Wil Tests & Reviews The BikeYoke Divine SL Dropper Post
For most of us in the current age of mountain biking, dropper posts are considered a near-essential component. Hell, I can barely ride a bike without one now. Even still, many XC hardtails and full suspension bikes continue to be sold with rigid seatposts, and there are plenty of gram-phobic World Cup athletes out there who are yet to be convinced that running a dropper post is worth the weight penalty. The lure is strengthening each season though. Racecourses are getting rowdier, XC bikes are getting better, and everyone wants to go faster – especially on the descents. Adding to that, an emerging crop of short-travel dropper posts are bringing weights down to a level that we’ve not seen before. One of the newest options to tempt the weight weenies is this lovely slider here; the BikeYoke Divine SL.
German brand BikeYoke originally started out engineering custom suspension yokes for Specialized bikes, which allowed owners to fit a standard non-proprietary rear shock on previous Enduro, Camber, Stumpjumper and Levo models.
More recently, BikeYoke has grown a reputation for the Revive – a stupendously slick dropper post that was the first of its kind to feature a clever in-built reset valve, which allows users to bleed air out of the hydraulic cartridge without having to strip the whole thing apart. For anyone who’s owned a dropper post that’s turned into a pseudo-suspension seatpost after air worked its way past the IFP, you’ll know exactly how useful that function can be. It’s so useful in fact, that RockShox copied the idea and built an external reset function into its latest Reverb and Reverb AXS dropper posts.
BikeYoke’s dropper range has since expanded to include two new posts; the full travel Divine and the short travel Divine SL we have here. Standing for ‘Super Light’, the Divine SL features just 80mm of travel and a totally weight-optimised design. It also comes with the bold claim of being the ‘lightest production dropper post in the world‘.
So, How Light Is It Then?
401 grams to be precise. That’s a verified weight for our 31.6mm diameter post on its own. To put that number in perspective, I lobbed off nearly 200g when I fitted the Divine SL in place of the Fox Transfer that was previously on my bike.
For those currently running a rigid seatpost, here’s a quick comparison. A Thomson Elite post in a 31.6x410mm size weighs in at 265g. Total weight for the Divine SL post, Triggy remote and full-length cable is 497g. So by the time you trim the cable to length, you’d be looking at adding on a bit over 200g for the pleasure.
The Divine SL manages to get its weight down via some impressive internal and external machining that relieves the post of as many excess grams as possible. Because there’s only 80mm of travel, the internals are a lot shorter too. And, just like the lowers on a RockShox SID or Fox 32 Step-Cast fork, the base of the Divine SL’s outer tube is also hollow. That means you can actually cut the post down. Providing you have sufficient insertion in your frame, you can trim off up to 117mm from the base of the post. That’ll shorten the total post length from 400mm down to 283mm, and according to BikeYoke, brings the post weight down to just 345g.
What About The Competition?
Short travel dropper posts are nothing new. KS has had a 65mm LEV dropper post around for a few years, and as XC racers and riders continue to be convinced of the idea of running a height-adjustable seatpost, we’ve seen more options crop up since. Here I’ve listed some of the lighter short-travel options on the market, to show how the Divine SL compares. All of the weights listed here are from the manufacturers for a standalone 30.9mm diameter post (so no remote or cabling);
- JBG 2 (60mm): 240g
- DT Swiss D 232 One Carbon (60mm): 369g
- BikeYoke Divine SL (80mm): 385g
- Vecnum MoveLOC XC (100mm): 391g
- KS LEV Ci Carbon (65mm): 400g
- Crank Brothers Highline 7 (100mm): 475g
- Fox Transfer (100mm): 480g
- RockShox Reverb AXS (100mm): 592g
As you’ll see in that list, the JBG 2 is currently the lightest on the market with a 240g claimed weight. Yes, that’s lighter than Thomson’s rigid Elite seatpost. It is quite a different beast to everything else – it uses a lot of carbon fibre, external routing and a very simple spring design with no damping at all. It also has a 95kg weight limit, and it is extraordinarily expensive with a price tag that converts to about $1,250 AUD. Yikes!
