Dropper or No Dropper in XC Racing - XC Rider's Perspective

Nov 24, 2016
by Catharine Pendrel  
Rider s Perspective Logo

We can’t really use the weight argument any longer can we? Maja Wloszczowska rode to a Silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games on her hardtail with a dropper seat post. Julien Absalon resumed his winning ways at World Cups again in 2016 also sporting one. When it comes to performance, execution means more than grams.

Images from Kross bikes.
Maja with her seat lowered, riding with more confidence and enjoying it.

bigquotesIt so much better, more comfy, and fun! And I think that having fun is the biggest advantage of using dropper seatpost. - Maja Wloszczowska

Did a dropper make them faster in their races? Maybe. Honestly, most descents on XC courses are short time-wise and XC riders are adapted and pretty darn good at riding with our seats up. You typically can’t win an XC race on a descent, but you can certainly lose one. The difference descending with a dropper in an XC race against an equal rider is likely fractions of a second which you may then lose carrying extra weight up the next climb, but, it’s not just about snapshots in a race, going up or down. It’s the entire 90-minute picture, as well as where we want to take our riding, enabling faster learning and a different ride style with more room to progress.

The ability to drop your seat can enhance your confidence and aggressiveness on features by increasing stability, allowing you to lower your center of gravity, rotating your hips more for cornering and giving you more vertical room to move through while you load and unload your bike for jumping and rough terrain.

In the past racers have chosen not to run a dropper seat post for more reasons than just weight:
• Droppers introduce another lever to the cockpit (less an issue with single chainrings)
• another split second decision to get right or wrong…that awkward seat up descent
• another piece of equipment that could have an issue
• we’re fast without them… and yeah, we’re afraid we might like it, get dependent on it and not be able to ride well without it. This is only an issue if you feel the weight penalty or reliability risk is too much, but why their adoption will be gradual and dependent on seeing others adopt them successfully.

As XC racers we re pretty adapted to riding with our seat up but could we gain more with a dropper I tested my Orbea Oiz with a Fox dropper on a twisty 3 min descent at home. The time difference was only 1 second not that significant until you compare my heart rates 10 beats lower with the dropper. I would call that a difference maker in racing. Image by Waldek Stepnioski
As XC racers, we're pretty adapted to riding with our seat up, but could we gain more with a dropper? I tested my Orbea Oiz with a Fox dropper on a twisty, three minute descent at home. The time difference was only one second, not that significant, until you compare my heart rates, 10 beats lower with the dropper. I would call that a difference maker in racing. Image by Waldek Stepnioski.

After spending more time on a trail bike with a dropper I can relate to the growing masses that feel their bikes are neutered without them. That saddle thing just gets in the way when you’re cornering, jumping and riding steep or rough stuff. They enable bikes and riders to be capable of more.

CP Have you ever or would you personally use one for XC racing?

JN I’ve used one in training and liked riding with it yet found it too time-consuming to push the button and drop the post to actually use it in racing.

bigquotesI think in a few years time it could actually become standard, because you have a lot more room to move your body in downhill sections. - Jolanda Neff

Like any skill you want to use in racing, you need to train it so that when you’re racing it is second nature, there is no additional cognitive demand slowing you down. You also can’t become so dependent on it that you freak out if it doesn’t work, forgetting the skills that enabled you to ride well with your seat up for years. But, if you do believe that a dropper enables you to ride more aggressively and precisely, then it probably does make you faster.

Images for Rider s Perspective article. Image by Matt Delorme
Catharine is wishing that she was using a dropper going into this rock section in 2015.

Droppers are here to stay. People are growing up learning to ride with them. Once you develop your ride style around them, you are unlikely to go back because of one pound. So, let’s see where they take XC racing. My guess will be to fatter tires and more stylish, aggressive riding.

