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I never use my dropper. What gives?

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I never use my dropper. What gives?

Old 06-21-21, 09:51 AM
  #1  
rosefarts
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I never use my dropper. What gives?

Letís start with a pic of my bike so weíre all on the same page.




Thatís a 4Ē or 5Ē something capable dropper on a remote and it works perfectly. Itís on a not particularly light XC hard tail thatís nothing fancy but pretty reliable. The snowdrift was near the top of the Monarch Crest trail 2 days ago, the dropper didnít get used in 30 miles of hits.

I got the dropper used not too long ago and have had time to put it through some rocks. Trouble is, I never seem to use it.

The reviews are in. Droppers revolutionized the sport. Theyíre even making inroads in gravel.

Makes me think Iím doing something wrong. I lean back and pinch my seat with my (less than) thunderous thighs. This gives me another connection point on my bikes to control it from. I lose this option dropped and it rarely seems like an advantage.

At this point the dropper seems to help get the bike into the back of the car and itís a fun toy to show my kids. In terms of actual riding, Iím not really using it.

It seems to me that they wouldnít be so popular if everyone rarely used them. Trying to maximize what I can do on this bike.

Is my thigh pinch a beginner/intermediate technique that I need to move beyond?

Is it the 80mm stem from the XC rig keeping me too far forward to really utilize it?

Do I just need to hit even rockier trails? (I am trying)

(FWIW, this bike is my first Mtn bike this century. My last, a Zaskar LE in about 1998, was a joke compared to this thing. So while I realize there are far better bikes for me out there, Iím currently very happy trying to maximize my skills on this bike)
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Old 06-21-21, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
Letís start with a pic of my bike so weíre all on the same page.




Thatís a 4Ē or 5Ē something capable dropper on a remote and it works perfectly. Itís on a not particularly light XC hard tail thatís nothing fancy but pretty reliable. The snowdrift was near the top of the Monarch Crest trail 2 days ago, the dropper didnít get used in 30 miles of hits.

I got the dropper used not too long ago and have had time to put it through some rocks. Trouble is, I never seem to use it.

The reviews are in. Droppers revolutionized the sport. Theyíre even making inroads in gravel.

Makes me think Iím doing something wrong. I lean back and pinch my seat with my (less than) thunderous thighs. This gives me another connection point on my bikes to control it from. I lose this option dropped and it rarely seems like an advantage.

At this point the dropper seems to help get the bike into the back of the car and itís a fun toy to show my kids. In terms of actual riding, Iím not really using it.

It seems to me that they wouldnít be so popular if everyone rarely used them. Trying to maximize what I can do on this bike.

Is my thigh pinch a beginner/intermediate technique that I need to move beyond?

Is it the 80mm stem from the XC rig keeping me too far forward to really utilize it?

Do I just need to hit even rockier trails? (I am trying)

(FWIW, this bike is my first Mtn bike this century. My last, a Zaskar LE in about 1998, was a joke compared to this thing. So while I realize there are far better bikes for me out there, Iím currently very happy trying to maximize my skills on this bike)
I feel your pain. I'm new to a dropper post having gotten my first ever mountain bike in December. What I've decided to do is force myself to need to make adjustments to the post. How? By setting the post at it's lowest position for every ride or every time I stop. Does it work? A little. I'm tall, so a short post is uncomfortable. Therefore, if I'm starting off hilly or rocky, the post is where is should be. If I'm starting smooth, I'm forced to use the lever and learn to remember that it's there. Also, the seat bouncing off your nether region should be an uncomfortable indicator that you need to lower the seat.
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Old 06-21-21, 11:57 AM
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I have to say it took me a year of use, and deliberately riding "the new style," to really get used to it. I used to keep my thigh jammed on the saddle for stability too, but that's standing too tall and not flexible.

And still I don't always remember, and if my knees are achy I still might not.
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Old 06-21-21, 12:04 PM
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I have had 3 bikes with droppers and I don't use any to speak of. I kinda like to know the saddle is there??? My security blanket. Tried to force myself but to no avail.
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Old 06-21-21, 01:08 PM
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Mostly useful for riding downhill. The point is to drop your center of gravity to help prevent going over the bars. If the downhills on your trail aren't that burly then a dropper post might not be much of an advantage.

I just got a bike last fall that came with a dropper post. The trails I ride in the Midwest aren't too burly so I only use it about 10% of the time.