A more apt comparison would be the DT Swiss and Vecnum droppers, which together flank the Divine SL in terms of weight and travel. Both are quite new though, and we’re yet to get our hands on either.
But back to the Divine SL. Our dropper post came directly from BikeYoke in Germany, though in Australia BikeYoke products are sold and distributed through MTBDirect. The post comes on its own, so you can either use your existing handlebar remote or buy whatever cable-operated remote you fancy. BikeYoke sent us its own Triggy X Adjustable remote, which sells for $90 AUD.
BikeYoke Divine SL Specs
- Travel: 80mm
- Infinite adjust with Tech-Climb feature
- Air spring & hydraulic cartridge
- Internal (stealth) routing
- Diameters available: 30.9mm & 31.6mm
- 400mm total length
- Cuttable to 283mm
- Available with 1X and 2X remotes
- Titanium hardware
- Compatible with round and oval saddle rails
- Claimed weight: 385g (30.9mm), 404g (31.6mm)
- Rider weight limit: 115kg
- Divine SL RRP: $555 AUD / €379 EUR
- Triggy X RRP: $90 AUD / €60 EUR
Installing the Divine SL is relatively straightforward. The Triggy X remote mounts to the bars either with its own split clamp, or directly to a SRAM brake via the MatchMaker system, which is how I’ve got it setup. The thumb-sized is drilled for texture, and features rounded edges that are less likely to split your kneecap open in a crash. Along with its lateral adjustment, the Triggy is up there as one of the nicest dropper levers I’ve used.
The Divine SL is internally routed, but because the base of the post is hollow, installing the cable is slightly trickier. BikeYoke includes a plastic socket tool for removing the actuator, then it’s a case of installing the head of the gear cable into the holster, then reattaching the actuator to the base of the post. It took me a few goes of trimming the cable housing to achieve the right length, but since installing I haven’t had to touch it, and there’s a barrel adjuster on the remote for taking up slack as the cable outer compresses.
Up at the saddle end, there’s a twin bolt clamp that’ll accommodate round metal or oval carbon rails. I’ve got a Specialized Power S-Works saddle with carbon rails, which has been both easy to fit and adjust the tilt angle. The titanium bolts do require a T25 torx key though, so make sure you have one of those on your multi-tool.
Is 80mm Of Travel Enough?
That’s a question I pondered for some time prior to receiving the Divine SL. Not only have I gotten used to having a dropper post on all my mountain bikes, I’ve also gotten used to having as much travel that will physically fit. A couple of recent test bikes, the Norco Sight A1 and Curve DownRock, have both come with 170mm+ dropper posts, which has been wonderfully useful for moving about the cockpit for hard cornering and bombing down steep chutes.
My personal Santa Cruz Blur has also had a 150mm travel Fox Transfer fitted since day one, and while that bike is a short-travel XC pinner, it’s an absolute blast to hoon around on with the saddle slammed out of the way.
One thing I had noticed while racing and on fast-paced group rides though, was just how much energy I was expending from repeatedly compressing the dropper post. I’m an all-or-nothing kinda guy, perhaps in more ways than one. So for me the saddle’s either at full height, or squished down all the way – I rarely run it anywhere in between. With a 150mm travel post, that’s quite a distance to push your saddle down, especially if you do it as regularly as I do. Think about it. Over the course of an hour’s racing, that’s a whole lot of thigh-busting squats.
Going to the 80mm travel Divine SL did take a couple of rides to recalibrate, though I was quick to notice and appreciate the reduced strain on my thighs. There’s simply less energy expended in compression the post – both because of the shorter travel, and also because this post is so light in its action. Certainly for XC use, I’ve found it to have just the right amount of travel. It still allows you to move around with less restriction on the descents, which is great, but for me it’s the improvement in cornering that’s the biggest benefit.
