By Greg May
First published in Singletrack Magazine issue 97
I’m a latecomer to dropper posts. As an ex-cross-country and cyclocross racer, I’ve long been a member of the weight-weenies’ camp. Yes, I have weighed my chainring and disc bolts for my sins, and the concept of putting a heavier seatpost onto my bike was quite insulting. I firmly believed that seats stay at the height they are positioned at when you start riding. No one else in the race is going to wait while you faff with your seat clamp.
However, a few months ago I moved somewhere with significantly steeper trails. I needed some new skills: slow-speed manoeuvring interspaced with needing to be able to move my bike around a lot more. A few crashes and rear wheel castrations later, and 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. 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 lock 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. The weight of the GravityDropper 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 spring 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 GravityDropper Turbo LP. The lack of any noticeable play in the post when pedalling is wonderful. The lack of servicing it has required and the availability of spares is mind-blowing in these days of buy/break/replace. The ability for the post to give you a severe kick in the private parts… not so much.
After a winter of no servicing, the GravityDropper 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.
DEALS ON GRAVITY DROPPER POSTS
|Product:||Turbo LP seatpost|
|Tested:||by Greg May for Four months.|