Dropper Post usage for Dummies

I recently got a dropper post on my hardtail XC bike based on a lot of videos on the internet & comments such as:
“A dropper post will transform your riding”
“My riding really progressed when I got a dropper”
Also the likes of Blake from GMBN on a hardtail with a dropper going quicker than an Enduro bike with a fixed post.

I’ve been on a few outings now & I guess I’m still a bit confused on how to use properly it on the trails. The extremes make perfect sense, i.e. it’s great for going down steep things or not getting hit by the saddle going through a technical section, but what about cornering & general flat-ish trail where it’s a combination of pedaling, corners and going over things?

I’ve found that having the saddle up I use it to help with balance on the bike. I’ve been caught out a couple of times in slower sections with the seat down where I’ve gotten a case of the wobbles as I guess my weight shifted too quickly to the front (or back) and upset things. I know this is probably due to poor technique of course but it’s not confidence inspiring and definitely not the sales pitch I saw for getting a dropper post.

So how do people use dropper posts for general single track riding?
-Forget about it, leave it up and just use it when you want to go down something steep?
-Leave it down whenever the trail turns into single track?
-Leave it down a little bit for single track & drop it completely when you hit something steep?
-Sell it and reclaim the ~300gram weight penalty?

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You have to be more specific than general riding. IMHO a modern mountain bike should simply come with a dropper post, and in general it is a worthwhile investment in money and weight. For the same reason the added weight of a rear suspension pays off, too.

Without a dropper post you either have to manually adjust the height from “uphill” to “downhill/trail” mode or find a compromise that works everywhere somewhat. A saddle at the proper height for climbing will make it much more difficult to shift your weight back especially, and you can quickly go to a compromise setting in a region where you quickly go from seated to out-of-the-saddle. And you first need to spread your thighs to make the ears of the saddle fit through your legs.

I have no idea what you are riding, but I’d definitely keep trying. Watch a few youtube videos. Don’t give up and get out on the trails and ride! :slight_smile:

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Sorry thought I’d given a few examples.
Just what you’d classify as a green or blue trail easy/moderate without any major obstacles where some pedaling is required. i.e. If you leave it all the way up you may get whacked by the saddle a few times.

I guess I’m also wondering do people drop the saddle a small amount in accordance with the difficulty of the trail, or just use them all the way up or all the way down.

Based on any youtube video I’ve seen about droppers I’m going to assume you just leave it down all the time. Maybe race videos would give more insight, but again I think it would only be obvious there if it’s all the way down.

I’m struggling to write down how this would work. Best thing I think I can come up with is to listen to Lee talking about row/antirow on the podcast below. The row/antirow is pretty heavily constrained by a rigid seatpost, dropping the saddle out of the way opens up your ability to get yourself and the bike working with the terrain, rather than just riding over it.


Just keep riding and practicing with it and find out what works for you. Don’t overthink it and it will honestly become as intuitive as gear selection in time.


To be honest, I have ridden with a dropper post only once, and it felt pretty intuitive to me. Although I wasn’t shredding trails at the time. But ever since I got into mountain biking, I would often drop my saddle just a little for easy trails, which greatly simplifies shifting my weight back, but still allowing me to pedal.

Even without much in the way of personal experience, I’d say just keep at it. Try to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

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Another vote for slam it then?
Cheers - yeah had considered needing to re-listen to some of the Lee Likes bikes podcasts.

I guess this video where Blake corners with a high saddle is what I mean by using the saddle for grip/balance. But he also advocates dropping the saddle ~1 inch if it’s a fixed saddle. I was thinking dropping it slightly makes sense when you have a dropper for this kind of cornering technique to still be able to use the saddle.

Then there’s also this video - which shows the cornering technique with the body/bike separation - But also supports my suggestion of leaving it up and dropping it when something technical appears.

