Dropper posts are quickly becoming the norm for many riders, especially those who frequent rolling terrain and want to avoid stopping to adjust their saddle height when the trail gets dicey. Even pure cross-country riders are seeing the light as they realize that the handling advantages in tricky terrain easily outweighs the additional weight over a standard post. There are now many options to choose from, but RockShox's Reverb is the only telescoping post that makes use of a hydraulic hose to control its movement. The Reverb offers either 100 or 125mm (tested
) of hydraulically controlled travel, along with infinite saddle height adjustments anywhere between full extension and completely dropped, and is controlled by their XLoc bar mounted remote. The Reverb is available in 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters, and retails for $370 USD.
|The Reverb offeres 125mm of drop, and is the only telescoping post that is activated with a hydraulic remote.|
RockShox Reverb details:
- Hydraulically controlled telescoping seat post
- 100mm and 125mm drop options (infinite height adjustment)
- Full lengths: 100mm drop - 355, 420mm, 125mm drop - 380mm, 420mm
- Zero offset, two bolt head
- XLoc handlebar remote only
- Diameters: 30.9 and 31.6mm
- Weight: 520 grams (including remote, hose and hardware)
- MSRP: $370 USD
The Reverb is available in two different travel options, either 100 or 125mm of drop, to best suit your riding, height and seat tube length. While a lot of riders will question the reason for going with the 100mm version, it will make sense for shorter riders thanks to its 355mm total length. The 125mm version that we review here can be had in either 380 or 420mm lengths, with my long legs requiring the taller of the two options. A dual bolt head without indexing offers infinite saddle tilt adjustments, and the bolts thread into steel inserts to prevent heavy handed home mechanics from causing any fatal damage.
The Reverb's opposing saddle clamp bolts (left) make for easy saddle angle adjustments. New, burlier hose fittings at the head (right) should stand up to abuse better.
The post is activated with RockShox's XLoc remote - the very same that controls their fork's lockout function - by pushing 2.5wt hydraulic fluid down the line and opening the Reverb's main oil flow valve. The setup is not only slightly lighter than a more traditional steel cable and housing, but should also offer the advantage of not being susceptible to contamination when riding in the rain and mud. It also features an aluminum dial that is used to adjust the post's return speed. Turning the dial alters the oil volume within the remote system, raising or lowering the height of the main valve within the post. Different heights allow you to use more or less of the taper on the valve, dictating the amount of oil flow that is allowed to move between the inner and out tubes.
One of the key design features hidden within the Reverb is that its 2.5wt hydraulic remote fluid, post oil and air springs are all kept completely separate from each other. The remote fluid is contained within the XLoc trigger, hose and the post's head, while the air spring is enclosed at the bottom of the outer tube. The post oil that allows the Reverb to travel up and down, and also be held firmly in place, flows between the inner and outer tubes, and is backed up with an internal floating piston (IFP
) to keep the Reverb from becoming soft if the saddle is raised by hand. Installation and Bleeding
The Reverb installs like any other seat post, with the addition of routing the hydraulic line and mounting the XLoc remote. The Reverb's remote is available in both left and right options, and can be attached to the same clamp as the brake lever and shifter via their MatchMaker X mount, or run separately for a more independent position. Many riders, including myself, have found that using a right hand XLoc remote mounted to the underside of the bar in place of a front shifter offers the best ergos, but that choice obviously won't be ideal for a lot of riders out there. While using the MMX mount will make for a clean cockpit, we'd suggest going with the independent Discreet clamp to allow for maximum adjustment. The saddle's rails are supported by longer than average clamps, and tilt adjustments are a cinch thanks to the angle of the head's opposing bolts that allow for easy access with a full sized hex key. This may sound like a simple point, but you'll appreciate it if you've had to struggle with a sawed off hex key to make angle adjustments, as required with some of the competition.
Riders who don't run a front shifter can mount up a right hand remote on the underside of their bar in its place. We found that this provided the best ergonomics possible, as well as helping to protect the button from damage.
Some riders are likely intimidated by the Reverb's hydraulic hose, so with that in mind we set about shortening the hose and performing a bleed to see just how tricky the process actually is. The answer: it's less complicated than swapping a shift cable, especially considering that everything you need is included in the box - a torx key, syringes with fittings, instructions and the required 2.5wt hydraulic fluid. In fact, trimming the post's hose will likely not even require you to perform a bleed unless you make a mess of it. If that's the case, bleeding should be an easy, drip free affair thanks to fittings that screw into place. It does need to be stressed that only 2.5wt hydraulic fluid should be used, and never the DOT brake fluid that is employed in Avid's brake systems. Three of the four Reverbs that equip our rotating test fleet came from RockShox ready to roll, but one unit did require a bleed before it would function properly. We've heard of others who have had the same issue, and while the process is simple, we'd like to see them all come out of the box in working order. Performance
The Reverb has very little play at its head out of the box, with roughy a millimeter or two at the nose of the saddle - not enough for even the most sensitive of riders to feel under them. Despite the relatively tight tolerances, the post cycles up and down smoothly and freely when new, something that can't be said about all of the competition. There is slightly more wiggle after a full season of use, approximately another millimeter, but it is still nothing to be concerned about. Rocking the saddle front to back with your hands can produce a small knock as the stanchion rocks slightly in the outer tube, but this is eliminated once the saddle is weighted.
