BMC's Autodrop Dropper Post Lowers On Its Own - Lenzerheide World Cup XC 2019

Aug 10, 2019
by Mike Levy  
Views: 23,036    Faves: 4    Comments: 2



We've probably all talked about it at some point during a ride: Why the heck can't someone make a dropper post that lowers without needing your butt to push it down? Pinkbike photographer Andy Vathis spotted BMC's prototype Autodrop post at this weekend's Lenzerheide World Cup, which looks like it does exactly that.


Here s a better cut out look of the internals and both chambers hidden in the post.
The Autodrop post uses air pressure to lower the seat when you push the lever, and a coil spring brings it back up.


The Autodrop post integrates with BMC's frame, much like the Race Application Dropper (RAD) on their Fourstroke. And just like that RAD post, the Autodrop sports an oval-shaped upper tube to ensure that everything stays aligned without needing a bunch of brass keys.

Internally, a rechargeable air spring is used to literally pull the post down into its travel instead of the rider needing to push it down with their ass. A coil spring looks after rebound duties, which the air spring would likely need to overcome to lower the seat.


The valve head pops out so it s easy to use with a standard high pressure road bike floor pump.
View of the air feed tube that pressures the system.
The Autodrop's inflator valve (left) tucks into the side of the frame, and a high-pressure floor pump is needed to recharge it.

A better look at the lever as it sits. It will be much more refined for production.
Part of the valve system that run the post. It s connected to the flexible air tube and reservoir.
The dual-stage remote lever (left). You push the paddle partway if you want to lower the seat with your ass, or all the way if you want it to lower on its own. Part of the valve system (right) that's connected to the flexible air tube and air reservoir.


There's a dual-stage remote lever with a single paddle that controls the post's action, and you have the option of using it as a regular dropper by pushing the lever only partway. Want it to drop on its own? Push the same lever all the way and the seat lowers without needing any assistance. The air chamber is concealed within the frame and can be re-charged with a normal floor pump, and BMC says that it'll hold enough air to last longer than an XCO race. It's still in development, though, so don't be surprised if the production version lasts longer.

Regions in Article
Lenzerheide


100 Comments

  • + 607
 Hasn’t the Reverb been dropping on its own for years?
  • + 63
 Shots fired
  • - 56
flag RyanAF (Aug 10, 2019 at 18:06) (Below Threshold)
 ????
  • + 38
 Came here for this joke
  • + 39
 I guess emojis dont work here.
  • - 21
flag cyberoptixs (Aug 10, 2019 at 18:11) (Below Threshold)
 @RyanAF: every own a reverb?
  • - 70
flag Tr011 (Aug 10, 2019 at 18:22) (Below Threshold)
 @cyberoptixs: ever keep a reverb properly serviced?
  • + 23
 @cyberoptixs: yeah they suck
  • + 13
 @Tr011:

