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So you’re looking for an affordable dropper post for your mountain bike? To cut your search time short, we will recommend the best options for you and your bike.
Our selection is tried and tested. You won’t see an expensive dropper in sight (well, maybe one!), but you can still expect a well-performing dropper post that will enhance any mountain biking experience.
Let’s take a quick look at our top three choices before diving deeper.
Top three budget dropper posts at a glance
What to look for when choosing a dropper post
Internal vs. external cable routing
This is one of the most important things to determine before making a buying decision. The names are pretty self-explanatory. Internal or stealth cable routing is when your dropper seat cabling is routed inside the bike frame. This setup is aesthetically pleasing and offers more protection for your cables.
In contrast, external cable routing means the cabling will be routed outside the bike’s frame. External cable routing is easier to set up.
Hydraulic vs. mechanical
Besides internal and external cable routing, you can also choose a mechanical or hydraulic actuation setup. Almost all dropper posts on the market use a mechanical lever to raise the seat up and down. Mechanical dropper actuation is cheaper and easier to repair and will likely give you fewer maintenance problems.
Like hydraulic brakes, hydraulically actuated dropper posts use hydraulic fluid to move the saddle up and down. They tend to be more expensive, and I’ve met a few riders who think they’re unnecessarily complicated. But they do give you a unique riding experience.
Dropper post diameter
It’s crucial to find a dropper post that can fit your bike. That means you’ll have to inspect your bike to see if the seat tube diameter is etched there. If not, you might be able to get this information from your manufacturer’s website. Although mountain bikes may have different dropper seat diameters, commonly used diameters range from 27.2 mm to 34.9 mm, so that should narrow it down for you.
Dropper post travel length
Ideally, it’s best to have a dropper post with a more flexible travel length when raising or lowering your saddle. When mountain biking, having a seat almost disappearing on a descent keeps you safer and gives you extra room for maneuvering the bike. Dropper post travel length typically ranges from 100 mm to 200 mm.
Be sure to factor in insertion length and saddle stack height to find the maximum total length that gives you a comfortable pedaling height.
A dropper post with more customization is preferable since it allows you to adjust the saddle to any height within the travel length range. Most riders prefer a dropper post with more adjustability.
However, some droppers won’t have infinite adjustment. Instead, you can only adjust the post to preset positions. This won’t be a problem if these preset positions are comfortable for you, so you don’t have to spend time fine-tuning your saddle height.
You can opt for a dropper post that has a handlebar remote or a seat post lever. Traditional dropper posts have seat post levers, but handlebar remotes are becoming more common as the technology improves. The obvious reason for that is that adjusting the height of your saddle is easier when using a handlebar remote. With a seat post lever, you will have to remove your hand from the handlebar while shifting your weight, making things trickier.
Dropper posts can get pretty expensive, but you’ll still find some affordable ones with great performance. Keep reading because we’ve got some for you!
Best budget-friendly dropper posts for your mountain bike
Generally, the recommendations below have a price range of $100 to $200, although, of course, there are a few outliers.
OneUp claims that their V2 is the shortest dropper post on the market. This gives you the advantage of more clearance, particularly on steep descents. Made from aluminum alloy, this option also stands out because of the travel adjust shim system that lets you find a more personalized seat length.
- Cable actuated
- Infinite adjustable drop
- Shortest stack height currently on the market
- Compact and lightweight
- You can choose from a variety of ergonomic remotes
- You’ll need to purchase the remote separately
Hear me out. Crankbrothers might not have impressed many riders with their previous versions, but with the Highline, it’s clear they have since learned to deliver value for money. However, they do still have room for improvement. Still, if you want to explore something different, this is a great option.
- Internal routing setup
- Easy installation
- Comes in different sizes and styles
- Unique lever design to suit your riding style
- A bit on the heavy side (700g)
- The dropper tends to creep up and down after some use
If you want a dropper post that won’t spring any nasty surprises on you, this KS eTen remote dropper post should be up your alley. The tradeoff here is you’ll have to carry more weight since the dropper is noticeably heavy. But if you want “nothing fancy” and something that does what it says, you will be fine with this option.
- Cable remote actuation
- External cable routing
- Remote lever
- Easy installation
- Good value
- Weighs in at over 700g
- Might not perform as well in colder weather
PNW might not be one of the bigger brands, but they still don’t disappoint. Most riders who have purchased this dropper post agree that it’s super easy to install. They also agree that, for the price, the PNW Components Cascade dropper post manages to surprise with its reliability.
- External cable routing
- Multiple travel options – 125, 150, and 170 mm
- 3-year warranty
- Easy to set up
- Remote has great performance
- External routing at the midcap keeps cables from getting messy
- Not as lightweight as I would like
- You need to get your own cable ties to mount the cables on the bike frame
The TranzX Kitsuma dropper post has a solid construction, and the finish looks pretty good. Keep in mind that this product line comes with a variety of options, so you’re bound to find something that suits you. This option has external cable routing, but the same brand has a Kitsuma Air dropper post with internal cable routing.
