Vario Dropper Post

E*13 Vario Dropper Post review – an adjustable dropper on the go!

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The E*13 Vario dropper post offers smooth action and simple travel change in a durable package.

The dropper post has been around for decades. Even before it became a must-have item for a modern mountain bike, the concept of the dropper post isn’t new. While quite a simple device, the dropper post has had to continually evolve to make the most out of modern frame design. New bikes are seeing ever-shrinking seat tube heights and low standover to allow riders to size up or size down depending on their requirements. For a dropper post, this means being able to offer more travel. However, it’s not always as simple as that, and what might fit one person isn’t necessarily going to suit everyone.

E*13 Vario Dropper Post review

Vario Dropper Post

What E*13 has developed with the Vario dropper post is a long travel seat-post with easy to adjust travel adjustment. The travel adjustment is so easy you don’t need any tools and you can adjust it without removing it from the frame.

E*13 offers the Vario in either 30.9 or 31.6mm diameters, and customers can choose either a 120-150mm travel or 150 x 180mm travel version. Each post offers 30mm of adjustable travel in 5mm increments, meaning that you should be able to dial in the perfect height/drop to suit your frame, body size and riding style.

Adjusting the travel is insanely easy. Just drop the post, undo the collar and rotate the bushing to give the desired travel and pop it all back together again. It takes under a minute to do, and you could adjust it while on the trail, though we wouldn’t recommend it as it could let grit, dirt and other nasties into the system.

There are various reasons you might want a dropper post with adjustable travel. You might constantly swap frames. You might be fed up with having to choose through hundreds of different sizing options, or you might just be really picky on where you want your saddle. The fact is, this system works really well, without sacrificing the rest of the unit.

Vario Dropper Post

With the travel set to where you want it, the dropper post is activated via a cable and your chosen dropper lever. The Vario doesn’t come with a lever, but E13 does make a one which I have been using. Compared to other dropper levers, the E13 model is quite big and actually measures a similar size to a front shifter. While big, the Vario dropper is very well made, feels solid and has plenty of adjustment. There are three mounting points to get the lever under your thumb comfortably and it’s Matchmaker compatible too. I also like the grip tape on the lever for added traction in wet and muddy conditions.

E*13 claims that the gas-charged spring in the Vario dropper requires 20% less compression force to activate when compared to the competition. I’ve not been able to measure this, but I would agree that the Vario doesn’t require as much force to get moving as some other posts on the market.

Of course, height adjustment is just one nice feature to have, saddle adjustment though is all the more important to most riders and again the E13 has this covered with 28 degrees of movement and an extra 12mm of fore/aft saddle adjustment. E13 uses a 3D forged stanchion with an integrated head, and M6 T25 hardware clamps the seat in place which hasn’t developed any creaking over my time testing.

In the past some dropper posts were criticised with their durability and many would wear quickly resulting in rotational play. To combat this E13 uses increased key surfaces and contact points. E13 says this results in longer service intervals and also prevents rotational play.

E*13 Vario Dropper Post review – Installation and action

Installing the Vario dropper post was nice and pain-free, I appreciate the fact that E*13 has the cable end at the dropper side of the system with the cable bolt clamp at the lever end. Perhaps it’s just me, but I find dropper posts that need the cable bolting at the post end a little fiddly to set up with the correct cable length. I also appreciate the fact the Vario remote uses a sensibly sized cable 3mm hex bolt. The bolt is quality metal too, not this easy to mangle cheese we find on some levers.

With the post and lever installed you can take up any slack in the system via the Vario barrel adjustment. Again, this is very nicely designed, and not your generic piece of off the shelf plastic.

One thing that Shimano users will find disappointing is that the Vario lever won’t work with i-spec and you’ll have to use the included alloy band. SRAM users get a much neater and cleaner looking installation.

Once it’s all set up though, the action at both the lever and dropper end of the system is very light and smooth, and this has continued throughout my test period with the Vario system. The lever has a built-in spring so the return is nice and positive with no noticeable slack.

The post itself is very smooth in action and once your preferred travel is set up, you don’t need to touch the collar again until you want to give the system a clean and service. That said, it is worth checking the collar from time to time as we did find that it starts to loosen off after a few rides.

Despite the claim that the keys will prevent rotational play from developing I did notice a little extra movement in my post during the test. I gave it a clean, check and service, and didn’t see any wear on the system and guess that this play actually comes from the tolerance of the travel adjust in the collar. It’s not really noticeable while riding or seated, it’s just something you feel off the bike.

One feature which you might notice is the slightly lower post return speed. While the gas-charged spring is replaceable if it ever becomes faulty, it’s not adjustable. If you like a fast return to your post, you might find the E*13 Vario a little on the slow side.

What we would like change

  • Adjustable post return speed.
  • Lever compatibility with Shimano levers
  • Collar comes loose and needs checking from time to time.

What we loved

  • Easy travel adjust.
  • Smooth action.
  • Great quality hardware on the lever

E*13 Vario Dropper Post review – Overall

The E*13 Vario has a ton of adjustability and is very easy to work on. The action is smooth if slow, and durability has been good. If you don’t mind the slow return speed and the slight rotational wobble, then it’s a well-made piece of kit.

Review Info

Brand: E*13
Product: Vario Dropper Post
From: Moore Large
Price: £200 dropper £50 lever
Tested: by Andi Sykes for 6 months

Andi is a gadget guru and mountain biker who has lived and ridden bikes in China and Spain before settling down in the Peak District to become Singletrack's social media expert. He is definitely more big travel fun than XC sufferer but his bike collection does include some rare hardtails - He's a collector and curator as well as a rider. Theory and practice in perfect balance with his inner chi, or something. As well as living life based on what he last read in a fortune cookie Andi likes nothing better than riding big travel bikes.

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  • This topic has 3 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Del.
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  • E*13 Vario Dropper Post review – an adjustable dropper on the go!
  • malv173
    Free Member

    Looks pretty interesting, but given the budget friendliness of Brand X, it’ll take some folk a fair bit of persuading to go for this.

    You can understand manufacturers avoiding ispec, given Shimano’s fondness for changing it every 35 seconds!

    I have, however, just replaced SRAMs min retail fluid in my reverb with Putoline HPX 2.5w. It is insanely more responsive, and should ensure the cold better.

    Full Member

    I have, however, just replaced SRAMs min retail fluid in voided the warranty on my reverb with Putoline HPX 2.5w.

    Full Member

    LOL. £30.18 delivery from Utah!

    as mentioned it’s difficult to see past the brand x if you can use a tape measure.

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