KindShock Re-boots Entire LEV Dropper Post Line - Eurobike 2017

Aug 30, 2017
by Vernon Felton  
Eurobike 2017

KindShock showed up to Eurobike today with a revised line of LEV, LEV Integra and LEV Integra Ci dropper posts that offer more travel range, more adjustability, improved triggers and, according to KindShock, better reliability than their predecessors.

Five years ago KindShock dropped a bomb when they rolled up to Friedrichshafen with the LEV—a dropper post with a then-mind-blowing 125 millimters of adjustment and a unique cable anchoring system that let you drop the post without simultaneously creating a big loop of cable housing that would buzz the hell out of your rear tire.

While KindShock has refined the LEV over the years (adding the internally routed LEV Integra and carbon shafted CI models to the fold, increasing the drop on some models to 150 millimeters, etc.), the latest LEV models see considerably more nips, tucks and flat-out improvements than in any previous year.

Kindshock Lev 2018

For starters, KindShock will now offer three LEV variants (LEV, LEV Integra and LEV CI) in 27.2 diameters. If you’re running an older steel hardtail or just want to huck the crap out of your gravel grinder, you’re in luck. The travel range isn’t as wide as what’s available in their 30.9 and 31.6-millimeter versions, but you can now get a 27.2 LEV, LEV Integra or LEV CI with up to 120-millimeters of drop. If you’re riding a full-suspension rig, you can now get all three LEV models (in 30.9 and 31.6-millimeter diameters) with as much as 175 millimeters of drop.

Kindshock Lev 2018
What you can’t see from here is that KindShock also tweaked the internals. All of the 2018 LEV variants now feature lower-pressure, higher-volume cartridges than in the past. The lower pressures are easier on the cartridge seals and should boost long-term reliability; it should also make it easier for lighter riders to compress the cartridge.

Some people felt KS posts were a bit slow on the return. You can now get that saddle zooming up to your privates at warp speeds by removing the saddle and adding some air pressure to the post. You can add about 75 psi above the factory pre-set level, if you’re feeling the need for speed.

Kindshock Lev 2018
KindShock also revised their Southpaw remote--no more slipping or finicky set up.

Last, but not least, KindShock has revised their dropper post remotes. The Southpaw, in particular, gets a significant makeover. The minimalist, clam-shell design of the past has been ditched in favor of a hinged clamp that will be easier to install and should eliminate the slipping issues that plagued the original Southpaw trigger-style remote.

Despite all the improvements, price on LEV, LEV Integra and LEV CI posts will remain the same. Welcome news.


93 Comments

  • + 42
 "Five years ago KindShock dropped a bomb when they rolled up to Friedrichshafen with the LEV—a dropper post with a then-mind-blowing 125 millimters of adjustment and a unique cable anchoring system that let you drop the post without simultaneously creating a big loop of cable housing that would buzz the hell out of your rear tire. "

It's weird do all bike journos exist in a dimension exactly identical to ours except Gravity Droppers never existed?


*Owner of a150 level, that's due to go back again for repairs and a nearly 10 year old gd, that's had 1 bushing & seal change.....
  • + 6
 Feels bad man! My Gravity Dropper Turbo LP still works like on day one aswell! Just took it apart after 2 years, cleaned and regreased it. Good as new.
  • + 9
 Everyone has a different experience. You always hear about the bad experiences. SO here is one for the good experience.

I have 3 Lev's external routing, 150mm drop. 30.9 diameter. I have never done any repair or maintenance. They have been flawless & excelled in reliability. Except for one small item. The special shaped Cable ferrule cracked. Post still work fine. When I had to disassemble to put the post on a new frame it was unusable again. Cheap quick fix after 1 phone call to their usa distributor.
  • + 6
 @kimbers hahahaha. As owner of both a gravity dropper and a lev I endorse this comment.
  • + 5
 The same dimension where only steel hardtails were ever made with 27.2 seatposts apparently...
  • + 1
 @spunkmtb: It's the same with reverbs I guess. I had one for two years without issues, and just got a new bike with one. Not a single problem so far!
  • + 1
 same. 10 years, 3 bikes, one wear part replaced, annual clean and lube, never had an issue.
  • + 1
 @Caiokv: I have a cb Joplin 4 (5 yrs), ks lev (3 yrs) and a 1 yr old reverb. The reverb has been fussy but hasn't cost me any money yet, and only one ride of failure (and a wasted trip to the dealer). The cb and ks cost less than $150 for either and have never once given any trouble, ever. If the Reverb keeps acting up I'll replace it with a simpler dropper like the cb or ks
  • + 1
 Getting a KS warranty service in Canada is a real problem. Turnaround time was two months, which I was told is pretty standard. That's reason enough not to buy KS if you're in Canada.
  • + 1
 @DMal: thanks mate
  • + 8
 My Lev (150mm) has been fantastic - going on 3 years - I disassemble and lube it in the winter.