- Catharine Pendrel

MENTIONS: @cpendrel / @orbea / @shimano / @foxracingshox / @CLIF

Author Info:
cpendrel avatar

Member since May 9, 2015
5 articles

  • 133 17
 When you have to get off of your bike and walk down something because your seat is too high its not mountain biking anymore. Droppers are a game changer and I think the biggest barrier is just taking time for the xcers to get used to them to see their full potential.
  • 91 26
 When xc courses become so technical that droppers become mandatory to win, then I might start following xc again. Wait. Who am I kidding?
  • 63 8
 Am I the only one who thinks there's a market for a mashup of 4cross racing and xc where you get about 5 people in heats that go for about 5 laps round a tight 2min track. I'd watch the sh** out of that, especially if they allowed a bit of contact
  • 7 1
 Another problem is how freaking high the seat tube goes...
  • 26 5
 @medievalbiking: Its called short-track XC...
  • 93 7
 People walking sections is usually because of traffic or the rider in front of them crashing. Passing on singletrack at race pace is not easy. Most XC racers, especially world cup level, are much better descenders than you probably realize.
  • 25 1
 @medievalbiking: Um...Not sure if your using sarcasm but its called XC Eliminator. It was part of the World Cup series a few years ago, not sure if its still around.
  • 10 1
 That's so sick I had no idea that existed
  • 7 0
 This has blown my mind, why is all XC not like this?
  • 5 9
flag Lagr1980 FL (Nov 24, 2016 at 19:25) (Below Threshold)
 "... because you have a lot more room to move your body in downhill sections" no f*ing way !!
  • 3 2
 @unconvinced: true. Unconvinced is a fitting username for you haha
  • 13 1
 Oh! "Make xc technical again"
  • 4 26
flag medievalbiking (Nov 24, 2016 at 20:14) (Below Threshold)
 @Husker2112: and make it way shorter so instead of a bunch of endurance dudes running a 180bpm heart rate for 40 minutes you have some balls to the wall mountainbiking. Also make it electric but the engines only get activated when they go over certain pads or throw a trick off a jump
  • 2 1
 @medievalbiking: Do you mean XC eliminator?
  • 3 2
 So the XC guys want to shame them enduro boys eh.
  • 4 0
 @codypup see above, already talked about this, also pretty sure xc eliminator doesn't have electric engines. It looks cool though
  • 7 1
 @unconvinced: World XCO courses are technical, like you i was not convinced about the merits of watching XC, but this years XCO has been awesome... Go Schurter, the man has skills...........
  • 2 0
 something weird just happened.
  • 2 1
 @medievalbiking: I think it's called Eliminator.
  • 5 13
flag Theeeeo (Nov 25, 2016 at 4:18) (Below Threshold)
 @medievalbiking: I liked what you said about 4X but not what you said about XC, we should get rid of XC and replace it with 4X.

4X goodness for everyone
  • 2 0
 @medievalbiking: maybe because people like you ( potential target group) didn´t watch it so sponsors didn´t invest the money into it.
  • 5 31
flag markcocjin (Nov 25, 2016 at 6:59) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah it's still mountain biking the same way that riding a ski lift so you can roll down a mountain or even finishing a downhill on a broken chain is still called mountain biking.

Enduro is better than downhill mountainbiking just because it eliminates the chicken legs and obese from competing.

But still, electric assisted bikes (ebikes) have just as much bicycling as downhill mountain biking.

Technical mountainbiking has more physiological similarity to motocross than it is to cycling. It's all about how good you can handle your bike and how good you know the limits of your bike's suspension.
  • 11 5
 @markcocjin: geeze are you the worlds most punchable troll?

"Enduro is better than downhill mountainbiking just because it eliminates the chicken legs and obese from competing."
For a start you clearly know NOTHING about fitness required in DH racing.
Secondly, I think you're meaning to call out/par bike parks and park rats but your argument would still be as floppy as a piece of celery. Slate us park rats all you want but I'd rather be a parkrat then some doctor who buys into all the latest industry standards and chats shit and rides shit on an expensive (but pretty shit) trail bike or something, which im just going to assume you are.
  • 3 0
 Why is this even an debate?
  • 1 0
 @medievalbiking: That was called eliminator. It was cool. Don't think they do it any longer www.youtube.com/watch?v=h93jsYR_Sw0
  • 3 5
 When you have to get off your bike and shuttle or push it up an entire mountain just to be able to ride down is more of mountain biking?
  • 1 0
 @rosenbaum-j: No, I actually have a dropper on my bike so I can put it up when I need to climb and then slam it for the downhill. Enjoy the best of both worlds. You should give it a try.
  • 2 0
 @willapajames: except most short track courses are basically cyclocross without stairs or mud. Add technical features, bermed turns (most courses here in the NW are pretty lame) and jumps and now we're talking about a new genre I'd be interested in.