On my previous bike...which didn't have a dropper post...I was doing some downhill jumps and landed kinda funny after one of the jumps and ended up cracking my carbon seat post. Dropper post might have been handy then.

https://www.montaguebikes.com/foldin...sts-explained/

https://www.bikeexchange.com/blog/bu...pper-seatposts

https://www.pnwcomponents.com/blogs/...a-dropper-post

https://www.redbull.com/za-en/five-r...a-dropper-post
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Old 06-21-21, 01:22 PM
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+1 regarding steepness. I raise and drop my saddle every climb/decent I do at my local hill which is all gravity flow.

The dropper helps quite a bit if you also run your saddle high for climbing or fast riding so you can get full leg extension, as in a road bike set up. Then being able to drop the saddle for downhills really helps.

I see a lot of people run their average saddle height lower and not get full leg extension so, in that case, a dropper won't create that much of a difference.

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Old 06-21-21, 01:28 PM
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I disagree about downhill. I've found myself using it a lot - basically any time out of the saddle is a good time. There's lots of skills that need moving around on the bike in the current riding style, like popping up the front, doing hops, pumping, and manuals (which is kind of a trick but also associated with hopping). If you find a pump track to practice on you will find a regular seat at regular height is very in the way.
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Old 06-21-21, 01:46 PM
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The 'arse behind the saddle' position used to be recommended for steeps, but only because otherwise the saddle would be in your way.

Current off-road orthodoxy states that you still want your weight shared between the two wheels, and dropper posts are meant to help with that.
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Old 06-21-21, 01:51 PM
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right, and manuals and hops both start the same way, move your body down, then move your body back.

I've been riding my commuter today that does not have a suspension fork, and trying to pop it over curbs has really shown me how much I normally rely on the suspension fork for a pogo stick.
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Old 06-21-21, 04:43 PM
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I hear ya -- Ive never used the dropper on mine for its intended purpose ---- but for me , at the stately height of 5'8 and riding a 29'er, the ability to pop it down for the dismount is really nice
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Old 06-21-21, 05:52 PM
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rosefarts
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Iíll keep at it. Iím certainly not planning to ditch it, though I probably would take my time replacing it if I damaged it.

Ill try riding on the seat with it dropped. Iíve never tried that. Iíve only used it to get behind, so that is a new technique to try.
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Old 06-22-21, 06:56 AM
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I also drop it for turns on flat terrain as you can lower your center of gravity.
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Old 06-22-21, 07:29 AM
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I don't have a dropper, but while on a ride last spring, I realized what they are for. steep descents, where, if you don't have one, you have the sensation of going over your bars, cuz yer butt is way up in the air. I think if you are in that situation, you will use your dropper
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Old 06-22-21, 08:43 AM
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One area where you notice a dropper (or lowered saddle) is steeper downhill and technical downhill switchbacks.

Downhill, the lower saddle allows you to get your butt down and back without hooking the saddle with your crotch and it allows you to lower your COG laterally when turning in switchbacks
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Old 06-22-21, 08:44 AM
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I ride a fatbike year round that has a dropper post. In the winter I primarily use it to use the bike to sit on - with the post down I can put my feet on the ground while chatting, waiting for someone etc. Sometimes used to drop my feet to the ground to use as outriggers when I encounter a stretch of ice.

In the summer its primary use is for lowering my CoG when taking sharp turns on steep hills. Sort of a combined super-tuck, stability deal. Ripping down a mountain highway at 70km/h getting ready for the next switchback is something I *would not do* on my fatbike without a dropper post.

The only other time I can remember using it was for manual/wheelie practice - with legs as short as mine there isn't a lot of difference between sitting and standing so to get behind the seat I need to drop it. LMAO
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Old 06-23-21, 02:03 PM
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I've been mountain biking since 1990, and my first few tries with a dropper really left me underwhelmed. Like you, I was so used to getting back over the seat, the dropper seemed like a detriment as I lost the seat as a reference point.

But, more dropper experience combined with a newer school bike (Ragley Marley hardtail with a slacker front end and a longer front center), has shown me the value of it. Rather than get way back--which stretches out my arms and reduces control--I just drop the seat and stay centered on the bike. It's a new technique of riding, but it really works well.

The dropper is also fun to use on bermed or fast corners. Dropping my center of gravity really let me hit the corner harder.

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Old 06-23-21, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by seat_boy View Post
I've been mountain biking since 1990, and my first few tries with a dropper really left me underwhelmed. Like you, I was so used to getting back over the seat, the dropper seemed like a detriment as I lost the seat as a reference point.

But, more dropper experience combined with a newer school bike (Ragley Marley hardtail with a slacker front end and a longer front center), has shown me the value of it. Rather than get way back--which stretches out my arms and reduces control--I just drop the seat and stay centered on the bike. It's a new technique of riding, but it really works well.

The dropper is also fun to use on bermed or fast corners. Dropping my center of gravity really let me hit the corner harder.