Only upgrade I have done is replace the stock lever with my now unused X0 front shifter - best remote/lever ever. Will not use anything else!
  • + 1
 I have a KS Lev 150 that came on a used bike I bought. In the first year or so I had it, it was always losing oil and getting a dead spot on the top of travel, so I ended up cleaning and rebuilding/refilling a couple times using the recommended fork oil.

The last time I did it, I used some 75W synthetic gear oil I had in the garage, good and thick. Hasn't lost any oil and been working great for the last two seasons without being touched.
  • + 1
 Yup, I have a 65mm Lev C on my XC bike and it is super smooth. I've had no problems at all! Looking forward to the new lever design.
  • + 2
 I had one of the first KS Lev posts which went three years with zero problems, got caught out in a thunderstorm on really gritty trails once and it got sticky from all the grit and mud, tore it down, cleaned an re-lubed, good as new for another two years. Installed an Integra at the beginning of last season on a new build and have ridden the hell out of it since, perfect for over a year and a half, afraid to tear it down and do maintenance its so good, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

I think they're the best posts on the market...for DMal, I lost the red cover off the original Lev that hid the mechanism, threw some electrical tape over the opening, called Norco who distributes KS Lev in Canada and had a replacement inside a week so my experience on parts availabity has been very good. BTW, my son waited two months for a warranty service/repair on his Reverb and I've heard others have experienced the same so I don't think KS is the only one that can be slow in Canada, its a Canada thing not a manufacturer thing I'm thinking.
  • + 1
 @Dethphist: i didn't know they were user serviceable... thanks for this - just found the KS videos online. doesn't look too bad.
  • + 4
 "You can now get that saddle zooming up to your privates at warp speeds"
I picture myself been ejected over the bikeo or my balls been squashed. Still that sentence that made my day

Ive got a lev for last 6 months, no problem. Ive got a reverb before, and that thing has play everywhere!!
  • + 3
 KS has been hit or miss on reliability there is no doubt. I learned how to work on my first KS post (external routed) about 3 years ago and at least 1-2x a year I rip it apart, clean it, lube it, and reassemble. Maybe I've been lucky, but my first KS (external) and the post I've run for two years now (Integra)...SOLID. With some loving, they have been awesome for me. Next bike will def have another.
  • + 3
 Sounds like KS makes the best dropper out there... and they are definitely at the top of the list for my next dropper purchase, but I have to admit the Specialized Command Post WU, which drops the rear of the saddle to an angle more like a downhill saddle position simultaneously is really attractive to me.

If you hit steep lines and bigger drops it seems like a really innovative idea. But being the first iteration of the design, reliability/performance etc is certainly gonna be a crap shoot.

KS, you know what to do now!
  • + 3
 Boost long term reliability... are they going to boost the quality of their customer service as well? I've had to warranty both of my Levs, one within 2 months and the other within a year. They were a nightmare to deal with - maybe learn how to effectively communicate with your customers. You are not our only option.

I had to get my 9point8 fall line warranty serviced as well, but at least they were really friendly to deal with and I don't fault them - these things take a lot of abuse, it's not if but when they'll need a rebuild.
  • + 3
 I've got a LEV Integra (2016), and since about ride 3 it sticks. Have to pull it up squeezing it between my thighs. Anyone got any ideas? Seat post clamp is torqued up correctly.
  • + 7
 Yes buy another brand
  • + 2
 sounds like the post itself may be bent
  • + 2
 Add pressure
Add lube
Or send back while under warranty??
Mine did that for a bit then lost it's oil, slammed to top and no more workin.
I'm in Western Canada, sent it in for repair and turn around was quick...about a week.
  • + 4
 Seatpost clamp too tight?
  • + 6
 Find a job where those thigh muscles can be put to good use.

