Crank Brothers Joplin - Review

Jun 5, 2008
by Mike Levy  
There are a few different ways to do it but adjustable height seat posts all have the same purpose: to let you have your seat at the ideal height for whatever terrain you may be riding. Crank Brother's Joplin may look familiar to some of you as the original design was done under the Maverick name. Now licensed by Crank Brothers, there have been some small changes but the basic idea has remained the same.

The Joplin is offered in two versions, a slightly lighter non-remote version that uses a under seat lever, and the Joplin R (for remote) tested here. Both post's have 3" of hydraulically controlled drop and depend on an air spring to extend them when the time comes. The Joplin is only offered in two sizes, 30.8 and 31.6 mm. Thankfully my current test bike, a very capable Rocky Mountain SXC 90, takes the larger of the two sizes. While riding the daylights out the the Slayer I managed to put a godly amount of time on the Joplin R also.




What's going on in there?

Although it could have been easier to build the Joplin with a spring and pin system, it was decided to use a lighter and more adjustable air and oil combination. Functionally it is very similar to an air sprung and oil damped fork. It depends on air pressure within the inner tube to extend the post and a small oil port to keep it lowered to the chosen height.

Atop the post's head (and under the seat) sits a small actuation arm with a cable anchor bolt at one end. When the arm is activated it compresses a release button which opens an oil port deep within the Joplin's inner tube. Once that port is open the inner tube is free to travel through it's three inches of range and can be stopped at any point within that range. Remember that oil can not be compressed, that is key to the Joplin's design. Activate the lever and the oil port is opened, your body weight lowers the seat and you release the lever to close the port, thereby locking the post in place.

When the time comes to return it to a more pedal friendly height all you need to do is unweight the seat and give the lever a push. Once the lever is activated (which opens that oil port again) the post will extend due to the air pressure within it.


The Joplin uses two bushings and a single "guide block" to keep it sliding smooth. The lower bushing sits within a groove in the inner tube while the larger upper bushing is captured between the inner and outer tubes and can be easily cleaned and greased by removing the orange threaded collar. Because the Joplin's tubes are round there needs to be something to keep it from spinning in circles under you. That is the guide block's job. The guide block is actually just a simple rectangular piece that is held in place at the bottom of the inner tube with a single torx screw. It fits like a puzzle piece in a single groove or track on the inside of the Joplin's black outer tube.


The Joplin's remote lever is quite a piece of work. Instead of incorporating a simple push/pull lever, the Crank Brother's post uses a joystick of sorts to activate it's travel. The lever does not hinge at a single point but can toggle in any direction because it's not actually attached to it's perch. It fits into the perch like a socket and depends on the cable's tension to hold it in place. The big advantage is being able to push the lever in any direction you'd like. The perch is super minimal and takes up next to no room on the bars and is split to facilitate easy installation and removal. The barrel adjuster also lets you take up any slack in the cable as well as fine tune the lever throw a bit. A standard shift cable is run down through the center and held in place with a set screw. Very well thought out!




The Joplin's head is a single bolt affair that depends on two wedges to hold the angle adjustments in place.






How did it work?

I wasn't too sure what to expect at first with the Joplin aboard my Slayer test bike. I was a skeptic for many reasons: I spend too much money trying to lighten my bike to add nearly half a pound, having another damn cable zip-tied to my bike, and one more thing cluttering up my bars. There were all sorts of reasons for me not to like using the Joplin post, which is why I'm so surprised that it is most likely my pick for the one item you should have on your pedal bike.

The Joplin was nearly faultless in use. Although the remote lever does have a lot of throw it does not take much to active the post. Give the lever a nudge and the Joplin will compress under your body weight. You can lower it the full 3" or stop it at any point before. While only dropping the post 1" may not sound like much, it was a big plus on level but fast trails where you really benefit from a lower center of gravity.

The large majority of our riding consists of a constant long climb followed by a ripping descent. Because of this I was not expecting to reap the Joplin's benefits, but I surprised myself with how often I ended up using it. The old program was to stop at the top and mumble some excuses about lowering my seat and having something in my eye. The new program is to hit the remote and drop in with no hesitations. On the trail is obviously where the Joplin really shines though. On loops that I am familiar with I can choose to lower the saddle when needed or return it to a more pedal friendly height in the blink of an eye. Trails that I didn't quite get along with before are now full of flow and momentum instead of me slogging up and over those speed sapping climbs. I've been out exploring my local mountain quite a bit lately, following moto trails off into the bush in search of that trail. I couldn't imagine doing this without the Joplin. When you're not sure what is going to be around the next corner is where an adjustable height post really shines.

