Do dropper posts make you a worse rider?

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  • Do dropper posts make you a worse rider?
  • Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    This is the biggest reason I’m reluctant to get one. At the moment I’ve got 3 “settings”: all the way up for long non-tech bits, an inch or two down for lumpier singletrack where I still want to sit a bit and pedal, and all the way down.

    Sometimes in the middle one, as it’s a compromise, it could be a bit up or a bit further down. If it’s way off, I’ll stop and adjust, if it’s within an inch either side, I’ll probably just get on with enjoying the ride.

    Infinite, on the fly adjustment from a dropper could end up being something I could be constantly thinking about and constantly fiddling with. And never quite happy with.

    scuttler
    Member

    Nah – make me far more rad as I can get ma hoop right over the back. The rest of the time it’s no different – sit and peddle.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    Worse? No I don’t think so, as if ‘worse’ means much anyway.

    Like other bits of tech one could argue they are a ‘skill compensator’, if riding steeps with a pole in front of one’s delicates could be counted as a skill.

    Personally, I think the dropper is a ‘fun enhancer’. Like you Nacho I use it constantly, even in short innocuous bits of singletrack.

    Premier Icon spacehopper
    Subscriber

    no.

    your seat height on the HT is just generally incorrect and a compromise between speed and comfort for you on a specific piece of trail (without stopping and putting it up / down)

    tag onto that that that seat height on the HT will probably make a bigger difference as you don’t have the buffer zone of the rear travel stopping the seat pitching you forwards quite so much

    if anything.. its made me fitter and able to enjoy the flow of up / down trails more as i don’t have to stop to put my seat up or down anymore..!

    spacehopper +1 nicely put.

    nacho
    Member

    spacehopper & matt, well put, yes the HT post height is a compromise, I think what I am getting at is I am so used to using my reverb I now struggle without it, the seat height on the HT has been the same for a couple of years, it never used to bug me on my local singletrack but now as I get more used to being able to constantly adjust the height I’m sure I’m slower on the HT.

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    I doubt it, more like you are relatively quicker on your Reverbed bike.

    As said, any seat height is going to be wrong most of the time.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    You’re much quicker with a reverb or similar. Your speed was probably as slow and variable as before but you only notice it now. I rode my non-dropper bike today for the first time since getting my new bike with reverb and I was all over the place. The bike just didn’t feel as planted beneath me as and I was Not as confident as a result. I was trying to lean the bike beneath me as i’ve now got used to doing but couldn’t as the saddle was in the way. An upright bike doesn’t corner as well or quickly as a leant over bike.

    nacho
    Member

    I have been thinking of this as I have an FS bike with a reverb which I love – I think they are great inventions and I use it constantly when I am riding, high for climbs, mid for singletrack and down for downs!
    Then, when I ride my HT which has no reverb (I am saving up for one) I cannot get the right seat height, it’s either too high or too low and I am definatley slower than I used to be, especially through singletrack where what used to be my “standard” seatpost height now seems way too high.
    I have to go buy another reverb as soon as I have enough pennies methinks………

    Junkyard
    Member

    I only ride no local trails without mine so it never bothers me tbh as i know what is coming

    It is like any other skill compensator FS. better brakes etc you can ride the same stuff just slower

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Riding everything with the seatpost up probably makes you a worse rider tbh. Better at riding things with the seatpost up, but worse in general.

    vickypea
    Member

    Isn’t seat height about dropping the height to improve your control of the bike on descents and raising it for climbs, as it’s inefficient to climb with a low seat?
    I have a dropper seat post on my HT and it stops me from getting left behind (because I used to stop and change seAt height for descending and climbing) and improves the flow of the ride.

    Premier Icon johnhe
    Subscriber

    I’d say that riding anything technical with the seatpost up looks ungainly and stilted. Getting the seatpost out of the way doesn’t make anyone a better riding, but it makes it much easier to adjust your centre of gravity and ride obstacles smoothly. So I’d say that riding with your seatpost up makes you a worse rider, since you’re less likely to develop a smoother, graceful style.

    falkirk-mark
    Member

    Surely the same could be said about gears i.e. you ride your normal trails s/s then get a bike with gears and 1 year later you would struggle on a s/s.

    mikey74
    Member

    The answer to the OP is no. Droppers are not skill compensators, they allow you to adopt the correct technique. I know people will point out that very skilled xc riders ride with their saddle up. However, their descending technique is actually terrible, in general. They make do, because they have to.