"Can I open that beer for ya. . . "
  • + 3
 Mine did that at first - then I added a bunch of air (up to the max allowed per their online documentation), and it's been solid ever since.
  • + 0
 £300 GBP for a dropper post that works the way it should for all of three rides. Have pumped it up to the max, lubed it, seat post clamp is torqued correctly. Still have to pull it up. Cheers KS
  • + 1
 Probably just needs more air pressure (even 10 psi can help) My previous DX did that.
  • + 1
 Use the barrel-adjust to fine tune the remote cable, as maybe it's not releasing enough... This happened to me once and a couple of turns on the adjustment and it worked perfectly!
  • + 1
 Are you torqueing the seatclamp to spec? And with that, are the specs on KS's instructions and your frame the same? If not, go with the lower of the two, and torque about 0.2 less than spec (if it says 6.0 Nm, torque to 5.Cool .

Or get another brand that has better reliability Smile
  • + 1
 Mine lasted 3 rides, Gone for a month. At my expense of course. Lasted three more rides. Gone for a month, at my cost of course. Bought a race face. No problems so far. I can't be missing bike rides so now I have a spare 500 dollar part to back up the first 500 dollar part for when it fails. Same with forks and shocks. It's time these companies started sending out loaner parts on legitimacy documented failures during their warranty period. Then maybe they'd consider manufacturing them with more care and quality.
  • + 2
 Those 27.2mm sizes aren't going to do anything for anyone running old school hardtails though, if they only come as internally routed options. Still doing external for this year?
  • + 2
 The LEV (as opposed to LEV Integra or LEV CI) is an externally-routed post.
  • + 1
 @vernonfelton: Thanks, good to know
  • + 1
 Sorry but re...lie!...ability will be a call that we will let the market decide on thx. I have had 2 KS posts and will replacing with another brand. Have never had a trouble free season w my lev and it's been on too many airplane rides to be rebuilt and repaired. A dropper now has to be reliable to compete at 4-600 bucks.
  • + 1
 The article said "should boost long-term reliability". It didn't say better reliability is guaranteed, so the call was not made by the article was it.
  • + 1
 Well, don't buy a SRAM Reverb, because right now I'm wishing I had my KS Lev. With the Reverb, you buy a 170mm dropper post, you lose 35mm at both ends, and end up with a 100mm dropper.
  • + 1
 Out of interest did you ever:
1) completely deflate the air from the cartridge?
- i will call the LEV/LEV integra models pre Eurobike 2017 as 'Old cartridges '. you should never need to deflate the air pressure from the 'old cartridges' below 100psi ... Unsure what the pressures are in the new models this article covers.
- this includes air travel ... No need to deflate when travelling with your bike ... But keeping the post extended is best
- I believe deflating the air out of the cart causes air transfer into the wrong chamber within the cartridge causing spongey death.
2) when storing your bike or not using the post, do you leave it extended? Or compressed?
- internal air pressure increases in the cartridge as it is lowered into its travel. Air pressure at the top is lower then at the bottom. Higher pressures means increase possibility of aeration of the oil and or more chance of air defeating the internal seals ... Leading the spongey death.
3) do you ever lift you bike from the saddle, at any position other then at full extension?
- the KS cart has no mechanical stop in its design, except at the top of its travel ... To stop the post pulling up ... Or 'topping out ' ... I believe, topping out the cart repeatedly is like a syringe ... And can either aerate the oil ... Increasing the random percolation of air into the wrong chamber ... Read spongey death.
- alternatively, pulling up on the cart could cause air/oil to defeat the internal seals ... Yep, spongey death.

I'm not an engineer, so apologies if my terminology is incorrect, but I service a lot of KS posts and these observations have developed after approx 6 years.

There is a lot of variability in the above related to the level of aeration of the oil, the amount of air randomly bubbling into the wrong chamber, whether enough air defeats the IFP, even rider variables that could cause more or less aeration. This is why I believe many riders have positive experiences whilst some have negative experiences.