You and I are on the same page. I started in maybe 1992.

I quit for a while to race road and a while longer to climb rocks but when I came back the whole game had changed.

My next bike wonít be a full squish, rather a hardtail with more aggressive geometry and a longer travel fork. Like yours. Itíll probably be steel too.

Iím going for a good gravel ride this weekend, so itíll be a bit before I get back on the MTB to test some things.
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Old 06-25-21, 01:51 PM
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"Is my thigh pinch a beginner/intermediate technique that I need to move beyond?"
I think yes. Even without a dropper, if you spread your knees away from the seat instead of squeezing it, you can tilt the bike side to side independent of your body, especially useful for leaning the bike into turns. Also makes it easier for the bike to move vertically while your torso stays roughly in place (with your legs absorbing the bike movement). IN both movements, getting the seat out of the way with the dropper gives you more room to work with.
It definitely feels less secure not to have that contact point with the seat, but once you get used to it, you can really smooth out your riding and corner more confidently.
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Old 06-25-21, 04:14 PM
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Man, my thumb is on my dropper lever constantly!

Lower it an inch when railing a turn, and you can outrig a leg and carve.
Drop it out of the way entirely for a super-steep descent and put your butt on the back tire.
Low branch? Drop it two inches and stay seated while you duck.
High speed on a flat trail? All the way up for max leg extension.
On steep, rocky climbs, lower it a half an inch and get on the nose of the saddle for traction while keeping the front on the ground.

Seriously, I use my dropper more often than my shift lever. Can't imagine how I rode without one.
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Old 06-25-21, 05:20 PM
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I'm a little surprised at anyone that has never felt like they were going over the bars on their mountain bike.
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Old 06-26-21, 11:36 AM
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My wife has one on her bike and I need to remind her to use it on steep descents or she'll just ride down without activation. I've never had one, but just drop my seat for steep descents. Fortunately where we ride in the west, most trails are climb up, return (sometimes out and back, sometimes circle route) down so I only need to drop it once.
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Old 06-30-21, 09:28 PM
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I use mine ALL the time on steep and fast downhills....allows me to lower my center of gravity. I also will lower it when going off jumps to have better control of the bike.
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Old 06-30-21, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm a little surprised at anyone that has never felt like they were going over the bars on their mountain bike.
You gotta remember that a lot of people think just because they're on a MTB, they're mountain biking.
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Old 07-04-21, 02:21 PM
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rosefarts
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
You gotta remember that a lot of people think just because they're on a MTB, they're mountain biking.
So thatís not the case here. I actually try to avoid riding my mountain bike until Iíve found trails I donít think my gravel bike should be on.

Anyway, this discussion has led me down a rabbit hole.

My post is a USE Gravity Dropper Turbo from 2012. I got it used and have had it a year. It drops 4Ē and 1Ē. That 1Ē setting is really hard to get to too. Additionally, in order to lock a position, I have to pull out on the lever with my thumb. Push for down and pull for lock.

Reading these posts, I came to realize that many (most?) posts are infinite adjustments within its range. Am I also correct to assume that new posts keep their position without having to pull back out on the lever? Push to drop or raise to where you want and let go to lock? Sounds like worlds better than what I am using.

I started this topic by saying that it was functioning well, Iím beginning to feel like a decade newer post might actually encourage more use. I liked my Canti brakes and 200gs with biopace in 1993Ö. Time marches on.

Iím thinking of the PNW Pine 110mm external route post. $200, free shipping, in stock, cleaner routing, and should work with my remote.
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Old 07-04-21, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
So thatís not the case here. I actually try to avoid riding my mountain bike until Iíve found trails I donít think my gravel bike should be on.

Anyway, this discussion has led me down a rabbit hole.

My post is a USE Gravity Dropper Turbo from 2012. I got it used and have had it a year. It drops 4Ē and 1Ē. That 1Ē setting is really hard to get to too. Additionally, in order to lock a position, I have to pull out on the lever with my thumb. Push for down and pull for lock.

Reading these posts, I came to realize that many (most?) posts are infinite adjustments within its range. Am I also correct to assume that new posts keep their position without having to pull back out on the lever? Push to drop or raise to where you want and let go to lock? Sounds like worlds better than what I am using.

I started this topic by saying that it was functioning well, Iím beginning to feel like a decade newer post might actually encourage more use. I liked my Canti brakes and 200gs with biopace in 1993Ö. Time marches on.

Iím thinking of the PNW Pine 110mm external route post. $200, free shipping, in stock, cleaner routing, and should work with my remote.
Unless there is something magnificent about your lever id get an entire upgrade. I would bet levers have improved as well as the droppers.
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