So, who's running a Thompson dropper?

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  • So, who's running a Thompson dropper?
  • Premier Icon stevied
    Subscriber

    I’m finally taking the plunge and getting a dropper seatpost..

    I really like the look of the Thompson one so, before I take the plunge, is anyone running one? How has it been?
    Other option is the Reverb or KS Lev..
    Cheers
    Steve

    Premier Icon stevied
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    Thomson strikes me as very expensive, has an odd lever, and the cable attaches to the top of the post. Not sure I’d pay a premium for one.

    Lev is nice, but lever is weak IMO, poor ergonimically. Reverb is a better post than the Lev, but you need the stealth to get the cable to attach underneath. I’d be on one of those two.

    legend
    Member

    The Thomson premium will only be justified of/when it proves itself more reliable than the opposition. Given that my Reverbs been faultless for the first 18months of ownership, it’ll be a while before I’m convinced

    Premier Icon jam bo
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    given the RRP on the Thomson and the Reverb is about the same I’m not sure there really is a thomson premium.

    CRC knocking the reverbs out last year at less than trade did skew peoples perceptions a little…

    Thomson… …has an odd lever, and the cable attaches to the top of the post.

    I was all set to get one until I looked more closely at the lever. It looks an ergonomic nightmare and nasty if you crash and hit it. And the flappy bit of cable is annoying. I went new old school instead with a Gravity Dropper Turbo LP. Lighter, more reliable, easier to service, stronger lever which works well under the bars, even looks pretty decent in 31.6mm (run without the boot if that aesthetic bothers you). Much stronger than the old 27.2 ones because everything’s thicker and the new Al alloy has a much higher tensile strength.

    With boot:

    Without boot:

    NB: Not my bikes!

    legend
    Member

    CRC knocking the reverbs out last year at less than trade did skew peoples perceptions a little…

    Has anyone ever paid RRP for a Reverb??

    Premier Icon althepal
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    Has anyone ever paid RRP

    Nope! 🙂

    Premier Icon rockhopperbike
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    chiefgrooveguru – Member
    Thomson… …has an odd lever, and the cable attaches to the top of the post.
    I was all set to get one until I looked more closely at the lever. It looks an ergonomic nightmare and nasty if you crash and hit it. And the flappy bit of cable is annoying. I went new old school instead with a Gravity Dropper Turbo LP. Lighter, more reliable, easier to service, stronger lever which works well under the bars, even looks pretty decent in 31.6mm (run without the boot if that aesthetic bothers you). Much stronger than the old 27.2 ones because everything’s thicker and the new Al alloy has a much higher tensile strength.

    can I ask where you got the LP dropper from- they are a pain to get in the uk at the moment, and kinda don’t want to get stung by import tax from USA

    mangatank
    Member

    The Thomson does look like a well engineered system. Gas operation is a good idea. No arguing with the smooth action of the mechanism either. The hexagonal internals seem guaranteed to prevent side-to-side slop. It’s cheap to service too.

    Of the current top runners, I’d go with the Thomson, despite the price premium.

    Premier Icon stevied
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    I’ve gone with the KS Lev. I’m not a fan of baggy cables/hoses and really like the way the KS works. Had a play on one last night and they feel very good..just hope it arrives in time for the big weekend in North Wales next week 🙂

    can I ask where you got the LP dropper from- they are a pain to get in the uk at the moment, and kinda don’t want to get stung by import tax from USA

    I ordered it direct – asked nicely and got a small discount and for some reason wasn’t charged the full VAT. Now just need the frame for it – already have a GD Classic 27.2 4″ in my hardtail

    mangatank
    Member

    I’m now running a Thomson. I took it for it’s first ride yesterday, and indeed this was my first ride with a dropper seatpost. It was an interesting experience!

    The back story is that I returned to the sort of hardtail frame that encourages more confident downhill lines. I started to drop my saddle via the QR, but a slipping seatpost (a Thomson,) meant that the saddle started to drop during rides. I fixed this (with a Thomson seat clamp), but realised that the slipped saddle was providing such a positive benefit on the downhill sections that a dropper post suddenly made a lot of sense.

    Anyway, I didn’t want to get into a returns and warranty cycle that seems to typify a lot of dropper posts on the market, or live with any sort of distracting post wobbles. It was so nearly a Reverb I went for, but it was Thomson’s heavy duty internals and promise that they’d engineered-out the saddle-play issue that tipped the balance. The price was painful though; I really took a haircut on that one. The Elite’s not far off the cost of a good pair of forks but thankfully, the quality is very apparent on every element of the post. There’s even an amusing Thomson reference to MTB ‘extremeness’ etched into the post’s shaft…

    Fitting the post was easy. Fitting the control and routing the cable however, was a protracted and handlebar-gnawingly tricky experience, something Thomson themselves acknowledge in their fitting instructions. I placed the control on the left with the front gear pod and this helped with cable routing.The cable is shorter than it should be. It fits my 16″ Ti456e perfectly, but to me that suggests that Thomson should have specced a longer cable.

