Ask Pinkbike: A Stubborn Dropper Post, Bike Fitting, & Big Mud Tires

May 15, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul-searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand-picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.




Stubborn Dropper Post

Question: SuperDucky asks in the All-Mountain and Cross-Country Forum:I recently bought a used Giant Trance Advanced SX from 2014, and the dropper will not fully extend. It will only fully extend when I hold the lever and pull it up. I tried loosening the seat collar and cleaning the post Any other suggestions on how to fix it? And, if the price is too high to fix it, should I just get a new dropper, like the RockShox Reverb?


bigquotesGiant Contact Switch dropper posts have simple internal mechanisms, powered by a replaceable cartridge. If you have average mechanical skills, you can fix your post for the cost of a new cartridge - about $60 USD. Here's a link to the User Manual, which clearly explains the post's internals. Oddly, replacement cartridges are not easy to find on Giant's website, but they are readily available on the web, where you will also find a number of how-to videos as well.RC

Giant Contact Switch dropper post
Giant's Contact Switch dropper posts are both reliable and user-serviceable.




Picking the Correct Size Bike

Question: Pinkbike user @savmm32 asked this question in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I'm just getting into mountain biking. I've been borrowing a Juliana Medium. I'm 5'6 130pounds. I'm wondering if a small frame would be ok for me or too small? Any insight would be great!

bigquotesChoosing the correct size bike is important...really important. A bike that fits correctly can give you days of fun and get you hooked on mountain biking for life where the wrong size could be uncomfortable, challenging to ride well, and cause a multitude of long term issues ranging from knee and back pain to difficulty controlling the bike and deflated stoke as time goes on.

Fit can be tricky at times however, referencing the sizing chart on Juliana's webpage with your height gives a really strong indication that you should continue riding a medium in that brand. There is a chance that a smaller bike could work for you but it's highly unlikely that it would be ideal. The charts and sizing recommendations that manufacturers use work for most people and unless you have a body type that is far from standard- for example, extremely short legs and a very long torso...it's probably going to be right for you too. The best thing to be sure is to get out and ride whatever you're considering and compare the sizes to each other. If you're having second thoughts at all, get a professional opinion before throwing down your cash, especially if you're far to one side or the other of the sizing chart or close to in between sizes. Don't settle for close, get it right and feel good about your decision. Also, remember that a medium in one brand is not always the same as one from a different manufacturer.

The staff at any reputable bike shop should be able to size you and guide you to make sure you're on the right steed. They can also make recommendations and small changes such as saddle height, handlebar width, or a different stem...all minor details that can make a major difference in how much you enjoy riding. If anyone ever recommends getting a bike that's a good deal over one that's a better fit, turn and run...they don't have your best interests in mind.
Daniel Sapp


The MSA course got the best of Kate Courtney and she finished fifth.
Many professional racers, like Kate Courtney, spend hours dialing in their bike fit. While you probably don't need a highly trained fit specialist and high tech fitting tools to get your mountain bike dialed in, you do need to make sure you're on the correct size frame.





Plus Sized (27.5+) Mud Tires
Question: Pinkbike user @ AlbinoBlacMan asked this question in the Bikes, Parts, and Gear: Does anyone have recommendations for 27.5+ (2.8 or 3.0) tires that are going to be decent in the mud? The weather is kinda rough (snows melting so lots of moisture) but I want to get out and ride (don't worry, I do trail maintenance and fix the mess I make). I get that usually skinnier = better for mud, but I only have one MTB with one set of wheels so I'm committed to 27.5+ at the moment.


bigquotes You're correct that skinnier tires are better in the mud as they will cut through the slop and find traction in the harder dirt below. My best recommendation would be to find a lighter weight 29" wheelset and set them up with some narrower mud tires, I like the Michelin Wild Mud if you want massive mud bite and don't mind a lot of rolling resistance on asphalt, or something like a Maxxis Shorty works well in a range of soft conditions. The added benefit of having an extra wheelset means you can simply swap the wheels and rotors instead of wrestling with tires and sealant, you can also get away with a lighter wheelset in the mud as you are generally moving more slowly and the mud act as padding against rocks and roots.

If the cost of a new wheelset is prohibitive, I have had good results with a 2.6" Schwalbe Magic Mary in Soft Addix compound and Surly's tough 3.0" Dirt Wizard, both of which will offer more bite than most other plus-sized tires out there.
Paul Aston


Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.6
Surly Dirt Wizard
Schwalbe's Magic Mary in 2.6" or Surly's Dirt Wizard are good plus-size options for wet conditions.






Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


81 Comments

  • + 57
 Conveniently ignored the second part of the question “should I get a new dropper, like the RockShox Reverb.” Haha
  • + 60
 Who even buys reverbs in the aftermarket?
  • + 20
 Pinkbike with the hot takes. after using a bikeyoke revive or 9.8, i'm convinced all the rest are planned obsolesence garbage.
  • + 18
 I'm always surprised the reviewers don't go after Rock Shox more, but I boil it down to not wanting to critique a major sponsor. My friends have all had such bad luck with Reverbs. I know they work well when they are working, but it seems like there are so many better options.
  • + 2
 KS Lev was complete junk... creaked so bad no matter what I tried and it was next to impossible to get them serviced/repaired. When my RS reverb pooped the bed, the local dealer called them and then handed me a brand new one that very day... easy peasy. We shall see how well this Fox Transfer I'm on fairs.
  • + 19
 @mtemp: Strangely, I've had two KS Levs that have both been amazing with little to no maintenance. It's a crap shoot. In all companies defense, it's still fairly new tech (right?).
  • + 4
 @Adamrideshisbike: it's not just the Reverbs that me and my friends have had problems with, it's actually all of our suspension from rock shox as well. Something would always go wrong when we had rock shox for some reason
  • + 6
 @mtemp: I've had the opposite experience too - both in reliability and servicing ease
  • + 3
 @Adamrideshisbike: I legit have 1 friend whose reverb blew up this week and another who blew his brand new lyrik. But they got that $$$$
  • + 1
 I read the question about Reverb and well... expect nothing less than one of 10 Pinkbike commandments: “Reverb sucks”

Comes straight after “whatever it is it’s too expensive”, “ hope brakes are best” and “f*ck Specialized”
  • + 7
 I've had 2 reverbs with absolutely no problems
  • + 22
 @WAKIdesigns: But Reverbs do suck, Hope is the Best, and all of it is too expensive!
  • + 15
 @cthorpe: Pinkgod also told me that Avids suck, Fest is best, Sam Hill is the legend, ebikes are motorbikes
  • + 2
 I had a good chuckle on that as well. I guess if the user is o.k. w/a little sag. To quote Sram "5mm is our tolerance". My friend got the same @the Sea Otter last month. I can recommend a fantastic dropper. I don't want to drops brands, but it starts w/F.
  • + 1
 @leomax89: I do when they are for sale for under half of msrp in the buysell, and my bike had a tight cable routing that would work best with a hydraulic line.
  • + 2
 @trex1984: means nothing, ya got lucky.
  • + 2
 Contact dropper came with my Reign lasted 5 months then failed and the stanchion coating was rubbing off. I have had two KS Lev’s (one on my old bike and one after my contact failed) and never had a single issue with them. I have also had a bontrager drop line and that was absolute garbage.
  • + 3
 @trex1984: Yep, I've had one for 2 years, never serviced and it's been faultless.
  • + 3
 No not new at all. Gravity dropped came out in like 2006? @Adamrideshisbike:
  • + 6
 E bikes have motors and avid does suck and Sam Hill is a legend @WAKIdesigns:
  • + 4
 @trex1984: try a bike yoke....you will never reverb again
  • + 4
 @freeridejerk888: and let's get real, droppers are basically just bike specific office chairs.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you forgot about shitting on Crank Bros too!! @cthorpe
  • + 1
 @Shreddywhip: 5mm of sag is definitely not Sram's tolerance. If your Reverb has any sag, air has slipped past the IFP, and the post requires a rebuild.
  • + 1
 @NickSJ: not always. Mine started to sag and simply bleeding the actuator solved the issue
  • + 2
 @NickSJ: Bled 3x. My local shop contacted Sram & the rep said exactly that. "5mm is our tolerance". I called, spoke to a rep & got the same song & dance. One of my fellow riders has the same issue. He spoke w/Sram @The Sea Otter a few weeks ago & got the "5mm tolerance" lecture. I am simply stating the facts. I love some of the other products Sram has to offer. The reverb post had been clapped out & will never be fitted to any of my bikes again.
  • + 1
 @Adamrideshisbike: it's a strut that sits in a fixed position. I'm no engineer, but it seems to me this sag and seal leaking BS is not a "new tech" issue. but I'm open to be corrected by someone in the know.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: ...and the new DH WC tracks aren't challenging enough
  • + 31
 Whatever that first guy does, buying a REVERB should be the last possible option he considers.
  • + 2
 A reverb came on my new bike- my first real dropper post. No good. Creaky, squeaky, clicky, and difficult to service. The bike shop told me they have a pile of them in back they decided not to sell. Great. Guess I’m riding this one until it fails completely!
  • + 2
 And, if the price is too high to fix the Reverb, should I just get a new dropper, like the Giant Contact Switch?
  • + 3
 I recently serviced a reverb with a bad IFP, probably one of the most labor intensive jobs I've done in a while. I can service a Fox fork in like 30 min and a Fox shock in even less, that stupid reverb took me an hour to get it apart and back together. Plus you have to have a handful of special tools. My Bontrager Drop Line has a replaceable cartridge and takes like 15 min.
  • + 5
 @acali: Absolutely. Or the OneUp. The price of that price alone isnt far off the cost of rebuilding a Reverb.
  • + 1
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: yea but the drop line is one of the heaviest and stickiest droppers out. Hopefully the new redesign is better
  • + 1
 @allenfstar: I'm pretty happy with my Giant, haven't had the problems that OP had and it was cheap. Only problem is I wish now I had got the 150mm drop instead of 125 as I've just come to realise it would have fit me no worries.
  • + 11
 Branded droppers are the most overpriced components out there. I don't get how there can be such a price difference on almost equally or equally performing no-name products or products like the Giant post compared to the price range of Rock Shox and other "premium" brands.
  • + 3
 then look at e 13, foxes, and one-up's options
  • + 5
 @vtracer: just got my oneup. so far...stoked.
  • + 1
 @vtracer: The e*13 is actually really bad. I've never had a more creaky post with this much play (tip of my saddle can move ~4-5cm side to side, no matter how much I tighten and loctite the 10mm hex under the saddle).
Had to get the replacement spring kit as well, as it wouldn't extend all the way, because they used too short/weak springs.

