Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole ValleyMuddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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X-Fusion Hilo 100 dropper post

Posted by Matt | June 8, 2011 | 25 comments so far

Over on Bikemagic they have recently written about the X-Fusion dropper post which they’ve just got in for review. What makes it a little different from much of the ever-growing crowd of dropper posts is its availability in 27.2mm sizing.

It would be perfect for older Orange Fives in fact!

X-Fusion Hilo 100 dropper post

Underwhelmed by dropper posts

Those who ride with me know pretty much what I’m going to say here.

I’m ambivalent to the idea of dropper posts for two reasons. First of all, apart from the mechanical simplicity of the Gravity Dropper there is nothing out there which caters for my more-than-competent but increasingly old-skool feeling Five (2007 model). What with ‘just’ a 27.2mm seat post, no tapered head tube and so on its feeling rather out of date these days.

Unfortunately it’s still significantly better than the person riding it!

The second reason for my lack of enthusiasm is the weight penalty. The X-Fusion is an additional 1.3lbs (600g) to lug around and since my Five is my do anything bike (as in, I ride it pretty much all the time), I don’t really want to have to put up with that. Added to which I’ve spent a lot of time and money getting it down to a decent weight.

On the flipside I need to own up to the fact I’ve never actually tried a dropper post! So my complaints are in principal rather than based on any real-world experience. Could the advantages out-weigh the disadvantages?

The X-Fusion Hilo may be able to persuade me.

It’s available with a remote cable operated switch from the handlebars or the more basic crotch-rumaging idea under the saddle. For those who noted how Rock Shox made such a big thing about being able to supply the Reverb with either bling chrome or matt black finishes recently it’s interesting that the Hilo is also available in those colours.

Finally, 100mm adjustment seems to be all I’d ever need, allowing a decent drop, a ‘normal’ pedalling height and then a bit extra for those techy climbs. That’s a tip D’Andy gave me and is the single most compelling argument I’ve seen so far.

But then there’s that weight thing nagging me again…

What does everyone think?

Filed under Mutterings, Trends in June 2011

Matt

About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Bird Zero AM Boost.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 25 comments on ‘X-Fusion Hilo 100 dropper post’

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  1. Dave Fisher says:

    Love my KS i900r … can’t ride without it! (No sniggering or bitchy comments please!)

  2. DaveW says:

    After running my 5 with a Gravity Dropper Classic (510g) for the last couple of years, I reverted to a normal Thomson inline, as my Dropper has now found its way onto the heavier duties El Guapo. Partly because that is where it is most needed, but like you Matt, I also have been making my 5 lighter and spending IRO £200 to add weight to my bike is a bit hard to justify.

    Most of the time the non-dropping post is fine, but I have got into trouble a few times on the 5 (Notably on the King Bill steps and on Leith Hill), especially when tired and can’t be bothered to stop and put my seatpost down, so I am seriously considering getting another for the 5.

    Why?

    Well yes they are heavy (470g for the GD Turbo, 510g for the Classic), but you also have to take account of the weight of the existing post (In my case, 230g for a 330mm inline Thomson). Then you can swap your lovely Salsa QR clamp for a lightweight and arguably equally lovely Straitline collar clamp, saving nearly 30g, So the actual weight added is only 211g.

    Of course you might have a longer Thomson post if you have the original one provided by Orange, which would make the weight difference less still.

    How much difference will the extra 211g make on the Box Hill climb? Well this equates to less than 1/4 of a litre of water in your Camelback or some mud on your bike. Have a p at the bottom of the hill and you will probably save more weight. Also consider that the weight difference between Spesh BG Sport shoes and Shim AM45s is over 270g…

    Weight aside, having a dropper post means you can set your bike up for a more efficient pedalling position when the post at full height, rather than riding everywhere with the seat lower than it should be.

    A further benefit I have noticed is that when you are tired, dropping the post by an inch slightly changes the muscle area used, so you can have a pseudo-rest whilst still riding along.

    Then of course the obvious benefits of being able to get the post out of the way on steep descents, being able to drop it an inch so you can corner properly on singletrack all outweigh (sorry) the minor weight penalty.

    I think I’ve sold it to myself! Next question is which post – Gravity Dropper definitely for the mechanical simplicity and (relatively) light weight. Remote definitely. But Classic or Turbo?

