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All bikes should have dropper posts ... Yep, all of 'em

By Bruce Lin

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Road gravel and mountain bike dropper seatpostsI got my first dropper post on October 14, 2015, the day that changed my life. The instant I dropped my saddle, I transformed from a zero to a hero. With room to maneuver my bike and react to terrain, fear was replaced by an addictive mix of confidence and control. Riding with a dropper is not only faster and more fun, but safer too. 

With that in mind, I’ve got an idea bomb to drop on you: All bikes should have a dropper seatpost. Yup, even road bikes

If you’re still reading, you haven’t thrown your device across the room or gone straight to the comments to yell at me. So please, hear me out.

SHOP BIKESSHOP SEATPOSTS

Gravel bike dropper post cannondale topstone carbon leftyDropper posts help riders shred, especially on gravel bikes like this Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty. Photo credit: Cannondale. 

First, nearly every mountain biker has already seen the light when it comes to droppers. (Could a dropper have saved Mathieu van der Poel’s Olympic XC race?!) Gravel is clearly the next discipline to benefit from dropping the saddle.

With bigger tires, suspension forks, and progressive geometry, new gravel bikes are more capable. Gravel riders are pushing limits and events like Grinduro are getting gnarlier. Even on mellow gravel, a dropper will pay off. A lower saddle means a lower center of gravity. This lets you use good cornering technique for more traction and speed. A lower saddle also frees up your body to move dynamically as terrain gets steeper.

Road bike dropper postsSkilled roadies can corner fast, but could things be better? Motorcycles don't have sky high saddles for a reason. MotoGP photo credit: Gold & Goose / Red Bull Content Pool. 

I know this is a hard sell, but the same is true for road bikes. On paved roads, dropping the saddle will let you move around on the bike, corner, and descend like a MotoGP rider. Not only does that sound immensely fun (which is the most important thing), but the lower center of gravity gives you more traction to attack corners and room to absorb road hazards like bumps, potholes, and debris. 

Plus, imagine the aero benefits! Now that the UCI banned the super-tuck position, a dropper post is the only way to achieve an ultra-aerodynamic position while remaining in contact with the saddle. It will also provide a safer way to actually pedal in a super-tuckWith the super-tuck ban, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some daring racers experiment with droppers on stages with big descents.

One of the peloton’s most feared descenders, Vincenzo Nibali, has already tested a height-adjustable post at the Tour de France. No, it's not a true dropper like we're talking about. But it's telling that a rider like Nibali was willing to accept the weight penalty. 

After all, teams can easily build 6.8 kg bikes (the UCI weight limit) with a dropper. New, ultralight bikes like the Specialized Aethos can easily be built into the 14 pound range with off-the-shelf components. Teams with underweight bikes have to add weights to the frame. Why not add a component that's actually useful? Riders being equal, I would bet my house that a dropper-equipped bike will always out-descend a bike with a rigid post.   

Maybe you’re not a dropper believer yet. I think I know why:

  • Extra weight
  • Extra complexity
  • Extra cost
  • We’ve ridden without droppers for years and change is scary. 

Here are my responses:

  • The lightest posts like the KS Lev Ci (400g), Bike Yoke Divine SL (385g), and Fox Transfer SL (327g) already weigh well under a pound. They’ll only get lighter. Plus, I’m a recovering weight weenie, who insists bike weight doesn’t matter. Droppers will help with my recovery.  
  • Meh, you get used to the complexity. Once you do, it’ll feel weird to ride without it. Using the dropper is already second-nature on my mountain bike. 
  • I own aero socks. I think it’s fun to spend my meager disposable income on geeky products for marginal gains. Join me.
  • Okay, no one really needs a dropper. But if it can help even one rider go faster, feel more confident, have more fun, and stay safe, that’s a good thing!

Cervelo Aspero gravel bike dropper postSpeedy but versatile bikes like this dropper-equipped Cervélo Aspero showed me how amazing droppers are, even when riding pavement. 

It will be a few years before droppers are common on gravel bikes. For road bikes, it will take longer. Some newer gravel adventure bikes already come equipped with or have routing for dropper posts, and we have exciting new options like the forthcoming ENVE post and RockShox Reverb XPLR. I can’t wait for more lightweight, short travel, road- and gravel-focused droppers to come to market.

