Review: Crank Brothers Highline Dropper Post

by
July 12, 2017

After the Kronolog disaster, has Crank Brothers redeemed itself with the Highline? James has spent 12 months on one to find out

Brand: Crank Brothers
Product: Highline Dropper Post
From: Extra UK, extrauk.co.uk
Price: £299.99
Tested: by James Vincent for 12 months

In Issue #109 of Singletrack Magazine, we put 10 different height-adjustable seatposts through the grinder as part of our Dropper Post Group Test.

If ever there was a product with the future of the company riding on its success, then the Highline has to be right up there. To date, Crank Bros has had a pretty turbulent relationship with dropper posts, with models plagued by reliability issues and design flaws that have impacted performance and the company’s reputation.

crank brothers highline dropper post issue 109
The Highline is a completely new dropper post from Crank Brothers.

And so it is that we have the hotly anticipated Highline. Redesigned from the ground up and weighing in at 580 grams, this cable-actuated, stealth-routed post offers only 125mm travel, but boasts some well-thought-out features.

crank brothers highline dropper post issue 109
The remote offers masses of adjustability with a spherical ball ‘n’ socket mount.

The ball clamp remote allows the lever to be infinitely positioned on the bars and a super-slick cable and outer from Jagwire connects tool-free to the bottom of the post, activating the post via a rotating valve, two keyways are used to keep everything lined up and rattle free, a high-quality Trelleborg seal keeps things clear of mud and grit, while the head of the post is a low-profile affair (50mm) with two bolts holding your saddle securely in place. The post measures 400mm long and is available in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters, and comes with an unheard of three-year warranty.

crank brothers highline dropper post issue 109
The Highline routes internally through your frame, with a removable cable mount at the base of the post.

Other than the cartridge, Crank Bros has designed the Highline to be fully user serviceable using only basic tools, and it recommends that the post is lubricated once a year to keep things running sweet.

Following the instructions, installation was a breeze, yet as soon as I sat on the post it collapsed on me! Crank Bros has since revised the instructions to avoid any confusion, but in my opinion they still aren’t quite right – after lining up the arrows on the actuator with the bottom of the post, you then need to twist it ever so slightly until you feel the smallest amount of resistance. Getting this right is important – twist the actuator too far one way and the post won’t move, while not far enough and it won’t stay up.

Once set up properly though, the post has worked perfectly, and I’ve been fairly rough with it, deliberately avoiding cleaning it to test the seals. It is a little slow on the return stroke, and unfortunately you can’t adjust that.

crank brothers highline dropper post issue 109
Travel is a modest 125mm, though Crank Brothers has since added a 160mm travel option for the Highline.

Durability Notes

So, how has the Highline dropper fared after 12 months of riding, hike-a-biking and hours of sliding up down covered in mud and water? The short answer is well. Very, very well. Despite all of the saddle time aboard it, the Highline doesn’t sag one iota and has worked absolutely flawlessly without me having to touch it other than adjust the cable tension every now and then. Return speed hasn’t deteriorated either. It’s developed a very small amount of rotational play, but only a few degrees, and once sat down on the bike it isn’t noticeable at all.
crank brothers highline dropper post issue 109
With impeccable performance and a 3-year warranty, the Highline is a bomber dropper post that we’d have no troubles recommending. 

Overall

A tight, well-sealed dropper with an excellent remote. I’m seriously impressed, and really don’t have a bad word to say about it. In fact, my only complaint during the group test for Issue #109 was that the Highline only has 125mm of travel. However, Crank Brothers has since added a longer 160mm travel option, and I’m currently putting that through the wringer as we speak. Stay tuned.

Review Info

Brand: Crank Brothers
Product: Highline Dropper Post
From: Extra UK, extrauk.co.uk
Price: £299.99
Tested: by James Vincent for 12 months

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