This :slight_smile:
it’s obviously best when you don’t need to pedal, when you do need to pedal, you need to find the balance for your riding style, if speed is your goal and you need to pedal hard, you probably don’t want to use it too much or not at all on the flat stuff.
For my local flat trails I’m better off without the dropper on my F-Si hardtail, but I leave it on for the trails where I do want it. (need is a big word for the Netherlands ;)). On the flat stuff I tend to use it most often on pump sections, not for corners


I know what you mean by it feeling unstable when the post is dropped and you are cornering or pedalling. It definitely takes more than getting used to. I get quite used to using the inside of my thigh to lean the bike over and press against so it’s odd when it’s not there. Three things that help some of the time, one is to drop the gearing two cogs when you drop the post. That way you can pedal at a slower cadence and not feel like you are spinning out when standing, which is one of the feelings that can be unbalancing. The second is to just drop it part of the way, you don’t have to go all the way down, just down as far as you need to for that section. And a third is to actually sit down on the dropped seat. Feels kind of wierd at first, especially if it’s dropped all the way, but it’s okay for a short section that may be flat in between technical sections where you want the post to be down. It beats, dropping it, raising it and then dropping it in quick succession.


Pretty much any time I stand, I drop the post, with the exception being climbing. In other words, I almost always drop it for flat corners and any sort of descent. If you keep at it, it becomes as intuitive as changing gears, and that feeling of being lost without a saddle touching your leg disappears. I remember it was disorienting and unnerving at first, but two feet and two hands is plenty of connection to the bike.

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@dhaines83 This. You’ll figure it out with time. The most obvious places are on downhills, but it can also help with tight turns.

One recommendation: make sure the dropper post lever is easily accessible for your thumb, where you can drop the post at a moments notice. On my first bike with a 2x drivetrain, the dropper post plunger was above the bars. It was a pain to activate, and as a result, I didn’t use the dropper as much as I should have.


I didn’t use my dropper as much as I should/could have but that all changed when I got the AXS and it’s opened me up to using it more since it’s lightning fast. Now I find myself using it a lot on flowy sections of trail (makes pumping easier) and even doing log-overs I can keep my weight lower down, it just makes for a more confidence inspiring ride in a lot of places. That said I still sit a LOT of the time especially during pedaling sections but I’m using it a lot more nowadays

If it’s infinitely adjustable, you’ll learn to achieve micro drops with it that allows you to maintain some pedaling power, but lowers your CG just enough to corner a bit faster, clean a technical climb, or go over moderately short but steep enough down hills. I’m not always a full up or down dropper post user, I find positions in the middle all the time that are very usable. I’ll drop the saddle completely out of the way on really steep sections or when jumping. Actually find that getting the saddle “just low enough” on certain descents is actually better than getting it all the way down.

Another hidden benefit with droppers becomes more apparent on longer rides. An ever so slightly different pedaling position is really nice on a big day.

You’re way late to the party, but welcome - give it a chance and enjoy it.


Thanks for the replies all.
Sounds like I’m relatively on the right track by dropping it the amount that seems right for the scenario I’m in at the time.


I’d put myself in the still learning to use my dropper right category as well. I did a ride recently on trails I know really well and just for fun I started dropping the post on the many sharp corners on this route. Sample size of 1 of course, but I PR’d a ton of the flatter/curvy sections on the route that day. I’m fitter then I have been in the past so I’m sure that contributed as well, but I definitely felt like I carried more speed through even the flat corners by dropping the post.

Kind of a pain to drop it over and over as this route has tons of turns and then pedal sections in-between, but I was pretty shocked by the results.


Dropper post usage is much simpler if you live in a more mountainous region where you just leave it up on the climbs and then drop it for the descents. But if you live in a flatter area then its not as straight forward. I tend to drop it on almost every descent unless I know that it will be smooth and without jumps, drops, etc… It gives me more freedom to move around and weight/unweight the bike over obstacles or around turns. It is definitely a little weird at first to corner without the saddle between your legs but once you focus on really weighting your feet and hands I found that I’m much more stable without it. Most likely, if you feel your saddle on your outside thigh during corning then you don’t have enough force through your hand and the bike it’s leaned enough.

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