SDG Tellis Dropper Post First Look Review

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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 review
150mm travel Tellis dropper comes with remote and cable

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.

SDG Tellis dropper post
3D forged head is said to be stronger than a traditional bonded head

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.

SDG Tellis Dropper post
Wiper seal to keep crud 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.

SDG Tellis dropper post review
Cable head for simple connection and installation

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.

sdg tellis dropper review
1x only remote

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.

SDG Tellis Dropper post
Tough anodised finish and handy height markings

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.

SDG Tellis Dropper post
Up

Early Impressions

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.

SDG Tellis Dropper post
The cable did slip early on in my testing but after a retighten it has been fine.

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.

SDG Tellis Dropper post
Down

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 Tellis Dropper post
Will the Tellis survive mud, rain, and grit?

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.

SDG Tellis Dropper post
Tellis what you think

Overall

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.

Review Info

Brand:SDG
Product:Tellis
From:Silverfish
Price:£219
Tested:by Andi for 3 weeks

Comments (6)

  1. Any word on an I-Beam head. That and and I-Beam saddle would be lighter than most others post/saddle combos unless the post itself is heavy.

  2. Nixie – I came here to make the same comment. I love I-Beam.

  3. My poor battered arse couldn’t handle I-Beam on a DH bike where you barely sit down. Nice flexy rails and saddles please 🙂

  4. When my reverb inevitably dies, this looks like a good replacement

  5. Hey All, sorry for the delay in commenting here. Obviously lots on the go with the launch!

    @nixie & @finbar An I-Beam version of this will be coming for sure. The only reason we didn’t initially do an I-Beam head was primarily because the dropper post segment was already such a big shift from what we’re known for we were afraid jumping right in with an I-Beam dropper post would have been too polarizing for those that know the brand. Our plan is to launch the railed version and get solid real world feedback and then in the very near future release an I-Beam head version as well as an extended collection of I-Beam saddles. There’s far too many benefits with I-Beam to not offer it, so it’s definitely one of our top priorities!

    @Tim while your poor arse might have been battered by our competition level I-Fly with race oriented minimal padding, we can design I-Beam saddles with a flex channel and padding that’ll mimic it’s railed equivalent. Only in a lighter package that’s easier to install/adjust, stronger and no risk of creaky rails.

    Feel free to direct message me with any other SDG related questions!

  6. Thanks Devyn, will look forward to that arriving.

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