Note: I have minimal experience with Reverb, but Given design similarities, i see these same examples, likely impacts Reverb in the same way. I see the main difference in design philosophy between the two relates to KS having a sealed cart, vs Rockshox allowing user serviceability of the cart. I see tolerances in allowing user serviceability likely increases death by sponginess in Reverb vs Supernatural/Dropzone/LEV et al.

Sorry for the novel
  • + 1
 @Screaming-Gecko: I do agree with all your saying and I was storing partly lowered only because it would be stuck fully raised after sitting for a few days or more. Then it got what I believe to be air in wrong chamber and will fully lower once after sitting then as you repeat the lowering action it is spongy and will drop just enough to go ol school with seat in belly. I was am running max pressure after the lastest rebuild as the action seemed to slow.....but was likely tight new seals causing slow speed. If you live near Edmonton and charge reasonably your hired....lol...I Do not want to invest in a new one as this SB66C is on it 5th season and will be replaced when the right deal comes along. Likely a 9.8 on the next bike.
  • + 1
 @Screaming-Gecko: haha....now I looked and your in Kathmandu....if I get down that way you can tune it for me...thx jim
  • + 1
 I've been waiting all summer for the non-DX non-carbon non-integra Lev to show up in 175mm.

I even pre-ordered one via ChainReaction in May... and they emailed a couple weeks later to say they weren't actually taking pre-orders.

So is it finally going to be in stock somewhere soon?
  • + 2
 You know what's missing from this article? A date.
  • + 1
 I really wanted to like these guys. My Drop Zone was an early model back when they used to brag about their product being the most expensive on the market. Less than 20 rides on it and it developed a dead spot when fully extended where it would drop about an inch when I sat on it. No help from the service dept. because the older models weren't serviceable. They wanted to charge me almost the cost of a new post to replace it. No thanks. Bought a DVO Garnet and won't ever look back.
  • + 1
 I have had several KS droppers and they have served me well. Service here in NZ from the distributer has been excellent. I maybe get it serviced once every 2 years and it runs like a dream. My reverbs on the other hand have cost me double the price I paid in repairs and one is now in the junk pile.
  • + 1
 I still run the stock KS Eten that came on my 2015 Process. I anticipated that I would have issues based on reviews, but I have not had a single issue beyond cleaning some mud off the cable that was causing constant actuation. When I decide to up the travel I'll definitely look into these longer travel LEVs.
  • + 2
 The E-ten is a great post! I ran one for a couple years and when it finally died, all I had to buy was a $45 cartridge which was easy to swap out too. Keep in mind, this is a $150 post at full retail.

My first foray into dropper posts and I am hooked now.
  • + 0
 Based on the number of complaints I've seen the cheap ks posts (eten, dropzone, supernatural) seem to be more reliable than the lev series
  • + 0
 @chize: Had my Dropzone for about 2 years and it's been flawless. Do KS still make a lever dropper because I'd love a 150mm version ? (old school I know but would don't want another cable/handlebar clutter).
  • + 2
 @tremeer023: I have a KS Lev Supernatural(lever style),150 post and I love it and haven't done one thing to it since I've had it. Bought the bike used 3 years ago, from my buddy who built it in 2011 and it works flawlessly. Seriously, I wipe dirt off it and that's it. Love my KS. Put a Lev DX on the wife's bike this spring and she loves it. Externally routed and it looks madd clean and functions awesome.
  • + 1
 Not sure if my buddy ever serviced the post but yeah, I haven't. Ha!
  • + 1
 If your local distributor is capable, you can gut the 100mm ETen Integra and replace it with the cartridge plus saddle clamp hardware and pushrod of a Lev integra and end up with a ~130mm dropper.

