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Dropper Post for XC Racing?

By hawkeye - Posted on 27 February 2016

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I'm just wondering what people closer to the sharp end of the field think about using a dropper post for XC racing.

Worth the 200g? Would it help my lap times (assuming I'm doing my best to improve the engine performance as well)?



I would bet no-one, "...closer to the sharp end of the field..." would even consider using a dropper post.

Someone want to prove me wrong? Eye-winkSticking out tongue

Well I'm not at the pointy end but here's my 2c.

I've just taken my dropper off so have a decent comparison of with and without. I've taken it off for a race - more for reliability than weight saving (it's a multi day event half way around the world so not risking a mechanical).

Droppers are absolutely brilliant. For me they make the technical sections of the dam/gahnia just so much easier to ride and just more comfortable. Riding the dam without it has been OK but the fun factor has definitely been reduced and I'm certainly slower over the technical bits.

However! The dam only has 3 places I use the dropper and I wouldn't be able to tell if the losses over the technical bits outweigh the gains due to reduced weight.

Also - for a dropper to be useful you need to know the course. You need to know when to drop it before the technical bit is coming. In a race if you don't know what's coming up it may be of limited value.

For me, I will never ride without one except in certain circumstances. They add massively to the enjoyment (and safety) of riding for me.

Finally - I believe droppers have been seen at the world cup level xco races.

No one at the sharp end of an XC race would be using dropper posts.

With that said I put one on my 4inch Rocky Mountain Element and love it. My problem was that I also own a Tracer and a Downhill bike and know what is like to descend fast and in control.

I am now able to do the decent on Gahania at the beginning and be in the top 10 on Strava on an XC bike!!

on your original question Hawkeye but thought this recent review might be relevant. Date says 2015 but article is dated Feb 2016

Ride the course before with one and see if it helps and then just do what ever makes you happy. I don't think a dropper would be beneficial if you're not familiar with the course.

I ran a dropper post for the Wildside race this year (finished 15th so close to the sharp end). To me 200g of extra weight is not a big deal for the extra confidence on descents and more enjoyment when racing. It is a bit like the hard tail vs dually argument and depends on the terrain.

The combined weight of me, my bike and gear is 90+ kg so 200g represents a 0.22% weight increase. If an hour stage has 30 minutes of climbing, where power to weight matters, adding 0.22% is 4 seconds. I think in the 10 minutes of descending during the same hour stage I will make that time back.

I don't think you need to know the course either, I rode every stage of the Wildside blind. Often you can see a long decent coming up or there are caution signs proceeding the technical sections.

The Olympic XC Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy uses a droper for the more technical world cup races-

Are you already using one?

Bought one to put in the Scalpel to ride Serrata, but picked up the Trigger shortly after as a share bike with my son/fun bike for me. (It already has one, and X-Fusion HiLo.) So I haven't fitted it yet, and my young bloke is giving me a hard time about it!

I won't stick it in for the Shimano GP round on Saturday as it's never a good idea to fit untried gear straight before an event, but I might give it a go later on.

One of the guys I know from Syd MTB who races WSMTB A grade has one on his Niner and he swears by it.

Maybe you should just try it and see what you think. Personally I hated mine, but I don't race, had it for 12 months and found it to be more of a nuisance than anything else.

But as with most things mountain biking it's each to their own.

Yeah for sure(I am slow though).

I'm with this bloke-

I still haven't been sold on dropper posts but Didn't dan McConnell recently win a round of the Nationals using a dropper post? I'd say that's pretty close to the pointy end

Firstly, if you are not at the pointy end of the field (which , with all due respect, you are not) then why does it matter what those guys ride?
They ride tyres that you wouldn't, the run gears that you couldn't, and have skills that you don't.

Dan Mac did and does ride one. 200grms really is no penalty. There are many others who run one too. The biggest issue faced by many racers is that their skinny XC bikes often have 27.2mm seatposts, so the choice of a good dropper is limited.
If you are a taller rider, then you will be higher from the ground, so the CoG is higher than someone riding a 17" frame. So - there is more sense to a taller rider running one than a smaller one.

Finally, the biggest consideration for me at least: "set your bike up to help where you struggle most". If you lose time on hillclimbs, then build a 7kg noodle. If you lose time on ST, then run fatter tyres and a slightly lower saddle. If you lose time on rock drops and technical features - then run a dropper post.

If 200grm is the only downside, and its already in your head - the itch wont be scratched until you have tried it.

I've been riding a bigger suspension bike that came with a dropper.
After having a go at mates who had them before me and being very sceptical on the matter, all I can say is, I'm getting one on my xc bike before I get back into racing.
I probably won't even enter a race unless I have one.
I'm completely sold on the things.

There's xc, and then there's xc.

With the almost non-existant elevation in Perth, I don't think i'd bother for an xc race here. Even the double black trails here are more like intermediate xc for much of the world.

Anything with decent elevation it would be well worth it.
Having ridden a bit of DH around the place, it's always hilarious watching xc and cx riders go OTB on some pathetically easy sections. Skill or not, there's only so much you can do sitting so high up.

I recently went from a 100mm to a 150mm post, and the difference is substantial.

A bit of a thread dig here, but I raced National XCO Champs in Bright on the weekend.
There were many (but not enough) dropper posts to be seen. Super steep course.

I thought you might enjoy my thoughts on it - given the subject of this thread...

That's great to hear, I have never wanted to race XC but if more tracks sounded like that I'd be interested.

200 gramms?

Go for a dump & you'll loose that.

After Glenrock I'll be fitting my dropper post as soon as I get the XC bike back from service. Not having ridden there for ages and racing on a few of the trails without a seeing them before to work out lines thru sections like BJ's, a dropper post would have saved me a minute or two a lap.

Being able to run the saddle at roadie height would have helped on the climbs.

Have been playing with the Trigger in the meantime and getting used to using a dropper on that.

I'm slowly coming round Smiling

As I race on my Trance the dropper is a permanent fixture. I didn't drop at all at Glenrock. I've used it at Ourimbah and Stromlo but haven't needed it at other tracks.

Not saying couldn't ride those bits with no dropper, just that I'm not so good at riding techy bits without stopping and taking a good look first. Once I've screwed something up I then need to unlearn that for next time which makes it harder.

A dropper post would have taken the anxiety out of tackling those bits the first time and helped avoid getting the wrong line stuck in my head.

I reckon I might also have been a bit faster down thru Easy Way Out from getting lower on the bike.

Seat up, feat up and committed Sticking out tongue

Retro grouching with 26" wheels and no dropper

Go for it because I think we're going to see droppers specced on a wider range of bikes in the future - XC bikes included.

Took the bike for a short spin this afternoon. The release isn't as easy to use as the X-fusion on the Trigger, but we'll see how it goes.

The external hydraulic hose makes a racket slapping around the seatpost, I thought something ad come off.

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