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An optimist once told me that things could always be better. Prior to that conversation, I had always thought that was actually a pessimistic term. I mean, shouldn’t we just be thankful with what we’ve already got? Are things really all that bad? Can’t we just all get on our bikes, ride off into the sunset, and be happy?

Of course we can. And no one is here to tell you otherwise. There are, of course, plenty of people out there right now riding on fully rigid 26in mountain bikes with cantilever brakes having a whale of a time. Admittedly a harsh, sketchy and forearm-numbing whale of a time. But a whale of a time nonetheless.

Thankfully for those of us who do enjoy riding bikes with modern luxuries like suspension and disc brakes, the majority of bike companies out there believe in evolution and product refinement. Of course a lot of that has to do with today’s highly competitive global market, but it also has a lot to do with those optimistic innovators who believe that things could always be better.

The last time we tested a bunch of dropper posts (what is the collective noun for a group of dropper posts anyway? A gaggle? A herd? A declension? A clan?), was back in 2014. At that point in history, dropper posts had well and truly hit the mainstream. The dropper post had transitioned from a niche product that was a ‘nice to have’, into a necessary trail tool that is now regarded as a ‘must-have’.

Indeed, for most of us here at Singletrack, riding a mountain bike now without a dropper post honestly feels like a handicap. You get so used to having the ability to quickly squash your saddle out of the way that when you have that taken away from you, your bike suddenly feels foreign and awkward to ride. Call us spoilt rotten, but there’s no denying that dropper posts really have transformed the way we ride and they’ve even transformed the bikes we’re riding. As an example, modern trail bikes are now being built with much steeper seat tube angles to improve their climbing ability. And because a dropper post allows you to get the saddle out of the way for descending, you don’t experience any of the downsides that would normally be associated with running such a steep seat tube angle.

In our previous dropper post grouptest, we reviewed six of the most popular options from the likes of Gravity Dropper, KS, RockShox, and Fox. Although we had largely positive experiences from all of those posts we put to the test, the companies behind those products decided they could still do better.

And so over the last two years, dropper posts have undergone significant refinement. Reliability continues to improve, ergonomics are getting better, and there are now more options to choose from than ever before. Some brands have rolled out second and third generation products, such as the latest KS LEV Integra, while others have simply added internally routed options, like the X-Fusion Hilo Strate and the Thomson Elite Covert. Several all-new options have hit the market, including the Highline from Crank Brothers and the Transfer from Fox Racing Shox, both of which are completely redesigned from the ground up.

There are now longer travel options for taller riders to take advantage of, such as many companies’ 150 posts and the 170mm travel Reverb from RockShox. New technologies have also entered the market, with Magura’s wireless Vyron electronic dropper post being the most noteworthy. Adding to that, we’ve also seen a massive influx of budget-oriented dropper posts from new players like Brand-X and Funn Components. Not to mention all of the OEM options popping up on complete mountain bikes.

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure: Jacob’s Cracker – The nicest man in mountain biking, Nick Craig, gets some Glaswegian encouragement from Sanny as they see who can clear Jacob’s Ladder without stopping. International Adventure: Iceland – Bikepacking in Iceland. Best bring your thermals. International Adventure: The Scottish Connection – Three Scottish friends meet up for an epic road trip round New Zealand before they all go their separate ways. Interview: David Turner – Chipps talks to the reluctant icon behind this cult brand. Classic Ride: Sutton Bank – This steep Yorkshire road climb is known for being too horribly busy (unless it’s been blocked by a misguided lorry) to ride. But how are the trails away from the fumes of brakes and clutches? Bike Test: Sub £1000 hardtails – We check out three hardtails under the magic figure of a grand. There’s no carbon and no full suspension at this price point, but is there fun? You bet there is! Grouptest: Dropper Seatposts – We check out the highs and lows of the current dropper post market. Grinder: The team bring you goods ridden through the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. And possibly a touch of mud. Feature: Trail Leader 3: You literally put your life in the hands of a mountain bike guide. What goes into that experience? Silver Shredders: Mountain bike life doesn’t stop when work does. We look at a bunch of riders making full use of their newfound spare time.