I mounted the Elite Covert up to a Canfield Yelli Screamy frame, and have put in a month of near daily riding on it. Mostly it has been in dusty conditions, but a rainy spell in Park City, UT, and Jackson, WY, introduced it to some mud, too.
Throughout the test, performance has been flawless.
The lever feel is great. It started out just a bit stiff on the first few rides, then became smooth once everything settled in.
It feels much higher quality than the KS levers, and quite similar to the Giant Contact post lever, but a bit nicer. And it sits close to the bar, making it easier to reach.
The design is very sleek, but given that the lever sits closer to the bar than a KS lever, it could conceivably cause the lever to interfere with a front shifter. (I hate front derailleurs, though, and don’t run them, so I can’t say whether there is actually any interference.)
Thomson updated the lever a bit from the one used on their non-stealth post, which is good. The original looked like a threat, like it would puncture your leg if it made contact.
The included barrel adjuster is quite nice, and also critical, since the post is very sensitive to cable tension. It is designed to offer variable extension speeds with different cable tensions. If the cable gets just a bit slack, the post locking mechanism doesn’t fully disengage with a lever press and the post goes up and down slowly. Similar issues can occur if you attach the cable assembly onto the bottom of the post too tightly.
Going Up, Going Down
The Elite Covert has a top-out bumper that keeps the post from barely making a sound when it reaches full height. The KS post I use most frequently makes a solid ka-chunk noise.
This means that it can be hard to tell when the Elite Covert is fully extended, but once you start to trust the post, it stops being an issue.
The post motion up and down is just a little bit tighter and slower than either the KS Lev or RockShox Reverb. I expect that it will get a bit quicker as the bushings wear, and this has already happened a bit.
Thomson Elite Covert vs. KS Lev
The KS Lev is easily found for a relatively affordable price, and the cable actuation mechanism is easy to work on.
The Elite Covert is basically a more polished version, and the lever is better.
If your dropper is going to see a lot of use, I’d recommend the Thomson. Neither is readily rebuildable at home, but service intervals are supposed to be longer on the Thomson.
Thomson Elite Covert vs. Rock Shox Reverb Stealth
Parts for the Reverb Stealth are extremely easy to find, and the hydraulic lever is very reliable. Bleeding a Reverb isn’t fun, though. The Elite Covert is more robust, but it doesn’t have a hydraulic mechanism, which may or may not matter to you.
As for price, the Reverb Stealth is listed at $455, while the Elite Covert retails for $479.95. That’s only a difference of $25, but Reverbs are easy to find for less than that, while Elite Coverts are not.
Comparisons Roundup: Weight, Performance, Ergonomics
The weight of the Elite Covert is about 50g greater than that of the KS and Reverb, but that is not enough to matter to me. The performance of the seat clamp crushes that of the others, and the performance of the dropper functionality is great. The Elite Covert’s ergonomics are better, too.
The Thomson Elite Covert dropper post has the best seat clamp on the market, and the least seat play. If this dropper proves to be durable over the long term, the Elite Covert will become my new go-to.
Stay tuned for an update in the future.