Don't want anything else on your bars? Check out the Lever version

Don't want anything else on your bars? Check out the Lever version


The Joplin's single bolt seat rail clamp also impressed me. The amount of angle adjustment available is almost limitless and you can choose any position you'd like as it's not indexed like some other heads. There has not been a single creak yet and despite some hard landings it hasn't budged one bit.



Any issues?

Is 3" of drop enough? I run a fairly high seat, even on my DH bike, while descending. The Joplin's 3" of drop made a massive difference in my speed and confidence over a fully extended post, but 4" would have been perfect.

Don't over tighten your bikes seat binder bolt or quick release as it will keep the Joplin from doing it's thing. On a long ride I discovered that my post was slipping down more and more as I pedaled along. In frustration (ok, I may have bonked 20 mins earlier!) I accidentally over tightened the quick release lever, thereby keeping the seat from returning to full height. Once I figured it out everything returned to normal.

Out of the box my Joplin seemed to have a bit more slop than I expected. I spent a couple minutes pulling it apart (it's very easy) and discovered that the small torx screw holding the glide block on was a few turns loose. It was an easy fix but I can see some riders being hesitant to disassemble the post. I haven't heard of any other Joplin's having this issue so maybe it's a moot point!

I only have one real issue with the Joplin. If you pull up on the seat while in it's lowered position it sucks air into the post and it will begin to creep back up. It turned out to be pretty annoying, I discovered that I pick my bike up by it's seat a lot! The fix is simple: unscrew the threaded collar and manually raise and lower it a few times. Problem solved....Until I do it again!

Threaded collar

Threaded collar




A bit more info...

The Joplin comes in only two sizes: 30.8 mm and 31.6 mm, there are plans afoot to introduce a 27.2 mm version though.

There are two versions of the Joplin, the remote lever model that you're reading about and an under-seat lever actuated version.

The Remote model weighs 534 grams, the lever version comes in at 461 grams.

Total post length is 382 mm (extended) and you can lop off a bit of extra post at the bottom if that's a bit long for your bike.

The housing stop on the underside of the Joplin's head only accepts 4 mm housing. Not a big deal as it comes with a cable and all the housing you'd ever need.

The Joplin comes with a 2 year warranty.

Retail is $340 CDN for the Joplin and $390 CDN w/ remote for the Joplin R.



The idea of adjustable height posts, and the Joplin in particular, has really opened my eyes to how much fun one can have out there in the bushes. The original concerns about the slight weight gain and extra clutter were far out weighed by the extra speed and confidence that I get while using the Joplin. Adjustable height post's are not going to be for every rider but I'm sure that the majority of us will really benefit from using one. With the Joplin you are actually buying more fun, speed, and confidence . How many products can you say that about?

Check out Crank Brothers for more info.

In Canada the Joplin is distributed by Norco Products.


68 Comments

  • + 17
 This article reads like an info-mercial, not like something I'd expect from Crank Brothers. The bit at the beginning about 'what if I knew about something that could make you a faster rider and more confident?...' is pretty funny. Sounds like an ad I got in my e mail to make my manhood 46" longer. Just take these magic pills...
As for the product itself, if it works for you fine. I've never ridden with people who had an issue with me lowering a seat post at the top of a technical section and I've never felt the need to make up some story about something in my eye so I could stop. I'm sure that many riders will benefit from this product... or will think that they benefit from this product. Unfortunately, the article makes it sound (to me) like maybe the product didn't quite turn out to be the smashing success that was expected. It read more like a 'YOU SHOULD REALLY HAVE THIS PART ON YOUR BIKE' than a objective review of a potential up-grade purchase.
Seat goes up, seat goes down, seat goes up, seat goes down....
  • + 5
 favoritcycles,

