Review: Crankbrothers' New Highline 11 Dropper Post Uses Carbon & Titanium to Save Weight

Apr 5, 2022 at 14:17
by Mike Kazimer  

Can't seem to get enough carbon fiber and titanium in your life? Crankbrothers' new Highline 11 dropper post is here to help satisfy that exotic material addiction. Available in 60, 100, 125, 150, and 170mm travel options, the post is designed to everyone from gravel to enduro riders looking for a lightweight dropper post.

The stanchion and head of the post are constructed from carbon fiber, and the seat mounting bolts are titanium, weight-saving measures that allow the 170mm version to come in at just 520 grams. That's 84 grams lighter than Crankbrothers' own Highline 7 post, and 119 grams lighter than a 175mm Fox Transfer post.
Highline 11 Details

• Drop: 60mm / 100mm / 125mm / 150mm / 170mm (tested)
• 30.9 & 31.6mm diameters
• Carbon quill & head
• Titanium mounting bolts
• 4 year warranty
• Weight: 520 grams (170mm, 31.6mm)
• MSRP: $399 USD (remote sold separately)
• More info: www.crankbrothers.com

Not surprisingly, the use of carbon and titanium does increase the price; the Highline 11 retails for $399 USD without a remote.


The Highline's seat clamp system is simple and effective.
Crankbrothers' remote has a lot of lever position adjustability, but unfortunately its not Matchmaker compatible.

DETAILS

Other than the carbon fiber stanchion and head, the rest of the Highline's construction is identical to what's used for the aluminum Highline models.

The heart of the dropper post is a hydraulic cartridge that Crankbrothers developed with Wintek. It can easily be removed by removing a 2.5mm hex head bolt from the top of the post, and then using a strap wrench and pliers to unthread the bottom of the post. The hydraulic cartridge itself is sealed and not serviceable, but if an issue did arise it can be swapped out in a matter of minutes.

The carbon stanchion moves on Igus bushings – there's an upper and lower bushing around the stanchion, and then two vertical 'keys' that allow the post to slide up and down. Dust, mud, and other contaminants are kept out by a Trelleborg dust seal.

Crankbrothers' actuator system allows for a very quick setup – the fixed end of a derailleur cable slots into the bottom of the post, without the need for any easily-lost cable bushings.

At the top of the post, the two bolt head is also very user friendly. I'm constantly amazed by how little thought seems to go into the design of some seatpost clamps – it seems like it should be simple, but too often the bolts are at an angle that makes seat installation or removable more difficult than it should be. That's not the case with the Highline – the rearmost bolt is at an angle that leaves plenty of room for an Allen key, and once it's partially loosened a slot at the back of the head allows it to flip up and out of the way.


The post uses an upper and lower bushing and two keys made from Igus' LL-glide plastic.
A 2.5mm hex bolt attached the sealed cartridge to the top of the post.

PERFORMANCE

Crankbrothers included their $60 flat bar remote with my test post. It's billed as the 'world's most ergonomic remote', and while that may be a stretch, the ball and socket design does allow for a wide range of lever positions. The split clamp makes installation easy, but one of the downsides to the remote is the fact that it's not Matchmaker compatible. Crankbrothers has had this remote in their lineup for years, and while it was novel when it first came out, there are now better options on the market that have a smoother, lighter action. PNW Components and Wolftooth make some of my favorites, and I also get along well with Fox's newest Transfer post lever.

A dropper post really only has two main functions – go up, and go down, so let's start with the 'up' part. The post raises fairly quickly, settling at the top of its travel with a soft 'thwunk'. It's not the absolute quickest return speed, and there's no way to speed it up like there is with some other posts, but it was fast enough for my needs, reaching full extension at what I'd consider a very reasonable rate.

Now for the down part. When the lever is pressed the seat lowers out of the way like it should, but it's not as silky smooth as I'd like - there's a noticeable amount of friction as the carbon stanchion slides into the fixed tube. It seems to be a combination of factors causing the extra resistance. To figure out the cause (after making sure that the cable was kink-free and that the remote was functioning properly) I unthreaded the post's collar and pulled up the dust wiper and upper bushing to see how much influence they were having. That helped, but the friction was still present – the Igus keys and lower bushing simply don't slide as effortlessly as I would have liked.

