How could lowering your saddle while climbing be of any help? Well that is a question we will address in today’s Tech Tuesday as we look at how to make full use of your dropper seat post!
We at WILD AIR are undoubtedly big fans of the dropper post and it has been good to see them becoming more and more popular beyond pure enduro riding. The dropper post allows you to quickly and efficiently get the saddle out of the way for riding steep and / or technical terrain. This is typically only thought of for descending, but a dropper post can also be useful on flat terrain and even climbs. Doug Bird commented on how helpful it was to have a dropper post on his Scalpel during our KAROO CROSSING gravel mission for adjusting his seat height throughout the ride to give his back a rest on the flatter terrain and descents.
Most dropper posts nowadays are operated by a lever on the handle bars and have an infinite range of adjustment between fully extended and fully slammed. Learning how to use this full range is very beneficial as there is a lot to be gained from dropping the saddle slightly for sections of trail that are not overly steep or technical. This allows you just the amount of freedom of movement required for the terrain while still being able to sit on the saddle to rest or pedal.
When does dropping the saddle completely help?
Cornering agility is a major benefit found in dropping your saddle completely. By getting it out the way you’re able to stay centred while get low over the bike and leaning the bike over for a corner. The more you’re able to hone this cornering technique the more you will benefit from being able to get your saddle out the way. This is particularly true for modern bikes with steeper seat tube angles which are better for seated climbing but when the seat post is extended the saddle is more in the way of your body than previously without a dropper post.
In technical descending the primary objective of dropping the seat post isn’t so that you can move your body right over the back of the bike easier. This is only necessary when braking heavily on very steep terrain. Controlling the bike through technical terrain comes from you allowing the bike to move up and down over obstacles while keeping your body, most importantly your head and hips, stable above it. With the seat post extended, this is very difficult to do and often results in the seat kicking you in the naught. The more vertical movement that is allowed for the bike underneath you, the larger obstacles that you’re trying to tackle can be.
If the terrain isn’t hugely demanding and doesn’t require you to be very active on the bike, just dropping the saddle a few centimetres can help to flow and increase agility while having the saddle close by for support when pedalling or resting.
Climbs can be a surprising place to find benefit from lowering the saddle. The next time you’re tackling a very steep or very technical climb, try to drop the saddle just a few centimetres and see if the added mobility allows you to keep better traction. This is similar to the previous point where allowing a bit of vertical movement can improve the bike’s handling and prevent the seat from kicking you.
We have seen countless people with dropper posts on their bikes neglecting to use them and it hurts! Next time you’re out on your ride, pay attention to when you could use the dropper post and build the habit. Experiment with how much you’re dropping it and when. As you learn more you will be able to ride safer and faster in a variety of terrain. Using the dropper will quickly become second nature! I find that I even subconsciously reach for the dropper leaver when I’m on a bike without one now which makes me feel like a bit of an idiot but at least there’s a good habit there.
We hope this is some helpful advice that allows you to get the most out of your dropper post and if you don’t have one, what are you waiting for!? They don’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. There are great options out there such as the offerings from Lyne Components which are reasonably priced and work without any hassles.
Get yourself a dropper, get out there, and have yourself a good time on your bike!