- External cable routing
- Three diameter options: 27.2 mm, 30.9 mm, and 31.6 mm
- Under seat connection reduces tangling
- Suitable for many bike frames
- You’ll have to buy the lever kit and cable housing separately
When it comes to budget dropper posts, you won’t find many big brands being mentioned. However, as far as reliability is concerned, the X-Fusion Manic comes highly recommended.
- Internal cable routing
- Handlebar remote
- Infinitely adjustable travel
- Remote position on the handlebars can be left or right, below or above, for more customization
- The length is great for riders looking for extra height
- One of those dropper posts that is a bit on the heavier side
The Bike Yoke Revive is so named because if your dropper post starts to sag, you can magically get it back to its normal position. This feature certainly makes the Bike Yoke Revive post stand out more. We all need a little innovation in our lives.
- Infinite adjustment
- Internal routing cabling
- Four diameter options
- Four travel options
- Underbar remote levers and cables
- Easy installation
- Fast response and smooth adjustment
- Comes with a unique Revive Valve for resetting hydraulic internals back to their original function
- Longer extended length
So far, we have mentioned a lot of options that either come with internal or external cable routing. But what if you could have both? This is where the Giant Contact Switch SL dropper post shines. This brand has produced several generations of these dropper posts, and they keep getting better and better.
- External and internal cable routing
- 100, 125, and 150 mm travel
- Anti-twist technology keeps the saddle firmly positioned
- Comes with a well-performing shifter style remote lever
- Easy installation
- Limited diameter options
The RockShox Reverb AXS is in a category of its own. Literally. So, while it might not fully meet the definition of affordable, technically it’s the cheapest (and only) dropper of its kind. The good news is it’s possible to find cheaper options online if you shop around.
Also, as mentioned, you won’t find many hydraulically actuated dropper posts on the market, and RockShox Reverb is only one of the few options. However, with the RockShox Reverb AXC, the brand went a step up and got rid of the hydraulic hose to develop an electrically charged dropper post.
- Electrical system
- Impressive first-of-its-kind wireless technology
- Fast and super responsive
- Easier installation since there are no cables
- The remote button is light and easy to push
- It’s not as affordable
- Needs to be constantly recharged
Are dropper posts worth it?
Now that you have a starting point on your dropper post search, you might also be wondering if a dropper post is worth the cost. Let’s face it. There are always cheaper options on the market. But a dropper post that’s too cheap may not always keep your wallet happy if you have to fork out more money to buy a new one.
The nine options we have recommended above are pretty affordable, and each dropper post has been thoroughly assessed for its trailworthiness and found up to the job. Anyway, here are some top benefits of dropper posts that will convince you they’re worth every buck.
A dropper post is one of the best mountain biking technologies to emerge this century simply because mountain biking can be dangerous without one. A dropper post will keep you safe on downhill descents by lowering your center of gravity, so you’re less likely to hit a bump and pitch over the bars.
Besides reducing the risk of a crash, getting your seat out of the way sometimes helps to give you more control over your bike. For instance, adjusting your seat post height will give you more room to maneuver your bike safely when cycling over technical terrain.
I used to be one of those cyclists who turned up their noses at dropper posts, but now I sing a different tune. I know plenty of other mountain bikers who are like me. The thing is, installing a dropper post on your bike doesn’t mean you’ll have a magical moment immediately afterward.
Instead, you’ll gradually notice how your pedaling efficiency has increased and how you have more control over your bike. So, a dropper isn’t just handy when going downhill or for the common uses you hear about. Even a slight adjustment of your dropper post can tweak your comfort level and place less strain on tired leg muscles.
Convenience is the hallmark of the 21st century, and it’s a good thing it has spilled over to the mountain biking industry in the form of dropper posts. Sure, a dropper post will add a bit of unwanted weight, but it will bring your mountain biking experience to a whole new level, so you won’t mind.
Nothing beats being able to adjust your saddle height quickly with the push of a lever without having to stop and get off your bike. Dropper posts are also handy even when you need to stop, whether it’s at a crosswalk or stoplight.
All you have to do is lower your seat and put your feet on the ground without getting up. Having different preferred saddle heights for various activities can also help to reduce back and knee pain.
Who said you need an expensive dropper post to switch things up on the trail? We have rounded up nine budget dropper posts you can get for a great price. Don’t forget to consider factors like the type of cable routing, post diameter, travel length, and adjustability when choosing the best dropper for you.
One last thing: Ensure that your dropper post is serviced regularly to extend its lifespan. Here’s to a safer and more comfortable mountain biking experience!