Out on the trail, I didn't really think about it that much – I was still able to get the seat down and out of my way whenever I wanted without too much effort. However, when going back-to-back with a BikeYoke Divine post the BikeYoke moved much more easily into its travel. This may seem like splitting hairs, but remember, the Highline 11 is $399 – at that price my expectations for buttery smooth actuation are much higher.

As far as long term durability goes, it's too early to make a definitive verdict, but the Highline's design makes it simple to service, and after six weeks of use the post is still free of any unwanted lateral play (as it should be).


PRICE & WEIGHT

The Highline 11's $399 price tag is on the higher side for a cable-actuated post, but it's still much less expensive than the $861 SRAM AXS post, and it's more than 100 grams lighter. Here's a brief list of other competitors:

OneUp: $229 / 545 grams (180mm drop)
BikeYoke Divine: $300 / 560 grams (185mm drop)
Fox Transfer Post: $359 / 639 grams (175mm drop)

Looking at that list, the Highline 11 is the lightest, but not by much – OneUp and BikeYoke aren't all that far off, and both of those options have adustable travel. You can also knock 10 grams off the Divine's weight by adding a titanium bolt kit.






Pros

+ Light weight without sacrificing drop
+ Easy to use saddle clamp design


Cons

- No adjustable travel or return speed
- More friction than other options while it's being lowered





Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesYou'll be hard pressed to find a lighter 170mm dropper post than the Highline 11. Of course, it's also one of the more expensive options on the market (wireless electronic posts excluded), and it takes a little more effort to lower it when compared to its competition. For the weight weenies out there neither of those facts are going to be deal breakers, but for everyone else a less expensive, slightly heavier, aluminum option will be the way to go. Mike Kazimer



117 Comments

  • 161 2
 This article has convinced me to buy a oneup post
  • 4 1
 Pretty hard to beat. Mine is rock solid and so so easy to service
  • 6 2
 @Chondog94: I'm 2 season deep on the cheap KS cartridge post that came with my rimpo. just seems to work. Posts are something I only think about when they are broken, and definitely don't need to be light as they are right underneath my not light ass.
  • 15 1
 Yeah OneUp for cheap and great, BikeYoke for absolutely the best. No idea why anyone would buy anything else.
  • 1 1
 @jesse-effing-edwards: is that the I Rage? I sure do like mine, and it's lighter than the brandx droppers.
  • 8 0
 @PhillipJ: I just don't believe the hype on OneUp... I killed one in less than a year yet the $100 Brand X post I had lasted for 4+ years. I'm now on a BikeYoke as well and will never ride anything else.
  • 2 0
 @Themissinglink83: sounds about right. Just a total no nonsense piece of gear. Only thing I wish was that it was longer (that's what he said).
  • 3 1
 Assuming you enjoy rebuilding your dropper post regularly, I mean monthly. I’ve rebuilt mine so many times I could have bought another post, or two.
They literally chew the upper bushing, which then grinds itself into a bit of a paste, which requires a disassembly, clean, re-lube, replace upper bushing, rinse and repeat.

I’m a OneUp fan as well, but that post grinds my gears Wink
  • 3 0
 @millsr4: i killed 2 oneup v2s within a year. Had to warranty twice but sold off the last replacement. The v1 lasted longer for me. Im currently about 1.5 years on a CB Highline 7 and its holding up.
  • 2 1
 @onawalk: that sounds bad. Maybe I got lucky, I feel like I’ve heard horror stories about every dropper out there.

