Product: 2011 RockShox Reverb adjustable seatpost
Intended Use: XC, trail, all mountain, DH/freeride
Rider: 6’2”, 205 lbs., athletic, technically proficient, modestly fast and relatively fluid.
Product Page: RockShox Reverb 125 mm adjustable seatpost
Test Location: Colorado Front Range. Steep, fast, rough, rocky trails. Generally in dry, dusty, loose over hardpack, pebbly terrain, but plenty of smooth buffed trail and dirt / loam.
Test bike: 2010 Giant Reign X, 170mm travel, XT build kit, Mavic Crossmax SX wheelset, 32 lbs.
Duration of test: 3 months of testing, 2 months of the post actually working.
Let me just come out and say it: The RockShox Reverb hydraulic adjustable seatpost and I have a love/hate relationship. When it’s working, it is invaluable to your trail riding experience. But it didn’t always work for me. It has, over three months, been usable for two, and it’s been in to warranty twice. The most recent warranty trip saw the Reverb upgraded to a 2012 internal spec, and since this adjustment, the post has been flawless—but I’m not holding my breath….
The Reverb does have many attractive design details: it is the lightest height-adjusting seatpost with remote handlebar actuation on the market by 100g (while only adding 250g over a Thomson Elite traditional seatpost), it has infinite adjustment in a 5″ range, and the hydraulic actuation is very smooth and controlled.
The Reverb is offered in both 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters and comes in 410 and 350mm lengths. The 410mm seatpost is not significantly heavier, so I would recommend going longer unless there is an interrupted seatpost design to your frame.
I have, however, had numerous issues with the hydraulic system. So far, I’ve bled it five times, and since you need to use 2.5wt fork oil—which is fairly thick—it is rather difficult to get a good bleed. Shortening the hose also proved to be a large pain. The Reverb does not include any extra hose end barbs when you purchase it, and they are nearly impossible to order. If you have difficulty getting the old barb out of the line, then be sure you do not cut the old barb off until you have a new one.
Additionally, when shortening, be sure to cut the hose with a proper disc brake hose trimming tool, not a pair of dikes or cable cutters. Since the hose is small-diameter and the fluid is rather thick, if you do not use the correct tool, you will reduce flow and dramatically limit the performance of the post.
Finally, pay attention to how the bike is clamped in a shop stand. It is very easy to damage the hose and/or barb. Do not clamp on the upper section of the post and do not clamp the hose.
One VERY common issue with the 2011 model is that the main air seal that serves as the spring will blow out. If you buy 2011 Reverb (this model has a silver band), be sure to get the main air seal checked by SRAM. For 2012 models, RockShox has apparently remedied this issue (you’ll know by the presence of a black alloy band) on the main air seal.
Summary: When the post is working properly, it is really a joy on the trail. It makes rolling and technical trails far more enjoyable rides. The actuation and performance of the post is awesome, and outperforms the competition by far.
It should also be pointed out that fellow BLISTER reviewer Jason Hutchins has been riding the Reverb and at the time of this review, has not experienced the problems I have had. (Editor’s Note: That didn’t last. See Jason’s review of the 2011 Reverb.)
Still, given my personal experience, I would strongly recommend waiting until the 2012 models (black band) roll out, as there seem to be some significant issues with the 2011 version in terms of durability and ease of use. I would also suggest tracking down at least a couple spare barbs to hang on to, should you ever need them. You almost certainly will.