    FSers aren’t skill compensators either, as long as you use them to push your riding and not make the same old things easier and more comfy.

    andyl
    Member

    If anything I found the opposite. Same with riding my 29er.

    my 29er is 100mm travel, no dropper, XC geometry etc.

    my 26er is 130mm travel, slacker and a Reverb

    the 29er undoubtedly makes things like rocks and roots easier and I dare say it I have more confidence going down rocky steep stuff. But it makes me realise what i should also be easily doing on a 26″ bike and not die in a horrible twisted mess. I just need to work the bike more.

    With the dropper on the 26er I realise how much better lowering your centre of gravity is and it gives you the room to move around so I tend to do so more and enjoy riding more. When I go to the 29er with no dropper I lower the seat a little and try to move around more around more.

    maxtorque
    Member

    There are i think a couple maybe of times where using a dropper too much can result in a poorer performance. For example, i see lots of people who move there body mass backwards too much, rather than downwards to lower there CogG. The effect is the same in terms of turning moments (in pitch) but moving backwards unloads the front wheel significantly. I see people fail to get the front wheel to bite because they are so far off the back of their bike! Here, a non dropper post tends to get in the way and actually pushes the rider forwards, which probably feels wrong, but can be exactly the right thing to do!

    Generally speaking however, droppers are ace 😉

    richmtbguru
    Member

    The thing with these dropper posts is it makes riders far too lazy, one thing I always do when a client comes to see me is take there seat post out, it’s good practice for them to learn how to use their body more without having to rely on the position of the ‘automatic’ seat post, this is the name I call them while teaching! 😆

    I ride a ht with no dropper. Haven’t raised my saddle in months. Just leave it dropped.

    Premier Icon Miguelo
    Subscriber

    I see people fail to get the front wheel to bite because they are so far off the back of their bike! Here, a non dropper post tends to get in the way and actually pushes the rider forwards

    I was thinking the opposite! I don’t have dropper post but I usually drop my seat, if I don’t do it I find that the only way to lower my body position is moving backwards and “behind” the saddle, cause it is in my way…Then , as you say, put the weight too far off the back of the bike.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    maxtorque – Member

    There are i think a couple maybe of times where using a dropper too much can result in a poorer performance. For example, i see lots of people who move there body mass backwards too much, rather than downwards to lower there CogG.

    That’s not a dropper thing, though… If anything droppers/dropped posts make it easier to get your weight low whereas high seats only really allow it to go back. But it doesn’t prevent other technique issues.

    bland
    Member

    I had a gravity dropper and drilled a third hole in it 1 1/2″ down which was the perfect set up! Now I have a reverb which works loads nicer, but never seems to be in the right place! A reverb with presets would be amazing, you don’t need infinite adjustment at all, its just a pain!

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    ^^ bland I used to think this but now I’m more used to my Reverb, I have a better feel for it, and I wouldn’t want a preset.

    Side tip: a dropper is handy for getting your bike in the back of the car!

    rickt
    Member

    I have my Reverb set up perfect for the climbs.. drop it an inch for trails and down to the bottom for descents.

    Gone are the days of dropping the seat post at the top and out of the saddle on the climb the other side.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    No just highlights where other bikes are lacking

    matther01
    Member

    Not sure why you need two droppers…I use one between two bikes and takes minutes to set up.

    Used a static post last weekend and it felt truly awful.

    avdave2
    Member

    Not sure why you need two droppers..

    Different seatpost diameters maybe. They don’t always work well with shims.

    As for does it make you a worse rider I don’t know. I’ve never used one but refuse to believe I could possibly be any worse than I already am.

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    I’ve got one on FS, not on the hardtail. I do miss it, and when I ride the hardtail on steep stuff I really notice how much the saddle restricts movement. I’m not going to put one on hardtail, as I want to keep the bike simple / low maintenance.

    Premier Icon muddydwarf
    Subscriber

    That’s why i bought a Command Post Blacklite and not a Reverb.
    The 3-position system is ideal, top set exactly right for climbing and general riding, 2nd position for singletrack and swoopy stuff, 3rd position well out of the way for steep and techy stuff.

    Don’t have one on my XC-orientated bike and i really notice it when its not there.

    Premier Icon Taz
    Subscriber

    They allow / teach you to move your body around the bike to maximise traction.

    To my mind they significnatly improve you as a rider and frankly allow you (me anyway) to enjoy my riding more with a lot less faffing at the top and bottom of technical decents. I also drop my saddle on stuff I would never actaully haved dropped it on in the past. This allows me to hit singletrack harder / faster / ‘funner’ 🙂 than ever before

    One of the truly break through additions to riding in recent years (as oppossed to the pure marketing nonsense on most other things)

    Premier Icon annebr
    Subscriber

    I just ride with my seat at the height it is. Going up, going down, same.