Strange cause I’ve never had to overhaul my $75.00 desk chair
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: I assume yours isn't the KS eTen? I've got that one on my hardtail and it needed lots of maintenance. Always got slow, wouldn't come up all the way, would lower back down if you sat back onto it too quickly. Kinda soured my experience with their brand but I got good at overhauling it lol. I'm guessing their internal ones work better. Got a brand x on my FS and the thing has been perfecct, two years and not even close to needing an overhaul yet.
  • 1 0
 @millsr4: The wild thing is, they're the same post, just with some different accoutrements.
  • 4 0
 @Chondog94:

When was the last time you took your office chair out in the mud every day?
  • 3 0
 @zmums: haha the last time I worked on a weed farm
  • 1 1
 I have replaced a lev, 2 fox transfers, and a bontrager post with one up posts. Lev posts are so smooth but last me about 6 months before they need to be sent in. Their warranty dept is great. Fox just kinda suck same with bontranger. One ups just need to be taken apart and lubed every 6-10 months 15 min job and they are as good as new.
  • 2 0
 100%...or a PNW
  • 1 1
 @Dangerhill: I’m telling ya,
Check the inside of that upper bushing…..it’s getting chipped away.
The teardown, clean, and relube is not a 15min job.
It’s not long, but from post out to post in, it’s a beer and change kinda job
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: PNW for even cheaper and good warranty...
  • 98 10
 Nice to see a $400 seatpost use the same garbage plastic guides and cheap plastic actuator as the Giant dropper posts. The amount of Giant posts with those plastic guides breaking apart after a year of use is insane. Long live the OneUp Dropper!!
  • 12 5
 my and my wife's 2018 giant droppers are still going strong. The only issue i have had with it was freezing this winter at -10 C. Mine is ridden year round in absolutely horrible conditions. Cant say enough good things about it.
  • 7 1
 It's also the same internals (wintek) as the Bontrager Line ($250 one) Trek spec. They go wobbly pretty quick.
  • 3 0
 @fabwizard: Something changed with giant droppers. My 2017 trance 2 dropper never missed a beat and I abuse it. I've had to warranty my 2021 trance x's dropper twice now and it's relegated to the spare parts bin since I bought a 210mm oneup
  • 1 0
 i love when people put warnings on things like do not puncture or burn....i can guarantee something
  • 3 0
 @fabwizard: The 2018 and older Giant posts were awesome products, one of the best bang for your buck posts at the time. It seems that around 2019 they switched to these plastic guides and bushings and it has just been all downhill from here. The bottom plastic actuator part has been loose on every single one I have serviced or removed.
  • 2 3
 Was gonna say this looks identical to most budget droppers internally, but it’s made of carbon. I mean, that’s not a bad thing really, even cheap droppers work fantastically
  • 1 0
 @fewnofrwgijn: exactly. Sometimes its beneficial to share wear parts with more common products on the market, while adding value and performance to things that shouldn't wear.
  • 2 0
 Featuring soon in a dangerholm build near you...
  • 1 0
 @Amart: ok, good to know
  • 1 0
 @watchmen: My one Bontrager Line is really wobbly, I also serviced one the other night at the shop with a similar amount of play. I have another Line post on my commuter and it has stayed pretty tight, but it avoids some of the slop the other one deals with.
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: that's just telling you something good should happen if you do what they say not to.
  • 1 0
 Giant posts have been hugely reliable for as many that are out there. Especially when you consider that they are a relatively inexpensive post. Many other brands are using this exact same dropper design and internals since they are all made by Trans-X anyhow.
  • 4 1
 I killed my OneUp in less than a year... Bike Yoke makes the smoothest and most reliable post available, period.
  • 59 9
 Is this a delayed April fools day article? What kind of design engineers thinks using carbon as a sliding stanchion is a grand idea? That'll turn to black paste in no time. Crank brothers strike again with what's probably going to be an expensive mistake of a purchase....
  • 15 1
 Derek and Clive in marketing had already sold it to the OEM.
  • 29 3
 I dunno about the rest of you, but every product I have owned from crank Brothers in the last 5 is so years has been great. I don't understand the need for the negativity in trying something new. If the idea makes you nervous, just don't buy one.
  • 4 7
 mount it to an Enve bar for the ultimate Friday Fail
  • 7 0
 @privateer-wheels: I’ve had one for well over a year now, and it’s been amazing, sometimes needs some extra lubricant, but it’s supplied with the post. It’s stupid easy to service, and requires hardly any maintenance.
  • 7 2
 @privateer-wheels: carbon stanchion WILL wear out prematurely…..I have foreseen it.

