Ascend XL is an affordable 200mm dropper

Ascend XL long-travel dropper post
Ascend XL is available in 200- and 170mm stroke lengths (Image credit: Brand-X)

Brand-X has responded to consumer demand for longer dropper posts with its new Ascend XL.

The design logic behind longer dropper seatposts is simple: a lower seat drop, gets you in a better descending centre-of-gravity position, especially when rolling over technical trail features.

As mountain bike frame designers have shortened seat tubes on newer models, to allow for greater dropper post insertion lengths, the industry has also responded with longer adjustable seatposts.

Five years ago 150mm was considered an enduro-specification dropper seatpost. In 2020, the option of choice for tall or technically gifted riders is 200mm. The Brand-X Ascend XL range now offers a 200mm drop option, in both 30.9- and 31.6mm diameter seatpost sizes.

Providing longer droppers for the latest generation of mountain bike frames is not a simple question of literally stretching the existing 150mm models. Lengthening the dropper seatpost increases leverage forces that play on the shaft contact points, which potentially increases bushing strain.

Brand-X’s industrial designers have wisely considered all the engineering issues that could possibly arise from longer-travel dropper seatposts. As such, the new Ascend XL range features appropriate mechanical updates to ensure superior durability, for its size.

The company’s new Ascend XL dropper seatposts have a larger diameter shaft structure, at 26mm, reducing flex. Overall weight remains competitive, at 685g.

Mindful of the leverage forces at play when riders are pedalling along on a 200m dropper seatpost, at full extension, Brand-X has placed an additional DU bushing in the mid-cap, to improve durability. The new Brand-X 200mm droppers also have a lower stack height, courtesy of smaller 27mm collars.

Operating via a linkage actuated paddle-shift remote, Brand-X’s Ascend XL 200mm does not suffer the potentially annoying cable pull of conventional hydraulic dropper seatpost mechanisms.

The 200mm Brand-X Ascend XL dropper seatpost is available at £169,99.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.