Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM
Teardown | First Impressions

The NEW Bontrager Line Dropper Post

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jul 16, 2018

Line Items

I'm conflicted about the new 150mm Bontrager Line dropper post. On the one hand, it's very reasonably priced, at 250 USD for the post and 50 USD for a replacement cartridge, it includes an ergonomic remote, it has a 2-year manufacturer's warranty, travel is easily adjustable with spacers, and it uses a simple Wintek cartridge layout which makes it very quick to service.

On the other hand, my experiences with the first generation Line posts were abysmal. Each one I engaged sounded like it was rubbing itself raw whilst gargling ball bearings, while my experience with the very affordable Line Comp wheels was excellent and it’s clear Bontrager is pushing the performance of value-priced components. Then again, this post sits between the X-Fusion Manic and the Crankbrothers Highline; two well-priced, reliable performers with the same basic layout.

Line Post

The new 150mm travel Bontrager Line post is a clean looking cartridge option for 250 USD. 

While my e*thirteen TRS+ has a bit of shaft slop, even when fresh, the Line has ZERO shaft movement. It's the tightest post I've ever felt. This will presumably open up a bit as the post breaks in, or at least it hopefully will because out of the box the cartridge is overcoming a fair amount of resistance. None of that resistance is seal friction however and the shaft glides smoothly through the main seal, it's simply that the big plastic guides are a tight fit. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

The long black keys are easily replaced and are toleranced so tight that there is no play at the head. As they break in a bit the post should get much smoother. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

Another dropper post using a Wintek cartridge. This is likely the best setup for the majority of riders. 

From the perspective of both the rider who doesn't do their own service and bike shops, I think cartridge designs like the Line are the best option. It's not a matter of price as much as downtime. I can swap the cartridge in this line post and lube the seals and keyways in less time than it takes to change a rear tire flat with some axle designs. It's a while-you-wait service job. Being able to walk in with the post, go grab a coffee, come back and then ride in the same afternoon presents huge value. That, of course, assumes parts availability. But with an SRP of 50 USD, there is really no excuse for your local Trek dealer not to have a couple of extra cartridges in stock to do quick swaps whether it's a matter of service or warranty. 

This is a conversation for another day, but I think too few riders factor down-time into purchases. In theory this Line post, with the support of Trek's dealer network and online presence, should represent very little downtime compared to many other posts. 

Travel Adjust

The combo of usable seat tube length, the minimum insertion measurement, and inseam make a 150mm dropper post unusable for many a rider and bike combination. The Line post makes it clear that Bontrager is paying attention to this by including the simple tool-free ability to reduce the travel and extension. 

There are 10mm and 30mm spacers available, which turn the post into a 140mm or 120mm dropper.  

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

These cheap, simple spacers reduce the extension, and travel, of the Line dropper. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

Just unwind the seal head by hand and pop in the desired reducer. 

Weight aside, buying the longer option and reducing it leaves future options open. Especially for a rider who may want to transfer the post to their next bike. 

Teardown

As with the X-Fusion Manic teardown, here, and the Crankbrothers Highline teardown, here, this is job that anyone can do. Where the Manic and Highline require a vice or strap wrench to remove the base, the Line unthreaded easily with my hand on the shaft and an adjustable wrench on the base. Up top is a hex key. In other words, the mountain biker who doesn't have the necessary tools is as rare as a dirt jumper in lycra.

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

A hex key, a wrench, and two hands are all that's required to take the Bontrager Line apart. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

Hex key goes here. Remove this bolt first, it holds the cartridge in place. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

Wrench goes here. Hold shaft with one hand and turn wrench with the other. 

Basic maintenance involves simply dropping the lower tube and then cleaning and greasing the keyways and seals. The cartridge does not get touched until it stops functioning properly, at which point it is recycled and replaced. 

If I lived somewhere remote I'd consider buying a second cartridge to eliminate down time when replacement time comes along. Living in North Vancouver, any of these cartridges should be readily available. When buying a post from a shop it's always worthwhile to ask whether they service it in-house and what parts they inventory.  