And aside from that, it’s just another meh Wintek dropper.
  • 15 0
 @wyorider: unofficial Wintek cartridge-driven dropper list: X-Fusion Manic, SDG Tellis, Crank Brothers Highline, E.13 Vario, Bontrager Line, FSA Flowtron, PNW Bachelor, Tranz-X, Giant Contact... am I missing any?
  • 8 2
 @wyorider: May I look into your crystal ball? What else can you foresee in there? Do I still have a little hair on top of my head in 10 years? can you provide me with lotto numbers? Please advise.
  • 12 1
 @privateer-wheels: why aren’t ANY sliding parts on a bicycle made of carbon these days? Or on a airplane? Or in high tech cars?

The lower shaft could have been made of carbon but that would have required expensive tooling.

So Crank Brothers just did the “easy” round upper tube in carbon which will be abraded promptly when any dirt gets on there.

I don’t have any winning numbers for you but this is a s*%t design.
  • 3 2
 @wyorider: It's bought straight out of the Wintek catalogue. Crank Bros spent all the development money on the packaging again.
You can order a couple of thousand and they'll put your name on it.
  • 4 0
 @wyorider: Making the lower out of carbon would have been a much easier choice. KS has already gone that path.

I'm interested to hear long term reports on this thing. CB has been putting out some very decent quality parts over the last couple of years.
  • 1 2
 The headline is a tad misleading here, the only titanium are the bolts, which you could swap on any post really. I’m disappointed that the lower tube wasn’t titanium, that would have been slick
  • 3 1
 crank brothers going back to their roots. They had been doing a little better, but then this. They're probably already working on the fork prototype.
  • 1 1
 @privateer-wheels: my crankbrothers 3 post barely lasted a year (with great care and little abuse).. and it has EXACTLY the same design, just instead of carbon and Ti it was all alloy.. it also from day one had this issue of high friction when operating , as reported in the article.. this friction killed it, all anodising was grinded away and the top-out plastic bushing ate a few mm into the metal making a groove for itself.. these posts are flexy misalligned crap, but now in carbon
  • 1 0
 @adamszymkowicz: Apparently OneUp uses a proprietary cartridge design and not a Wintek cartridge. www.mtbr.com/threads/dropper-posts-that-use-the-wintek-cartridge.1134979
  • 2 1
 @TEAM-ROBOT: I was fairly certain their V1 dropper was a Wintek cartridge.
They note that the V2 isn’t a Wintek, and I can’t comment on that.

It’ll be easy to confirm, I’ll have the post apart prolly 6 times this season to clean and re-lube
  • 48 3
 So I'd save 25g, and spend $400USD, but lose 10mm of drop compared to my 180 OneUp, that cost me $280 CAD?

Nah, cheers tho.
  • 11 1
 Really? 25g with all that exotic materials? Jesus wept.
  • 15 3
 Knowing how hard anodized stanchions wear out over time if you don't service the post every 10 rides, I don't really wanna know how that carbon stanchion looks like after a year without service.
  • 10 2
 I haven't bought Crankbrothers stuff for the better part of a decade because quality was second (third? last?) to pretty aesthetics and Apple-esque packaging. Many people have raved about their renewed focus on quality and then they push a product that once again prioritizes weight, 'cause "Carbon & Titanium", a reduced feature set (no speed setting?), cost-cutting build decisions and a premium price. There are so many options that beat them at any of these but also many with better quality for money.
  • 5 0
 The pedals are good
  • 2 5
 @wburnes: until you’ve tired Deitys
  • 1 1
 @wburnes: This is a bad and wrong take.
  • 11 5
 OneUp v2 is just so damn good and ultra compact and durable and light and cheap and adjustable too. It’s kind of silly to buy anything else. I just put a 150mm on my 10yrs bike too and it was super nice to have a post can work for him and sis be shimmed down for little brother when he inherits it. My 210 has been bullet proof too. Just too off the air in it once or twice a year and put a bit of grease on the bushing and bobs your uncle.
  • 4 0
 But kashima.
  • 5 1
 OneUp all day!! 210 drop is awesome if your frame will allow it, fast and easy to service (faster and easier than a Wintek dropper, and you can adjust cartridge air pressure), AND great customer service.