Of course, knowing how our sport goes, they're probably give it a lame new name like "Enduro Short-Track" or something.
  • 1 0
 @willapajames: To take such challenging lines with the seat up their ass, I have zero doubts in their descending capabilities! Props, these folks are beastly.
  • 1 2
 XC MTB = XC skiing
Trail, DJ, DH = Alpine Skiing +
  • 47 0
 As courses become more technical, droppers will be popping up everywhere.
  • 49 2
 And those not running one will get dropped.
  • 24 11
 Ironically, the ones that would benefit the most from running droppers are the most hesitant on running one.
  • 7 3
 @Deartist7: don't sag the puns, man
  • 6 3
 Maybe if they dropped some weight from them theyd be more popular
  • 2 0
 It would be great to see them Transfer into XC
  • 3 1
 @lukachadwick: if they do it will cause a huge Reverb
  • 35 3
 I remember the weight argument being used against both suspension forks and disc brakes. You don't see too many XC racers not using either nowadays. Saying that pushing a remote is too much to think about is pretty weak too. I would have slowed down for that obstacle but pulling my brake lever was overload for my racers mindset.
  • 5 1
 After red lining for a significant amount of time the less you need to think the better - you just want your breath back! I think this is where electronics could help - put your shock into downhill mode and the dropper drops automatically, etc.
  • 9 6
 "Saying that pushing a remote is too much to think about is pretty weak too"

Seriously? You REALLY think you've got the credibility to dismiss the ACTUAL EXPERIENCE of a World/Olympic class athlete?
  • 14 2

I think if Nino Schurter can think about pulling whips off of jumps when he's racing then he can probably get his head around pushing a button (if he so wishes).

I would say that most things with riding become second nature with a bit of practice, first timers will sometimes struggle to disengage from clipless pedals but how often do most riders have to think about it once they are used to them.
  • 6 1
 @metaam: Not only that but if an F1 driver, or WEC driver, can perform multiple adjustments for specific sections of track on top of knowing their shifting patterns, an elite MTB racer should be able to accommodate the dropper into their routine. I'm sure for tracks they have their shift points mapped out. So it would stand to reason they could figure where a dropper adjustment was needed.
  • 2 2
 I race xc and tbh I just don't feel a need for a dropper post yet. Having my saddle up certainly doesn't hold me back on the tracks
  • 35 0
 I use a dropper post....to get on and off my bike. Ha!
  • 11 0
 They're great for commuting and stopping at light too.
  • 4 0
 ha! so its not just me then, dam im starting to feel old
  • 4 0
 Ha! Same here. I'm a short old fart, need all the help I can get - if I leave the post up, I have to tilt a long way sideways to reach the ground.
  • 5 0
 @smallsilences: 90 degrees usually does it Wink
  • 4 0
 When you are about 5'5'' tall there is no other way, dropper ftw.
  • 21 0
 I've been using a dropper for XC and endurance racing for about five years now. Advantages not mentioned is the relief that a change in height makes when your legs are wanting some sort of rest - change is as good as a holiday after a few hours in the saddle. Even on flat sections I can drop the height and pedal for a little while at a lower seat height and get some relief from the monotony of a high saddle. On descents, again, I can drop it all the way and get some knee bends going while I'm coasting down the hills. Being able to easily compress the bike and pop a few feet of air from root-to-root brings a little mental relief too. Once you start cramping, your race is over - anything that prolongs the onset of cramps is worth its weight in aluminium. Let's face it, a dropper adds only 1-2% to my total rider+bike+water+whatever weight.
  • 2 0
 You are totally right, but remember that the difference between a top3 rider and a rider placed on position ten is just 1-2%. But I am sure that you can gain that time in the, nowadays, very technical descends with a dropper. Maybe they are also afraid of a mechanical. If you add a dropper you add a component that can fail more easily than a simple post.
  • 2 0
 @alexander80: Having actually watched the XCO coverage the past two seasons I think we have seen more mechanical DNFs from super weight weenies part failures (seat posts, saddles and even a set of handle bars) than I think we would have seen from a dropper post failure.

