New to the Dropper

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New to the Dropper

Postby ReidRules18 » September 24th, 2020, 7:12 am

Okay, I have a few questions about a now common component – a dropper post. I installed a 2021 Fox Transfer on my 2018 Santa Cruz Blur (100 mm front and rear 69.5 headtube angle) and took it to the Merrell Trail yesterday for the first time. I think I did 4 or 5 loops of the Wynodala loop working on getting the hang of it. I did notice a difference, as going over drops/jumps (yes they are not huge) helped me get a little more air by not letting the rear seat hit my butt which would cause the bike to not be level after takeoff and allowed me to get a farther distance out from the jump. I must have gotten used to it as pedaling normally in the fully extended method made me feel like I was riding my 2000’s XC bike. I did use it cornering and noticed a difference too, but I needed to think ahead of when to use it and have some questions:
- When do you lower the seat for a drop or a corner? 10 feet before hand, directly before it, or are you aware of it 50 feet away and standing and pedaling?
- When it is time to raise the seat, is it bad to just stand up and let it extend fully into position even as it makes a noise as it hits the limit?
- Do you guys ever pedal with it lowered? If so, how far and for how long?
- How often do you guys use a dropper on say a trail such as Merrell, DTE? Do “flow trails” differ from the more single track trails (Pontiac Lake, Cannonsburg Game Area, Luton)

I am sure I have more questions, but I figure I would get some input on it. As of right now, I do see a dropper post benefit, I just need to get used to using it properly. I don’t feel like such an XC racer, but I really haven’t been that for a more than a couple of years and I find it fun to get a little more airborn and relax on trails.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby c0nsumer » September 24th, 2020, 8:23 am

My opinions:

- Glad to hear you're working on figuring it out. For me learning to use my dropper well took months; like shifting. Some folks get them then immediately discount them.
- Sometimes I corner with the dropper down, sometimes I don't. Even on the same corners... If I'm going to be standing, not pedaling, and really leaning the bike, I'll usually lower it.
- You can just let the seat extend and top out. That thunk sound is kinda a sign that your dropper is not binding and is installed right. I'll sometimes let it rise up to hit my butt, or follow it up, but that's all depending on what I do.
- Sometimes I pedal with it lowered, but it's more like... if I put it down before a downhill and want to rest a little while putting in some pedal strokes then I'll sit and pedal. Or if I'm on rolling stuff where I'm standing the whole time and want to put in a couple pedal strokes, while standing, I leave it down. Think single speed standing-pedaling here.
- Now that I have a dropper on my MTBs (on my old FS Camber and HT Timberjack) I use it all the time even on stuff like DTE, Pontiac Lake, etc. If I'm getting to a part of the trail where I won't be pedaling and want to really move the bike around (say, fast flowing stuff, especially downhill) I put it down. Very short punchy down/up where you should be off the saddle -- dropper. It also makes it WAAAAAAAY easier and more comfortable to ride steep/chunky stuff and get the bike in the air, so I do a lot more of that now.
Last edited by c0nsumer on September 24th, 2020, 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby Dark-Fx » September 24th, 2020, 12:51 pm

-I don't drop for corners, my seat doesn't really get in the way enough to make it worth the hassle.
-If it's down and I'm pedalling it's whenever I wouldn't be sitting if I didn't have a dropper, so doesn't change much.
-I tend to use my dropper more when I'm riding playfully than race sort of conditions. Of course I also don't do any sprint kind of races on chunky stuff so that's probably part of it.

With my 150mm dropper if I bottom out my suspension too hard and I'm too far back I've actually gotten sucked into the bike once. I don't recommend that at all.

For c0nsumer: Phrasing...
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby c0nsumer » September 24th, 2020, 12:53 pm

Haha. Yeah... I'll go edit that.