If you’re on a budget, Brand X. If you have a little more to spend, OneUp. If you have Gucci tastes, BikeYoke.
  • 3 1
 yeah the PNW ones are great too
  • 1 0
 My bike doesn’t have much dropper clearance so one up v2 was an easy choice since it’s so compact
  • 15 9
 "Remote sold separately"....apparently CB is taking their marketing cues from Apple these days...
  • 15 2
 My one up didn’t come with a remote either.
  • 4 0
 @mtb-scotland: I've been running the same Brand X since about 2018 and it's never let me down. Reasonably priced and came with everything.
  • 8 1
 Buy a Wolftooth lever and be happy. 99% of people replace the junk levers that come with posts anyway, even fox stopped trying
  • 4 0
 @Artikay13: +1 I bought a wolf tooth light action lever, and it’s quite literally the best, and matches the blue on my bike perfectly.
  • 3 0
 Like pedals, it's because riders have a choice in where they want the remote mounted. But yes, it's annoying not including at least a cheap bar mount option.
  • 4 0
 @preach: I don't run a BrandX anymore, but have also had a good experience with them. Very easy to service with the $15 service kit from CRC! Not as fancy or smooth as other posts... but work fine and have a low cost of ownership.
  • 3 0
 for a post you will be buying aftermarket and very likely buying to replace an existing dropper I think this is fair. No need for everyone to pay an extra $60 (CB definitely isnt going to throw it in for free) when they prefer the lever they already have.
  • 1 2
 Not for £70 odd. Look be got a £15 bontrager lever that’s lasted ages. @Artikay13:
  • 3 0
 @preach: I have a BrandX and it has been great except for the remote. Mine broke within like a month. Now running a Paul Components.
  • 1 1
 @Artikay13: the new fox lever is amazing, better than wolftooth
  • 2 0
 @Artikay13: yeah it seems like the Wolftooth and the PNW loam are the levers to beat rn
  • 8 1
 400 and no remote....cool
  • 9 1
 400. Four hundred.
  • 2 0
 110010000
  • 7 1
 Vecnum Nivo: 180mm, 473g - no carbon.
This makes the Crankbrothers claims a complete joke
  • 7 1
 might be cheaper than axs, but it aint wireless
  • 6 1
 Not even that light???
Check out Vecnum. Expensive, but over-engineered and way lighter length-for-length.
  • 5 1
 I'm kinda surprised Vecnum isn't getting more press. Their longest internally routed post goes to 212mm and weighs 511g (post only). If you remove VAT from the cost, they look to be about $420 USD with a remote. 60g lighter than a comparable length 9.8 Fall Line, but more expensive.

The Venum 150mm model is the same weight as the Fall Line R and about the same price.

Unfortunately some reports around the internet say that Vecnum won't ship to the USA.
  • 4 2
 "The Highline 11's $399 price tag is on the higher side for a cable-actuated post, but it's still much less expensive than the $861 SRAM AXS post, and it's more than 100 grams lighter."

LOL. The AXS post is an outlier for both price and weight so not much use for this comparison.

KS Lev Ci still seems like the standard for ultralight full-length droppers. Real weight for my 125 mm post is 460 g with all cables/housing and hardware.
  • 5 1
 Another vote for KS LEV CI. More actual weights (I own a few of these Smile ):

KS LEV CI 150mm (2021) 458g 493g w/ cable; 30.9
KS LEV CI 150mm (2022) 478.6g 514.5g w/ cable; 31.6
KS LEV CI 175mm (2021) 493g 530g w/ cable; 31.6

It's not a prefect dropper by any means, but if you need to scratch your weight weenie itch, it makes a lot more sense than this thing.
  • 3 1
 I'd like to mention the seemingly forgotten 9point8 Fall Line R. At the same $400 price, its 150mm version is still 50 grams lighter than the 150mm Highline 11, without using any carbon. No hydraulics to fail, fully serviceable. Superb clamp. Love mine.
  • 6 5
 Carbon stanchion-that won’t wear out anywhere there’s dirt, sand or mud…..

