Flow’s First Bite: PRO Koryak ASP Dropper Post

At $329 (or $339 for the I-Spec lever version) the price is going to be a big drawcard. That’s about $200 less than a lot of the competition, making it a palatable upgrade for folk who haven’t yet joined the present era.

Pro Koryak seatpost-9087
There are I-Spec and regular versions of the lever. If you use Shimano brakes (and a 1x drivetrain) then the I-Spec option is very neat.

The lower price doesn’t mean it weighs a tonne either – 560g (plus cable) puts it right in line with the bulk of the droppers on the market.

For now, it’s only available with a maximum of 120mm drop, which might turn off some people who like to get particularly radical, but that will be fine for most trail bikes and riders.

Pro Koryak seatpost-9080
Although it doesn’t look like it in this pic, the cable is clamped at the post end here, not at the lever. Muchos fiddlyos.

It’s cable actuated, which puts maintenance within the realms of the average home hack, but we found it a pain to install. Because the cable is clamped at post end of the system, not the lever end, getting the correct housing/cable length is fiddly and can involved a bit of trial and error. A quick plea to PRO: Please change this, because simply swapping the end at which the cable is clamped will make installation much, much easier and mechanics will love you.

Pro Koryak seatpost-9090
The lever has very little adjustability, meaning you’d better like where it sits!

If you’re a user of Shimano brakes, the I-Spec integrated lever allows you de-clutter your bar too. The lever is far from the most refined offering on the market, it doesn’t offer any adjustability, but at least it’s big and easy to hit with your thumb.

We’ve fitted the Koryak to our YT Jeffsy long-term test bike, so hold tight for a proper review down the track.

 

FOX Transfer Dropper Post: Flow’s First Bite

Yes! The wait is over. This one has been a long time coming, but given the notorious reliability issues with dropper posts (they’re very difficult to engineer by all accounts), we’re happy that FOX have taken the time needed to get it right.

FOX have successfully made the humble dropper post look quite alluring. Damn fine looking!
FOX have successfully made the humble dropper post look quite alluring. Damn fine looking!

It looks sensational, especially in the Kashima coated version we have here, with excellent build quality. The twin-bolt post head is very Thomson-esque and the finish is perfect.

How is it different to the old FOX D.O.S.S. post?

In just about every way. The DOSS was externally routed only and had a two-step height adjustment (1-inch drop, and fully dropped), while the Transfer comes in both internally or externally routed options and has infinite adjustment. The rate of return on the new post is also a lot more mellow than the DOSS, which rocketed back up.

The lever is significantly smaller too – the old DOSS post looked like you had two tyre levers strapped to your bar, which was a real gripe for a lot of users.

The under bar remote lever is perfectly ergonomic. About 100000 more so than the old one.
The under bar remote lever is perfectly ergonomic. About 100000 more so than the old one.

One thing we hope hasn’t changed is the reliability, because the old DOSS post was one of the most bombproof posts on the market.

So it’s cable actuated, not hydraulic?

Correct, and we’d rate that as a positive. Sure, a hydraulic system doesn’t suffer from contamination in the same way as a cable, but we’ve spent way too much time bleeding the hydraulic lines on RockShox Reverb posts for our liking!

Does it come in all the usual sizes?

There are three drop options (100, 125 and 150mm) and two diameters (30.9 and 31.6) available, which will suit most bikes. Ours is the 150mm drop, it’ll be going in our Canyon Strive test bike.

Internal only?

Both, the Transfer still caters for bikes without internal cable routing provisions by offering an externally actuated version. But the cable fixes to the lower section of the post not underneath the clamp like the DOSS, so the cable doesn’t move when the post goes up and down.

The 150mm drop
The longest Transfer, 150mm drop.

I need to purchase the lever separately?

Yes. If you run a front shifter, you’ll need the shifter compatible version which puts the lever above the bar, or there’s a 1x specific lever (which we’re testing) that puts the lever in prime position under the bar.

 

How does it stack up in terms of price and weight?

We weighed the Transfer is at 535g for the 150mm post, plus 50g for the lever and cable, so it’s comparable to a RockShox Reverb and a little lighter than a KS Integra.

There are two price points for the Transfer, depending on whether you want the Factory versions with the gold low-friction Kashima coat or not. You’ll pay $527 for the Factory post, or $459 for the Performance post, plus another $72 for the lever. The Kashima finish is the only difference between the two posts.

FOX's low friction Kashima coating, adds dollars, reduces drag, looks amazing.
FOX’s low friction Kashima coating, adds dollars, reduces drag, looks amazing.

Is it a pain to fit?