For reference, changing "...come up into my butt..." to "...rise up to hit my butt...".
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby mtbfree » September 25th, 2020, 6:54 am

- When do you lower the seat for a drop or a corner? 10 feet before hand, directly before it, or are you aware of it 50 feet away and standing and pedaling?
As early as possible usually. If it's a trail I know well, it's like remembering when to shift before a climb, you just know the right spot. But it's always awkward when you realize too late that you want the seat down and you have to sit down hard for a second right before dropping into a feature or in the middle of the techy downhill section. I don't recommend that.

- When it is time to raise the seat, is it bad to just stand up and let it extend fully into position even as it makes a noise as it hits the limit?
No, that sound is normal

- Do you guys ever pedal with it lowered? If so, how far and for how long?
Usually I only do this when there's a short pedal between two downhill sections, so I'll pedal while standing

- How often do you guys use a dropper on say a trail such as Merrell, DTE? Do “flow trails” differ from the more single track trails (Pontiac Lake, Cannonsburg Game Area, Luton)
I just rode DTE yesterday and used it on basically every downhill section and every jump / drop. I wouldn't say my habits are any different based on the type of trail... I've gotten so used to it that the seat goes down on basically every downhill.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby b_b » September 29th, 2020, 9:30 am

Also just got a dropper and have about 6 rides in now. I actually found myself pedaling quite a bit slightly lowered on chunky trail (Epic Ispheming) for extra wiggle room to react to constant bumpy rocks/roots up/down and still pedal ok, but doubt I'd do that around SEMI. Full extended felt awkward on chunky trail. That's the beauty you may put it wherever you like for the conditions. The hardest part for me has been mechanics not having left shifter for many years and getting it to the level where I want it. :) I've had to think about it, but when this becomes automatic it's going to be great.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby c0nsumer » September 29th, 2020, 10:13 am

b_b wrote:Also just got a dropper and have about 6 rides in now. I actually found myself pedaling quite a bit slightly lowered on chunky trail (Epic Ispheming) for extra wiggle room to react to constant bumpy rocks/roots up/down and still pedal ok, but doubt I'd do that around SEMI. Full extended felt awkward on chunky trail. That's the beauty you may put it wherever you like for the conditions. The hardest part for me has been mechanics not having left shifter for many years and getting it to the level where I want it. :) I've had to think about it, but when this becomes automatic it's going to be great.


Wait until the first couple times, when fatigued, you hit the dropper when you are expecting to shift to the big ring up front. ;)
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby Dark-Fx » September 29th, 2020, 10:58 am

c0nsumer wrote:
b_b wrote:Also just got a dropper and have about 6 rides in now. I actually found myself pedaling quite a bit slightly lowered on chunky trail (Epic Ispheming) for extra wiggle room to react to constant bumpy rocks/roots up/down and still pedal ok, but doubt I'd do that around SEMI. Full extended felt awkward on chunky trail. That's the beauty you may put it wherever you like for the conditions. The hardest part for me has been mechanics not having left shifter for many years and getting it to the level where I want it. :) I've had to think about it, but when this becomes automatic it's going to be great.


Wait until the first couple times, when fatigued, you hit the dropper when you are expecting to shift to the big ring up front. ;)


My hardtail's fork lockout is where I have my FS bike's dropper. Have definitely gone to lock the fork only to have the seat fall out from under me because I was on the wrong bike. oops.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby b_b » September 29th, 2020, 11:22 am

Dark-Fx wrote:
c0nsumer wrote:Wait until the first couple times, when fatigued, you hit the dropper when you are expecting to shift to the big ring up front. ;)

My hardtail's fork lockout is where I have my FS bike's dropper. Have definitely gone to lock the fork only to have the seat fall out from under me because I was on the wrong bike. oops.

