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External dropper post recommendation?

Oct. 6, 2017, 9:16 a.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Sept. 27, 2017

So my X Fusion Hilo 125 has pooped out (doesn't seem to hold air anymore, now it's a pogo stick.)

There's lots nice INTERNAL options out now (that E 13 looks slick and nicely priced) but for EXTERNAL the choices aren't quite as good.

What's recommended?  #1 I want reliability (and either the ability to replace a cartridge or easy servicability.)  125mm is enough for me and I'm not adverse to preset drop positions (a la E 13 or the Fox DOSS).  I thought the new Fox looked pretty good but I have read reliability issues.  Same with the Race Face.  The new Reverb looks nice but I'm still concerned about their reliability and I would need my bike shop to do the install/bleed for me.  Thomson looks really nice but pretty $$.

So what's working for you as far as external dropper posts?

Older than Loam.

Oct. 6, 2017, 9:38 a.m.
Posts: 1124
Joined: Sept. 30, 2006

Posted by: TheWhiz

So my X Fusion Hilo 125 has pooped out (doesn't seem to hold air anymore, now it's a pogo stick.)

There's lots nice INTERNAL options out now (that E 13 looks slick and nicely priced) but for EXTERNAL the choices aren't quite as good.

What's recommended?  #1 I want reliability (and either the ability to replace a cartridge or easy servicability.)  125mm is enough for me and I'm not adverse to preset drop positions (a la E 13 or the Fox DOSS).  I thought the new Fox looked pretty good but I have read reliability issues.  Same with the Race Face.  The new Reverb looks nice but I'm still concerned about their reliability and I would need my bike shop to do the install/bleed for me.  Thomson looks really nice but pretty $$.

So what's working for you as far as external dropper posts?

Two external KS Lev posts I have been running on our bikes for ~3 seasons.  One 30.9 and one 31.6.  Both 125mm.  Never had any kind of issue with either of them and they have the added bonus of having the release mechanism at the seat collar and not at the head of the post.  The original external Reverbs and Thomsons with the release at the post head was a deal breaker for me.  I know others have had issues with KS, but my experience has been nothing but good.

Oct. 6, 2017, 9:53 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I have to service my Reverbs constantly.

3 year old KS dropper - zero times.

Oct. 6, 2017, 10:57 a.m.
Posts: 9184
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

3 year old Thomson Elite Dropper, sent it back to fix a manufacturing issue a few months after I got it and have not had an issue since. I had one of the early KS posts and had the worst luck with it, sent it back every few months. Would not hesitate to get another Thomson.

Oct. 6, 2017, 12:17 p.m.
Posts: 159
Joined: July 24, 2009

Internal Reverb needed a service about every year or so, died after a good 3 years (with lots of use and little TLC apart from the services). KS Lev Integra that replaced it has been going strong so far, but it's only been about 3 months (with lots of riding, though). External Reverb on the other bike has been going strong for 3.5 years now with one service (I'm not even sure about that one), starts acting up now (drops maybe 1-2cm over an extended period of riding, but comes back up if I stand up and press the lever).

Oct. 8, 2017, 7:04 a.m.
Posts: 350
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

i have been running a ks lev 125 since spring of 2013 with no issues only a couple cable changes. I would not hessitate to get another. As mentioned above I love the release mechanism at the base, no loopy cable to mess with behind your seat. and the lever doubles as a lock on for your grip, kind of a nice touch.

Oct. 9, 2017, 3:30 p.m.
Posts: 1062
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

How long have you had the Hilo and were you generally happy with it? The obvious but unsexy answer to me would be to have it serviced/rebuilt. It will probably cost you 1/3 of any of the other replacement options. 

And if you were to pick up a new ride that's likely stealth compatible you're not weighed down by your new post.

Oct. 9, 2017, 7:07 p.m.
Posts: 70
Joined: March 1, 2017

Yeah, if nothing else, the Hilo is pretty reliable. Just tend to be quite hard to get them to drop all the way down into their travel. I think a rebuild is around 80 bucks? Can't quite remember the MSRP on the seal kit. My external A2 Reverb has been fine for nearly two years but I do wipe it down and never leave it compressed which is one of the main causes of issues.

