It's hard to believe, but the hydraulically-controlled Reverb will have been around for a decade in 2020, and due to an immense amount of OE spec, it's also been easily the most-used dropper post since, well, dropper posts became a thing. There have been a bunch of different versions and updates over that time, but the latest is by far the most notable: The ten-year milestone sees RockShox ditch the oil-filled hose for an encrypted wireless network.
That's right, there's no cable or hose connecting the remote to the post, but it comes at a price: The Reverb AXS goes for $800 USD, or exactly twice the price of a standard Reverb Stealth with their 1X remote. It's also a smidge heavier than a standard Reverb, at 657-grams for my 170mm-travel model, but you're paying extra for the missing hose, not missing grams.
Reverb AXS Details
• Travel: 100, 125, 150, 170mm (tested)
• Electronic, wireless design
• Re-designed head, clamp
• Faster, fixed return speed
• SRAM battery, CR2032 in remote
• Lengths: 340, 390, 440, 480mm
• Sizes: 30.9, 31.6, 34.9mm
• Weight: 657-grams (post), 64-grams (remote)
• MSRP: $800 USD
• More info: www.sram.com/rockshox
Here's what you get for $800 USD: The post itself, the battery and its required charger, the shifter and its clamp, and some instructions.The Details
The Reverb's remote doesn't have to pull any cable or push any oil, but it is the home for the electronic stuff, a common CR2032 battery, and the paddle. So instead of it being a barely-there remote, it kinda looks like a shifter at two-thirds scale, but with a single plastic thumb paddle that pivots from the top.
A small spring between the paddle and the remote provides the tension, just like on the AXS shifter, but the paddle itself is flatter in shape.
The Reverb's remote looks a lot like the one that controls AXS shifting, but the paddle is a bit flatter and can only be reached from the front.
The paddle is essentially a power button, and it only needs to travel a few millimeters before orders are barked to the receiver and tiny electric motor hidden inside the post's head. Then, without any delay, the power of science compels the motor to spin, which then turns the only seatpost-mounted gearbox that I can think of. That opens and closes the oil port that lets the Reverb move up and down, as well as lock in place anywhere in its travel, just like on those old fashioned hosed versions your dad used to use.
One last thing on the remote: As others have noted, I bet there's enough room on it for SRAM to offer an updated two-paddle version. So you could, you know, maybe control your bike's suspension wirelessly
? That'd be neat.
From left to right: The battery mount, the head that threads onto the stanchion with the plunger installed (red and silver circle), the circuit board, and the motor and gearbox assembly.
The head with its guts installed but the battery mount removed (left). The plunger (right) still needs to open and close and oil port, just like on the normal Reverb.
The post's head is home to that previously mentioned tiny motor, gearbox, and electronics, all of which forced RockShox to come up with a new clamp layout. While it looks like the dreaded single-bolt setup at first glance, a screw at the front is used to both adjust the tilt and lock it in place. Separating the clamping and tilt duties does make setup easier, too.
At the opposite end, there's a new feature called Vent Valve that lets you bleed air from the system to fix the annoying squishiness that can sometimes infect the Reverb. If that sounds similar to what BikeYoke has going on inside their Revive post, that's because it is. The difference is that RockShox uses an IFP to keep the air and oil separated while BikeYoke lets the two mix freely. That should make the Reverb less likely to get soft in the first place, and that matches my experience over that last six months.
The new head seperates rail clamping duties (left) and angle adjustment (right).Installation
Not much to say here other than it's dead easy. The battery clips onto the back of the post's head, and pairing it with the remote is as simple as holding down the little buttons on each. Can you manage a Bluetooth speaker? Then I have faith that you can do this as well.
You have a bunch of mounting options when it comes to the remote. There's the standalone clamp that's useful if you end up wanting it to sit between your brake lever and grip, or the Matchmaker clamp that lets you attach it to the same perch as said brake lever. There are also two mounting locations on the shifter itself that let you move it inboard or outboard a touch. While I like the AXS shifter on its own standalone clamp so it sits really close to the grip, the differently shaped paddle on the Reverb remote means that it works fine with a more common Matchmaker setup. If you're going to pay $800 USD for a seatpost, you better take the time to set it up perfectly.
With the battery installed, the head is much larger than a normal Reverb.Performance
Much like the AXS drivetrain I reviewed a few weeks back
, the wireless Reverb was used on multiple bikes and by multiple riders over the last six months. At this point, it's going on over seventy rides and 50,000 meters of climbing and descending during everything from two-day bikepacking trips on a steel hardtail to countless climbs and descents on a Tallboy, Megatower, and now a Pole Stamina 140.
Moments when you need your seat to lower by just a bit are when the Reverb AXS comes into its own.