Ha I could not go back and forth.
My friend has a twist grip for lockout.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby amadkins » September 29th, 2020, 5:22 pm

c0nsumer wrote:Wait until the first couple times, when fatigued, you hit the dropper when you are expecting to shift to the big ring up front. ;)


I did that that today, and I haven’t had a front shifter in about 8 years!
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby ReidRules18 » September 29th, 2020, 7:05 pm

Went back out today and rode Merrell with the dropper. I used it less (not on corners) but it sure was fun on some of the drops/jumps! While I’m no dirt jumper, it was was easier to get airborn and have fun even on a 100mm XC bike. Makes me feel more confident when I travel to Marquette now.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby c0nsumer » September 29th, 2020, 11:25 pm

ReidRules18 wrote:Went back out today and rode Merrell with the dropper. I used it less (not on corners) but it sure was fun on some of the drops/jumps! While I’m no dirt jumper, it was was easier to get airborn and have fun even on a 100mm XC bike. Makes me feel more confident when I travel to Marquette now.


After getting one I feel WAY more comfortable on steep stuff, too. The old school get-behind-the-saddle thing never seemed right to me, and it seems even dumber once you use a dropper.

Rock roll with a smooth runout? Okay, no problem! Dropper down, bike pivots and rotates under you and... done!
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby ReidRules18 » September 30th, 2020, 7:36 am

c0nsumer wrote:
ReidRules18 wrote:Went back out today and rode Merrell with the dropper. I used it less (not on corners) but it sure was fun on some of the drops/jumps! While I’m no dirt jumper, it was was easier to get airborn and have fun even on a 100mm XC bike. Makes me feel more confident when I travel to Marquette now.


After getting one I feel WAY more comfortable on steep stuff, too. The old school get-behind-the-saddle thing never seemed right to me, and it seems even dumber once you use a dropper.

Rock roll with a smooth runout? Okay, no problem! Dropper down, bike pivots and rotates under you and... done!


Agreed! It seems so much smoother and easy to do. Before I always wondered how people could hit the lip on some of the table top and land correctly on the backside. I was always landing on the top or having my rear tire hit the back end. Now once I get comfortable with the dropper I am pretty sure on some of these flow trails I can correctly get air and land on the backside. Looking forward to that.

But yes, the rock roll (there is one in particular on Merrell in the yellow direction) where I can carry speed and just send it (to me!!!). Feels way easier and fun. Now I may need a 120mm fork....

The only negative I have is that with my Santa Cruz blur on the left side it already has a control to lock out the front and rear suspension. I had to get the fox transfer lever that is small and for 2x or 3x systems and have been fooling around with placement. I think I have it, just need to get used to actually cycling through the motions of triggering the dropper.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby c0nsumer » September 30th, 2020, 7:40 am

ReidRules18 wrote:The only negative I have is that with my Santa Cruz blur on the left side it already has a control to lock out the front and rear suspension. I had to get the fox transfer lever that is small and for 2x or 3x systems and have been fooling around with placement. I think I have it, just need to get used to actually cycling through the motions of triggering the dropper.


I believe SRAM/RockShox makes a twist lockout that also works with Fox stuff like an old twist shifter. Trek is putting it on the new Top Fuels.

I personally just don't have any lockouts, so my dropper levers are very much like a shift lever.
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Re: New to the Dropper

Postby ReidRules18 » September 30th, 2020, 7:55 am

c0nsumer wrote:
ReidRules18 wrote:The only negative I have is that with my Santa Cruz blur on the left side it already has a control to lock out the front and rear suspension. I had to get the fox transfer lever that is small and for 2x or 3x systems and have been fooling around with placement. I think I have it, just need to get used to actually cycling through the motions of triggering the dropper.


I believe SRAM/RockShox makes a twist lockout that also works with Fox stuff like an old twist shifter. Trek is putting it on the new Top Fuels.

I personally just don't have any lockouts, so my dropper levers are very much like a shift lever.


I know some people with the Blurs have sent them out to have just the levers put back on the shock and to eliminate the remote. I kept it thinking "oh I will be a racer boy again," and have used the lockout a handful of times in the 2 years I have owned the bike. Right now I have totally shifted to just being a guy that likes to ride his bike and the fast racing speed and high miles have just not occurred and I apparently am okay with that.
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