I havn't had an issue with manually lowering my seat for the last 15 years, and I still don't, but being able to roll up to and off of whatever is in front of you without having to get off and fiddle with QR (or allen key) is really nice. Sure, opening the review with "what if I knew about something that could make you a faster rider and more confident?..." may sound a bit corny as well as letting the cat out of the bag before it even gets read, but that is exactly what it did. I'm on a different test bike now that will not accept the Joplin post and can honestly say that I'd be happy to give up my left testicle to have it on the new bike!
  • + 1
 That's cool. My comments are directed towards how the article sounded, not about how the product performs.
  • + 8
 i feel tht this seat post must just be for ridders tht cant just perch them selves of the seet, reach down with there hand loosen and lift the seat.
iv been doing tht for a long time know and i feel that i whould rather have the strength and simplicity of a sturdy seat post :$
  • + 1
 it would just be nice to always have your seat return to the same height. I can't stand it when I get it wrong and have to stop and try several times and never really get it right. That is much more important to me than just the ease of use and time saving ability.
  • + 6
 You exchange cash for one from a shop / website who sells them Wink


I just checked Google.ca for you and there's some on eBay right now from a seller called Adventure Sports Unlimited.

I'm sure there's plenty of shops that sell Crank Bros stuff in Canada... so shouldnt be too hard to find if you can be bothered to look.
  • + 7
 im stickin with quick release, dont move my seat around enough as it is to spend over 300 bucks on a fancy seatpost
  • + 2
 You would probably move the seat more if it wasn't a hassle to do it. I never did either until my new bike had this post, now I use it all the time.
  • + 4
 Two days after figuring out how to do it... I got the instructions from Crankbrothers. I hope it helps you, as it helped me! My Joplin is just like new now!

Crankbrothers Joplin Oil Change

*For just setting air charge - see below instructions

Holding in remote lever or hand actuated lever, cycle post upside down several times. Let go of lever.

Remove 10mm nut at bottom and unscrew Crankbrothers engraved collar.
Remove outer tube. (Slides off)

Remove micro Schrader valve cap at bottom of compression shaft (flat head screw driver).

Cover Schrader valve with paper towel and release any pressure still in post.
Remove Schrader valve core.

With post right side up, aiming bottom valve into an oil bucket, release remote lever or squeeze hand lever.
*This will release any pressure left and oil.

Holding release lever in, cycle compression shaft (gold color bottom shaft) up and down, allowing oil to drip into oil bucket.
*This will cycle out all the left over oil inside.

At this point there should be no pressure and virtually no oil left in the post.

Refilling post:

Remove seat clamps from post and clamp head into smooth jaw vice, with compression shaft facing up, for easy filling.

With a 60CC volume or more syringe (you can use smaller and just fill it several times) fill syringe to 55cc of 5wt or 10wt oil.
*Oil weight does not matter but the volume does.

Put plastic syringe tip into Schrader hole, slightly screwing it in to create a seal.
Push oil into post at the same time releasing post lever.

Cycle the compression shaft at the same time.
*Your doing a couple of things at once here!
The lever needs to be opened up, as well as being cycled, to allow oil into the lower chamber past the valve system and accept all 55cc of oil.

Put a paper towel around bottom of syringe and Schrader valve to keep oil from “spitting” when pressure is release by removing syringe tip.
*As you inject oil you build a small amount of air pressure.

After all 55cc of oil is into post, install Schrader core (light torque).

With standard shock pump pressurize to 70psi.
Hit release lever, pump pressure will drop, pump back to 70psi and hit release lever.
Continue to do this till it stays at 70psi when release lever is pushed. Remove pump.

Reinstall micro cap, reverse installation of outer tube.
*removal of outer tube in post instruction manual included with post.

Cycle post several times with lever squeezed to activate valve system. Check for firmness at top and holding at bottom.

If it continues to be squishy at top, more oil is needed, only 2 - 3CC max more is needed.

Get post situated back into vice.

Hold lever and cycle compression shaft 5+ times with release lever squeezed. This will be tough as you are pushing against high pressure.

Undo micro Schrader valve cap, cover valve with paper towel and release pressure.

Safety glasses on!

DO NOT SQUEEZE LEVER FROM THIS POINT ON.

Oil will shoot up if you do!

Add 2 - 3CC of oil to Schrader hole. (Schrader core removed)
Close up system, follow above procedure for this.

This will do it!
Go ride!


Setting air pressure in Crankbrothers Joplin seat post:


Holding in remote lever or hand actuated lever, cycle post upside down 5 -6 times. Let go of lever.

Remove 10mm nut at bottom and unscrew Crankbrothers engraved collar.
Remove outer tube. (Slide off)

Remover micro Schrader valve cap at bottom of compression shaft (flat head screw driver).