It losses some of its pork and shortens overall length slightly, 25mm from memory, whilst increasing travel by 30mm

It will cost you in parts and maybe labour, but it's cheaper then buying a new post, and is a form of recycling I guess.
  • + 1
 @lightsgetdimmer: thanks, I'll check it out.
  • + 1
 I've had several KS posts. One I have now get stuck down and doesn't extend back up without a bump or pull. Did this since day 1. Both couldn't keep seat rails in place to save a life. And they were torqued properly. Tried with carbon paste, antiseize, and dry, which creaked and still slipped. Southpaw of the past with a carbon bar....ha! Good luck. Service from KS is horrible. The cure all for me....buy 9.8.
  • + 1
 Have you tried increasing the air pressure? Both of my KS doppers have been flawless
  • + 1
 My kind lev ti didn't last long either before it sagged and would not return. The biggest thing going for them is lower total length. I like that at min length you can get flusher to the seat tube.
  • + 1
 Over what is recommended?
  • + 1
 @FLATLlNE: Over what comes from the factory. My first one was a bit under-inflated when I got it.
  • + 1
 @dlxah: I know I did have it at recommended. I will try to add a little. Thanks for the recommendation.
  • + 3
 I've had great luck with two KS posts and both of my friends with 9.8 posts have had some problems. Just sayin, it's a crap shoot no matter what brand you go with.
  • + 1
 My brother has the same problem with the seat not returning without him pulling it.
This only happens in the beginning of a run a few times than it works properly.
Anyone know if it's just to low air pressure or if there could be another problem?
  • + 1
 @Crisskan: Mine will get stuck down occasionally if I store it with the post compressed overnight, but I only have to give it a little nudge and then it pops up and continues to work until I store it with the post compressed again. I think that's normal.

If the post is getting stuck down during your ride, you can try reducing the torque on your seatpost collar (if you don't have a torqure wrench, even just an 1/8 of a turn can make a huge difference) or increasing the air pressure as long as you don't exceed max pressure. And if neither of those work, then it's possible your post is defective, needs service, or has been damaged from over-torquing the seatpost collar.
  • + 1
 @dlxah: I have a torque wrenche, and torque dropper posts to the absolute minimum for the post not to move when installed with anti-seize. This is generally at or lower than recommended torque - never over and definitely never enough to damage a post. Not the issue. And I don't think it's pressure either.

Lemon post perhaps. This is a common complaint however, if you hunt around the forms. Many Kev's stick down while riding. I compensate currently by never dropping fully, and then triggering and sitting to break the stick.
  • + 2
 @Crisskan @FLATLlNE: Ah, I almost forgot it may also be a cable/lever adjustment issue. It's possible the lever is not fully actuating the post. Perhaps increasing the cable tension may solve the issue.
  • + 1
 KS customer service is fine. i just sent mine in and got it warrantied for the same problems you described above. no issues, online warranty form, emailed a shipping label, and got it back in less than two weeks.
  • + 1
 @dlxah: cable tension isn't my issue either. That is for sure. Need to check air again.
  • + 1
 So will they send me a new southpaw to make up for the abomination that is the previous version? Seriously KS, that thing is terrible, and only my aversion to spending more money is keeping me from buying a wolftooth.
  • + 1
 Still funny to me how many want the southpaw remote when their original remote design is far more minimal and is actually easier to engage, just flick it! You don't even have to push with your thumb!
  • + 1
 What's the expected service intervals?

Got one Reverb and one KS Lev, neither seems to work for much longer than 6 months without service. Improved reliability will be my prio 1 on the next buy.
  • + 2
 believe it or not my bontrager drop line post has been the most reliable dropper post (damper style) in the world i have never serviced it and 2 years of owner ship 300 price tag under the bar lever and great trek customer service sounds like a win to me one thing is they have more than average play left and right when its advertised as having none
  • + 0
 Use a KS LEV Integre since 2015 and it never let me down. Don´t have much experience with other brands ( SRAM etc. ) but reading reviews is telling me that other ( more expensive ) brands don´t do better in terms of reliability. I can´t see any reason to replace my post but when the time comes these new KS droppers with more travel will definitely be an option!
  • + 2
 It never let you down?
  • + 1
 @billreilly: Good one :-)
  • + 1
 Love how the wife's Lev DX remote is the ODI grips collar too! That shit's BOSS. Yeah, she and I both run 2x still and that remote leaves room on the bars.
  • + 2
 I have 2 integras best posts iv used and anyone that thinks reverbs work well needs there head checked.
  • + 1
 PS I ride 3-4 times a week for circa 2-4hrs in mostly muddy Scottish conditions and service the posts circa every 10-12months. (just a clean) They could go longer.
  • - 1
 I think KS posts are pretty good. I've 4 of them. That said, I've yet to find the perfect post. Between my wife and I we have had numerous designs. However, on balance the KS have been the best to live with. And when we bought them, they were one of few to offer 150mm travel. We have a KS 900i and three LEV 150mm posts, one of which is an Integra. (as well as a couple of reverbs and gravity droppers)

