A few years ago, it seemed as if dropper posts were expensive disposable items. With a bit of luck you’d get 12 months use out of them, before something would go wrong.
No brands seemed to be immune from it, but the first iteration of the Funn UpDown was certainly prone to dreaded saddle sag. It’s a common mode of failure and one that Funn has worked hard to correct on its totally reworked version of the post.
The Funn UpDown MkII
This is a 150mm version, but since we started testing, a longer 175mm version has been announced. A 125mm version is already available too.
Getting the basics out of the way first, the UpDown is available in 30.9 and 31.6mm diameter and measures a short 245mm from the cable entry point to the base of the post collar. It is cable actuated, via a paddle style lever that is designed to be run on either side of the bars, and either under or over. I ran it in the now almost ubiquitous under the bars on the left position – perfect for those with a one-by set up and spare bar real estate.
The Clever Stuff
Those saggy posts – they are the fault of internal floating pistons. IFPs sit within a post cartridge and tend to be the first thing to break. This leads to air contaminating the oil and that familiar squidge.
The only way to fix this is usually to replace the entire cartridge. Funn has taken a different approach, with what they call a “Twin Tube Cartridge” system. By using an inner and outer tube, the actuating the post mechanically resets it, removing any air that has entered the system.
If you’d like a little more info, check out our first look, with video and technical diagrams and everything. If the worst does come to the worst, replacement cartridges are still available, but Funn reckons that you shouldn’t need one.
As with most (all?) cable operated internal posts, the UpDown uses a gear cable to actuate a small lever at the base of the post. Set up was easy, although some of that will depend on how straight forward it is to thread the cable through your frame’s internal routing. By using the head of the gear cable to attach to the post, it allows any tension adjustment to be done at the lever end – much easier than having to remove the post to complete your fine tuning. Once set up, a barrel adjuster on the lever allows you to take in cable stretch as needed.
Unlike Funn’s previous UpDown dropper post, which used an annoyingly creaky rotary saddle clamp, the new version features a much more robust two-bolt affair, and simply worked well. Once set, I had no problems with saddle slippage or creaking.
On The Trail
Ergonomically, I found the lever to be just about perfect. It was possible to set it in just the right place to reach and flick intuitively. It uses slightly more throw than some levers that I’ve used, but on the flipside, it moved very smoothly and with virtually no resistance.
There was a very small amount of up and down play to the lever, which couldn’t be resolved by tightening bolts, or adjusting cable tension. It didn’t have any impact on performance, but there was an occasional audible rattle from the lever, which may or may not be annoying, depending on how perfectly silent the rest of your bike is. (It irked me until I rode, then I forgot all about it until the next time I wheeled the bike out).
The UpDown worked smoothly throughout the test. It was easy to activate, easy to set at any mid-point between fully extended and fully compressed. The return speed was neither too slow nor ball-shrinkingly fast. In fact, I can’t really think of a single criticism of the post. I guess in an ideal world, I’d have preferred a long drop (which Funn is correcting), but in almost all scenarios 150mm was ample enough to get the saddle a decent distance out of the way. Only when the going got really steep did I hanker for a little more travel.
The Twin Tube Cartridge seemed to work well. At the start of a ride, the post occasionally felt sticky, needing a tug up from fully compressed. It only ever needed a bit of assistance each time it was first used though and would return to flawless performance for the rest of the ride. This was regardless of whether the bike was stored with seat up or down, or was careless with lifting the bike by its saddle (which can be the cause of pulling air into the system).
It’s been over six months since I first fitted the UpDown, and its performance has remained consistent in that time. On the last ride before writing this review, the post collar had worked slightly loose, so I took the opportunity to take a look inside. The internals were still looking fresh, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t keep looking like that for some time yet.
A cracking post, with some clever internal design work to counter one of the Achilles heels of early droppers. The UpDown isn’t a cheap post but is excellent value given that ergonomic lever and all round reliability. If it had a slightly longer drop it would be perfect for me – I’m very tempted to buy a longer travel version.
|Price:||£219 / $279 USD|
|Tested:||by Tom Hill for 6 months|
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can anyone recommend an externally routed seatpost for those of us who have older mountain bikes but would like to get the benefits of a dropper post? Please don’t say there are none anymore ?!
Have a look at the Brand-X / PNW / Trans-X which are all the same internal gubbins. The KS Lev external post is still available, you can also get an external version of the most recent B1 Reverb.
Have a dig around and you’ll find something suitable up to 150mm drop
Is the Fox Transfer still available in an external version? I have one and have, so far, found it to be excellent.
@remedy111 – The latest Fox Transfer comes in an externally routed option, and comes highly recommended from us. It’s available in 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters, and 100/125/150/175mm travel options.
As @spawnofyorkshire has pointed out, you can also get BrandX/TransX/PNW droppers with external routing. There’s also the KS LEV, which is one of the few droppers that can be had in a 27.2mm diameter.
Though if you want chi-chi, then have a squiz at the Thomson Elite External Dropper post, which is also available in 27.2, as well as 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters.
Hope that helps!
@singletrackwil, @Andy R, @spawnofyorkshire, thanks all that’s really helpful I’ll have a look at your suggestions !
I had a Thompson with external routing for my old hardtail?