Doing away with the clutter:
Although there are still a few holdouts - mainly only those who have yet to try one - dropper posts have arguably been one of the most influential pieces of bike kit to arrive on the scene in the last few years. Sure, various models have been available for over a decade now, but the recent push in the refinement of telescoping seat posts have seen them go from quirky to mainstream in a very short amount of time. While reliability and function have jumped leaps and bounds in that time, one point of contention has continued to be an issue for most designs - that pesky cable. Lowering the saddle instantly makes the bike far more fun to ride, but it can sometimes take a bit of ingenuity (along with a few zip ties
) to keep the extra cable from rubbing your tire, catching your foot or generally causing a headache. With a hydraulic line that is routed internally through the frame and into the bottom of the post, thereby eliminating not only the surplus cable when the saddle is lowered, but also greatly cleaning up the routing and making for a more reliable system overall, RockShox's Reverb Stealth looks to remove that nuisance.
This cutaway of a Scott Genius LT shows the Reverb Stealth's hidden routing through the frame. It enters the down tube at a point about a third of the way up from the bottom bracket, but I'm sure that we'll see other designs that have the hydraulic line disappear into the frame closer to the head tube.
The Reverb Stealth's internals have been inverted to allow the hydraulic line to exit from the bottom of the post.
RockShox Reverb Stealth details:
- Hose exits from bottom of post, creating a non-moving hose position to eliminate surplus cable and make for cleaner routing
- 125mm of infinite adjustment
- Hydraulically controlled (no cable to contaminate or stretch)
- Improved hose fitting for increased durability
- Will come as original equipment on Scott Genius LT 10 and 20 bikes, as well as select Trek models
While 125mm travel Reverb Stealth still uses air pressure to return to full travel, along with an internal floating piston to separate the air from the oil - the very same as is used on the standard Reverb - the internals have been inverted to allow the hydraulic line to exit from the bottom instead of the post's head. This lets the hose be routed internally through the frame for a much cleaner and more reliable setup, although for now it means that the post will only come stock on certain Scott and Trek models, and that it won't be available for aftermarket purchase due to slightly more complicated installation. All Reverb Stealths will ship to the dealer with a full bleed kit, hose coupler and MMX spacer. With the MMX spacer in place, Stealth’s remote lever can standalone on the handlebar, remove the MMX spacer and you can use the remote as the mounting clamp for your Avid brakes and SRAM shifters.
Unfortunately for current Reverb owners, although not surprisingly, original Reverbs will not be able to be converted to the Stealth configuration. While the line exits at the bottom of the post and is routed internally through the frame, RockShox says that the same simple bleeding process is used as on the standard Reverb, most likely meaning that adjusting hose length will also not require a bleed as well.
For 2012 the Reverb Stealth will come stock on select Scott and Trek models, although I would expect that list to get longer down the road. Although the routing is clean and simple, manufacturers will need to modify their frames in order to accept the Stealth's hidden routing - this could be as simple as clean entry and exit points, or may even include internal hose guides on some models.
Some of my time in the French Alps was spent trying to keep Monster Energy - Specialized rider Brendan Fairclough in sight (I wasn't very successful). Brendan was aboard his Reverb equipped Specialized Enduro, cruising French singletrack one second and then boosting the smallest of lips the next second - making use of his dropper post the entire time.
We've got loads of time on multiple Reverb posts and are convinced that it is the class of the field - no steel cable to get rusty or stretch, 125mm of infinitely adjustable travel and great reliability to boot. The Reverb Stealth, with its stationary hose that is routed internally through the frame, looks to be the next step as far as performance and reliability in dropper posts is concerned. While only lucky riders who pick up select 2012 Trek and Scott models will be able to get their paws on the Reverb Stealth, we'd be surprised to not see it on more and more bikes in the future. We also hope that it becomes available for aftermarket purchase as well, although this may be decided by how frame manufacturers respond to the routing challenges of the new post.Photos by Sven Martin
Visit the RockShox website
to see their entire lineup.