How many times have I been stranded miles from civilization with a dead battery during those rides? Zero times, although I think it was getting pretty close on a couple of occasions as I often kept using it regardless of the yellow warning light coming on. RockShox is saying to expect somewhere around forty-hours of ride-time, twice what the same battery offers when it powers the drivetrain. It's also going to depend on the type of terrain you spend your time on; it'll last longer if most of your rides go straight up before coming straight back down than if you ride rolling trails that call for plenty of seat height adjustment.
For me, the yellow light would show up after a bit more than two-ish weeks, or between seventeen and twenty-three rides. Because I tend to micro-adjust its height for tricky climbs, I suspect that I'm using my dropper post more than most riders. Either way, the performance doesn't change as the juice goes down, and battery life seems to be more than sufficient.
The AXS remote is much, much more ergonomic than either RockShox's two previous attempts at a dropper post lever, but it could be better if they had tucked it even closer to the handlebar.
On the ergonomic front, I've had a few riders tell me that they don't get along with the shape the AXS shifter's paddle, but it makes more sense when you get it closer to the grip on a standalone clamp. The Reverb's flatter paddle felt near enough to the grip on the Matchmaker clamp, but I think it could be even better; a different mount that tucks the remote up even closer to the handlebar - and the thumb - would be ideal. It's not bad, but it could be really good.
The feel is basically the same as the AXS shifter, with a tactile click that lets you know you've done something and only a few millimeters of travel.
Think of the paddle as your switch; the post is free to go up and down through its travel when you press and hold the switch, and it locks in place when you let it go. That brings us to the e-Verb's most useful feature: You can bump the bottom edge of the paddle and sort of let your thumb push off of it as soon as it activates the post, quickly dropping or raising it by just about five-millimeters each time.
This 'feathering' of sorts is incredibly useful on awkward, technical climbs or rolling trails where some extra clearance can make you feel a lot more comfortable. And, aside from the missing hose, it's probably the only place where the AXS e-Verb beats the standard version if you want to talk strictly performance and forget how neat it is to have a wireless party post.
A normal dropper post doesn't feel slow or difficult to master... Until you try the Reverb AXS.
The novelty of it being wireless will eventually wear off, though, and then it needs to work like any other dropper post. Actually, it should probably out-perform them given its price. Thankfully, the changes that RockShox made to the latest hosed Reverb are also used on the AXS version. That means it gets the new internal floating piston, slipperier grease, and new hydraulic fluid from Maxima that's supposed to decrease the force required to push it down by 50-percent. I'm not sure about that number, but it does seem to need much less bum-pushing than the previous generation Reverb.
The return speed is faster for the same reasons, but not quick enough to be alarming to anyone's anythings, and there's a notable and intentional top-out clunk that lets you know it's back at full-mast. All of that, and especially the ability to easily feather the travel, means that I found myself lowering (or raising) my seat even more often than I would when using a traditional dropper post. It's easier to use, so I used it more.
The post's battery pops off with one hand, just like with the AXS derailleurs, and it refused to rattle loose or lose connection.
Reliability has been... Perfect. But first, it's no secret that the Reverb has a bit of a bad rep on that front, but I'd argue that's at least partially due to it being by far the most widely used dropper over the last decade; RockShox has had a vastly dominant share of the market's OE spec, so there's simply far more of them out there to fail. That said, I know plenty of people who've gone through countless squishy Reverbs over the years, sometimes with only a handful of rides between it sinking under their weight, so any concern about a new version that costs twice as much is entirely valid.
My test post is six months and over seventy rides deep at this point, all without a single hiccup. It's gone up or down every time I've asked it to and without any hesitation, and I haven't needed to test the air-evacuating Vent Valve feature because it's been rock solid since it arrived. As with any dropper, there's a slight amount of free-play between the stanchion and bushings that's required for the post to move smoothly, but it hasn't gotten any sloppier since it came out of the box.
At this point, my Reverb AXS gets a 10/10 on the reliability front, but I'll update this review if that changes down the road.
The Reverb AXS has been trouble-free from day one, and I can't fault it for any part of its performance. To be honest, I also think it's pretty neat that I can control my dropper post wirelessly; there's no hose to accidentally damage in a crash or give you a stroke while trying to push it through your bike's convoluted internal cable routing, and it makes for a clean looking bike. But for twice as much money? Eeesh, I'm not sure about that given that the latest Reverb Stealth has all the internal updates that the AXS versions gets, so it should work just as well (minus the feathering function) but has a hose and costs $400 instead of $800. It's your money, but I'm just sayin'.
No hose means simplicity, possibly better reliability+
Feathering function is very useful+
170mm of infinite seat height
Batteries mean remembering to charge them-
Twice(!) as much as a standard Reverb -
Ergonomics are good but could be better