To dropper or not to dropper, that is the question in marathon XC

Is it useful to save even 400 gram on a XC bike set up for marathon (50-70 km, 2000m+) ?
Any tips to get used to a bike without dropper?
Any lightweight dropper suggestion?






it isn’t a existential question for you @IamLeven @rrollier

At this point, I would never ride or race any bike without one.

I see a couple of issues to consider:

  1. How reliant are you the dropper? If you asked me 3 or 4 seasons ago, I’d say I could operate with or without my dropper pretty similar in all but the most gnarly conditions, but now I use it in way more situations - tech climbs, fast cornering, and even gentle descents - I’m way too programmed to use it, so suddenly removing it would be tricky. I’d have to ride without it for a while to reprogram myself away from it.

  2. If you can solve #1, is the descending actually in need of a dropper - meaning, can you save enough amount of time to justify the time penalty of carrying an extra pound up 2,000+m of climbing? It has to make mathematical sense to even consider it.

If the descending wasn’t super technical, and you were comfortable not using the dropper for fast descending, then it could be worth it for sure. I personally would lean toward using it, even with the above caveats, just for the added safely insurance a dropper gives me.

The weight difference between the carbon seatpost that came on my bike and the dropper is just over 200 grams, with the dropper around 500 (Oneup, could have saved 50g but wanted the 150mm drop over another 120mm post. It hasn’t ever crossed my mind to take the dropper off.

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Dropper, no question.

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A few hundred grams less weight wouldn’t get me up hills faster than the time lost descending.

I guess if you already have a fixed post you could do some test loops and compare times but I’d not spend money on a fixed post for testing.

This is why right here. You asked for advice getting used to the bike without a dropper post which suggests you are used to the dropper post already. It’s not worth the effort required to find out, and you’re almost certainly going to find out you’re faster with the dropper post on all courses. Even if you are looking for very marginal gains, I would look elsewhere.

Echoing what everyone else has said, dropper 100%.

My XC bike came with an integrated dropper post (BMC 4Stroke). Before this bike I had a couple other types but didn’t think it was “100%” necessary but then again they weren’t reliable. Perhaps shitty ones or old tech. Now having it all the time, it is something I love having on every ride.

There is point on mellow gravel/ road descents where just sitting lower on the bike is a nice relief and added aero boost.

200-400g is a small price to pay for how much smaller it makes the bike on tech. This-in my opinion- makes your xc bike more capable.

Ive never used a dropper my self but given Mohoric used one to win on the Milan San Remo last year I think the benefits must outweigh (excuse the pun) negatives :wink:

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I was thinking the same thing but for my gravel bike. Things like Rock Cobbler and Sea Otter Gravel, having it is well worth it. Unbound 200 or Gray Duck 222? That’s a harder sell since there isn’t much if any technical riding that calls for a dropper. Gravel descents sure, but nothing MTB technical.

Hot Take: Gravel is just longer less technical XCM.


There’s XCM and there’s XCM.

Dropper 1000% for technical riding and racing.

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