Not at all. The cable has a quick release mechanism that makes it quite easy to install and remove the post, and the lever has a degree of adjustability so you can get the position where you want it easily. Because it’s a cable system too, the only tools you need are some cable cutters and an Allen key. In comparison to a KS post for example which has the cable end at the lever requires careful adjustment and trial error at the seatpost end, far more involved than the way FOX has approached the setup procedure.

fox-transfer-post-8250
Quick and easy fitting too.

Would you recommend it?

Based on our first impressions, 100%. Despite the weight and somewhat clunky lever of the old FOX DOSS post, it has always been one our favourites, and the new Transfer looks to a huge improvement on what was already a good product. The weight and pricing are on par with the competition, and we love the look, so hopefully that same reliability of the DOSS carries through to the Transfer to round out the package.

Tested: Specialized Command Post BlackLite Adjustable Seat Post

It always surprises us when we meet someone on the trail who asks us, ‘what’s that?’ while pointing at our adjustable seat post. We guess that’s because once you’ve been using a dropper post for a while, it kind of becomes impossible to imagine riding without one!

Specialized Command Post-6

The Specialized Command Post BlackLite (whatever that means – kind of sounds like a commando squadron) comes as a stock item on many Specialized bikes. Specialized are one of only two brands (the other being Giant) to have developed their own in-house dropper post, rather than speccing one of the myriad of options available from FOX, RockShox, KS, crankbrothers and more. So how does the Command Post stack up?

Specialized Command Post-16
The Command Post BlackLite uses external cable actuation, rather than an internal cable or hydraulics. It may not look as neat as an internal system, but maintenance and installation is far easier.

Since we began this test, Specialized have unveiled another version of the Command Post, this time with internal cable routing (ala the RockShox Reverb Stealth). However, as most older frames won’t be compatible with the new internally routed post, so we think the standard Command Post will remain very popular. As an aftermarket item, it’s available in two diameters (30.9 and 31.6mm) and three different lengths, offering 125, 100 or 75mm of on-the-fly adjustability.

Specialized-Command-Post
Full height, 35mm drop and fully dropped. Our post had 100mm of adjustability, but you can get 125mm or 75mm versions too.

The Command Post, like the FOX DOSS post, uses pre-set drop levels, rather than infinite adjustability. There’s full extension (climbing), fully dropped (getting rowdy) or an intermediate 35mm-drop ‘cruiser’ setting, which gets the saddle out of the way without making seated pedalling too hard.

We hit an early snag with installation; our BH Lynx frame didn’t allow us to insert the seat post far enough to get the seat height right – it was about 25mm too high when the post was at full extension. We sent our 125mm version back and swapped it for the 100mm-drop version, which is about 35mm shorter in overall length. It’s interesting to note that the Command Post is comparatively long for its amount of adjustability. By way of comparison, the RockShox Reverb and KS Lev posts are both about 20mm shorter in overall length while maintaining 125mm of adjustability.

Specialized Command Post-11
The small lever takes up very little room on the bar. We’re running a single ring drivetrain on this particular bike too, so the cockpit is nice and clean.
The lever isn't too much of a stretch to reach, and it's quite low profile too.
The lever isn’t too much of a stretch to reach, and it’s quite low profile too.

With that issue sorted, installation went very smoothly. The Command Post uses an air spring; we set the post’s air pressure at about 30psi. There is no rebound damping with the Command Post, meaning it really shoots back to full extension quickly when you hit the button, so it’s important not to run too much air pressure or it’ll spring back like a gonad-seeking missile.

Specialized Command Post-8
The cable can be unclipped from the post’s head easily making removal, servicing or packing it all up for travel very simple.

Compared to a hydraulic system, like the Reverb post, the cable actuated system is easy to set up. The lever is petite and comes supplied with a ‘noodle’ to ensure clean routing from the handlebar – keeping the line of cable as smooth as possible is important or you’ll end up with too much friction in the system. There’s also a barrel adjuster, which is useful as the system is quite sensitive to the correct cable tension. The post head uses a single bolt clamp, and like other single bolt systems, you need to do it up super tight. The cable has a quick release mechanism as well, meaning you can detach it from the post in seconds if you need to take the post out of the frame.

The post head uses a single bolt clamp, secured with a 5mm allen key.
The post head uses a single bolt clamp, secured with a 5mm allen key. There’s loads of angle adjustment, so getting your saddle position right is easy.

Performance so far has been consistent and reliable and we’ve got high hopes for the durability of the post too. Unlike many dropper posts, the Command Post isn’t plagued by side-to-side slop, which makes it feel robust and well built.