    Out on the trail, operation is very straightforward. The dropping action is completely smooth, and the return speed is easy to modulate via the handlebar control. The bar control is surprisingly nice. The Elite comes in for a lot of flak because of the cable-based operation of the post, but the mechanical action is absolutely gorgeous. The post felt completely rock solid too. Thank God!

    Being able to slam the saddle right down is something I’m totally unfamiliar with, and it was fairly unsettling at times. By the end of the ride though, I was hanging right off the rear of the bike on steep forest steps and short, stony banks. Even being able to drop the saddle an inch or two for long sloping drove road sections allowed for a quicker, more controlled ride.

    I think a mudguard is probably essential with a dropper. I don’t like them, but I’d like to keep the worst of the mud off such an expensive item. Forks can take it, but the Elite is a bit of an unknown quantity. Using a cover would work to an extent, but could result in the sort of rubbing and wear that I’m trying to prevent. I’ve seen that before.

    So no instant failures and some new riding experiences on a first test. And it’s very handsome too. That’s a few ticks in the box then.

    I’ll update this in a couple of weeks and let you know how it’s faring.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    1 month in with the lev and loving it. Fitting the cable is a bit of a faff ut it’s done now. Best bit is the cable doesn’t move at all. This means I put my frame protection on and that’s it. No buzz from the wheel either. Most of the reverbs I have seen have a kinked or damaged hose which I wasn’t keen on.

    I will fit up a mud guard but just the strip of inner tube I had on my other ks. Keeps mud off but doesn’t trap anything.

    150mm of movement is more than enough and hope it lasts. Not in the UK so I actually have a distributor to go back to.

    Premier Icon edd
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    Reverb is a better post than the Lev, but you need the stealth to get the cable to attach underneath.

    Thomson is releasing a “stealth” version of the Elite Dropper at Eurobike next week…
    http://bikethomson.com/eurobike-2013/

    Premier Icon edd
    Subscriber

    New Thomson “stealth” Elite Dropper post and 27.2mm version of the Elite Dropper at Eurobike 2013. Courtesy of Dirt http://dirt.mpora.com/news/eurobike-2013-product-photo-gallery-part-4.html#

    edd – Member
    Reverb is a better post than the Lev, but you need the stealth to get the cable to attach underneath.
    Thomson is releasing a “stealth” version of the Elite Dropper at Eurobike next week…
    http://bikethomson.com/eurobike-2013/

    Now we’re talking

    edd – Member
    Reverb is a better post than the Lev, but you need the stealth to get the cable to attach underneath.
    Thomson is releasing a “stealth” version of the Elite Dropper at Eurobike next week…
    http://bikethomson.com/eurobike-2013/

    Now we’re talking

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    If that 27.2 works then there’s a lot of older ‘hardcore’ steel frames that are going to be seeing one, I’d imagine?

    Premier Icon ir_bandito
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    27.2mm version of the Elite Dropper

    Want!

    Premier Icon mattjg
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    I understand why Thomson are making a dropper (because their core market is under attack) but not why someone would want to buy a dropper from a seatpost company (who basically just shape bits of static metal) rather than a suspension company (who have decades of experience making slidey up and down things).

    Although neither do I understand the benefits of making the remote hydraulic (I have one and have had to bleed it a couple of times already) instead of cable operated (I also have one, an XFusion HiLo, it was fit and forget and works perfectly).

    Can anyone enlighten me?

    mangatank
    Member

    I understand why Thomson are making a dropper (because their core market is under attack) but not why someone would want to buy a dropper from a seatpost company (who basically just shape bits of static metal) rather than a suspension company (who have decades of experience making slidey up and down things).

    Reviews.

    In my experience, the reverb bleed takes roughly three minutes, and I’v eonly had to do it once (I’m on my second Reveb). Even the SRAM how-to video lasts only five minutes, and that includes an endless monotone run through of the tools required and loads of other padding. It’s less faff than changing a cable, is less prone to dirt ingress and getting sticky over time, and more reliable (and if you’ve fitted a Lev and done the measuring and mucking about that involves). Plus the reverb lever under the bars is neat and ergonomic.

    As for the internals – Thomson use an external supplier for those.

    Premier Icon thepurist
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    Can anyone enlighten me?

    Brand values: “Thomson” = premium seatposts with good rep, so therefore it must follow that a Thomson dropper is also a premium seatpost (?)

    Hydraulic lever : A design decision which the marketing team picked up on as an “advantage” and now widely believed to be one (by Reverb owners).

    thepurist – Member

    Hydraulic lever : A design decision which the marketing team picked up on as an “advantage” and now widely believed to be one (by Reverb owners).