Cover Schrader valve with paper towel, Face Upwards, push Schrader valve to release any pressure still in post.

Remove seat clamps from post and clamp head into smooth jaw vice, with compression shaft facing up, for easy filling.

With standard bicycle shock pump, pressurize Schrader valve to 70psi.
Max pressure = 75Ppsi.

Leave pump on post.
Hit release lever, pump pressure will drop.
Pump back to 70psi and hit release lever.
Continue to do this till it stays at 70psi when release lever is pushed.
Remove pump.

Reinstall micro Schrader cap.

Grease glide rings and guide block & install outer tube
Tighten 10mm nut at bottom to 40in/lb
Tighten Maverick seal head collar, hand tighten, over tightening this will slow the post down by crushing to rubber seal.

Cycle post several times with lever squeezed to activate valve system. Check for firmness at top and holding at bottom.

Done!
Go ride!
  • + 5
 Too expensive, too heavy, too useless.
Quick releases are cool, cheap, lightweight and don´t suck in Air when you pull the seat. That´s engineering perfection, right there.
  • + 6
 more products for people with more money than brains. whatever is right.
  • - 2
 Wow, you're so clever.
  • + 2
 I purchased a Maverick Speedball R last spring. While I do like the ability to drop the saddle with the touch of a lever and did find that I used it more than I thought, I couldn't get over the slight slop in the saddle - it simply drove me crazy. It just feels plain awkward when you can feel the saddle slopping (rotating), when you shifted your weight from side to side. I asked Maverick about this, assuming there must have been a problem, but they said that 1/4" of side-side-side play at the nose of the saddle was within tolerances - given it's roots, I am assuming the Crank Brothers version is the same. I've gone back to a Thomson and am happier for it.
  • + 4
 correct Mr.Wolf ! I wouldnt mind one of these on my Hardtail either . But if you were to land on the seat heavy ,say afer a drop/jump goes wrong, will it cope with that ok?
  • + 2
 Believe it or not, but 3 inches is enough for uphills and downhills. You can't judge it without riding it. The biggest plus is you don't need to stop to change the height. That's the point. No stop. // Imagine - you're riding in a normal position, see a jump - just click during riding, seatpost go down, you jump, click again and ride away. That's fu*kin' awesome. I know it isn't cheap. Good suspension fork isn't cheap too, but most of us use it. Cheers.
  • + 2
 it does what it does, but my issue (besides the ridiculous price, of course) is that if i'm going to bother moving my saddle, its going to be damn well more than 3" of adjustment. if my saddle is in climbing position, and i drop it 3", its still going up my ass if i misjudge anything technical. not for me. QR still beats all.
  • + 6
 Save you money and stick witha normal seat post!
  • + 2
 Way to expensive to have slop issues and the air sucking issues. I guess if I was loaded and ran out of things to buy for my bike it'd be cool but just not necessary. Good idea that needs to be simplified and price reduced.
  • + 1
 excellent explanation thank you !!! I did it according your instructions
It is work But I discovered that there is an additional problem of inside leak of oil, all the oil drips after month of use.,my intention that needs to exchange an internal seals inside the cylinder,can you please know where it's possible to buy a new set of seals ?

Thanks a lot
Moshe
  • + 2
 I spent too much money to lose that half pound. I will stop, open lever...all that work (sweat, sweat)...lower seat, ride. Guys, the Hite Rite from the 90s went the way of the dodo for a very good reason.
  • + 1
 I've been using the Maverick version for a year now and it's brillant. It's not the idiot - proof, it needs some care and service. I love it, can't even think about riding without it. Like you had to stop everytime you wanna change gear.. Once you ride that seatpost, you will absolutely adore it. Where are the changes in comparision to Maverick ? Are there any ?
  • + 5
 Roll on a 27.2mm with a 4" drop....
  • + 1
 im new to these fancy seat poles but am i right asuming you use them so you can have your seat realy low and really high without cutting it down??

