The popularity of dropper posts has skyrocketed over the last few seasons, fueled by riders who have discovered the benefits of being able to raise and lower their seats on the fly. What was once a small segment of the market continues to blossom, and now Race Face and Easton have decided to toss their hats into the ring, with each company announcing a dropper post scheduled to arrive later this year. Both posts house the same internals, but are branded differently – Race Face's is called the Turbine, and Easton's the Haven, a move that will allow bike manufacturers to spec a complete line from either company, rather than mixing and matching.
The post is a cable actuated affair, and uses internals that are based on technology licensed from 9point8, the small Canadian company who debuted their Fall Line dropper post
last spring. Versions with 100, 125, or 150 millimeters of drop will be available, all of which are infinitely adjustable, meaning the seat can be stopped at any point in its travel. There's zero offset at the seat clamp, which uses a simple two bolt design for easy angle adjustment.
• SIze: 30.9, 31.6mm
• Length: 350, 375, 415, 440mm
• Travel: 100, 125, 150mm
• Lever actuation: mechanical
• Weight (claimed): 495 grams w/o lever
• Available: November 2015
• Price: $469.99 USD
Initially, the posts will ship with a paddle-shaped thumb lever, but there will also be an aftermarket option available that mimics the shape of a shift lever. Race Face will even be offering different lever colors for riders who want to take their matching game to the next level. MSRP is expected to be $469.99 USD when the post becomes available in November 2015. The post can easily be detached from the cable mechanism by unscrewing the outer cap and then unthreading the longer rectangular portion of the activator.
How it Works
Inside the post's 7050 aluminum body is a mechanical brake that's used to hold the inner post in place at the desired height. The brake works via a spring loaded plunger that enters a small, fluid filled chamber, causing it to expand and lock in place against the inside of the post. Depressing the remote lever reduces the pressure, allowing the post to move freely. Race Face and Easton claim that the post will still work even in below-freezing temperatures for those hearty souls that aren't afraid to venture out in the ice and snow. Removing the post from the bike is as simple as disconnecting the cable from the base of the post, a process that requires minimal tools and only takes a few minutes.
|Race Face provided me with a pre-production version of the post to try out in Whistler, BC, in order to get a feel for how the post functioned. I headed away from the Crankworx crowds and onto a section of Comfortably Numb, a trail that was either built by a genius or a sadist, a twisting and turning roller coaster of rocks and roots that can't decide if it wants to go uphill or downhill. Basically, the ideal terrain for a dropper post. |
The post was very easy to activate, and even in panic mode I didn't have any trouble quickly reaching it to get the seat out of my way. The lever's width makes a nice thumb perch, but I wouldn't mind seeing the shape become even more rounded to make it less likely to poke a knee or snag on clothing. At about the halfway point of my ride, I did run into a snafu - the post started refusing to stop at any position other than fully extended or fully compressed. The mechanical brake wasn't engaging at any of the middle positions, causing it to move freely up and down rather than supporting my weight.
According to Race Face, they're working on a fix for this issue, and it should be sorted out for the full production run. We've been testing 9point8's Fall Line post, which uses the same design concept, for the last three months and haven't had any trouble, so it's likely that making the switch to a different facility has brought on some unforeseen difficulties for Race Face and Easton. As soon as a production version is on hand we'll be putting it to the test, at which time we'll be able to truly see how much of a contender this new dropper post will be. - Mike Kazimer
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