Oct. 9, 2017, 7:35 p.m.
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

The Fox dropper has been reliable, quick, and the cable connects to the bottom so, again, no cable moving up & down. I like the slight clunk, at the top & bottom so I know where it's at. Also super easy to change a cable.

Oct. 10, 2017, 7:29 a.m.
Posts: 14373
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

Posted by: krusty-rider

The Fox dropper has been reliable, quick, and the cable connects to the bottom so, again, no cable moving up & down. I like the slight clunk, at the top & bottom so I know where it's at. Also super easy to change a cable.

I agree ^^ the only seat dropper I have used is the fox  so no frame of reference but it seems to work the lever is good ... no complaints

Oct. 11, 2017, 2:40 p.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Sept. 27, 2017

Posted by: UFO

How long have you had the Hilo and were you generally happy with it? The obvious but unsexy answer to me would be to have it serviced/rebuilt. It will probably cost you 1/3 of any of the other replacement options. 

And if you were to pick up a new ride that's likely stealth compatible you're not weighed down by your new post.

This is a very good point.  My Hilo history is as follows:

1.  Had the original Hilo 100 27.2 for about 3 years and it worked fairly well, had to top up the air on occassion, and it would get sticky sometimes, but overall it did the job and was dirt cheap compared to other products.  I moved it to a Chromag with 31.6 seat-tube diameter and used a shim with it.  Eventually a plastic part broke off of it, I think it might have been a part of the crappy single bolt seat rail holding mechanism.

2. Then, either late 2016 or early 2017, I bought the Hilo 125 (mentioned above) and it worked great until one fine day it started pogo sticking on me.  Thinking I just needed to add air (which is a bit of a pita, but I followed all of the procedures on their website) I tried topping it up to the recommended 25 psi.  It just wouldn't hold air in it for longer than 30 seconds and it would pogo stick again.  Anyway, I for the first time in my life actually took advantage of the MEC warranty last week.  Got a full refund.

3. Needed a new dropper ASAP though as I just went up to whistler and those valley trails would not be nearly as fun on a rigid post (it could be my lack of skills but hot damn does dropping and raising a post at will make everything more fun, safe and efficient.)  Checked out what was available locally as far as external cabled ones and saw my choices were small unless I ordered something in (was thinking strongly about the Fox Transfer...still am.)  So being desperate, and fairly happy with the Hilo 125 (despite it's short life) and it's affordable price, I got a new one at MEC and a fun time was had at Whistler.  Not sure what I will do when this one gives up the ghost but if it lasts as long as my first Hilo 100, I'll be more than satisfied.

Oct. 11, 2017, 2:44 p.m.
Posts: 26
Joined: Sept. 27, 2017

Posted by: krusty-rider

The Fox dropper has been reliable, quick, and the cable connects to the bottom so, again, no cable moving up & down. I like the slight clunk, at the top & bottom so I know where it's at. Also super easy to change a cable.

You're talking about the Transfer, yes?  I must say that one looks great.  I think it has a replaceable cartridge too.  I like that idea.

Oct. 11, 2017, 9:33 p.m.
Posts: 1062
Joined: Nov. 21, 2002

Suspensionwerx can rebuild the Hilo for you as well under warranty if you fall within the coverage period.


 Last edited by: UFO on Oct. 11, 2017, 9:33 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 11, 2017, 10:38 p.m.
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Yup, Fox Transfer. Been fantastic. The only quibble I have is on the lever, where the cable bends over the "cam" at the end of the lever blade, I've gone through a couple cables already. I think the cam may be a little too sharp of a bend, causing the cable strands to break and fray. Thank goodness it's so damn easy to change a cable, unlike some of the Stealth posts.

Oct. 12, 2017, 11:59 a.m.
Posts: 14373
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

Posted by: krusty-rider

Yup, Fox Transfer. Been fantastic. The only quibble I have is on the lever, where the cable bends over the "cam" at the end of the lever blade, I've gone through a couple cables already. I think the cam may be a little too sharp of a bend, causing the cable strands to break and fray. Thank goodness it's so damn easy to change a cable, unlike some of the Stealth posts.

yeah I've heard that^^ is the only downfall, do you replace the whole cable & housing, how much$ ?

i wonder if you could knock that sharp corner down with a file ?


 Last edited by: XXX_er on Oct. 12, 2017, 12:23 p.m., edited 1 time in total.

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