I think someone in the Jeffsy thread said it best, that thing doesn't have a single straight line, so it becomes the most creaky post every.
  • + 2
 Check CRC's Brand-x as well, I've bought it for 88€ ($104) a month ago and it really works as a charm. Apparently the Shimano dropper and some other makes have the same internals.
  • + 0
 @winko: i have a brand-x on my stylus. love. but it's really long, couldn't make the 150mm work in my patrol. went with the oneup because the overall length is probably the shortest of any out there.
  • + 1
 @SkipSkovhugger: I haven't heard much previously about the e 13 but I have heard a few people saying it was better than the transfer
  • + 1
 @winko: crc's other brand of in house droppers: nukeproof with the oklo is absolutely garbage. I ended up swapping the one that came on my Vitus for a reverb.
  • + 1
 @vtracer: Strange, I've mostly only heard negative things about the post though.
As said, mine has a pretty large amount of play, needed the uprated springs and I'm on my 3rd lever because the hole where the screw that holds the wire, strips easier than butter.

But! The Hive have been great to deal with, in all regards. So credit, where it's due.
  • + 7
 With Giant droppers I find that cleaning the internals and re-lubing the post with slick honey usually helps. Can also spray a little bit of silicone stanchion lube on it. Check the cable and actuator to make sure there's nothing dragging or binding up.
  • + 4
 Just had a Bike Yoke 185 installed. Really smooth and fast action. However, the initial engagement on the Triggy seems to be high, more than Reverb or Dropline. After I overcome this "activation barrier," the remote is VERY SMOOTH and easy. More is better with droppers, 185 is sublime.
  • + 1
 try the Wolftooth ReMote Light Action with it...superb!!
  • + 4
 I had a giant dropper and it lasted a couple years, needed a new cartridge and a new bushing. The cartridge was already obsolete 2 years later and they didn't sell a replacement bushing for it. It was literally garbage
  • + 2
 That is kind of my thoughts of all giant stuff, it just doesn't feel right in in the hand.
  • + 5
 @vtracer: that's what she said
  • + 4
 Ha Ha my GravityDropper Turbo is going on EIGHT YEARS. When I hear your post won't fully raise, won't fully lower, sags, binds, or sticks I have no idea what you're talking about.
  • + 1
 I just serviced my 9 year old one. I didn't need to, but GD decided to send me a rebuild kit along with my order for a new post. Rebuild took me 10 minutes with my multitool. There's reasons to buy a different dropper, but you give up a LOT in utility to get it.
  • + 3
 I had an issue with Reverb (shocker) not extending all the way. Just wanted to add that recommended torque spec from RockShox is around 50in/lbs but I had to go all the way down to 30in/lbs for the post to raise to the top without problems.
  • + 2
 The One up dropper or the Bike Yoke are your best options. The Fall Line has had some issues now that it's been out and it's a fortune. The Bike Yoke is proving to be far more reliable for cheaper money but still spendy. That being said, the One up seems amazing so far and it's half the cost and has a 2yr warranty. User serviceable and 80$ cartridge and adjustable shim from a great company. I don't see a better option at this point.
  • + 1
 the oneup dropper just came out, so long term reliability is yet to be determined. that said, the gas strut they use (just like the giant dropper) tends to be super reliable, and the warranty eases my mind