please reply because if thats what there for i could do with like 5 of them Razz
  • + 0
 Initially this post sounds like a good idea but the more I read about it the more I started thinking that this post is starting to sound like MS Windows. Sure it's useable but after a while all the glitches start to catch up and you think, gee, I wish I had a Mac or in this case, my Thomson and QR still.
  • + 1
 no... just no
  • + 3
 the Joplin is the exact same thing as the maverick speedball, Maverick sold the rights to crankbros at interbike 2007
  • + 1
 Hell yeah Joedaho, 27.2 PLEASE Crankbros!!! This would be ideal for my Ellsworth Rogue I'm building for the Megavalanche - the Gravity Dropper looks so 80's and clunky!
  • + 4
 Don't give up on Gravity Dropper. They may look chinsey and not as slick at the Joplin, but they work really well...no hydraulic oil, slippage, 27.2 sizing, 1-2-3 or 4" drops, and you don't have some cable hanging off the back of your saddle to snag on your wheel, trees, etc...
  • + 4
 Smuud
  • - 27
flag orangehat (Jun 5, 2008 at 9:29) (Below Threshold)
 They just taken the design from Maverick!
  • - 35
flag huckoveraduck (Jun 5, 2008 at 9:49) (Below Threshold)
 looks more 20200238% more reliable than any rockshox fork, i'll give it that.
  • + 8
 (minus one of the more's)
  • + 23
 im gonna asume that :orangehat" never read the article!
  • - 1
 Its a shame that every single Maverick post I know of (and these CB ones are the same) has failed within 3 months. If they could make the post reliable and not need to go back for a rebuild all the time, then it would be a winner.
  • - 1
 i don't see the point in this, the only people who need to change their seatpost height during a ride are xc'ers, and they'd probably just have a normal one for weight reasons anyway. There is nothing wrong with a normal seatpost, stronger, works fine and is cheaper too, you'd probably even have to stop to lower it too, since you'd be lowering it on rocky sections.
  • + 0
 I'm not a XC'r. I really love DH in savages trails, than I've a FR bike with two rings. The Joplin is fantastic for that, mainly because I'm 39 old and my legs are no more so powerful.
  • - 1
 They're certainly jazzed it up a bit over the Speedball. Looks really nice.

There's actually review of it in the new MBUK which came out yesterday. It says they're really good when they work but suffer in badly in crappy conditions and require quite a lot of TLC to keep them working well. Still, they seem great for people who dont mind a bit of maintenance and can handle only 75mm of adjustment.

Also, there's an error in the above article. It says it's available in 30.8mm, but it should be 30.9mm.
  • + 2
 its all about the gravity dropper.
  • + 0
 Someone can explain where situated the Oil and where situated the pressure air,and explain exactly how it is worke ?How replace Oil and what kind of Oil ?....Thanks.. Moshe
  • + 2
 Looks pretty nice, but pretty expensive too.
  • + 1
 What's wrong with a good ol Hite Rite!
  • + 1
 It's a giant turd...move onto a better post...
  • + 1
 i wonder if it falls apart on the first ride like their pedals
  • + 0
 id only use it if i was in a race and needed to save time. It would be nice if it dropped more than 3 inches too.
  • + 0
 its point less its cool but point less well if u have a shity xc bike then it is ok ....
  • + 0
 Here's the Maverick Instructions link

www.maverickbike.com/cms_images/file_17.pdf
  • + 0
 And yeah I know its not intended for such riding but would be nice to know Smile
  • + 0
 The Joplin uses 55ml/1.87oz of 5W Shock Oil. I'm trying to find detailed instructions on how to replace it.
  • + 0
 I believe you mean 30.9 for the smaller size, or at least we had one in our shop yesterday that was 30.9
  • - 1
 if it weren´t more expensive then the original(maverick) i´d buy one. but i´m still happy with my gravity dropper.
  • + 0
 how about a pic installed on a bike?
  • + 1
 thats hot
  • + 0
 Looks sweet , maybe the next model wil have high and low speed damping
  • + 0
 when are you on your saddle in a decent?
  • + 0
 for me never but u ever try riding a decent with ur seatpost up real high ?
  • + 1
 coolBig Grin
  • + 0
 Second the "Roll on a 27.2mm with a 4" drop...." comment
  • + 0
 gimme a break, over 300 bucks for a seatpost?????
  • + 1
 whatever-
  • + 0
 they go for over 200$ looks like a good product but you need big budget
  • + 0
 thats nice
  • + 0
 How do I get one?
  • + 0
 nice
  • - 1
 r u biking down mt fugi
  • - 2
 Any other colours?
  • - 2
 so that is basically a single stanchon with a seat?
  • + 0
 yep

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