The perfect seat height has always been a real discussion point for mountain bikers. Unlike Roadies the right height varies considerably depending if you are riding Cross Country (XC), Enduro or Downhill.
I remember when I first started out mountain biking many years ago, riding my Giant Iguana, the boys and I always used to stop at the top of every good downhill section….flick the quick release lever and twist the post down to a new height to drop our saddles and bounce our way down the mountain…as best as I could do on an Iguana.
We didn’t think too much of it back then, about 18 years ago. But over the last few years there is a new type of accessory to help here – the dropper post.
Recently I was out of town and had the chance to meet up with a great mate of mine who happened to be planning to go for a ride just as I arrived at his house. When he invited me to join him for a ride at his local trails I jumped at the chance. Not only to spend a bit of time with a great mate, but also to test ride his dual suspension bike that also had a dropper post.
My current mountain bike is a Trek Superfly 7, a rigid hardtail which I think this is an amazing bike…it’s lightweight, responsive even for a 29’er and it climbs hills like a scalded cat. But my loan bike, a Santa Cruz Tallboy was well built and spec’d as you would expect from Santa Cruz and it was not long before I had a new benchmark for an awesome ride.
We reached the trails and made our way thought the twisty singletrack then the open fire trail that lead us to the a few downhill trails. On approaching the downhill sections my mate, aware that I had never ridden a dropper post before yelled, “It’s dead easy to use simply flick the lever on the left-hand bar and the post will drop. To lift it take your weight of the saddle and flick the lever again.” Sounded too good to be true.
So after a short climb, I couldn’t wait to give it a run. I flipped the lever and the saddle dropped. Having ridden an XC mountain bike setup for many years and not ridden with a low saddle for sometime, this was a very very strange feeling. I ripped into the first section with the saddle dropped and I found that I wasn’t comfortable at all. The free ride and flow of the bike and a trail just wasn’t there.
It wasn’t until I arrived at the bottom of the run I realised I was stiff and was hanging onto the bars like grim death. I was not aware that when I am riding my XC bike and standing on pedals, just how much I use my legs and thighs against the higher saddle to maneuver the bike particularly on downhill sections.
Standing on the pedals, I flicked the lever and the saddle back to the high position and we hit a few rolling sections of trail. Here the bike felt so sweet and also climbed as well as any that I have ridden. I had an absolute ball…grinning from ear to ear.
Then again to the top of the next downhill section I was so keen to work this dropped saddle out. Seeing my mate disappear around the first turn I flipped the lever dropped the saddle and let it rip.But again it was as though I was strangling the bars and wrestling the bike from one turn to the next and the next.
By the end of the second run I could certainly start to feel the benefits but was still a long long way off the mark, and realised this was something that was going to take a bit of time and perhaps even a set of flat pedals to really get the hang of it….if I was even going to make the change at all…as according to Singletracks.com “58% of mountain bikers don’t own a dropper post”.
So keep in touch and see you out on the trails.
About The Author
Rod Bucton, mountain bike fanatic from Mid North Coast, New South Wales Australia…discover the shortcuts to mountain biking for beginners and while you’re at it follow Rod on Facebook or Instagram.
Like any sport, bicycling involves risk of injury and damage. By choosing to ride a bicycle, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so you need to know — and to practice — the rules of safe and responsible riding and of proper use and maintenance. Proper use and maintenance of your bicycle reduces risk of injury.