Thomson to launch instantly adjustable dropper seatpost

MTB post arrives later this year… and there's a road version planned too

by Mat Brett   January 30, 2013  

Thompson Dropper post 1

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.

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Don't think I'll be droppering my road post any time soon.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [217 posts]
30th January 2013 - 18:58

10 Likes

In order to really appeal to their target market (i.e. money>sense) amongst roadies, this should really be electronically operated via an iphone app.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
30th January 2013 - 22:08

10 Likes

As a mountain biker as well as a roadie (I only shave one leg), the advantages for descent saddle dropping are significant. The increased confidence and control achieved by a lower centre of gravity and a more 'planted' position is without debate.

There is a small section of the mtb community who never lower their saddle, though it can be said that they're maybe not riding the decent stuff. For the rest of the mtb world the on-the-fly lowering of the saddle to get it out of the way for super techy descending is as much of a game changer as front suspension was or even wide bars.

Like disc brakes for road bikes this is a storm that's coming, which may ruffle the feathers of the trad crowd, but the road world will be better for it...

posted by markyboy007 [20 posts]
31st January 2013 - 0:20

10 Likes

That's not all they're working on for dropper posts...check the factory tour on Bikerumor!

http://www.bikerumor.com/2013/01/24/factory-tour-lh-thomsons-massive-ste...

posted by bikerumor [1 posts]
31st January 2013 - 1:22

12 Likes

i've never felt the need to get my saddle out the way for 'super techy descending' on my road bike like i have on my mtb

posted by VecchioJo [750 posts]
31st January 2013 - 11:36

8 Likes

woo...27.2, finally.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
31st January 2013 - 11:40

17 Likes

Not much of a mention of the "suspension" capability to be found - are we talking a couple of inches of actual travel, or a few mm of "damping" Thinking

Always wondered why these dropper post manufacturers didn't include a bit of travel in the design - the technnology to do so is already in the thing...

posted by mcj78 [21 posts]
31st January 2013 - 11:46

10 Likes

I dont think there is any suspension from what ive heard? Certainly none of the other brands offer that, just adjustable height. The 'oil damping' mentioned is what is used for the adjustment, and is not really damping as such.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [412 posts]
31st January 2013 - 21:18

9 Likes

"Thomson to launch instantly adjustable dropper/suspension seatpost"

Article headline - maybe they're referring to a couple of mm of "vertical compliance" - probably still laterally stiff though... Wink

Still never understood why these companies don't bung a lightweight spring in alongside the damping/rebound cartridge on these things for the hardtail crowd & give an optional couple of inches of travel... or am I supposed to just buy a 5" travel "do it all" bike?

posted by mcj78 [21 posts]
1st February 2013 - 12:30

11 Likes

well a lighter drpper post, suited to narrower tubes might suit some in the XC racer segment, but really on a road bike?! Most of us spend a fair while sorting out saddle height to be "just so" for the road bike, can't see it being of any use what so ever.

On my full susser though, saving my notes now, ready for this one, looks to be the best of the bunch, if a tad expensive.

for me - The ride is about adventure, camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes after a long day in the saddle.

Mountain-Nic's picture

posted by Mountain-Nic [119 posts]
1st February 2013 - 19:25

9 Likes

andyp wrote:
woo...27.2, finally.

Yup, quite excited about this one.

posted by john_l [7 posts]
1st February 2013 - 20:59

11 Likes

The Rumpo Kid wrote:
In order to really appeal to their target market (i.e. money>sense) amongst roadies, this should really be electronically operated via an iphone app.

Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor

posted by denzzz28 [16 posts]
1st February 2013 - 22:29

12 Likes