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This is not a debate of whether or not droppers are useful for racing, as that's going to depend on the rider and conditions. For those situations where a dropper makes sense, I'm considering picking one up to use to at least get used to how they work in a race scenario. In the process of deciding which one to use I noticed most XC droppers are a small amount of drop (60-100mm), presumably to save weight.

Because of Trek's decision to have an insanely low top tube on their last FS XC race bike (2015-2019 Top Fuel), I actually have about 250mm of post above the clamp. With another 210mm+ below the clamp before the frame starts curving I could actually get away with a very long dropper post, upwards of 150mm of drop. Is there any disadvantage to running an extremely long dropper post for XC racing? Obviously it's a weight disadvantage but if i'm pulling a carbon post to put in a dropper I'm already accepting that.
 

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In the other dropper thread, I think I mentioned that I see people, both in real life and on YouTube, dropping their seats for every little turn or technical feature. I also see some people dropping their seat all the way down, on their 150-200mm dropper, and assuming a deep squat position.

Now, I have no problem with doing a wall sit for a long, long time. But, if one is attempting to go downhill fast while also recovering after going UP fast, it seems to me that assuming a deep squat for is not the best way to achieve that. As such, my dropper allows for 100mm of adjustment, and I could probably get away with less. That said, I'm also not particularly tall at 5'6" on a great day, so my perspective might not match that of other, taller posters.

However, I should also point out that you can do the traditional straight-legged standing descent regardless of saddle height, so if you want to rock a 200mm dropper and utilize that freedom it allows at key moments, I don't think that would be a problem.
 

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Droppers are infinitely adjustable. As long as your post is not too long where you can't get into a proper climbing position, it is not too long. I have both 125 and 150 mm posts on my bikes and I'm on a small frame for all of them. Both do the job, but the 150 really allows me to move around on the bike. I'd make do with whatever I had or no dropper if it came to that, but I prefer the longest possible dropper that fits in the frame. I assume you ride this bike for things other than XC racing, and if so, you will prefer the longest drop you can get.
 

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For XC racing, anything over 100mm is a waste. I think 50-75 is ideal. I dual use my XC bike and it has a 150mm dropper. I never drop it all the way racing and wish I had a specific shorter one. Dropper > Ridged 99% of the time.
 

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Well, not all droppers are infinitely adjustable, but all of the decent ones are.

IMO, more is almost always better, but it's at the cost of weight and the more travel the dropper has, the more the weight goes up. The upper limit is where the collar of the dropper post is flush with the top of your seat tube, but there are so many different bikes out there with varying heights that this isn't really what everyone should try to achieve.

This just becomes personal preference. 100mm dropper is a bottom-line minimum for me on an XC bike. 125 is about perfect. 160-ish is nice, but doesn't give me much of anything over the 125 and just adds weight. Even when "dropped", I want better pedaling and not to be ridiculously low, I still gotta get in pedal strokes wherever I can.

Adding weight to the bike is something you really have to consider hard. Yes, take a dump before the race, blah blah, but that weight will always be there from thereafter and it won't make you faster on a climb or flats where you spend most of the time.
 

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I don't think you are going to find much consensus.

Personal opinion: I think people under utilize them, people don't practice with them enough, and there is no such thing as too much drop. But, that's like, my opinion man.
 

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It’s not a weight disadvantage. My 125 is the same weight as my wife’s 65 ( she thinks she prefers a short dropper and not hunting for the bottom of the travel.


Could it be too long? Meh, kinda, not really... I guess.

It’s rare that mine goes down all the way because it’s a quick flip of the switch and I often let off before it bottoms out. At 125, I can still pedal in a a funny way that works until I get to the big huck, or I am just standing and sprinting off a 3-4 footer.

All this being said, if I had it to do all over again, I would have gone with a 150 because I have room for it and would prefer the clean look of the the dropper collar being just above the seatpost collar on my Top Fuel. I ride my bike in Bike parks, so I would love it slammed on the tires if I need some extra room to clear a table.

Either way, it’s a little glitchy to your pedal stroke when you drop it while pedaling. In races It only gets used in really crazy sections of singletrack where I may be jumping and do not want the seatpost in the way so I can pull the bike up into my body in the air. In my regular riding it gets used because the trails would kill your average XC racer. There is no other place where it is valuable to me EXCEPT For race starts.

My factory top fuel 9.8 rigid post was 280g and my KS lev CI seatpost was 395g plus a lightweight remote 30g ish.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I think they can definitely be too long. Using one in practice, consistently, you need to get it up and down quick with minimal energy. I have a Tallboy I race XC on and used a 150mm post on it and have recently switched to a 80mm one. I also have an enduro bike with a 185.

The 80mm one is super easy, it's UP or DOWN. Even in the down position you can still pedal if needed and it always is at the same spot and you don't need to do a super deep squat to get it down (which gets old after a while) and it's back to full height very quick.

While there are certainly some situations where I'd like more than 80mm, in general, it's plenty for XC racing even on the gnarliest courses out there.
 

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This is not a debate of whether or not droppers are useful for racing, as that's going to depend on the rider and conditions. For those situations where a dropper makes sense, I'm considering picking one up to use to at least get used to how they work in a race scenario. In the process of deciding which one to use I noticed most XC droppers are a small amount of drop (60-100mm), presumably to save weight.