Remember there are no unsupported riders at WC level in XCO as most riders are part of their countries Olympic training program so at worst have some level of national support. With a team mechanic even a Reverb has a half decent chance of lasting for 5-7 laps ;-)
  • 26 3
 Please DROP; were tired of seeing your Asses perched in the air !
  • 20 1
 Pink bike XC article comment section drinking game:
Any sort of derogatory term including the word Lycra - 1 drink
Any term using the word spandex - 2 drinks
Describing a seat at pedalling height as 'in the stratosphere' 'up their arse' 'mile of seat post' - 1 drink
Suggesting that the extra weight of any component can be offset by having a shit pre race - 3 drinks
Describing an xc race as fireroad bashing - one drink
Suggesting that xc racers do something that makes riding slower but more fun - 5 drinks.
Add any rules you want. I'll check back in after getting my stomach pumped
  • 8 0
 For years I have done a race called the NIMBY 50. As a cross country rider the downhill stuff is not my strong suit. This year I made my XC tallboy rig a little more rugged by going 1x11 (thanks to Ethirteen 9/44), swapping a 120 mm 32 for a 120 mm 34 float and of course adding a 125 mm 9point8 dropper.

Of all the changes made, the dropper is by far the best. By dropping down rather than leaning back you gain so much control (see the PB article on this). The Nimby 50 main red bull descent Overnight Sensation when from downright scary to manageable. I now ride things I would have never have previously ridden.

For cream puff XC I could not be bothered taking it off, It depends on what you ride, but for me - its now an essential part of my gear.
  • 1 0
 ugh those switchbacks going up! FML
  • 1 0
 @y9pema: Yeah -try them on my XL 29 Tallboy. To me its the backside the kills me up and down and rough!!!!
  • 8 0
 I think it takes using one consistently before you can begin to forget about it. Maybe that's the barrier some of the riders aren't getting over. For me the greatest advantage in xc riding in the added confidence.
  • 5 1
 There are times my dropper has screwed me up (fast down to tight turn up kinda thing), but the pros vastly out weigh the cons. I took a long time to get one, but I never wanna go back. I think people with wagon wheels can benefit the most from a drop in your centre of gravity.
  • 4 0
 And having a lever thats intuitive to use. I modded an XT lever (Jared Graves style) to match my rear shifter. It becomes sexond nature to use it.
  • 11 1
 Nah, I like the feeling of the high seat pushing against my belly on the xc drops... helps push Clif Shot farts out of me.
  • 1 0
 @danny611: Haha, classic.
  • 6 0
 dual suspension xc race rig + dropper = ultimate average trail rig. Normally easy faster and more fun on most trails.

I have a dropper on an xc rig and is great fun on a huge amount of trails, even with 12ft jumps as long as you lands smooth.

And two very solid am rigs.. one that is good for full on dh tracks, and one that still does it all. But they are overkill on a fair few trails.
  • 3 0
 I'd argue overforking to a 120mm fork also makes a nice difference with the dropper
  • 4 0
 Ι've been using a dropper for 3-4 months, took me 8-10 rides to get completely used to it. The trails closer to home mostly consist of short, steep climbs followed by short, steep descends. I reach for the dropper remote at least as often as I change gears.

Now it's off for warranty (unwanted sag) and I feel something important is missing from my bike. I must admit that I did notice the bike feeling lighter under me on technical moves, but the added weight is a compromise I'm more than willing to make.

Racers are usually pretty resistant to change. They put so many hours on the saddle, they know what works for them. They need solid proof (race results) in order to adopt new. Looks like the change is happening though.
  • 5 0
 By far the funnest addition to MTB since front suspension. I worry that I'll become too dependant, but then, who really gives a shit?
  • 4 1
 Too dependent? I know and feel exactly what you mean, but I thought about it for a little and the conclusion I came up with is that we can ignore that fear of dependency on droppers because in mountain biking there are many things that riders now depend on such as clipless pedals (some riders cannot ride with flats, the poor dears) and suspension (when I started racing you didn't get a round of applause from spectators because you were on a rigid bike because we were ALL on rigid bikes).