    The only time I’ve ever felt the need to drop my saddle is when holidaying in the Alps where we did proper downs.

    I’ve got one on my Pitch.

    On my XC bike the saddles at it’s most efficient height (i.e. all the way up), and it’s still rideable through singletrack and downhill sections.

    It’s not making me a worse rider having the reverb, but like gears* (and on some trails, brakes!), it’s sometimes and unnececary distraction when I’d really rather just ride. You go into a corner with it down, then sprint out, then want it back up again for a brief rest, then repeat. 95% of it’s actuations are probably just ‘because I can’, rather than times I’d actualy have bothered to drop the saddle on the other bikes. And like gears, just leaving it on one position is not the same feeling as singlespeeding!

    *there’s something nice about never being in the wrong (i’ts never right either, but it’s always there) gear on a singlespeed, it’s always there on the exit of a corner, not several shifts away. And on smooth flowling trails like the Blue at Swinley it’s fun to try and get away with a lap completly off the brakes and letting momentum take over.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    how do these things work? is it just an up and down switch on your handle bars? Or it it more automated than that?

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    muddy drawf – that might be the one for me. No 27.2, though?

    The second biggest reason I haven’t got one is that I’m as much a brand whore as a cheapskate.

    Holding out for the 27.2 Thomson, but I’ll probably decide it’s too expensive…

    kudos100
    Member

    Bit of a double edge sword. On the one hand it allows you to ride in a better position, but at the same time it is something else to distract you.

    If you are not able to ride in an effective position on the bike you are not going to get the most out of a dropper (i.e riding too tall and not leaning the bike under you in corners)

    Premier Icon curiousyellow
    Subscriber

    mikey74 – Member
    I know people will point out that very skilled xc riders ride with their saddle up. However, their descending technique is actually terrible, in general. They make do, because they have to.

    Pretty sure most (if not all) pro level XC riders are much better descenders on their XC bikes than your average weekend warrior on a DH bike. Guys like Fontana, Kulahvy and so on ride MX and Enduro for fun/cross-training and they are certainly not slow on the downs.

    The courses you see them on have been nicely flattened out by the camera, like when you see the TdeF coverage and go “they’re not going that fast are they?”. Why not try riding an Olympic XC course and see how you manage the downhills on your full sus bike? Then try it on a hardtail, with 2 inch tyres, 620mm bars and the saddle all the way up and see how much simpler it is.

    I don’t think dropper posts are skills compensators. Like someone else said, it’s a way to ensure your post is at the optimal height all the time. I’d get one if I could afford it and the maintenance wouldn’t put me off. Pro XC riders are probably not the target market, though Brian Lopes did run one when he was doing the XC Eliminator series despite the weight penalty.

    Euro
    Member

    To my mind they significnatly improve you as a rider

    Don’t see how they’d make a blind bit of difference in that respect. They make it easier to raise/lower your seat and that’s it.

    Having a slightly lower seat can give you confidence to ride straight down tricky descents. It can also make it easier to apply “skills” on more moderate descents. It encourages more skilful, stylish and fun riding. Being able to do this on the move with a dropper-post is a boon on undulating trails.

    But there is a penalty for using it all the time: you don’t practice to descend well with the saddle up, which it a useful skill itself when you’re on your other bike that doesn’t have one, or when you’re not quick enough on the button!

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I didn’t read Mikey’s post as saying “they have bad techique”, rather the technique they have to use to ride around the post is inferior to how they could ride with a lower seat.

    Euro – Member

    Don’t see how they’d make a blind bit of difference in that respect. They make it easier to raise/lower your seat and that’s it.

    Basically about best practice… If you’ve got the seat at the right height, more of the time, then you can be riding in the most appropriate way more of the time, which helps you work on the most useful skills. Unchains you a bit.

    Personaly I think the whole “small and chuckable” marketing drive that happend 5 years ago has a lot to answer for. Allong with steep seat angles of more recent bikes.

    I think the reason I don’t miss the dropper on the XC bike is a lot to do with a longer top tube and sensible seat angle (for pedaling efficiency rather than weight over the front) meaning there’s actualy a lot of room in the middle to move about in. Cornering on it with the bike leant over, top tube in the crook of your knee etc is easy depite it’s 20″ frame. On the Pitch the saddle is where I want put my leg.

    This is despite them both being nominaly the correct size for me.

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