Dropper posts are one of those components I was not really sold on, that is up until I used one. If you ride all mountain, enduro or XC, then they are going to make your day much more enjoyable. For those focusing on downhill and uplift days, I would probably not bother.
If you want climb efficiently, you’ll need your seat in a high position to get maximum drive. And then, you’ll want to drop your seat for the downhills to stop it hitting you in the butt, and allowing you to get a low center of gravity.
Instead of having to keep stopping and adjusting your seat multiple times a day, you’ll be able to do it on the fly. Depending on the particular dropper seat post you go for, you’ll have up to 200mm of travel.
Now, I’ve got a dropper post on my mountain bike, I wouldn’t ride without one.
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Rockshox Reverb Stealth Review
Before we jump into the cheap dropper posts on the market, it is worth mentioning the Rockshox Reverb. This is not exactly a budget post, weighing in at over $350 from most retailers. However, when it comes to budget hydraulic dropper posts, this is one of the most popular. In fact, it is what I am currently using on my all mountain bike.
Just remember, you really do get what you pay for.
The Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper seat post is overhauled when compared directly to the old Reverb, with improved reliability and overall performance.
The main difference between the old Reverb and the Stealth Reverb is the quality of the seals, which are now SKF. It offers smoother action, without reducing reliability.
Ease of setup
What a lot of reviews of cheap dropper posts will mention, is ease of setup simply isn’t there. The setup is confusing, time consuming and fiddly.
That’s definitely not the case with the Rockshox Reverb Stealth. Rockshox use the Connectamajig™ coupling. It is specifically designed to make initial setup of the dropper post quick and easy; so you spend less time fiddling and more time riding.
The best dropper posts vary in travel. One with larger travel isn’t necessarily better than one with less travel. Posts will generally go up to the 200mm range, but an average rider will need something in the 100mm-150mm range.
So, the Rockshox Reverb dropper has the majority of people covered, given it comes in different variations, with 100mm-170mm of travel on offer.
One thing I’ve noticed a lot of people asking on FAQs and forums, is how much weight is likely to be added by introducing a cheap dropper post to their bike. A cheap dropper post is going to add weight to your bike, simply because the focus of their design is the function of the dropper, and not weight saving.
However, with a more expensive post like the Rockshox Reverb, it is unlikely you will notice any weight being added compared to your standard post. The smaller post size setups weigh just over 500g.
As we mentioned above, you will be looking at around $350 for the new Rockshox Reverb Stealth; not exactly ideal if you are on a budget and looking for a cheap dropper post. However, if you can stretch to that budget, as someone that has had dozens of rides using it, I would recommend it.
Cheap Dropper Posts
The first thing to note with cheap dropper posts, is there are very few that are hydraulic. And, even if you do find a budget hydraulic dropper I would be avoiding it. Creating a quality hydraulic component is not cheap. That is going to mean that you end up with a low quality product; because the best dropper posts ARE NOT cheap.
So, what do you need? I’d be heading straight for a cable operated dropper post. Yes, they might be a bit clunky, harder to use and being cheap, they’re heavier. But, if you want a cheap dropper post that’s going to last, this is where you need to be looking.
The Best Cheap Dropper Post
PNW Components Cascade
If you look around any mountain bike retail store, you’ll see the PNW Components Cascade, is the cheap dropper post that ends up with the best reviews. So, if I was on a budget and looking for a cheap dropper post, this is where I’d be putting my cash.
Let’s face it, if you’re on a budget and looking for a cheap dropper post, the first thing you’re going to be looking at when shopping around, is price. And, that’s probably where you’ve been put of the Rockshox Reverb, given it’s been sold at a price of over $350 in most online stores.
With the PNW Components Cascade, you’ll be looking at a saving of well over $100 in comparison to the Reverb. Just remember when you’re ordering, you need the full kit, which is the post, lever, and cable. For some reason, there are a lot of stores selling the post, but not indicating whether the lever or cable are included.
Generally, if the PNW is priced around $130, it’s not going to include the lever and cable. For the lever and cable to be included, you’ll be looking closer to the $200 mark.
One thing I’m quite impressed with when it comes to the PNW Components Cascade, is the warranty. A lot of cheaper dropper posts are going to be offering a 1-year warranty at best. So, a year down the line, your post breaks, and you’ve got not a leg to stand on when you reach out to the manufacturer; $150-225 thrown down the drain.
With the PNW post, you’ll get an impressive warranty. That kind of warranty is one that would rival even some of the most expensive brands.
As I mentioned in my quick review of my Reverb, most MTB riders are going to be looking for travel in the region of 100mm-150mm. With the PNW Cascade, you’ll have plenty of options.
Currently, PNW are offering the Cascade in 125mm, 150mm or 175mm.
One thing that’s annoying with a lot of cheap dropper posts, is the cable routing, it’s messy. With the PNW post, you’ll have the option for internal routing.
It’s not just messy cables that get helped here. If you clip trees, rocks, or branches, it’s easy to snap a cable that’s externally mounted, and that’s not going to be the case here.
Obviously, all cheap dropper posts come sealed. However, a lot of these seals are weak.
The PNW is renowned for being extremely durable, meaning it’s going to take maximum abuse, and stand the test of time.
Rockshox Reverb or PNW Cascade?
So, the big question is, should you buy the Rockshox Reverb, or the PNW Cascade?
The answer simply comes down to budget. After my friend’s experience with cheap dropper posts, we’d all be leaning towards something from a leading brand like Rockshox. And, I’ve been extremely happy with my Reverb.
However, that extra quality, function, and durability comes at a price. You’ll be forking out nearly twice as much as you would with the PNW Cascade.
If you’re on a limited budget and set on a cheap dropper post, then the PNW Components post is for you.