Fun and not giving a shit - oh yeah!
  • 6 0
 @iamamodel: Some kids have never ridden a rigid bike, let alone one with Panaracer Smokes and cantilever speed modulators. haha.
  • 3 0
 I've never understood why the dropper has not been adopted in XC....I consider myself a pretty good jumper (check my pics if necessary) , but it is scary leaving the ground with a seat up ya jacksie...maybe it's my lack of XC skill but SURELY for descending and jumping, this extra thing to think about is WELL worth it!
  • 8 2
 once you go drop, you never go back.
  • 72 2
 Your Reverb is stuck down too?
  • 6 0
 "Having fun is the biggest advantage of a dropper seatpost"
  • 4 1
 And a whole lot safer, but i couldnt say what xc racers should decide. I just know i go down stuff that would be impossible on a reg post all the way up.
  • 5 3
 I had one. Used it a bunch, then slowly used it less and less, till i wasnt using it at all. My xc trails and races arnt really technicall at all in the sense of needing a post. There is rock gardens that need skills but it more of line choice and balls. I do find my stretched out xl top fuel gives me lots of room to move around vs my last bike which was a inch or 2 shorter bars to seat. Found that bike needing the dropped as the seat always got in the way.
  • 2 0
 I have just taken mine off to be serviced and are running a normal seatpost. For XC riding it's fine as you just ride things a bit slower. I did notice the loss of weight though. Trail / Enduro riding they are great and worth the weight.
  • 2 0
 The list of reasons can easily be countered, especially the crowded cockpit/ too much going on ones. . Operating a dropper becomes second nature and in an XCO race you know the course like the back of your hand. On a 1x bike there is space for a dropper lever where the shifter was.
  • 1 0
 Maybe this has been said already - the big advantage of a dropper is crash vs. not crash. I can still ride gnarly stuff with my seat up, but I figure the crash factor goes up significantly. A crash at WC level can decide a race.
  • 1 0
 actually the only times I want a dropper on my XC bike is when I spend a lot of time on the trail bike with a dropper. Its just a different style of descending on a hardtail without dropper. I don't think we are talking about a second on an average world cup descent.
  • 1 0
 Can anyone give me first hand advice on putting an internally wired dropper post on my 2016 Orbea Oiz? I am running a 1x11 and was considering the Crankbrothers Highline. Here is the reply that I got from Orbea:

"You *should* be able to do this. You won't run into any issues with the BB shell, but you'll probably have to remove and either reinstall or replace the BB. The head tube cable stop may not allow a full length run of cable housing, so you may need to get creative with that."

I sure appreciate the help and advice.
  • 1 0
 I routed mine through the Di2 ports, It was a pretty easy set up. tie dental floss around the cable and then use a vacuum to help guide it through
  • 1 0
 I think they will be used more and more, and like someone else mentioned more technical courses will favor droplets. Xc'ers don't need 150mm or more droppers, so they could weigh less. They should train with droppers in the off season, so they are ready to use them in a race. Technical courses is key, less road, more mtn.
  • 2 0
 I'd love to put a dropper on my bike but my epic has a 27.2 seatpost and the options are very minimal. I'm waiting for 9point8 to release their 27.2 dropper in '17. When that time comes, I'm absolutely buying one.
  • 3 0
 the KS lev DX comes in a 27.2 and its hands down one of the most reliable droppers out there.
  • 3 0
 Thomson are awesome. I have a 27.2 one.
  • 2 0
 I have the X fusion Hilo in 27.2. It was cheap, it's shit and I wouldn't bother. How much is the Thomson Marty?
  • 1 0
 @dglobulator: From memory the Thomson was £280. The lever isn't great which is why I changed to a modded XT.
  • 2 0
 @2bigwheels: I had seen that one pop up in my searches before. I've used KS posts before and been pretty pleased. Maybe I'll consider it a bit more. I recall thinking that the stanchion (is that the right term for a dropper?) looked pretty thin though. That's why I like the new 9point8 design that moves the location of the internals on a 27.2 dropper.
  • 1 0
 @neologisticzand: I ran the DX for two years it went through 4 endurance races as well and is now on the wife's bike. It dealt with me at 190 pounds for two years over many kilometres and I never even changed the cable or cable housing haha.
  • 1 0
 PNW has decent 27.2
  • 1 0
 Just as riders select hard-tails over full suspension bikes depending on the track why would it not be any different for dropper posts. The new breed of XC tracks and XC riders blur the line between XC and trail and so should their bikes
  • 1 0
 Dropper posts on all but my road bike.
Under 300g weight added but oh so much better to ride steeps with it. If you're riding a course or even a loop with dismount and remount sections on rough and steep terrain it makes possible to restart pedaling with so much more ease if the saddle is lower by 3-5cm. Also on long freewheeling descents if you drop 35 to 50mm the lower cg and improved aerodynamics will give you a turbo boost free speed-seriously!
And on curvy twisty sections where you only need to soft pedal to get by (slight down slope) the lower cg makes it easier to negotiate the bends. Aaaand on tight turns, lowering just a bit will surely help with stability. I use Specialized's Command Post XCP which is fairly light and reliable.
  • 1 0
 How do you like the command post XCP? Do you find that 50mm is enough drop? I looked into getting one but wasn't sure that it would be enough drop to be worth it.
  • 1 0
 @neologisticzand: I still use the first version with 35 mm drop and it is already great. I am positive that the 50mm is even better, but for XCO and XCM only. For feature packed trails 125 or more still best.
  • 1 0
 If they can find a way that if it fails - it gets stuck in the up position, not the down position, that would be better suited for XC imo I must say, after riding a fully rigid single speed for awhile now, a dropper post is the one thing I miss more than suspension or gears...
  • 1 0
 I find that dropper posts are actually useful for technical climbs as well as the descents. Optimal saddle height for is pedalling is pretty high - when you're trying to climb steep, lumpy sections it can get in the way at full height, or be too high to get back onto to give your legs a break (unless you want to run your saddle pointing downwards like some xc-ers do).