Two of the very first batch of KS Levs failed within weeks. They went spongy. However, the great thing about KS droppers is they are easy to repair. The hydraulic cartridge is a sealed unit and only costs circa £55. It takes about 30-45mins to replace and no special tools (that includes a clean n service while in there).

Once replaced the only issue I've had with all 3 is occasionally the internal rod that activates them needs an extra bit of force which typically means pulling the post from the frame. - Its an easy fix, my wife can do it.

Reverbs are by far the most unreliable and significantly more time consuming and expensive to repair. (I've made a few quid out of servicing numerous). Sooner or later they sag and need a full strip down = +2hrs hours of work and ridiculously high cost of the full service kit which is nothing more than a bunch of O-rings and a plastic / rubber IFP. Throw in a head/collar at £35 because it has a crappy Teflon wear strip and you're looking at circa £85 parts + 2hours of messy work and it could go again in a little as 6-8months.

At £55 for a KS cartridge, I keep a spare and take it with me whenever we go away, as being without a dropper can really spoil your fun.
  • + 1
 Uhh I was about to buy one... how long should I wait for the new versions and how can I tell if one is an older version or newer?
  • + 1
 love my KS dropper, southpaw was absolute garbage that broke within weeks and not warrantied....wolf tooth i replaced it with is worth twice what i paid, best lever ever!
  • + 1
 must be something wrong with my son's southpaw as it doesn't slip on his carbon bars.
  • + 1
 Mine does slip on my carbon bars, and many others I've seen also slip/rotate when used on carbon bars. Had to add some double sided tape underneath to help keep it from rotating. Spoke to KS about this at Sea Otter and they acknowledged it's been an issue.
  • + 1
 @bicycle019: I used carbon past and have no problem.
  • + 1
 @poah:
Think it depends on the finish of the bar.
My crank Bros carbon bar has a shiny smooth finish and the southpaw span round like a..... Had to sand the top lacquer coat of where it clamps to get it to stay put. The matt finish on renthal bars is grippy as hell.
  • + 1
 dang I literally just bought a new QR for the rigid seat post on my hardtail...
  • + 1
 Paddle looks good. I matched a crankbrothers paddle w/ks which works perfect.
  • + 1
 I'd definitely take a serious look at a ks fork
  • + 1
 So the budget DX line is discontinued?
  • + 0
 Smooovest post out there. Up down up down up down.
  • - 1
 KS is till the best dropper out there.
  • - 3
 You HAVE to be joking?
  • - 2
 Will it still need to be serviced every other week?
  • + 0
 There's nothing much to service in a LEV. Its supposed to be a sealed hydraulic unit. If its not working. Bite the bullet and get a new cartridge for the price of a tyre. 30-40mins to swap out and its brand new.

If the mud is getting in, buy a new £3 seal. It really is that simple with these posts.

OK, you can argue about you shouldn't have to buy a new cartridge, but other that the original gravity dropper's, spring and a pin design, I don't know of a single post design that is 100% reliable.

For me, so far with no post 100% reliable. I want something I can repair quickly and relatively cheaply when it eventually fails. Not if, but when.

So Servicing/repairing a KS is a quick manageable task if you are away from home at a race or on holiday.

The UK importer Jungle carries stock of every small part at reasonable prices and I can get them in 3-4 days. (I hold a stock of parts I suspect might go as they are cheap)

Its cable actuated so no fragile hose barbs or bleed issues. There are two lever options, both are sturdy.
  • + 2
 @Golich: I have a KS Lev on my trail bike which hasn't had a lot of use tbh, but it's failed 3 times in 2.5 years and Jungle now want £85 to repair, so I've told them to swivel, biggest piece of crap ever!

If they think they are so good then offer more than 2 years warranty like other dropper post manufacturers!
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