In 2011, one of my good riding buddies bought himself a shmicky new Rockshox designed seatpost that claimed to revolutionize the way we will ride downhill.
We all laughed and made comment about 300 other things he had bought as part of the NZ MTBR magazines products section that seemed more like an episode of "keeping up with the Jones" in his case.
5 years on, the dropper post is now a product that comes on a production mountain bike more often then not. The technology and advances in telescopic seat posts has gained significantly in both operation and reliability. Prices in the units have finally become more reasonable for the average rider and it is no longer seen as an elite accessory.
Introduced to the Market this year, the XLC components remote dropper post is described as an affordable option for the not so weight (product) and name conscious riders. It incorporates a tidy and modern design with an easily operated thumb control, bar-side which integrates to a subtle lever under the forward edge of the saddle.
Luckily, the good folks down at MyBike Whangarei conveniently had one recently bought into their impressive inventory of stock for us to test and report back. At an affordable $289.00, it certainly didn't break the bank so it was off home to the 3xploreNZ headquarters to begin the hours of installation which was definitely going to require beer and numerous high end specialist tools.
After installing the seat post and adjusting the seat back onto my trusty trail steed, I noted the absence of the specialist tools and refected on what was really needed. 2 allen keys, a few cable ties and only a quarter of a beer. With that, it was decided I had better finish the beer and contemplate the placement for the best remote angle and cable placement at the front end.
Installation and setup was as easy as installing any standard seat post, plus being cable operated the ability to shorten the cable length, if required took literally minutes with no need for annoying hydraulic bleeding. Having installed a Rockshox Reverb before and completing this process, I knew exactly what I was missing out on.
With a quick jump on the scales to confirm I didn't meet the manufacturers maximum weight limit of 110kg's, I hit the trails at my local park to put it through it's paces with a variety of XC (seat high) trails and some predominantly soft, Downhill trails and steep sections.
Control of the post was easily operated at all paces in both directions after a subtle re-positioning of a cable tie restricting the post back to full height on the control cable. This luckily, was the beer drinking installers lack of knowledge and not a design flaw.
The posts ability to stay firmly locked on a bumpy XC trail was solid but due to my semi bent rails on my saddle from a previous post mean't that my saddle moved around slightly in the clamp under load. A quick trail side repair to my rails with a leather-man a fence post and a banana did absolutely nothing to my titanium rails other then prove my need for a new saddle.
On the steep descents, the posts 125mm of movement was more then ample to give you a large drop in saddle position to accommodate even the biggest kahuna's on a baggy short wearing, hairy legged bogan rider. Even the lycra clad XC riders would benefit from this ability in places....
Overall, for the price, ease of installation and performance, this posts heavier build can be put aside and is welcomed to the market for the budget conscious rider who wants to enjoy the trails plus gain control and riding abilities at a reduced price tag leaving more in the bank account for that next trip down country.