    Have owned two reverbs and two KS posts. Hydraulic lever much more reliable.

    Premier Icon mattjg
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    George you’re right that bleeding a Reverb isn’t an enormous faff if one has the kit, and space and time do it (lots of people don’t), but I don’t find it works any better than the cable remote on my HiLo.

    Maybe I’m due a failure on my HiLo …

    cycl1ngjb
    Member

    I have a KS i900 and X-Fusion Hi-Lo.

    The KS has been on my bike for about 18 months now & has been pretty reliable. The only issue I’ve had is with the actuation part under the saddle remaining open, when it should be closed (small amount of lube normally sorts this). Been used in all weathers and all conditions (most weekends, including 4 alps trips). I’m running the remote version. I’m yet to damage it despite several offs. It has next to no sideways waggle. I’ve kept it clean, but it hasn’t been serviced.

    The Hi-Lo has only been on for about 3 months, so it’s too early to tell about this one.

    What I will say is that the KS feels of a higher quality than the X-Fusion – the KS was also easier to setup/install.

    The main thing which put me off the Reverb is the vulnerability of the remote lever/cable to damage (unless you have a stealth). Two of my mates have now snapped the cable straight off as a result when they’ve crashed. Both happened on away trips (and could not be repaired there), so they had to do the rest of the trip without a dropper. If I snap the cable on my KS, then it’s just a trip to the bike shop to buy a gear cable.

    Given that most droppers seem to experience problems in their first 18 months of manufacture I’d be wary of anything new to market like the Thomson.

    mattjg – Member
    George you’re right that bleeding a Reverb isn’t an enormous faff if one has the kit, and space and time do it (lots of people don’t), but I don’t find it works any better than the cable remote on my HiLo.

    Maybe I’m due a failure on my HiLo …

    Full bleed kit and fluid supplied with the post. (except for some dodgy OEM ones), and requires little or no time (or space – it’s connecting one syringe to the lever), and I’ve only had to do it when installing the stealth, never needed to do it with the other one.

    Both my KS posts have suffered from gritty cables and needed regular cleaning and occasional replacing of the cables (and the cable joining area/mechanism on the older model). None of that with the reverbs.

    As for lever “feel” or any of that, I’d agree that it doesn’t matter when either is working well, there’s no difference – but the sealed hydraulic setup stays working well much longer in the mud and dirt that I ride in.

    Premier Icon BigDummy
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    I have been using a Thomson, for which I paid full RRP because I had the cash and fancied it.

    In my view, the remote is excellent. The ergonomics of it certainly aren’t a “nightmare” – it is small, easy to position and very pleasing in use. The action of the post is nice, smooth and predictable and I have so far had no problems. I don’t like the miniscule grub screw that clamps the cable, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to doing a cable change.

    This is my first dropper, and it’s been a very dry summer however, so (a) I’m not making a direct comparison with Reverb or anything else and (b) we’ll have to see how both cable and action stand up to being used across the wet season.

    Interestingly, mine develops some slight play at the seat, which can be stopped by twisting the ring section below the stanchion. I’m not sure this is meant to happen – anyone else get this?

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    mangatank – Member

    I think a mudguard is probably essential with a dropper.

    Nah, my KS i900 is on its third scottish winter, with no more than routine servicing, no fuss no stress. Cables need a little tlc as cables do, but using a decent quality one stops most of that, and the lever under the seat can clog up but it’s very simple to clean out so a minor issue.

    I like the analogueness of cable, sure it might go a little bit wrong more often than hydraulic, but when it does, it tends to do it slowly and predictably, you get tons of warning. And when it does go wrong, you can fix it very easily and with cheap, easily found parts- every bike shop in the world has the right kit to fix it. (oh, also you can manually bypass the cable entirely in the case of crash damage/cable failure, can’t do that with a reverb)

    Thomson still needs proper testing- they admitted they sent only 2 for testing in the UK, and in spring IIRC, but only after they committed to the design and were tooling up for production- so all pretty useless for real world. Slightly worrying really.

    mangatank
    Member

    Thomson still needs proper testing- they admitted they sent only 2 for testing in the UK, and in spring IIRC, but only after they committed to the design and were tooling up for production- so all pretty useless for real world. Slightly worrying really.

    Hence the mudguards!! It’ll be fine I’m sure, but for the first 100 miles I’ll be more careful than usual. The good side effect is that I’ll be clean after a ride for once. The bad side is that the bike will look like something that batman would ride. Why is all mudguard design so awful?

    maurizio
    Member

    the rever hydraulic system is ment to stop dirt ingree, but removes trailside fixing. mecs are still all cable- except acros but no-one seemed keen when they did it!

    also, thomson markets their dropper, not as the lightest, but the most reliable. with the stealth version it looks pretty impressive.

    food for thought 🙂

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