Never owned one after the shit storm of f*cked droppers I opted out and my $200 CRC dropper works better
  • + 2
 Zing!!
  • - 48
flag Tr011 (Aug 10, 2019 at 18:42) (Below Threshold)
 @cyberoptixs: doesnt your peasant grade CRC dropper still have a cable attached to the bottom?
  • + 31
 @Tr011: hell yea it does, and hasn't let me down in the 2 years I have had it, how many times have you had to bleed your reverb in the last week?
  • - 48
flag Tr011 (Aug 10, 2019 at 18:47) (Below Threshold)
 @cyberoptixs: Dont need to bleed it after its installed if it isnt installed by a monkey
  • + 38
 @Tr011: I would be highly impressed if you can find me a monkey that could install a dropper.
  • + 14
 @Tr011: I know of four people who in there the first week had to bleed there reverb right out of the box. no need to bleed cables out of the box!
  • - 62
flag Tr011 (Aug 10, 2019 at 19:02) (Below Threshold)
 @bike2850: no need to bleed wireless either peasant
  • + 28
 @Tr011: did your mommy buy that for you?
  • + 14
 @Tr011: well shit didn't know we had $800 extra from our trust fund we could spend on a seat post.
  • + 8
 @bike2850: the benefits of "working" at a "job"
  • - 49
flag Tr011 (Aug 10, 2019 at 20:36) (Below Threshold)
 @cyberoptixs: I bought it for me with the money from my job you bucket of lard
  • + 26
 @Tr011: man you must have the most massive of c0cks... because you are a bit of a dick
  • + 12
 @cyberoptixs: this. So much this. Reverb was a complete donkey show for the 6 months I owned it. Threw it in the trash for ocean fill and bought the shimano kroyak out if spite and the damn thing has been flawless for 2 years.
  • + 3
 @bike2850: the problem with reverbs is not bleeding. They have internal issues that make them fail but I would bleed a reverb before replacing an internally routed cable/housing any day. I am in no way saying that reverbs are good, but I wouldn’t mind another hydraulic option with more reliable internals
  • + 6
 @Tr011: That's a mighty big hole you've dug.
  • + 7
 @EgoLicentia: nah he's compensating for this small prick by being a giant prick
  • + 4
 @Tr011: whatever you say man, I remember when my mom gave me an allowance for doing chores.
  • + 8
 @Tr011: Dude. I've has the misfortune to own 10 reverbs all of which came OEM. Learned the hard way on the first one that they suck and cost way too much to service. Sold the next 9 before I used them. SRAM makes some great gear but not that dropper.
  • + 2
 Zing! and a fully justified one
  • + 5
 I have had 3 reverbs and they have all failed even with servicing and care.
I have the budget CRC 150mm internal drop one that cost £100 in some crazy sale. Its without a doubt the best post I have had outlasting every reverb and mates posts from other brands. Swapped the leaver out pretty quick but otherwise faultless and untouched for over two years of UK weather. Rather a peasant post then a bust posh post
  • + 2
 There are a few people that are really upset that you said that, I’d say the truth hurts. Personally, one of the best comments on here EVER
  • + 3
 The pun is dropping like it's hot.
  • + 4
 @cyberoptixs: Hope his name “ Troll” hasn’t went over everyone’s head. Don’t respond to these basement dwellers. They are the despots of society.
  • + 3
 Yea I know I was bored last night needed something to do so I fed the troll a bit lol
  • + 0
 @Tr011: i am sorry you killed money
  • + 1
 @chyu: Reverb's dropping like it's not.
  • + 1
 @ttraviss: 2 years with my transfer. Never replaced cable or housing. Wouldn't be a big deal if I had to either.
  • + 51
 Oddly enough the best selling breakout adult toy of 2020 had it's humble origins in the mountain bike community.
  • + 48
 Cannondale will produce frames that support two dropper posts....
  • + 9
 One fork leg, two droppers?
  • + 1
 No the dyad dropper. Two chamber dropper, the half travel one for trail and the full travel one for descent (or how they named them).
  • + 20
 "There's a dual-stage remote lever with a single paddle that controls the post's action"

More complexity! Finally the bike industry is listening to PB comments and giving people what they want!!! THANK YOU INDUSTRY!
  • + 19
 I want this on my Shapeshifter with Fox live valve and, of course, my Girvin Flexstem.
  • + 4
 This is awesome. Who wouldn't like to use this dropper post? That's literally my only issue with droppers
  • - 1
 But it doesn’t change the seat angle. PASS!
  • - 1
 OMG you have to decide whether you want to push the lever half way or all the way. So complicated!
  • + 18
 Now that is something I wish my office chair did
  • + 15
 Pity upvote.
  • + 16
 Dentist chairs do it already, so this will be a great compliment to their bikes.
  • + 15
 The photo of the left side handlebar looks like an F1 steering wheel. Getting carple tunnel syndrome just looking at it.
  • + 0
 That’s exactly why I still singlespeed
  • + 78
 @mripper: the only reason to singlespeed is because you hate happiness. You probably also only ride in the rain.
  • + 14
 The future is now, folks. What a time to be alive.
  • + 8
 Surely the self-tuning crankset is around the corner. Can't wait.
  • + 2
 @nozes: I'm waiting for the automatic drivetrain.
  • + 3
 @cyberoptixs: that happened over 20 years ago. It didnt work that well, but it happened.
  • + 2
 @lyfcycles: oh really well shit. Guess I will have to hope for something else
  • + 13
 I sat down and asked an XCO Olympic medalist about why he didn't use a dropper a few years ago and he was genuinely concerned about the energy expended dropping a post mid-race as they are so close to the limit already that those kind of tiny percentages are a big deal to them.
  • + 6
 I was thinking of a design like that but with an air pump integrated into the shock so that it would never run out of pressure to raise the post. Don't have the resources to build it though. Plus it might mess with suspension action.
  • + 12
 Make it recharge the air spring whenever you push it down with your body weight instead; keeps it self-contained.
  • + 7
 Yes!!!! I've been waiting for this my entire cycling career!!!! Now make one with 150mm drop please
  • + 8
 First real “dropper” post after a decade of “rising” imposters.

