The name that’s synonymous with reliability enters the dropper seatpost game.
DIRT ISSUE 128 – OCTOBER 2012
Words by Ed H. Photo by Ed H
This new dropper post was easily one of the biggest surprises of the recent Eurobike show. For starters we hadn’t heard any rumours about it, and secondly up until now the Thomson range of products has remained largely unchanged for years. They’ve never made that many products, but what they do make is second to none, and with that comes an enviable reputation for quality which we doubt they’d ever want to risk losing.
So, to see a whole new range of bars on their stand was something of a surprise, despite the obvious link to their stems, but then seeing something as complicated as a dropper seatpost was on a whole different level. So many companies have tried and failed when it comes to dropper posts, mainly in the reliability stakes, so for Thomson to have gone down this route we’re guessing that they must be mightily confident in what they’ve come up with. And that’s why we’re so looking forward to getting one of these on test.
When I spoke to one of the guys from Thomson he was quick to point out that reliability was indeed their number one aim with this post. To them it didn’t matter how good the rest of it was if it didn’t match up to the reliability of the rest of their products. It seemed like they’d rather make a post that works OK for years rather than a post that works amazingly for a few months. Saying that though, they’re confident that they’ve come up with one that will work amazingly for years.
There are really two key points in how Thomson have set about achieving class–leading reliability. The first is the use of a fully sealed nitrogen/oil cartridge which takes care of all up down movement. All the other posts on the market are user serviceable, whereas this one is a strict ‘return to service centre’ affair. That might not sound like a good thing but Thomson reckon the chances of you needing to return the post for a service are very slim, and in order to make this product a ‘fit and forget’ one they had to make it this way. Because the pressure inside the post is fixed the only way to alter the return speed of the post is to vary how much you open the valve. This valve is operated via either a simple lever under the seat or a cable operated remote bar lever (both options will be supplied as standard), and basically the more you move the lever the faster the post will rise. It’s a simple solution and on the sample posts at the show it was never stupidly fast, plus it seemed easy to get it exactly where you wanted it within the 5” of adjustment.
The second unique feature is the way that Thomson have got around the old side–to–side seat play issue. Up until now this has been dealt with via multiple keyway bushings that stop the round shaft from rotating, and it can kind of work, but it’s not perfect. Instead of going down this route Thomson have made a 16–point spline system that interlocks in the lower portion of the post. They believe that this system will prove to be far more reliable, and the added benefit is that it means they can use conventional round bushings like you’d find in a fork, and these result in smoother operation. They’ve gone for the best Norglide bushings too, and the posts certainly did feel silky smooth.
So, we’ve got a potentially massively reliable dropper post with 5” of travel (internally adjustable down to 4”), remote or lever operation, infinite adjustment, 30.9 and 31.6mm sizes, and the most proven seatpost head on the market. What more could you want? Well a cable that doesn’t attach to the head is the only thing that we can think of, but apart from that we reckon Thompson could be onto a massive winner here if they really have pulled off what they’re claiming. As for price, that’s still to be decided for the UK but it sounds like it’s going to be on a par with its main competitors.