Pushing the remote's button with your thumb and weighting the saddle will lower the post to the desired height, and regardless of whether the post is traveling up or down, letting go of the button stops the saddle from moving at whatever position you'd like. The XLoc remote takes less thumb pressure to activate than most cable operated versions, a trait that many lady shredders and younger riders will appreciate. A dial on the remote allows you to control the return speed as the post extends, although I found myself preferring to leave it at the fastest setting. Wy would you want to run it slower? Riders who consistently lower the saddle a touch for technical climbs will find that the slower return speed will make finding that perfect height much easier.
The Reverb lets you choose the exact saddle height that you're looking for, whether that's slammed for a gnarly downhill, full extension for a long climb, or down a touch so you can charge that tricky up hill section or find the flow on some fast, rolling singletrack.
While most other dropper posts offer a "cruiser" postion that is slightly lower than full extension, the Reverb's ability to stop it at any point in its travel - the adjustment is infinite - allows you to lower it to the exact height that you're looking for. This is great for those fast, rolling sections of trail that still require some pedal strokes, but are enjoyed that much more by getting the saddle out of the way. It has been said before, but a telescoping post can also actually help your climbing as well: dropping the saddle slightly can aid steep, technical climbing where you might be worried about committing fully and not being able to get a foot down if it all goes South.
Riders with small hands and short fingers may find that the XLoc remote can be a bit of a stretch to reach. We'd suggest that if that sounds like you you're best off mounting it as a standalone unit up against your grip instead of using the MMX or brake lever mount option.
While the idea of using a hydraulic hose to activate the post instead of a standard steel cable may intimidate some riders, it proved to be both reliable and easy to work on. We never once damaged or pulled a hose out, despite a full season of crashing and abuse. In fact, the Reverb's hydraulic operation is what puts the post head and shoulders above the competition. Whereas other designs use a shift cable that will need to be adjusted as it and housing settles in - with some posts being headache inducingly sensitive to cable tension and require that it be spot on to function properly - the Reverb has no such issues. On top of that, unlike a steel cable that can quickly become contaminated and require much more lever pressure to operate, mud and water will not effect the Reverb's action, with it being indifferent to nasty trail conditions. All four of our Reverb posts that are in the test rotation have performed nearly flawlessly in this regard, with consistent lever and post action that refuses to change regardless of how shitty the weather becomes or how often we hose off the bikes. Only now, after a year of solid use, is one unit moving slightly rougher than when it was new. That is a reliability record that other designs can only dream of at this point.
One of the biggest complaints with most dropper posts is their head mounted cables that create a surplus loop when the saddle is lowered. The Reverb Stealth routes its hydraulic line from the bottom of the post and down into the frame tubes, eliminating the issue. We've spent a bit of time on a 2012 Trek Slash equipped with the new Stealth model and loved its invisibility. The catch? They will only be available as original equipment on select '12 Trek and Scott models.
With it's proven reliability and smooth operation the Reverb is head and shoulders above other options on the market, but some of the competition does have it beat in a few specific areas. While the post's XLoc remote is bound to remain smoother in the long run than even the most well setup cable option, I'd like to see the button protrude less for better ergonomics - it can sometimes feel like a bit of a stretch to reach in the heat of the moment. With the XLoc remote positioned atop the bar as intended you should also refrain from flipping the bike upside down (when repairing a flat for instance
) due to causing damage to the button. Having a more compact XLoc remote would adress this issue as well.
Although all posts shipping now are equipped with much sturdier hose fittings at the post's head, early models came stock with somewhat fragile pieces that could be easily damaged if one forgets that he or she should never clamp the upper tube in a repair stand. The damage caused should be put down to user error, but RockShox has addressed the issue and all newer models come fitted with burlier hose attachments that can take more abuse.
Are you a lanky rider who likes to run a post with an offset head? If so, you're out of luck. The Reverb is only available with its current zero offset head, although the long lower saddle rail clamp does allow you to slide the saddle back without worrying too much about bending saddle rails. Is it enough? Not for some riders out there. Pinkbike's take:
|The Reverb is the clear leader when talking about telescoping posts. While some riders may shy away from the hydraulic hose, this is the very thing that puts the RockShox dropper ahead of the field. No rusty cables or constant tension adjustments, just reliable action from the get go. A layback head would be a great option for some riders, and we'd like to see the remote ergos tweaked slightly. Still, the Reverb's reliability and install-and-forget nature make it our first choice when riders ask us which dropper post they should consider. - Mike levy|