Ignorance is Bliss, Sometimes

Blister Topic of the Week: Ignorance is Bliss, Sometimes
David Golay riding the 210 mm OneUp Dropper
Ignorance is Bliss, Sometimes, BLISTER

The first dropper post I ever owned had 100 mm of travel. I specifically remember waiting for the Crankbrothers Joplin 4 to hit the market before springing for one of those newfangled contraptions. The 3’’ (~75mm) of drop offered by the original Joplin (and the Maverick Speedball, which Crankbrothers licensed and rebranded as the Joplin) sounded inadequate, but four whole inches of seat movement, with a remote lever on the handlebar? That sounded incredible.

And it was. Sort of. With the benefit of hindsight, the Joplin 4 sucked, badly. It puked its innards out and filled my seat tube with oil more than once. The seat clamp was prone to slipping and pointing the seat wildly nose up at the slightest provocation. If you made the mistake of lifting your bike by the seat with the post lowered, some air would bypass the sealhead and turn it into an inadvertent suspension seatpost for a while. But I could lower my seat from a lever on the handlebar, and that felt absolutely amazing.

After a spell, I upgraded to a Thomson dropper post. And what an upgrade it was. The seat stayed at the angle I initially intended. The internals lasted for an entire season-plus (and when they did fail, Thomson cheerfully serviced it under warranty). And it had a whole 125 mm of drop. I was in heaven.

And then I tried a 150 mm drop post. And it turns out, the extra drop was an improvement. I’d gotten used to 125 mm, and could definitely make it work, but having the seat more out the way was better. And frankly, I should have known as much — the seat on my DH bike was always a bunch lower than what I could achieve with the droppers I was running at that time. But 150 mm really felt great, and there weren’t longer options available at the time anyway.

My memory of the exact timeline gets hazy here, but each time I needed a new dropper post, longer versions had hit the market, and each time I went longer, the shorter drop I’d been used to and entirely content with no longer felt adequate. Each time, I thought I’d hit the sweet spot… until I tried something longer.

OneUp Components recently put out a 240 mm version of their venerable dropper post, and I wasn’t going to make the same mistake. What had been the longest version they offered, the 210 mm model, has been one of my favorite posts on the market for a while now. It’s got a ton of drop, the stack height is short for the travel on offer, it’s relatively inexpensive, and I’ve had great luck with the durability on several of them over the last few years.

So I gave the new 240 mm version a go. And it turns out that 240 mm of drop is in fact more than I have much use for. The extra drop isn’t really causing me any major problems, either, though having the seat lower does make it feel a little less effective for steadying the bike against the inside of my leg. So the added drop isn’t a big deal, but also hasn’t proven to be of any real benefit.

It’s the first time that I’ve tried a longer drop seatpost and not promptly felt like everything shorter is a downgrade, but now I finally know. But that’s definitely not a knock against the 240 mm OneUp. At 6’ (183 cm) tall, I’m not short, but I’m also nowhere close to the tallest person to ever ride a mountain bike, and my sweet spot shouldn’t be the longest option available. There are lots of taller, longer-legged mountain bikers out there, and it’s great that they’ve got a new option to have that same revelation that I kept having over the years.

But for me, personally? It turns out that the 210 mm OneUp is perfect. And now I can stop wondering where the limit is.

2 comments on “Ignorance is Bliss, Sometimes”

  1. Well said.
    I went straight for the 125 mm “long travel” Gravity Dropper, a contemporary too the Crankbrothers Joplin, and also upped to 150, then 170 as I got new bikes that needed new droppers.
    I am on the tall end of the bell curve, but even I don’t feel the need for a much longer drop on my current bike.
    Still it’s nice that they exist, and as seat tubes have gotten steeper, we all need a bit more drop than before.

  2. Not there yet: at 6’1” w/ 35” inseam, I am only getting 200mm, and 190mm out of 210mm OneUp droppers due to seat tubes that are too tall or lack insertion depth.
    There really is no downside to getting saddle further down & out of way on full-committal, technical steeps. Perhaps dropping another 40-50mm could change steering input on saddle w/ legs for the worse, but I’ve had no problem adjusting from 125 to 200mm, so if next bike has the room, I’ll install a 240mm OneUp, and shim it down if It’s a problem.
    Have learned the hard way to study/measure insertion numbers w/ microscope before buying: lack of depth on new S4 Enduro came as unpleasant surprise: Had studied Specialized geo charts meticulously, but turns out they hid insertion number in a service manual PDF that I only found mid-build after purchase.

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