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Why All Bikes Should Have Dropper Posts, From Gravel to Road Bikes

Dropper seatposts let you corner and descend faster and safer. But they're not just for mountain bikes. I think gravel bikes, and even road bikes, can benefit from dropping the saddle.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Tech

Author's note: I originally wrote this opinion story way back in 2021, well before Matej Mohoric used a dropper to win Milan-Sanremo in 2022. So, you know, I told you so! Seriously though, I never expected a pro roadie to actually go for it, and I was definitely pleased when it worked. I'm updating this story now in anticipation of his 2023 defense. 

I got my first dropper post in 2015 and it changed my life. The instant I dropped my saddle, I transformed from a zero to a hero. With more room to maneuver my mountain bike beneath me and react to terrain, fear was replaced by an addictive mix of confidence and control. Riding a bike 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.

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Gravel bike dropper post cannondale topstone carbon leftyDropper posts help riders shred, especially on gravel bikes like this Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty. Photo: 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. Photo (left): 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 react to and absorb road hazards like bumps, potholes, and debris. 


Plus, imagine the aero benefits! Since 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 races and stages with big descents where they can create separation.

Just ask Matej Mohoric. He used a dropper post to great effect in Milan-Sanremo 2022, attacking the final descent off the Poggio and beating a murders row of top favorites to the line. He was spotted using a dropper at Strade Bianche this year and you can expect to see one on his bike when he attempts to defend his San Remo title. 

There hasn't been widespread adoption, but Mohoric's antics show that it's possible to perform at the highest level of road racing with a dropper and it surely has made at least a few roadies curious. 

Maybe you’re not a dropper-curious 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 ENVE G-Series (345-395g) and Fox Transfer SL (327g) already weigh well under a pound. As technology improves, they’ll only get lighter. With modern ultralight frames and wheels, riders can run such droppers while staying near the UCI's minimum bike weight (6.8kg). In fact, pro 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. Plus, bike weight might not matter as much a you want to believe.  
  • You get used to the complexity. Once you do, it feels 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, my fellow bike geeks.
  • 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!

Evil Chamois HagarSpeedy but versatile bikes like this dropper-equipped Evil Chamois Hagar showed me how fun droppers are on dropbar bikes. 

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Some newer gravel adventure bikes already come equipped with or have routing for dropper posts, and we have more exciting gravel-specific dropper options like the ENVE G-Series post and RockShox Reverb XPLR available.

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I think it will be a few years before droppers are a common sight on gravel bikes. For road bikes, it will take much, much longer. I can’t wait for more lightweight, short travel, road- and gravel-focused droppers to come to market.

Just know, when I say, “all bikes should have dropper posts,” it doesn’t mean your dropper-less bike is no good, 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. 

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