FOLLOW UP REVIEW
X-Fusion's $200 Manic Dropper Post
All The Bikes
I have installed the X-Fusion Manic dropper post more times than I can count. I've had the post since early in the year and I've ridden it on my personal Honzo, a Kona Wozo during Snowmaggedon 2017, my Honzo again, a Trek Stache, my Honzo again and finally it's been standing tall on a Marin Hawk Hill.
It still goes up and down like new and when I pull the outer tube off things are surprisingly clean inside. As with other Dropper Post reviews I'm balancing a timely release of information with long term testing by updating my experience with the post now and then continuing to ride it with plans to only update further if issues occur in the long term*.
With the lightest lever action going and one of the nicest functioning remotes on the market the performance of the Manic is easily overshadowed by it's $200 (USD) price tag. With 150mm and 100mm models joining the 125mm Manic shortly it really comes down to one question; why buy anything else?
I have some nitpicks (below) and cost aside it is not my favourite dropper post on the market. It's also 42% less expensive than my preferred model which is itself good value compared to many other posts.
I'm not suggesting there aren't reasons a rider would spend more on a different dropper post but I am saying that anyone looking for a premium dropper experience at the best price point should be considering the Manic. It's the definitive dropper post for the Min-Max-Marin project because the quality and performance are detached from the price.
In the caption above, if you were thinking the Marin Hawk Hill is a full suspension bike that's true but that isn't the difference I was pointing too.
The Honzo, the Wozo and the Stache all use 31.6 posts but the Hawk Hill has a 30.9 seat tube. The Manic is tailor made for upgrading bikes that come with static seat posts and bringing balance to my universe required riding the Manic on the Marin. The great news is that a new outer body for the Manic retails for $50 (USD) and it's a really quick job to swap between the two sizes. I was still waxing poetic about my morning cappuccino 20 minutes after James at SuspensionWerx completed the swap.
It's nice to know the post can easily follow to the next bike even if it has a different seat tube size.
Thanks to the actuator linkage I highlighted in my first look the Manic has the lightest action of any dropper post I've used. The feeling is almost vague at the remote.
It's very easy to use the infinite post travel thanks to the hyper-adjustable and very ergonomic remote. I actually prefer the post now that the cable has gotten a little bit sticky because there is more feedback when I engage the remote.
There has been zero degradation in the cartridge's support or return speed. If I owned a Manic I would still be tempted to have a second cartridge on hand being that they are only $25 and easy to swap.
The post is still nice and tight with only the minute amount of play at the head which it had from fresh. Replacing the key ways isn't a big job but it's great that they are long-wearing to boot.
The low cost of this product makes it tempting to gloss over any issues, but problems are problems.
1) As someone who has removed and installed the Manic many times, having the cable retention at the post end of the system is a comparative pain. I'd like to see the cable head at the post and the retention at the dropper the way many other brands are running their setups. Crank Brothers' quick connect system is so brilliant in this regard I'd love to see every dropper post** adopt something similar.
2) Next up is the lack of retention system preventing the post from being physically extended when an upward force is applied. I first noticed it hiking over some deadfall*** this winter riding the Wozo. I grabbed the seat as part of the lift and the post extended. No big deal and no harm to the post. Just depress the remote and reset the post at the desired height but I'd rather the X-Fusion didn't do it.
Between Snowmageddon-2017 and the extra rainy spring, the poor Manic post has been through a lot. I think the cold had a limited effect on performance but honestly it was so negligible it could have just been my frozen thumbs. The relatively long remote lever blade and linkage actuator have kept the post feeling great even though cable friction has increased. The only riding conditions I can't speak to at this point are dry and dusty with only a couple of rides on the X-Fusion post since the sun came out. I don't envision any issues but I'll certainly report back if anything comes up.
The Manic parallels my X-Fusion Trace experience. Both combine high-quality manufacturing, great pricing for the features, top0-end performance and packaging that doesn't quite convey the premium performance of the product. It doesn't look high-end and details, like cable mounting, aren't dialed to the level of some other droppers but the pricing makes it a top value.
Once I put the price back into consideration the Manic is a top choice for a dropper post. It possesses no true negatives and only a few niggles. In my mind the only reason to buy anything else is a desire for particular features not found in the Manic. For more information check out the X-Fusion Manic here.
*For example I've been on a Crankbrothers Highline for over a year now with zero issues.
**I was going to say "every cable actuated dropper post" but really...
***Too big to move or to cut with my folding saw.