On a modern XC bike like the Blur, which has a reduced-offset fork and a (for its category) slack head angle, you do need to lean it over assertively to get it around tighter corners. That’s easier said than done with the saddle at full mast, where you’re more likely to understeer due to the stronger caster effect of the reduced-offset fork. Being able to drop the saddle down gives loads more room to lean the bike faster and harder, which results in a significant improvement in cornering and holding a line through loose, off-camber turns. I found this to be pretty noticeable during local club races, where riders around me with a rigid seatpost would struggle to maintain their speed the tighter and twistier the trail got. There’s potential to save a lot of time and effort through these sections, and with the saddle lowered, I could more easily track through corners with less deceleration and acceleration required.
I can’t say found myself wishing for more drop, though obviously the steeper the terrain, the more travel you likely want to have. Then again, there’s something to be said for not having too much confidence while riding a lightweight XC race bike. Apparently this is why Nino Schurter runs a dropper on his hardtail, but rarely on his full suspension race bike – he ends up riding too fast on the descents and getting into more trouble that way.
Long Term Performance
I’ve had zero issues with the Divine SL through four months of use. No wiggle, no waggle. Though given the flawless experience I’ve had previously with the Revive dropper post, I wasn’t really expecting anything less. In comparison, the Divine SL isn’t quite as effortless in its action, though it is still a super smooth performer. It has a nice, speedy return with a thoroughly audible top-out ‘thunk’, so you know exactly when the saddle is back to the pedalling position – useful knowledge in a racing situation.
The travel itself is infinitely adjustable, and BikeYoke has built in a clever ‘Tech-Climb’ feature where the post actually gives you a few millimetres of squish when you have it set in the middle of the travel. The idea being that for technical climbs, where you have the saddle lowered just a touch to facilitate power moves, you get a little more compliance at the saddle when hitting rocky ledges on the way up. It does work, but it’s something I feel would be more beneficial on a hardtail. Otherwise the post is rock solid at full compression or full extension.
Servicing The Divine SL
Like any other dropper post, fork or shock, you should make a habit of wiping down the seals after every ride to clear any muck that’s accumulated on the upper tube. Otherwise BikeYoke recommends a lower tube service every 100 hours of use. It’s an easy process that only requires basic tools, snap-ring pliers and some Slick Honey or similar, and there’s a great video on BikeYoke’s YouTube channel to help you through it.
Pulling the outer tube off is a good chance to inspect the internals, and should you need to replace any of the moving parts, BikeYoke offers wiper seal and bushing service kits for €17 ($35 AUD). You can also adjust the air spring pressure by pulling off the saddle rail clamp to access the valve underneath. The spring is pressurised to 300psi from the factory, though you can go up to an undercarriage-busting 350psi if you fancy. The damper itself is serviceable, though BikeYoke states that it’s built to last a very long time, and may only need rebuilding in extreme circumstances.
One other cool feature worth mentioning is that it’s possible to change the Divine SL between 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameters. The only difference is the outer tube itself, so if I end up changing frames, I’ll be bringing the Divine SL with me. BikeYoke sells replacement outer tubes for €39.90 EUR, and that’s also good news for anyone who ends up trimming their post a little too short.
The BikeYoke Divine SL isn’t technically the lightest dropper post in the world, but it is substantially lighter than most of the competition. It’s also exquisitely well-made and designed to perform for a long time, with availability of spare parts and the option to change diameters down the line if you need.
I wasn’t too sure about going to such a short dropper in the first place, but in use I’ve found the 80mm Divine SL absolutely ideal for XC use. Sure, it makes descending a less hair-raising experience on an angry race bike, but it’s the advantages it brings to cornering that I found most appealing, and certainly worth the small weight penalty over a rigid seatpost. Perhaps even enough to sway the most stubborn of weight weenies out there who, dare I say it, might actually have more fun riding their race bikes too.
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