Georgia, USA component maker Thomson has announced a long-awaited component at the Eurobike show: its entry into the increasingly competitive dropper seatpost arena.
Dropper posts have become popular in the last few years as riders tackling ever steeper and more technical terrain have looked for ways to quickly get the saddle out of the way. Gravity Dropper and the Maverick Speedball post were among the first and in the last few years RockShox, Fox, KS, Crank Brothers and others have joined the party.
Now there's also Thomson, and the company admits it's fashionably late, but hopes that's provided the chance to learn from others' problems.
Thomson's post has five inches of infinitely-adjustable travel, and can be actuated with either a remote switch or a lever under the saddle. Both will be included in the package when the post ships in, Thomson estimates, Spring 2013.
There will be 30.9mm and 31.6mm wide versions, but a 27.2mm post will have to wait till version 2, as will provision for routing the cable inside the frame.
The biggest bugbear of dropper posts is rotational slop developing over time as the sliding bushing wears. Thomson has tackled with snug, adjustable seals and an internal 12-point brass pushing that supports the post.
If it turns out not to work in further real-world testing, then it's back to the drawing board. Having seen the hassles some other dropper post makers have had, Thomson's not prepared to ship a $380 component that's not right says Thomson marketing guy Dave Parrett.
Inside the post is an oil-damped nitrogen-charged cartridge that provides the upward push to return the post to normal height. A second check valve prevent extension until you release the lever. That means it won't move back up if, say, you hang the bike from the saddle when it's compressed.
The cartridge is not user-serviceable because Thomson doesn't want us messing around trying to take apart components with 135psi of nitrogen in them. If it develops a problem, a service centre will be able to swap it out and then service the faulty part so you're not off your bike for a week waiting.
Estimated weight is 450g, and while, as we said, Thomson hopes to have it in the shops by Spring, Parrett says, “it won't ship till we have it reliable."