Some think my opinions are too radical. Just look at the comments readers left after I said 1x drivetrains are the future for road bikes. But when I say, “all bikes should have dropper posts,” it doesn’t mean your dropper-less bike is garbage, or that I want you to buy a dropper right now. Ride whatever bike you want, however you want. If it makes you happy, I’m happy! 

If you’ve never thought about putting a dropper post on your bike, try to be open to it. I didn’t know I liked GPS head units, power meters, or hummus until I tried them. The future might surprise you in a good way. I, for one, will gladly bend the knee to our new dropper post overlords. 

SHOP BIKES SHOP SEATPOSTS

Is Bruce completely off his rocker? Or is he actually on to something? Let us know what you think in the comments!


18 comments


  • I use a dropper post on my trail hardtail. So I’m familiar with it’s function. It’s great for very technical sections and steep descents. But the very second I don’t need it anymore, back up the saddle comes so I can get the most power from my pedaling. On my rigid bikepacking trail rig, gravel bikepacking rig, gravel day trip bike, All-road and loaded road tourer and road bikes…I’ve never once thought it would be any real benefit. If I were obsessed with speed on paved or gravel downhills…maybe.
    But I’m not.

    Gregory Doggett on

  • Good discussion. I have a dropper on my mountain (of course) and gravel bike. I ride the gravel on semi-technical singletrack and use that dropper it all the time. On the road bike I can see the occasional benefit on long descents, but even around my area where I routinely have over 2000’ of elevation change in a road ride I don’t feel I want one – the handful of times where it would really be useful aren’t worth it, and I’m not even a weight weenie. Seems like overkill to me, and most serious roadies obsess over 10 grams so I can’t see a dropper ever worth being its weight ;)

    Henry on

  • I had my hip replaced and couldn’t get on and off my road bike. I bought a mountain bike with a dropper post and it has changed my life for the better.

    Mike O on

  • If I were still commuting every day on my bike, I could even see the utility of a drooper on a road/gravel rig used for boring real-world stuff. Scootch it down when dealing with stoplights, curb cuts, and traffic; pop it back up when you can actually ride any distance.

    Kirk Knestis on

  • My lower back very much appreciates my Redshift suspension seatpost. Maybe I’ll think about it when softail roadies/gravelers become a thing.
    For now, I cant afford a Calfee.

    Zed Fechten on

  • I race motorcycles and the seat comparison literally has nothing related between the 2 disciplines. Most of your weight is on your legs on a sport bike and hips during corners. Sitting low in the bike would be more difficult to make direction changes.

    Rage m Thomas on

  • Every word written, I agree with.

    Joe Stranzl on

  • Hmm. To me, droppers are good for long technical descents and sharp turns. When I rode out west, I was glad the rental had a dropper for the long technical descents. Here on Long Island, I don’t have one and don’t feel like I ever need one. My buddy has a dropper on his MTB and almost never uses it. On the short technical descents, I just get my ass off the seat, not the most comfortable for only for 10-20 seconds. On a road bike, I can never see needing one. I have bad knees, I can’t pedal if the seat is too low. So a dropper is only useful when I am not pedaling which is downhill. I can take turns fast enough just by using the lower part of the drop road bars. Amazing to me how many people descend on the hoods of their shifters instead of getting low. Maybe I could take some turns slightly faster with a dropper on a road bike – but I don’t want to go any faster. And I would find it more dangerous to keep popping my seat up and down on a downhill road with lots of turns and I don’t want to pedal with the seat down.

    cycledan on

  • I’m a roadie. And I agree 100%. Droppers on all bikes (maybe not for crit or track racing). However, I probably will never use one on any of my bikes since I don’t send the gnar anymore.

