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Welcome back to the Bikerumor Ask A Stupid Question series. This week we’re answering your technical questions about dropper post maintenance and tuneability, recruiting experts from OneUp Components and YEP Components. Your contributors are as follows:
My dropper post drops and bottoms out as soon as I sit on it. It is not quite a year old. Just went to use it for the first run of the year and it won’t hold my weight. Is this something I can adjust or do I need to have the cylinder pressured up?
OneUp Components: This symptom indicates a complete failure of the brake mechanism in the cartridge. Even if all the air has been released from the system the brake should still function. If we received a customer complaint with this description we would send them a replacement cartridge immediately.
If the brake works but your post is slow to extend then they likely need to add air to the cartridge.
YEP Components: If it is a hydraulic system, it could be one of two things; 1) the cable routing is not correct, and as such the valve it is not closing as it should, 2) the cartridge has air in it so it needs to be bled or swapped out for a new one.
Is there any way of altering the progression of my dropper? I don’t like how it just slams straight to the bottom of its travel when I push the lever. A bit of resistance would help me fine tune my saddle height for technical climbing.
OneUp Components: Maxing out the pressure would increase the resistance when lowering and therefore make fine tuning the drop easier. That said, we typically find that riders want lower drop resistance, not higher.
YEP Components: Mechanically actuated droppers are very fast and not controllable. Hydraulic droppers are a bit better but it can vary a lot from brand to brand. It can be tuned by changing the oil viscosity. Our 3.0 dropper has the possibility to add volume spacers to ramp the air pressure more while the dropper goes down through its travel. This will give more feedback to the rider.
Why won’t my dropper seat post stay up (or down) when it gets really cold? I imagine something in the mechanism is freezing. Is there anything I can do to prevent this happening?
OneUp Components: Our dropper uses a hydraulic cartridge that is approved for -40C/-40F without significant slow down. We use oil and grease rated for this temperature range and do not use a hydraulic system for actuation (which is usually the issue with this complaint). As with all cable-actuated posts, care needs to be taken to lubricate and therefore not allow water into the cable housing when at room temperature.
YEP Components: This happens only on hydraulic actuated droppers; there is just one on the market. Normally, cold weather can slow the action down a bit because the oil get less fluid.
How can I alter the return speed of my dropper post? It returns way too fast for my liking! It’s like a rocket. I fear for my nether regions.
OneUp Components: Dropping the air pressure to 250 PSI will slow the return but even at a full 300 PSI the OneUp post is sufficiently damped so as to be approved by even the most sensitive nether regions.
YEP Components: Only by acting on the air pressure (when possible) or changing the oil viscosity (not possible on sealed cartridges).
How can I prolong the life of my dropper post? Is it safe to use Suspension Lube Spray (like from Fenwick’s) on the dust seal?
OneUp Components: Five to ten minutes of annual maintenance will keep you post running buttery smooth. OneUp posts come with a sachet of Slickoleum grease for your first service. Check out our instructions for what you can do to keep things sliding nicely.
YEP Components: Taking care of the dropper will prolong its life quite a bit. The stanchion is exposed to the dirt launched by the rear wheel while riding. This is true especially in bad weather. The dirt must be cleaned off before the next ride otherwise (especially mud) when it is dried can pass the dust scraper barrier and contaminate the gliding bushing resulting in scratches on the stanchion surface.
Use a wet soft cloth to clean the scraper lip and add a little suspension oil , the same care you do to your suspensions
Editor’s Note: We sent these questions to other dropper post manufacturers, including those who manufacture hydraulic-actuated examples. Not all brands were able to dedicate the time and resources to provide a response.
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