US component manufacturer Thomson are releasing a new Elite Dropper mountain bike seatpost with a handlebar mounted switch that allows you to adjust your saddle height, and they reckon they’re going to offer similar technology on a road version soon.
First of all, we’ll talk you through the mountain bike model that David Parrett from Thomson showed us at the Core Bike Show earlier this week….
Seatposts with a simple means of height adjustment aren’t new in mountain biking. The idea is that you can alter your ride position according to the trail you’re on without having to faff about with Allen keys or a quick release seatpost clamp.
Thomson’s new Elite Dropper post allows you to move the saddle up/down by up to 125mm (5in) via a lever mounted to your handlebar. It’s a cable-operated system rather than a hydraulic design.
Like many mountain bike forks, it’s an oil-damped unit that uses nitrogen to push the post back up, so it’s tried and trusted technology, although in a slightly different application. The saddle feels really secure in the position you set – there’s no side-to-side movement as you pedal.
The Elite Dropper will be available in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters to start with and Thomson are working on a shorter travel 27.2mm version too. That’s going to need to use a different system, though. Thomson have a target weight of 450g and it’ll cost £350 when it’s released later in the year.
Anyway, the reason we’re telling you about this on a road bike website is that Thomson plan to market a road version that will drop your saddle 50mm (2in). Rather than having the lever mounted on the handlebar, they plan to position it under the saddle.
Why on earth would you want to alter your saddle height out on the road? Well, to be honest, I don’t think I would. I guess that some people might prefer one saddle height for climbing and another for descending although, personally, I remain to be convinced on that one. Does anyone have different preferences depending on whether they’re going up or down? Let us know.
Thomson hope to get the road version and the 27.2mm mountain bike version out for proper testing by about June in time for a launch at Eurobike (28-31 August). They expect the road version to be lighter than the mountain bike model, so we might be looking at a weight penalty over a fixed post of as little as 100g – that’s what they say, anyway. There’s no price sorted yet.
We'll give you more news when we get it. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the website of i-ride, Thomson's UK distributor.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.