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

Subtle graphics. I un-wound the seal head and made sure it was well lubricated with Slickoleum. The new SRAM Butter is exactly the same stuff as is Slick Honey. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

How things change. Rail clamps always used to extend rearwards to support saddle rails, but in the days of more upright pedalling positions these are designed to extend forward. 

First Impressions

The Bontrager Line dropper goes up, comes down, and stops anywhere in the middle. In other words, it fulfills the basic duties of a dropper post to a T. It even looks pretty decent doing it. It isn't fast like my e13 TRS+ but it is fast enough that the majority of riders, and probably racers, are going to be happy with its performance. 

It's smooth-ish out of the box and getting better every ride, although I am tempted to sand down the keyways just a touch to accelerate the process. The trade-off is that it's the tightest dropper post I've felt, in the same category as only the BikeYoke Revive, while not matching the smoothness of the German option when it comes to smoothness. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

Cable head located at the post for the fastest setup AND no extra tiny fittings to lose. It's really not that hard after all! Thanks Bontrager.  

If I was buying a Trek, I'd be happy to give the new Line a shot. Aftermarket, if Trek's massive global dealer network is stocking cartridges, seals, and keyways - all cheap parts - there's a real argument to say it's the best-supported dropper on the market, which adds value to the already low price. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

Trusty WTB Deva mounted up and ready to ride. Return speed is medium which should make the majority of riders happy. 

Bontrager Line Dropper Post AndrewM

I only use fully-extended and fully-dropped but, as with other Wintek based posts, the Line can be arrested anywhere in its travel.

The post is already much smoother after a couple rides and shaft-play remains zero. I'm going to wait for the post to break-in and make sure it survives a thorough test period before commenting further on how it compares to my favourites. 

For more information please check out the 250 USD Bontrager Line post on Trek's website here

Comments

Heinous
0
Heinous  - July 16, 2018, 2:07 a.m.

Where can we see more info on that sweet hardtail???

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 16, 2018, 4:07 p.m.

There's a few more shots and some info on my Instagram

Rigid single speeds are a passion of mine but don't really fit the purview of NSMB - although  'You Should Ride A Rigid Fork' did slip through - so I haven't taken many pictures of it. 

It's a pretty mixed-bad setup right now but I'll try and get some more photos up this week.

Reply

LWK
+1 Andrew Major
LWK  - July 16, 2018, 12:34 p.m.

I have a 2018 Trek with this post (not sure if its this "new model" or 1st gen)  and my original plan was to swap it out immediately for the 9.8 on my "old" bike.  I've never bothered...  Its not quite as nice as the 9.8 in that the saddle wiggles a small amount and its not as quick to go up.  But its been more than fine.  been pleasantly surprised/impressed!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 LWK
Andrew Major  - July 16, 2018, 4:07 p.m.

I'm hoping that's my experience! For supporting parts like dropper posts if I never think about the while riding then they're great.

Cheers,

Reply

doug-hamilton
0
Doug Hamilton  - July 19, 2018, 11:03 p.m.

It's exactly the same post the comes in a bunch of different branded bikes. They seem to work fine. I sell the CUBE branded ones for about US$200.00, so that makes the Bontrager one $50 or 20% over priced for their logo and sticker. Don't be sucked in by their marketing and paying more because of it.

Reply

luckyguy19
0
luckyguy19  - July 22, 2018, 8:39 p.m.

I had a 2018 Fuel EX 8 with the older style post, I just bought a 2019 Slash 8 with the newer post.  I never had any problems ever with the old style, but it did seem slow to operate up and down.  The new post is quite a bit faster and seems just about perfect now.  The new post also has a louder thunk when it tops out, its easier to hear so you know right when to sit back down.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 22, 2018, 8:41 p.m.

I've been really happy with the post so far. Stock remote is pretty good but I've been riding it with a Wolf Tooth ReMote and an e13 TRS+ and would consider either a nice upgrade if you want to get your bike something nice for your next anniversary.

Cheers,

Reply

j4m3z420
0
j4m3z420  - Sept. 30, 2018, 9:04 p.m.

Can you tell me more about the travel adjust spacers? Any part numbers available

Reply

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