  • + 1
 I fitted mine yesterday to replace a failed Reverb. There's no passing judgement until a few months have passed, because it's still a dropper. At least it comes across as user friendly and was very easy to install.
  • + 2
 If your Giant dropper is a single bolt clamp type, save yourself the hassle and get an extra inch of travel with a 5" dropper from CRC for $140 USD that'll be like night and day.
Seriously, who ever thought that a single bolt clamp on a seatpost would be a good idea needs a good punch in the %$#&.
Twice.
  • + 2
 yeah, it was a dumb design, but carbon assembly past on the "cones" fixes it right up. no need to overtorque that single bolt to keep it from slipping any more.
  • + 1
 The air cartridge in Giant's dropper post is attached to a disk that is threaded into the bottom of the post. I have experienced this disk unthreading itself from the normal vibrations of riding. Once it unthreads a little the air cartridge no longer makes contact with the switch to raise and lower. I'll bet that's the problem. A little loctite will solve it.
  • + 1
 All the hate on reverbs - haha. The sizing bit I find interesting. When I bought a road bike the shop took the time to size me, set the saddle, swap the stem, rotate the bars and even adjust cleat position. Buying an MTB, you sit on it and they ask you if it feels good, done.
  • + 1
 Giant contact sl is absolute garbage.
Stopped staying up or down, unless you hit the saddle just right after about 20 hits....but I could replace the sealed cartridge.....for about £75 or something...the post only cost £115. What would make me think the cartridge would last longer than a couple of months like the last one.
  • + 4
 Nothing worse than "deflated stoke"....
  • + 2
 @richardcunningham the seat post could be ever so slightly bent from a crash while extended. Doesn't take much friction for that thing to move slowly or get stuck.
  • + 2
 My winter riding was transformed when I fitted a shorty both front and back. So much fun, quite drifty, but they always seem to hook up.
  • + 2
 Specialized Butcher 2.8's are going to be your go-to plus tire that will cover most conditions, including sloppy mud.
  • + 1
 I ended up with butchers. Hard to be specialized prices on tires.
  • - 3
 Non DH Butchers suck. At everything. Try Minions or Magic Marys in soft compounds and come back to me. Minion as a versatile yet predominantly dry tyre and MMary as a versatile but predominantly wet tyre
  • + 16
 It rained once here in Utah a few years ago- should I get a dedicated mud tire setup?
  • + 5
 @hamncheez: Get a full bike and put mud spikes on it that way you won't even have to swap the wheels over
  • + 1
 How about the hillbilly? Does that come in 2.6 or 2.8? My local spesh shop has the butchers in those sizes, but I think the hillbilly might also be in stock. Kind of like a shorty, but cheaper.
  • + 2
 I already told SuperDucky all of that stuff in the forum.
  • + 1
 Terrene Chunk or a HR2 2.8/3.0 would be great for mud.
  • + 0
 Plus 1 on the 2.6 Magic Mary. It's a very good front tyre when things get wet and nasty.
  • + 1
 I can't find a magic mary 2.6 in a 29 wheel. Are they out their?
  • + 1
 @Longtravel: not sure if they are available for 29 yet.
  • + 1
 I love by Giant Reign...but the switch dropper post is just poos.
  • + 0
 OEM droppers are generally crap but just use it til it wears out and then buy a 9.8
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