Do dropper posts make you a worse rider?
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.Posted 4 years ago
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.Posted 4 years agospacehopperSubscriber
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..!Posted 4 years agonachoMember
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.Posted 4 years agowobbliscottMember
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.Posted 4 years agonachoMember
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!Posted 4 years ago
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………vickypeaMember
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?Posted 4 years ago
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.johnheSubscriber
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.Posted 4 years agomikey74Member
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.Posted 4 years agoandylMember
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.Posted 4 years agomaxtorqueMember
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 😉Posted 4 years agorichmtbguruMember
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! 😆Posted 4 years agoMigueloSubscriber
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.Posted 4 years ago
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.Posted 4 years agoblandMember
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!Posted 4 years agomuddydwarfSubscriber
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.Posted 4 years agoTazSubscriber
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)Posted 4 years agothisisnotaspoonMember
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.Posted 4 years agokudos100Member
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)Posted 4 years agocuriousyellowSubscriber
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.Posted 4 years agobuzz-lightyearMember
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!Posted 4 years ago
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.Posted 4 years agothisisnotaspoonMember
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.Posted 4 years ago
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