Review: RockShox Reverb Stealth Dropper Post

by
July 16, 2017

rockshox reverb dropper post issue 109

Is the latest RockShox Reverb the best dropper post on the market? Barney notches up 15 months aboard his to deliver us his longterm review

Brand:
RockShox
Product:
Reverb Dropper Post
From:
ZyroFisher, zyrofisher.co.uk
Price:
£374.99
Tested:
by Barney Marsh for 15 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.

Is it possible to refer to something that’s been about for just a few years as ‘venerable’? Granted, the venerable Reverb wasn’t the first ‘modern’ dropper-post to enter widespread consciousness, but it was the first by a major manufacturer. This made a huge impact on how dropper posts were perceived, and their widespread acceptance as the next most important thing on a mountain bike after suspension, disc brakes and spokey dokeys.

rockshox reverb dropper post issue 109
The RockShox Reverb is one of the most popular dropper posts on the market, and is currently in its 3rd iteration.

But while this new stealth Reverb is identical on the outside to the previous model (apart from the gold ‘RockShox’ logo), there are some pretty substantial changes under the skin, even beyond the fact that this particular little puppy offers a whopping 170mm of drop. Lesser amounts of drop are available down to 100mm, should you find that your delicate undercarriage can’t accommodate just under 7in of silky air-powered shaft.

rockshox reverb dropper post issue 109
Available with 100mm, 125mm, 150mm and 170mm travel options, the Reverb can be had with internal and external routing too.

So what of these internal changes? Well, RockShox assures us that the internals have been completely re-engineered with an SKF floating piston, and everything’s been reappraised to enhance reliability and performance. The posts also get increased bushing overlap, which is purported to ‘improve performance over time’.

rockshox reverb dropper post issue 109
The standard Reverb remote is best used under the bar with 1x setups.

And certainly, over the first six months or so, the performance of the post has been very impressive. I haven’t had a chance to play with it in low temperatures (something that the older Reverbs occasionally suffered under), but I’ve frequently ridden on some shocking days, some baking days and all sorts of days in between, and the post has behaved flawlessly. The extra drop really makes a difference when it gets steep to the point that posts with a mere 150mm of drop feel under – erm – lowered.

santa cruz hightower longterm test bike barney marsh 29 27.5 plus cane creek hope joystick carbon alpkit
Barney’s been testing the 170mm fun popper on his longterm Santa Cruz Hightower test bike.

The bits you’ll touch – the hydraulic activator and hose – remain much as they were in previous years, so fairly discreet, and to my fingers pleasingly ergonomic even when placed on the left of the bar and used with a 2x set-up.

RockShox recently announced a new 1x aftermarket lever upgrade for the Reverb, which for 1x users is highly recommended. It’s an expensive upgrade, but the shifter-style paddle improves ergonomics and side-to-side adjustability.

reverb dropper post
The base of the stealth-routed Reverb post.

A bleed kit is included, with two syringes and fluid, which makes bleeding the line of any pesky air bubbles a simple at-home procedure. Although aftermarket posts don’t come fitted with it, RockShox has made the Reverb Stealth compatible with the Connectamajig connector, which makes hitching up the stealth hose so much more straightforward. It’s essentially a quick-release connector for the base of the post, allowing you to remove the post from the frame for travel or servicing. Some complete bikes do come with the Connectamajig installed, and it’s also available for you to purchase separately aftermarket if you see the need in such a device.

santa cruz hightower longterm test bike barney marsh 29 27.5 plus cane creek hope joystick carbon alpkit
Once you get used to 170mm of drop, it becomes very hard to go back to anything less. In my case, I’m thinking even 200mm could be the future…

15 Months On

So, with the complete redesign that RockShox bestowed upon the third generation Reverb, just how well has it handled two British winters and hundreds of hours underneath my foetid arse?
The truth is, pretty well. But like other posts that use an internal floating piston (IFP), when compressed the Reverb can introduce air into the oil if you lift the bike by grabbing the saddle. This leaves the post feeling squishy, like a suspension post or a pile cushion, so it did need a rebuild – which I foolishly decided to tackle myself.
This was an absolute pain of a job – lots of fiddling, lots of new tools bought and/or improvised, lots of hair pulled out. Essentially, if you’re nervous about rebuilding your forks, keep your wrenches away from the Reverb. And even if you are, tread carefully – there are very tight aluminium bolts to round off, precise oil volumes to cock up and loads of smooth surfaces to scratch – you have been warned! If you’re not confident with the tools, then delegate this job to someone who is. That said, post post rebuild (see what I did there?), the Reverb has been as rock solid and smooth as it was on day one, so that’s a big thumbs up from me.
rockshox reverb dropper post issue 109
The Reverb has been beautifully smooth throughout testing, and remains slop-free. The audible top-out ‘clunk’ at full height is also welcome.

Overall

The latest Reverb delivers excellent performance with solid reliability. It’s smooth, has remained admirably slop-free throughout testing, and it provides a lovely audible top-out ‘clunk’ when it reaches full height. RockShox has loads of travel and sizes available (apart from 27.2mm diameter) depending what bike you’ve got and what setup you need.
It isn’t an easy post to service, though in my experience it’s not something you’ll have to do very often – even bleeding the hose. Speaking of the hose, some of our other testers have experienced having the hose ripped off the remote, either during a crash or from a heavy snag by a wayward branch. If you’re very unlucky, this can damage the barb in the remote, so you have to replace the whole shebang. While I haven’t experienced any hose or remote issues with this particular post, it’s part of the reason why RockShox has hidden the barb deeper inside the new 1x remote.
Otherwise I’d have no issues recommending the RockShox Reverb dropper post. There’s a reason it’s the current market leader, with over 1 million Reverbs out there on the trails. And with a two-year warranty and the wide availability of spare parts, the backup service is there to go with it.

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