    David Hause on

  • With all the different brands of road bikes with many using shaped tubing, wouldn’t they all need a proprietary custom made dropper post? My aero Merckx has a very shaped custom made seat post, nothing else would fit. Admittedly I haven’t ridden MTB’s since the 80s and then used the Hite-rite, which was ok in it’s function. Even then I didn’t drop my post for every descent, only the really steep or super long technical ones. For a road bike most descents where I live in Oregon aren’t that long and are under 10% grades. Most local fast descents are under 5-7 minutes going 35-45 mph. Only the longer rides in the mountains do I have descents lasting 20-30 minutes or more with speeds higher than that. Some have hairpin sections and extra care is needed For the average cyclist living in non-mountainous areas, how often would they use it? Once or twice a ride for 3-5 minutes? For pro teams racing the Dolomites in which every second counts in a race. Sure, they ride fast long dangerous descents at breath-neck speeds. For the rest of us? Just a gimmick.

    Frank on

  • Hi Bruce,
    I’m behind you when it comes to dropper seat posts.
    I have a little history with dropper seat posts. My former company, Hurricane Components brought forth the first known, modern dropper, the “Elevator Shaft” back in 2000.
    Having used the “Hite Rite” back in the 80’s and 90’s, I appreciated the benefits of lowering my saddle. The Hite Rite fell out of favor in this time.
    In the late 90’s I started to use a Hite Rite again, this time though I had to modify the seat post clamp so it would stay in place and not twist when the QR lever was released.
    This gave me an idea to re-release the Hite-Rite. I contacted Joe Breeze( mtb pioneer) who co-owned the patent for the Hite-Rite. He liked the idea and said he would sell me as many as I needed at a pre-determined price.
    A couple of weeks later he called and said he talked to his partner of the patent, who only wanted to sell them to us if we bought the whole lot of 25k pieces. Myself knowing the benefits of dropping my saddle, I was 100% convinced that I could spend over $100k to convince everyone else of the benefits.

    I shelved the idea for about a year then came up with my first rendition on the Elevator Shaft, which use a simple spring with a keyed stanchion. It used a pull knob with indents for a .5” drop between each and a total of 3” of drop. It worked really well.
    The last model had a handlebar remote.
    When I first started showing the product, I heard many comments including “I fixing a problem that doesn’t exist, “it’s too heavy” “ I’m making a simple component and making it complex. But I knew the benefits and many others did too.

    Soon after I sold Hurricane Components due to starting a family and the new owners dropped the idea.
    It wasn’t until a few years later that Gravity Dropper introduced their first dropper seatpost, which coincidentally looked very much like my first dropper model from a few years earlier.

    I still use a dropper on several of my bikes today and can see them used on road bikes someday.

    Jeff Sayegh on

  • Just 3 weeks ago as I was on my MTB bombing down a road back to my car, I was thinking “why don’t I get a dropper post on my road bike so I can drop it on all of my descents”. And now today I read this…

    Jonathan Butler on

  • I had to put dropper post on my road and gravel, since I broke my femur twice in 19 months. This is the only way I can ride until hopefully get my strength. Master Racer..

    Mike Harrison on

  • I put a dropper on my road bike. More of a novelty though to confuse people behind me in the descents. The sloped top tube frame on Mtn bikes let’s you really drop the seat down significantly. Straight top tubes on road bikes restrict how low they can go unless you have a really tall seat tube. Mine comes down some. Does it make a difference? It feels like it. Is it worth the investment, no, but for a pro team looking for every advantage, have at it.

    Mcsaun on

  • I’ve seen the potential need for a dropper posts on gravel bikes. Where I live there are not that long stretches of packed gravel. Most of it is public road, forgotten by time, in the middle of the mountains, which sometimes turns to be very technical. I don’t ride a MTB, because have to pedal 40-50km just to get there. Sometimes is fine and you can get on with it, but in a couple of occasions, I’ve hit the deck due to lack of that mobility you’re referring to. Currently I don’t install one because: 1. price, getting one to my country is very expensive, and 2. Specs and weight. 31.6 with external cable routing, and good quality are a bit hard to come by these days. Maybe in the near future.

    Ze A on

  • I want one today for my CX bike. I think my gravel bike wants one too.

    Rob L on

  • Definitely want one but have a BMC w proprietary post ???:(

    eric baum on

  • Bruce put your money where your mouth is and build a 1x road bike with a dropper. I’d love to see that. Do it please

    James L on


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