Specialized Command Post-12
One half of the pivot bolt in our lever rattled loose and went bushwalking, never to be seen again. The lever still works, it just is a tad floppy.

The lever isn’t as tough, and we lost one half of the pivot bolt assembly early in the game. It still works fine, but there’s a bit of slop in the lever as a result. That said, there’s still plenty to like about the lever; it takes up little bar real estate, fits neatly with most shifters or brakes, and is easy to position in comfortable reach of your thumb. It can also be integrated with a Specialized lock-on grip, replacing the lock ring, which is pretty tidy. The downside of the small lever is that it doesn’t give you that much leverage – posts like the KS Lev or FOX DOSS have significantly lighter actuation.

Coming off an infinitely adjustable post (the crankbrothers Kronolog… not so good…) it took a while to adapt to the three-position adjustment of the Command Post. Engaging the fully dropped position is easy – there’s very little resistance to lower the post – but finding the intermediate 35mm drop position takes a bit of practice to hit it smoothly. You need to compress the lever, sit on the seat and compress the post past the 35mm point, then release the lever before taking your weight off the seat, allowing it to slot back into the intermediate position. It took half a dozen rides before it became intuitive. The FOX system, where there is a second lever to engage the intermediate position, is easier to operate, but it is significantly more bulky and heavier.

Specialized Command Post-14
When the Command Post locks in position, you know it’s secure. The action is reassuringly solid.

We like the reassuringly solid engagement of the Command Post. You can really feel and hear it lock into position with a clunk. The internals of the post are quite simple, using a expanding collet style locking mechanism that sits securely into recesses in post’s inner wall. It’s robust, and feels and sounds positive and tough.

Overall, the Command Post is a solid offering, not entirely without foibles, but then no dropper post seems to be perfect yet. Now that we’ve adapted to the operation of the post and can engage the very useful intermediate position quickly, we’ve become quite fond of the Command Post. The robust post construction is the highlight, and the price is good too, and we’re looking forward to seeing how it’s going in a year’s time as we get the feeling it’ll be trucking along nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

Flow’s First Bite: Thomson Elite Dropper Post

Side mount of actuation mechanism means we can keep all the critical dimensions of the Thomson Elite cradle, bolt and clamp geometry. One piece forged inner post for strength and reliability, no joint to loosen and fail. Actuation is by cam so rider gets smooth, variable speed and height without resorting to a complicated, damage prone hydraulic actuator; no bleeding required.


Return speed is damped in the last 15mm of upward travel to be gentle on your “seating” area!


5 inches/125mm of infinite travel.


5mm of setback.


592 grams including remote lever, housing and cable.


The smallest most ergonomic remote lever available. Short throw for quick height changes.


Optional under saddle lever available.

Flow's First Bite: Thomson Elite Dropper Post

Side mount of actuation mechanism means we can keep all the critical dimensions of the Thomson Elite cradle, bolt and clamp geometry. One piece forged inner post for strength and reliability, no joint to loosen and fail. Actuation is by cam so rider gets smooth, variable speed and height without resorting to a complicated, damage prone hydraulic actuator; no bleeding required.


Return speed is damped in the last 15mm of upward travel to be gentle on your “seating” area!


5 inches/125mm of infinite travel.


5mm of setback.


592 grams including remote lever, housing and cable.


The smallest most ergonomic remote lever available. Short throw for quick height changes.


Optional under saddle lever available.

Thomson Elite Dropper Post

Dropping the saddle in certain terrain allows the rider more confidence, being able to raise the saddle back quickly means you keep riding without stopping to adjust.

Same great clamps, same tested fasteners. Literally millions of miles have been put on the saddle clamping system of our post. While all drop posts will require service, the Thomson Dropper Post has the longest field life, 2 years guaranteed, and the easiest, least expensive service procedure. Our replaceable internal cartridge system makes service quick and foolproof. Seals sized to fit perfectly, synthetic oil with wide temperature range. Charged with 100% nitrogen. Custom double lip, radial spring outer bushing for both smooth operation and maximum resistance to contamination.

Side mount of actuation mechanism means we can keep all the critical dimensions of the Thomson Elite cradle, bolt and clamp geometry. One piece forged inner stanchion for strength and reliabilty, no joint to loosen and fail. Actuation is by cam so rider gets smooth, variable speed and height without resorting to a complicated, damage prone hydraulic actuator. No bleeding required, ever. 5mm of setback is built in to the seatpost cradle allowing a little more cockpit room.

Designed not to extend when the saddle is used to hang the bike on a lift chair. Custom made Norglide bearing bushing ensures years of service with no saddle left to right “play.”

We are still drooling.