[part title=”Dropper Seatposts, Tubeless Tyres, The Angleset”]
I actually feel a bit smug about this one cos I was a huge fan of dropper posts way before the whole idea took off properly. I even remember getting a fair bit of abuse in the office about using one. Pointless, waste of time, why can’t you just stop and put your seat down? I still occasionally hear the odd person saying those kinds of things to this day, but as soon as you’ve tried one there really is no going back, and they’re definitely one of the most significant products in recent times.
A dropper post really does change the way you ride a trail, especially if it’s a trail that mixes little descents in with short climbs, the kind that so many of us ride. Previous to a dropper post you either ran your seat down all the time and just suffered on any climbs or flatter and less technical sections, or you just stopped and dropped your seat for any longer descents. Being able to instantly adjust the height though means you end up attacking everything. I don’t think think it is any coincidence that the surge in the popularity of enduro racing coincided with the increased use of dropper posts, the two things just go hand in hand. Actually, I think the Megavalanche had a huge amount to do with the increased sales of dropper posts. That event was the first place where many riders came across the whole idea, and they saw how useful they were. At first some riders thought that was the only place where their use was warranted, but those that had bought them soon found they were using them everywhere.
I know there are some riders who are still using tubes, but I just don’t get it. Personally I would never want to go back to tubes because all I can ever remember is sorting out punctures, whereas in all the years that I have been running tubeless I can only remember two occasions where I’ve suffered a flat, and both of those times I would have been screwed with a tube too. To me punctures and dropped chains were two of the most annoying aspects of our sport, but thanks to the clutch rear mech and tubeless tyres/wheels both of those problems have been massively reduced.
The advantage of tubeless tyres isn’t just down to less punctures though. I can run lower pressures to gain more grip because I’m no longer scared of pinch flats, and even when at the same pressure I swear a tubeless tyre grips better than one with a tube in, plus the tubeless rolls faster too. Like I said, I really don’t get why people still use tubes. Some say it’s because they think tubeless is more of a faff, but I think that’s only because it’s different to what you’ve done for years. As soon as you’ve got tubeless dialled it’s just as easy as a tube, if not easier. And that’s before you even factor in that you won’t be having to deal with all the punctures.
As good as the Angleset is as a product, this selection isn’t so much about the product itself, it’s more about what it resulted in. You see we think that the Angleset really marked the start of what we’d now class as ‘modern’ geometry. Up until this point most consumers hadn’t worried too much about the geometry of a bike that they were thinking about buying. Size yes, but geometry no. The geometry of bikes hadn’t really changed that much either, and most companies were using the same kinds of numbers, but then all of a sudden the Angleset opened peoples eyes to how much better things could be.
For a good few years we fitted an Angleset to almost every bike that we tested, and it immediately transformed them for the better. Bike companies noticed that it wasn’t just us doing this either, lots of riders were, including those riders who were also the ones making the bikes. Of course not everything is about the head angle, but the point is that the Angleset made both riders and bike companies really think about bike geometry and how it could be made better. Today we rarely feel the need to fit an Angleset.