That’s why fork uppers aren’t made of the stuff-it’s not abrasion resistant enough to function well where friction (rubbing) is frequent or constant.

It’ll make somebody’s 12k downcountry gaper rig 1/4 pound lighter though…….

Yay
  • 2 0
 Bit of an over simplification as to why there are no carbon fork stanchions. Abrasion resistance is one of, but not the only issue.
  • 1 0
 @cypher74: it’s the biggie. Love to see how one of these fares after a summer in the desert or a winter someplace like UK or PNW.
  • 2 0
 Technically the Manitou Dorado Pro upper is made of Carbon but its an upside down fork.
  • 4 0
 Vecnum Nivo is lighter with 212mm travel and also basically indestructible...
  • 1 0
 Can someone please explain to me the sense of purposefully using carbon as a friction surface? it seems to me that over time grit will get trapped in the collar and abrade the post, ultimately weakening it. Am I crazy? I get that the post won't fail due to the cartridge being sealed, but it really seems like over time the actuator will be seriously compromised.
  • 1 0
 I see lots of love here for the OneUp. I've had mixed reviews. Mine always has excessive lateral play in it, and I have to monitor the air/wiper to keep it returning consistently. It works, but I can't say it's everything I had hoped for. I did like the price though. My PWN is better.
  • 5 2
 How is this considered a lightweight post when it's within a rounding error of standard aluminum droppers?
  • 3 2
 what does this offer that a bike yoke does not?

I see only two droppers to buy. Bike Yoke if you want the best, PNW if you think that the incremental cost of bikeyoke isn't worth it.
  • 1 1
 well... I have the Reverb on like 6 different bikes... I admit they do develop some sag over time... but servicing them isn't all that difficult, and the parts are well made... But I know, people hate them... but personally, didn't have too many issues with them...
  • 1 0
 Just curious...why not 210mm? Is that because there would be few sales? I have a 210 Oneup and it has ended having to drop the post for park riding...just lives low permanently now & that's it... sooooo nice.
  • 5 1
 PNW for the win.
  • 4 0
 PNW for life.
  • 2 0
 Shimano dropper lever, double acting smooth and reliable......£25 all the lever you'll ever need!
  • 1 2
 Who tf is gonna buy this??? Way more expensive than oneup, performs worse, harder to service and weighs 25g less than the oneup, which is just a bit of mud on your bike anyway
  • 1 0
 I feel like this is just the barrel from my daughters fastpitch softball bats disguised as bike components.
  • 1 0
 Vecnum Nivo, lighter, more travel. Problem is they do not ship to the US. Canada and Europe only.
  • 4 3
 *incoming roadbikers and weight weenies lookout*
  • 6 0
 you have not met enough weight weenies if you think a 500 gram seat post is getting anyone excited...
  • 1 2
 @eroc43: This si still 1/4lb heavier than a Fox Transfer SL. Not sure the market CB is trying to capture with this thing.
  • 2 1
 @cgreaseman: They're after portion of the market where naivete and fat wallets intersect.
  • 2 1
 My Bike Yoke 160mm weighs 535grams
  • 1 1
 and costs less.
  • 1 0
 I'm curious what kind of surface treatment the stanchions undergo.
  • 1 0
 a dropper comes on my bike and I use it. End of story.
  • 3 2
 Lol
  • 2 3
 Oh yeah, because carbon is so good with abrasion...
  • 3 4
 i wouldn t ride that POS if it was free
  • 2 3
 Nothing like saving weight where it absolutely doesn’t matter.
  • 2 3
 Will this dropper replace dental chairs in the future?
Below threshold threads are hidden





You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2022. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.017671
Mobile Version of Website