But then again I'm 14 stone with the flexibility of a wooden ruler.
  • 3 0
 like everything in this life its optional. its there. use if u want or not.
  • 1 0
 Wow, those pictures make XC look more aggressive than I would have thought. Dropper posts are a genius idea in my opinion, but like many genius ideas, they're fully allowed to charge so much money for them.
  • 2 0
 Hello big S companies. Wireless dropper and shifter. One stupid button that even I can configure. Maybe a bit of open source kumbaya or is that asking too much?
  • 3 3
 The lycra people (XC riders) are sort of a grandfather that does not like anything that smells new. The ones who really brings the evolution to MTB are the DH and Gravity riders. If we would wait for XC riders to innovate we would still be riding hardtails with 80mm forks, 135mm stems and 580mm wider bars.
  • 3 0
 Mhhhh i do Enduro Racing without a dropper...
  • 2 3
 Damn I´ve been riding and racing with dropper post since 2005. I can´t believe more 10 years later it hasn´t been enough time yet to convince xcers...
I rather prefer go for a road ride than ride a mountainbike without dropper post...
  • 2 0
 My dropper became stuck all the way down about halfway through a race. The following 8km were not very fun.
  • 2 0
 Seems like a dopper post could be interesting even for roadbikers www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeEaeY25Amg
  • 1 0
 wow.. that is a huge difference... well motorsports have been lowering their COG for years... and there is a lot of money spent there. I think the only people that this will upset a the superfit with zero bike handling skills... even it it were to help them.
  • 1 0
 Ya. WTF are we? Cavemen? If dropper posts increase performance than use them. We are smart enough to make dropper posts xc weight but dh functional.
  • 2 1
 Santa can you drop a Transfer with Kishima when you pass by later next month?
  • 6 4
 Once XC becomes less dirt-roadie droppers will become the norm
  • 1 0
 maybe a Carbon Dropper seatpost that use air pressure instead of oil that weigh just around 300g? is that even possible?
  • 1 0
 I wish I had a dropper on my Cyclocross bike, it would make cornering a lot more aggressive and confidence inspiring.
  • 1 0
 Check out the Raleigh Stuntman
  • 1 0
 Fun on a dropper post, no batteries to go out and never gets tired! What she said.
  • 4 4
 Put your saddle out of the way and leave it there?
Sitting down is lazy, stand up and hammer.
  • 2 0
 Its good enough for BMX!
  • 1 0
 Well yeah that's what I was thinking though not in such strong words. I think pretty much anyone can pedal harder when standing up, just not everyone is fit enough to sustain that for how long such a race takes. But that doesn't go for these top level athletes. Even I can ride standing up for well over 90 minutes on my rides, so I'm pretty sure they can too. I'm not sold on the idea that seated pedaling would be more efficient. That seated position might be nice in some occasions, but mountainbike climbs can be much steeper than those in road cycling so the position gets really awkward. So maybe the few occasions where it does make sense are the ones no one is interested in. After all, I have been watching the (excellent) XC race reports here on PB and there have been only very few pictures where the riders were seated. That doesn't mean that it doesn't happen but it definitely means that it is arguably the least interesting bit.

