We’re told it’s taken two years of development, and 120 test units out in the field, but SDG is now ready to release its first ever dropper seatpost.
The SDG Tellis is a cable-operated dropper post that features a sealed hydraulic cartridge housed inside scratch-resistant anodized alloy tubes. At the time of writing the Tellis comes with either 125mm or 150mm travel (on test), with 100mm and 170mm options due to launch later in the year.
SDG Tellis Dropper Post Features
- User-serviceable design
- Featherlight thumb actuation
- Sealed hydraulic cartridge
- Cold weather tested to -20°C
- Scratch resistant anodized finish
- Travel: 100mm, 125mm, 150mm & 170mm
- Diameter: 30.9mm & 31.6mm
- 2-year warranty
- RRP: £219 including remote
It’s clear from looking at the features and design of the Tellis that SDG hasn’t tried to reinvent the dropper post, but rather produce something that’s simple, reliable and well priced. This means that certain adjustments you might be used to seeing on other brand’s posts aren’t present here, but SDG believes that means there’s less to go wrong.
Before I go into what isn’t on the Tellis let me fill you in on what it does have.
Topping off the Tellis is a simple two-bolt micro adjust rail system on a 3D forged, low-stack head that SDG claims is stronger than a typical bonded version. The two bolt heads do look very close to the post shaft, but there is enough room there to get your saddle on and adjusted without issue. This is all attached to a smooth black stanchion that enters the main body via a wiper seal to keep dirt and grit out.
To further improve poor weather performance and reliability, SDG has used a sealed hydraulic unit. We’re told by SDG that this is the same proven unit that is found in the X-Fusion Manic and the Crank Brothers Highline. This unit isn’t designed to be user-serviceable, so it’s sealed accordingly to minimise the requirement for servicing in the first place. It is a user-replaceable item however, and SDG will have spares readily available through its dealer and distribution network. This aftermarket support, in conjunction with a 2-year warranty, and ease of service should ensure a post that lasts and remains reliable. There are even a handful of high-quality online videos that teach you how to install, setup and service the post in the comfort of your own home too.
If you have a decent grasp of bike mechanics though you’re not going to need the video as fitting the Tellis is straightforward. The cable head guide at the end of the anodized post is a neat touch that means there is no fiddly cable measurement or alignment to mess around with. Simply thread your included Jagwire cable in through the seatpost end of the system and lock it down via a pinch-bolt at the lever end and off you go.
The actuation lever is 1x compatible only and designed to mount on the left-hand side of your handlebar with its own bar clamp. There’s a barrel adjuster for fine tuning, and a 2mm grub screw for clamping the cable in place. The cable operated remote is made entirely of alloy with a good lever throw and a light, predictable actuation.
Other noteworthy features include the scratch-resistant finish for the outer post, handy-dandy laser etched height indication markings, and the inclusion of high-quality Jagwire LEX-SL inner and outer cabling for slick operation.
What’s missing from the Tellis is the ability to adjust the speed of the post via an air spring, a feature SDG says many users don’t actually use, and there’s not much lever adjustment available apart from being able to rotate it on the bars. In comparison, the Crank Brothers Highline remote has a ‘ball’ clamp offering a lot of adjustment to get the right fit. That said, the Tellis remote is comfortable and easy to operate, with a much lighter actuation than most other cable operated posts.
As mentioned above, the Tellis comes with a 1x only lever and the post itself is only available with stealth routing, so double check your bike is compatible if you do fancy picking one up.
Our test post is the 150mm drop option in a 30.9mm diameter, and from day one the post has remained easy to operate, smooth to use and reliable. The lever movement is very light, and while there is a lot of lever throw available not much movement is needed to activate the post.
I did find that on my initial ride with the Tellis installed the cable did slip at the lever end despite being fastened to the recommended torque settings. Once adjusted and retightened though, the cable has stayed put since.
In the past, I’ve ridden and tested posts that have quite a lot of play at the saddle. SDG uses ‘intelligent keyways’ [ED – much better than the ‘dumb keyways’ eh?] in the Tellis giving you very little side to side movement. Even after 3 weeks in the saddle, the Tellis feels as taught as day one. The real test will be to see how the post holds up once our weather turns from glorious sunshine to the usual wet, muddy, and gritty conditions we get in Calderdale.
SDG is confident the Tellis is ready to handle such conditions though. As part of the development of the post, SDG apparently submerged the Tellis in a vat of grit, mud, and water and operated the post for months to ensure it could last in real-world conditions, which sounds like a horrible experiment. SDG’s confidence has convinced a few bike manufacturers, including Orange, which will is planning to spec the Tellis on its 2019 model year bikes.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how little the Tellis has surprised me over the past 3 weeks. There were no issues when installing the post, and in fact, it was the quickest dropper installation I’ve done. The action of the lever and post is spot on as are the ergonomics and it has yet to let me down.
SDG has clearly put ease of service and simplicity at the top of the list when developing the Tellis, but I’ll be reserving my final judgment until we’ve had a good 6-12 months of saddle time on it in more typical UK conditions, and in colder temperatures too.
|Tested:||by Andi for 3 weeks|