I’m a latecomer to the world of the dropper post. As an ex-cross-country and cyclocross racer I’ve long been a member of the weight-weenie camp. Yes, I have weighed my chainring and disc bolts for my sins. So, the concept of putting a heavier seatpost onto my bike – any bike – was quite insulting; let alone my firm belief that seats stay at the height they are positioned at when you start riding. You do not drop your seat. For anything. You ride with it where it is, even if that results in broken ribs when you crash. No one else in the race is going to wait while you faff with your seat clamp.
However, a few months ago I moved to a new area, with significantly steeper trails and flat bits in between. The new trails needed some new skills: slow-speed manoeuvring interspaced with the need to be able to move around my bike a lot more. A few crashes and rear wheel castrations later, I decided I should maybe have a look at these new-fangled dropper posts. So I limped into the office and whined until they loaned me one so I’d go away.
I popped it on my Salsa Spearfish and grumbled on up to the top of the hill to try it out. There was no noticeable flex, bounce, or twist under pedalling, which was excellent news (and much more than I can say from other droppers I’ve since tried). First descent out of the way and I’d forgotten to use it – old dog and all that. Two hours later, with several ups and downs under my belt, I’d well and truly come to understand why people like these things. I’d also managed to give myself a fair amount of bruising to my gentleman bits, but more on that later.
The Turbo LP comes with three positions: fully up, down by an inch, and down fully (five inches of drop). A simple locking pin seats into the shaft of the dropper, giving a very positive engagement and helping to eliminate lateral movement under pedalling. The remote lever, I have to admit, is an ugly piece of kit and feels like a bit of an afterthought. The action is fine, but the lower part of the bracket that mounts under the bars is made of plastic, literally, and I snapped it the first time I tried to fit it. So beware if you are similarly cack of hand. However, spares are cheap and readily available, so I bought two. I’d consider experimenting with another brand’s remote lever for longer term use. The weight of the Gravity Dropper at 513g is not that bad and with simple, user-serviceable inners I really can’t fault it for its weight.
So, with that in mind, we need to talk about the downside of the Turbo LP: the return rate of the post. The phrase ‘lightning fast’ does not even come close to explaining how fast it is. Which is great; don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have it back in place fast after a descent so you can pedal away. However: the force with which it returns is extreme – let’s just say that you don’t want it to catch you in your private parts, as it did on several occasions during my first outing. Pass the frozen peas please. Once I got used to cradling the seat with my thighs before letting rip with the disengage button, I was having less of a love-tap issue with the Turbo LP, but every now and again it likes to remind me it is there.
I’ve since tried other droppers and found they don’t have some of the features I like about the Gravity Dropper Turbo LP. The lack of any noticeable play in the post when pedalling is wonderful. The simple lack of servicing it has required and the availability of spares is mind-blowing in these days of buy/break/replace. The ability of the post to give you a severe kick in the privates… not so much.
After a winter of no servicing, the Gravity Dropper LP has held up superbly. I’ve done nothing to it bar cover it in mud and then ride it and it’s still working as fast, and furiously, as the day it went on. Will it stay on for the race season this year? Probably, I’ve not fully decided on that yet.
|Product:||Turbo LP seatpost|
|Tested:||by Greg May for four months|