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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Monday, November 21, 2011

To Drop or not to Drop

Not as per what the title may suggest, that is about taking a drop. Rather its about having adjustable aka dropper seat post. Was just reading a whole slew of for vs against on adjustable seatpost.

The usual non-direct factors like weight, cost and all are muttered. Weight wise, I don't give 2 hoots since my bikes are already heavy. Cost wise, I would of course hope some day it will come down to the price of a fixed post....wishful dreaming I reckon. As for the woes of such gadgets-- let's get real, what thing in life is problem free? Have you ever seen anything that moves that gives you zero problem! Do your research and choose wisely. Not all adjustable seatpost are created equal... 

As usual the lot voting a "NO" falls into the typical "once upon a time when I first starting riding, there weren't even such things as suspension or disc brakes..." Sure, once upon a time, dinosaurs were the biggest living things on Earth. They still are from fossil records but just extinct. Nostalgia and ego at play again. Sigh....

I'm not saying there is no place for a fixed seatpost nowadays. It all depends on the kind of trail, type of riding that one does and the amount of sacrifice one is willing to take by breaking the momentum of a ride, getting down to wiggle the post up or down.

From observation, there are riders who simply put their post at some half way point. Not the lowest but not hiked up for optimal pedaling either. It does seem to work for some and generally enough to put the weight back on the steep downs. But if it means coming to a sudden big drop... I have not seen many that takes to the air, all the time, every time. Again that boils down to reducing the fun factor in a ride for me.Plus I doubt it is really fun if there are long pedaling stretch positioned in a neither here nor there position.

Locally, in Singapore, if riding typically xc fashion, with careful line choosing, there is no need at all for an adjustable post. But even on the same trails, if you want to hit it differently, going for more aggressive lines and airing some then an adjustable post would be invaluable.

As I was reading the forum thread, can't help but notice that the replies would also somehow have depended much on where the riding takes place which would have affected the views formed. If its a hard but smooth 3000 ft climb followed by a flowy and also relatively smooth descend of the same elevation, then again a fix post is sufficient.

In many places, especially temperate countries it would also be easy to spot just about the entire trail area/ ridge lines from far to make an assessment of what one is getting into even in unfamiliar trails/ mountains.

Around South East Asia, not so... ridgelines are mostly covered in foliage and on a seemingly long descend, 2 seconds into a turn you may just find yourself powering up on a pedaling stretch, be it steep or gradual. This is where an adjustable post comes in handy. Of course one could always stand up and power up the climb but just try doing that continuously on non smooth rolling terrain with ruts rocks and what not-- it would be apparent soon enough it ain't much fun when the quads are burning from all the unneeded strains.

Add to it if its just after a rainy session, all the slipping and sliding from a lack of traction...... An adjustable post can quickly put you back into an efficient seated climb without getting off the bike. Crest over and u are ready for the next 1km of bombing down.

Then there are other occasions when u suddenly need to drop the post. Again the "high fixed seatpost" championing folks would wax from the glory of their yesteryear riding. Seriously, beer bragging macho sessions or engaging in trailhead bravado decked out in rainbow colorsand finally going home with a squeaky clean bike isn't my cuppa. I'm already too underskilled and getting too old. Time is better spent trying to ride as much with components that works and brings improvement to riding that I do.

Just an example from a recent trip/ride...  on a descending but almost flat section, to gain max speed, had the seatpost on the high side (not optimal climbing height but still high enough) then all of a sudden came sections like this... almost vertical roll down and a quick flick got me down and going again. A fixed post? Nah....

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