So I'd say a mtb rider should be able to have a low seat. If they also need to have it up every now and then during the race, they'll need a dropper post. I wouldn't be surprised that most of them have been using the first droppers when they came out and they might have been put off by their reliability. I doubt other advancements like hydraulic brakes (rim and disc) and maybe even suspension haven't been that unreliable when they first came out.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: On the BMX angle, over here, several ex BMX racers are extremely good all round riders i.e XC and enduro. My point also relates to bike handling with a lowered saddle. On my usual local trail ride I do about 400m climbing and some short fast descents - 300m or so. The kind of thing you might find on an XC track I recon. These are best tackled with a lowered seat which allows high speeds and the odd pedal stroke which I believe would not be possible while standing up with a high seat. That's where additional seconds can be gained IMO.
  • 1 0
 @headshot: Yep, I guess we agree Smile .
  • 2 0
 Good to see I'm not alone. I've been riding all my life and most of that has been standing, I've tried being efficient and sitting down, I even tried a frame the right size for me a couple of years back but it doesn't work for me.
So I'm still racing a 16" 26" wheeled steel hardtail, with gears and a fixed post.
It does me fine, I came second in my local 6 hour race this summer.
  • 2 0
 @turbohippy: Well yeah, maybe we're still pretty alone. There have been so many discussions here on PB where droppers were considered essential as you want to be able to get the saddle down. No one is going to argue that you want the saddle down for mtb. But every time I asked why so many people would like to be able to get the saddle up, I only got nonsense answers. I honestly never got a reasonable argument why you should be able to instantly raise it. The only more serious answer was that that rider felt he could put more power down in the climbs. But I'm not buying that. Pretty much everyone can get more power down when standing than when seated.

I haven't tried a six hour race yet. Usually my ADHD doesn't make me distribute my energy that nicely so after a few hours (if I haven't had to stop for a repair) I'm too shot to be competitive. But yeah, I'm a shade under 6' tall and also ride a 16" 26" wheeled steel hardtail (DMR Switchback) with a 9sp (11-32t) cassette in the rear, oval 32t chainring. You Brits keep pumping out some mighty fine frames Smile !
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 I'm on my second Cotic Soul, I tried some carbon race frames but I went back to my roots, small bike and ride it like a bmx.
How is sitting down spinning a really low gear improving our sport?
Ride like a hooligan, as fast as possible and try not to crash. That's what it's about.
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 Droppers on xc bikes will soon become mandatory. Some freaks are even trying them on their gravel bikes!
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 "I've found it too time consuming to push a button".....really?
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 I think it is the combination. You really have to think ahead. Not only do you have to push that button, but you have to get your ass back on that saddle and shove the post down which puts you in a tricky position if you're already on a rough descending slope. I can imagine it messes with their mind if they planned to hit the descend with a dropped saddle and some malfunction or miscoordination causes it to work it's way back up. Maybe if there would be one thing that would be nice to have electric, it would be a dropper that drops by the touch of a button without having to actually push the saddle down. Now that would definitely take away the fear. Aside from the costs, unreliability and the fact that these thick posts simply don't fit my frames, the thing that keeps me from even daring to ride one of these on a descend it the fear of it making it's way back up. As it is now, I much rather drop my saddle and leave it there. But yeah, if it would just drop at the touch of a button it might be worth a shot.
  • 1 1
 One more thing to maintain, one more thing to fail. I have seen my friends go through this. No thanks, I will keep it OG
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 Song need one cuz you got no steep decents. Case solved
  • 1 0
 XC is the new endure bro
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 What a ridiculous list of "reasons" to not run a dropper. I literally cant roll my eyes enough...
  • 1 2
 Orgea bike) Anal chastener))))
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