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
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.