Dropper posts have rapidly become a necessity rather than an accessory for many mountain bikers, and the number of options on the market continues to climb. Race Face decided to join the fray late last summer with the announcement of their Turbine dropper post, a cable-actuated affair that uses technology licensed from 9Point8, the small Canadian company best known for their Fall Line dropper post. That technology, called DropLoc, involves the use of an expanding brake to hold the moveable portion of the post at any point in its 100, 125, or 150mm of travel, and there's a version with 175mm of drop scheduled to arrive later this summer.
Turbine Dropper Details
• Size: 30.9, 31.6mm
• Length: 350, 375, 415, 440mm
• Travel: 100, 125, 150mm
• Lever actuation: mechanical
• Weight: 520 grams w/o lever or cable (150mm)
• Price: $469.99 USD
The Turbine post ships with a paddle-shaped thumb lever that can run on either side of the handlebar, but a shift lever-style remote is available as a $60 upgrade in a wide range of anodized colors. With the standard remote, the Turbine post retails for $469.99 USD. Turbine Details
Inside the Turbine's stanchion there's a spring-loaded, fluid-filled brake that expands against the side of the tube to hold it into place. Depressing the handlebar mounted lever sets off a chain of events that results in a decrease in the pressure inside the brake, allowing the post to move downwards under a rider's weight. When there isn't any weight on the seat and the lever is depressed, an air spring provides the force necessary to return the post back to full extension. Air pressure (between 20-40psi) is added via a Shrader valve hidden under a rubber cap at the top of the post, under the seat clamp.
The beauty of the Turbine's design is that even if all of that air somehow leaked out the expanding brake should keep the post in place, allowing riders to make it home without needing to pedal with their knees up around their ears. Installation
Installation of the Turbine dropper post doesn't require any special tools, just a few allen wrenches and set of cable cutters, but it is a bit more time consuming than other posts. It's worth taking the time to look over the illustrated instructions that are included with the post, and watching the instructional video
that Race Face have created wouldn't be a bad idea either.
The key point to remember is that the two set screws that clamp down on the cable need to be equally tightened so that they end up flush with the sides of the activation mechanism. It's also important to remember to line up the t-shaped piece that the housing threads into with the mark on the outer cylinder before cutting the cable, or you'll needing to repeat the whole process. I'd also recommend saving a little patience for when it's time to install the seat - there's a very, very generous amount of Loctite on the two bolts that clamp the seat into place, which makes it slow going loosening and then tightening everything down.
Once the post is installed it's an easy procedure to unscrew it from the cable mechanism. It's not something I'd want to do all the time, but since it doesn't require any tools and only takes a couple of minutes, it is feasible that you could buy two actuator mechanisms and swap the post between two different bikes. Performance
Out of the box, the Turbine dropper return speed was a little too violent for my liking, so to ease my castration anxiety I dropped the air pressure down to 22 psi. At this pressure the post still returned quickly, but not fast enough that I had to worry about any soft tissue damage. There's a slight 'thwunk' when it reaches the top of it' travel, just enough to let you know it's in the full upright and locked position.
On the trail, the shifter-style lever was easy to reach without a second thought, although I wouldn't mind if it required a little less force to push it through its stroke. It works well, but it's not quite as easy to activate as Specialized's category-leading Command Post remote. Releasing the lever stops the post at any point in its 150mm of travel, and for the first three months of use the post worked flawlessly, with no cable adjustments or fiddling required. The post felt satisfyingly solid, with very smooth action and minimal side to side play. There were never any unwanted creaks or groans from the seat clamp, even after multiple muddy rides in a row.Issues
After about three months of use the mechanical brake began slipping intermittently, causing the seat to move downwards underneath my body weight. After consulting Race Face, they recommended resetting the brake, which involves setting the post to the top of its travel, and then taking any slack out of the cable with the barrel adjuster. The next step is to depress the lever fully for three seconds, release it, and then back off the cable tension until there is 1-2 millimeters of free play in the lever.
This procedure worked, but for a couple of weeks I had to perform it a handful of additional times to prevent the post from slipping downwards. Sometimes the reset worked for multiple rides in a row, while other times the issue returned the next day. I checked and double-checked the cable tension and actuator positioning, and everything was correct - there seemed to be something going on with the brake that was more than a setup issue, although a visit to Race Face's headquarters didn't reveal any glaring problems. They did recommend performing the brake reset before each ride, since it only takes three seconds, and it helps to ensure that the brake is fully expanded and much less likely to slip. Another technique is to perform the brake equalization procedure with the seat height set to the area where any slippage is occurring, which helps to compensate for any potential differences in the thickness of the tube that the brake is housed in. This procedure did the trick, and the post has been trouble free for the last month of use.Pinkbike's Take:
|When it comes to dropper posts, the number of options is higher than ever, which makes it even more important that a post work perfectly in order for it to stand out from the crowd. The Turbine's performance has been a little finicky, and there's also the fact that its price is on the high side of the scale, even before you factor in the $60 required for the shifter-style lever, a part that I think should be included in the stock configuration. The design does have potential, but at the end of the day, there a few issues that hold the Turbine back from being a truly great dropper post.- Mike Kazimer|
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