Because of Trek's decision to have an insanely low top tube on their last FS XC race bike (2015-2019 Top Fuel), I actually have about 250mm of post above the clamp. With another 210mm+ below the clamp before the frame starts curving I could actually get away with a very long dropper post, upwards of 150mm of drop. Is there any disadvantage to running an extremely long dropper post for XC racing? Obviously it's a weight disadvantage but if i'm pulling a carbon post to put in a dropper I'm already accepting that.
I believe there is a disadvantage in a XC race setting. I have 65mm KS Lev Ci dropper and the short drop gets me low enough to get the seat out of the way for turns and features, but still allow it in place were I can sit and pedal on it it. I am still learning to use it an XC setting and the biggest trick is to know when to lower and how much. Since mine does not go far I can pretty much it all the way up or down. When it down I can't pedal as efficently since I am either lower or standing. Both are not ideal, but lets say I have 150mm drop then I really could not sit at all. Now you can say 'just don't lower it so much" and that is very valid. However in midst of race it can be much simpler just move it all the way than to find that sweet spot. I suspect you can work with short or longer and just learn to use it. Heck maybe you could even make "stop" for so it only goes down so far when you are racing. Just to make it easier.

BTW.. I have seen Jolanda Neff in XCO races sit and pedal on her lowered dropper. These are for the short little burts where coasting is not an option, but rasing and lowering the seat is too time consuming. This weekend I used my dropper on a 13 minute downhill with lots of twists and turns and rock features bash through. Kept the seat down a lot and in between switchbacks I sat and gave a few pedal strokes. This gave me some speed and allowed a bit of rest too. Plus taking corners sitting (when smooth) help lower my CG noticeable. I was 1 minute faster than my last trip with a normal fixed seat post. Was it all the dropper? Hard to say, but it was fun for sure.
 

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I believe there is a disadvantage in a XC race setting. I have 65mm KS Lev Ci dropper and the short drop gets me low enough to get the seat out of the way for turns and features, but still allow it in place were I can sit and pedal on it it. I am still learning to use it an XC setting and the biggest trick is to know when to lower and how much. Since mine does not go far I can pretty much it all the way up or down. When it down I can't pedal as efficently since I am either lower or standing. Both are not ideal, but lets say I have 150mm drop then I really could not sit at all. Now you can say 'just don't lower it so much" and that is very valid. However in midst of race it can be much simpler just move it all the way than to find that sweet spot. I suspect you can work with short or longer and just learn to use it. Heck maybe you could even make "stop" for so it only goes down so far when you are racing. Just to make it easier.

BTW.. I have seen Jolanda Neff in XCO races sit and pedal on her lowered dropper. These are for the short little burts where coasting is not an option, but rasing and lowering the seat is too time consuming. This weekend I used my dropper on a 13 minute downhill with lots of twists and turns and rock features bash through. Kept the seat down a lot and in between switchbacks I sat and gave a few pedal strokes. This gave me some speed and allowed a bit of rest too. Plus taking corners sitting (when smooth) help lower my CG noticeable. I was 1 minute faster than my last trip with a normal fixed seat post. Was it all the dropper? Hard to say, but it was fun for sure.
You notice a lot of the enduro folks will do the same in the middle of a stage for a quick break, saddle down, sit down for a quick second or a couple pedal strokes....then back to standing when *$&% gets real again.
 

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I'd suggest it depends on your terrain and intentions.

For a XCO-type circuit racing, you probably don't need any more than 65-100mm of drop, and less drop can be helpful as others have said. Seat is either up or down, don't have to deep-squat to drop it, can still find it if you want to sit in the "down" mode.

If you're doing longer, hillier courses, or training in areas with long or technical descents, more is better. I did a race totaling ~30 miles on Saturday, and it ended with a ripping fast and sometimes technical 6 mile descent. I was very happy to have a 150mm dropper on my Sniper. Out here in the PNW most of my training rides include some long, steep, semi-gnarly descents, so again I'm always happy to have that drop. But if this bike were ONLY used for our weekly XC circuit race series, I'd probably prefer a shorter dropper.
 

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I learned to descent steep technical stuff with an old-school 120mm stem and fully rigid seatpost well above the bars, saddle-to-chest, all that. It wasn't fun. Did I learn something besides a few bruises and scrapes? Not sure.

When I first raced with a 125mm dropper, I think it slowed me down, because the descents that I thought to use it put me at a disadvantage to get back seated pedaling, waiting for the KS Lev to rise. Sometimes when you return to seated level you'll stop the post rise in the middle, rather than getting back to full extension, unlike a Gravity Dropper, which isn't infinitely adjustable.

I've also been at some rocky, technical races where it would've really helped prevent an embarrassing dismount, crash, or just granny-slow negotiation of a small feature that turned into a significant time suck.

The routing of a dropper (except for wireless AXS) makes it pretty hard to do a horses-for-courses swap. For me, I have the saddle 5" above the bars so 125mm puts it down at bar level, which seems appropriate. I could easily use a 200mm post on my Tallboy. That might be fun for really airing it out over jumps or smashing some of the 20-minute descents in the Breck Epic. But as stated, the more travel you have, generally, the heavier the post.
 

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Yes, you do not need long dropper post for XC, and they tend to be heavier that shorter ones.
You can get something like a 300g DP with 60mm travel, and they are perfect for XC.
Also in the race short dropper post makes it easier to be sure that you seat is never too low for quick pedalling bursts when seated.
 
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