This tech is long overdue for those of us with limited vert where rides consist of short ups and downs.
  • + 4
 @robwhynot: im*post*ers
  • + 3
 Once I look at it as an enduro racer or a trail rider, who puts the saddle down for longer extents of trail (or a whole stage), it really doesn't make much sense. But as a XC or "downcountry" rider, who uses the dropper just for short segments of the trail with focus on being on the pedals as long and as soon as possible, it starts making sense though.
You've never waited with dropping your saddle too long and then was quite busy to "squat it down" while already in need of advanced pilotage with exact body and COG positioning? That's the moment you would appreciate a trigger to force your saddle down without pushing with your ass.
... IMHO
  • + 4
 Based off the amount of people I saw not using their dropper posts through downhill tech in a provincial xc race today, this might actually not be as bad of an idea as it sounds
  • + 6
 Create a problem, sell a solution
  • - 2
 it's more like "sell a solution for a problem that does not exist".
  • + 1
 @zede: I agree, how hard is it to sit on your seat to lower it?
I like my Fox Transfer no issues.
  • + 5
 Damn, now just something to pedal the bicycle for me.
  • + 0
 can i interest you in an e-bike sir?
  • + 4
 I think the limitation here is air. Why not make it electric and wireless. Basically just a linear actuator.
  • + 2
 Probably because that would take a few seconds to travel and be twice as heavy as a normal dropper.
  • + 3
 @PhillipJ: I’m sure they could find a way to speed it up. If you had a really low TPI on your helix, it would move through the travel quickly. In my opinion, if they can make a derailleur move as quickly as AXS and DI2, they should be able to move a dropper pretty quick.
  • + 3
 @scottziesman: spent a ton of time researching various forms of linear actuators and lead screw designs for this. Main issue you run into other than weight of the system, is the ability to hold a load, ie. you sitting on the post. If you rely purely on the actuator or servo, it has a high likely hood of slipping or not holding the lead screw and slowly dropping. To get something with enough torque to hold you up, you loose a ton of the speed. The only option if going with a quick moving system is to incorporate a brake that supports your body weight. This adds in much more complexity as the brake has to deactivate as soon as you want the post to move, and reengage when you stop the post. This is about where I lost motivation, the best posts I've personally used are the simplest, and this was getting way beyond a simple (reliable) design.
It's definitely doable, but to make it fast, strong, reliable, and a reasonable weight you'd be on a post that costs as much as a frame...
I would be stoked to see an up/down post integrated into a system like AXS or Di2, but it's gonna take an assload of time and money to get right.
  • + 4
 The age of leaky reverberations is over, the time of the uppy-downy has come!
  • + 1
 NEW!!! From the makers of Down-Country comes DOWN DROPPER!
  • + 4
 My Reverb used to lower on it's own too.
  • + 2
 Man, sometimes luck seems to be shining even on me. I am riding my reverb for 3 years in a row now without service and without even refilling air.
  • + 3
 How many actuations between recharges?
  • + 3
 It says "longer than an xco race" so maybe 3 or 4 actuations per lap and 7 or 8 laps in a pro race. Somewhere in the 20-40ish range at a guess?
  • + 2
 I would actually worry about running out of actuations if it was 20-40. I tend to drop it on slight down grades or when I’m standing. I just get so used to it being out of the way I can’t stand it when it’s in the way. I’ll have to try and count my drops on a ride.
  • + 1
 @PtDiddy: sure i do the same but in that case you could still drop it manually and save air for when you'd actually need it to drop itself.
  • + 1
 @Balgaroth: that’s what I get for not reading the whole article. I should have guessed it would work as a standard dropper too.
  • + 1
 One of the rider was saying he was using it 8 times per lap.. x6 laps is roughly 50x, and BMC is saying it last longer.. so I'd say reasonably between the 60-75 actuation range.
  • + 3
 Interesting stuff. I like that no batteries are involved.
  • + 2
 What Goes Up Must Come Down.
  • + 1
 I want this so bad my anoos is tingling.
  • + 0
 Peeps are too lazy to sit on a saddle to lower it but they're bitch about an e-bike till the cows come home...
  • + 1
 I need a wireless version of this.
  • + 1
 Are some of you all too light to push a dropper post down?
  • + 1
 The lever is super nice.
  • + 1
 WOW tup
  • + 1
 Simpsons. Omnigogs.
  • + 0
 No one has ever had that conversation on a ride!
  • + 1
 Damn
  • + 1
 Take my money!
  • - 3
 Right until you drop into a massive rock garden and the seat doesn't go down. That'll be a pass for me.
  • - 2
 Is there no info on how this works?

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