those quads through your natural cadence. This is the primary reason that droppers develop dreaded fore-and-aft play and suffer return speed and actuation issues over time.
As droppers have increased in length, they have also become susceptible to bushing wear. Heavier riders, or those who ride with their seat at a peculiar angle, apply leveraged force to the post while pedaling in the seated position. The best droppers are those that possess the tightest possible manufacturing tolerances, which mitigate against the issues mentioned above, potentially causing premature component wear.
It is crucial to be reminded that the dropper post should be preserved with the same care and servicing discipline as your fork or shock. Keep them clean and don’t power-hose them after a muddy ride – it will only embed granular contaminants into the seals and bushings.