  3. Tom Clarke says:

    I think it depends on your riding style and the terrain you ride, do you prefer to stop and drop your post on the faster step technical sections, do you ride trail centres in Wales and Scotland, if yes the these then I get your self one. This is my riding style and a couple of the guys I ride with have dropper posts but have 31.6 tubes, I ride a 2009 five 27.2 post, the only option was the gravity; I found the x fusion in Germany and imported one 3 months ago.

    OK it’s no ware as well made as the reverb, similar to the i900 in mechanics, the clamp to the seat is a very tight fit and you have to be careful not to over tighten the seat clamp x fusion give a torque setting. I have come down hard on the seat when I first fitted it and the seat did move but I think this may be as it was not quite tight enough, I do not have a toque wrench so it was a little hit a miss to start with but no issue since.

    I do however wonder if it would be suited to people who carry a bit of weight! I’m 10.5 stone I have the remote option, you will need to cut the cable down, but it’s all very simple to fit, you may also need to adjust the pressure, look on the x fusion site for how to. I’ve had no issues to date and love it; I would say the best bit of kit I have added to my 5 Pro, has improved my riding on technical trails immensely.

  4. Dandy says:

    I think D-Dub has said it all, Matt. Unless you’re an XC racer, for the average mtb’er who has one do-it-all bike, the dropper post is an essential piece of kit. Of course, some of us have dropper posts on their fun, trail and winter bikes, and we still ride like planks 😉

    To me, Matt, you’re sounding like a grumpy old git who wants to ride a rigid hardtail with cantilever brakes, as that’s the ‘essence’ of mtb’ing. It’s called progress, and makes our lives easier. That might not mean better, just easier.

    The reality is that I couldn’t have successfully tackled the trail features I did last night without full suspension with a minimum of 100mm travel, disc brakes, slacker head angles and an adjustable post.

    It makes my life better, but of course it means that expert riders have numpties like me cluttering up ‘their’ trails. The benefit for them is that with the likes of me spending money in the mtb sector, it allows the bike companies to develop better technology that will help the expert, or at least keep the prices down through the benefits of scale from a larger target market.

    Stop whingeing and buy that post. But if it’s a straight financial choice, spend some money on some Jedi training first, and save the post for Christmas !

  5. Matt says:

    ‘To me, Matt, you’re sounding like a grumpy old git…’

    Ouch D’Andy!

    I’m surprised you can speak with (I hope) your tongue so firmly in your cheek!

    I like to think I ride most of the things I actually want to without the need for fiddling with the post too often, although I agree a dropper post can make things easier and safer. Of course, maybe I could tackle more with a dropper post… but most of our riding is not that gnarly.

    Since you mention it, I think my bikes are plenty good enough, even if they not the latest. I remember noticing a distinct step up between what I felt comfortable with and what others were doing when fork travel in general went north of 100mm but don’t feel I’m looking at that kind of step change at the moment.

    I think Dave has nailed it though. It’s not an extra 600g for the dropper, it’s the delta between what I have at present (400mm Thomson and Salsa) and the dropper which he’s quite right in saying is not that much.

    In addition, there’s efficiency gains from being able to optimise your saddle height for different situations.

    So that’s made things more compelling. Especially in view of Tom’s comments as well.

  6. Dandy says:

    I was being a little ‘cheeky’, Matt 😉 … but less emphasis on the ‘old’ please.

    Sure, your bikes are good enough as they meet my minimum requirement of ‘full suspension with a minimum of 100mm travel, disc brakes, slacker head angles’. All that’s missing is the dropper post.

    Remember my parting shot, ‘spend some money on some Jedi training first, and save the post for Christmas ! ‘.

  7. PIJ says:

    I’ve never used one, and could never see the point either. But having moved away from the hallowed ground that is Surrey for a couple of spins, where I had to actually drop my post in order to ride bits of the trail, there stood I thinking “wish I had a dropper!” It’s the next bit of kit I’ll be getting, being bought with a dollop of humility though…..

  8. Dandy says:

    There’s plenty of trails in the Surrey Hills that I wouldn’t want to ride with a raised seatpost, PIJ ! A few of the rooty and stepped descents would soon have me pinging over the front of the bike unless I lowered the saddle.

    Of course I could adopt the ‘arse behind the seat’ approach, but then you lose a lot of control as your arms are almost at maximum extension. As Tom points out, it depends on the terrain you ride.

    For some Surrey Hills rides, my post is only ever raised to cope with the climbs. The fully down position might never be used. On other rides like last night’s (report to be filed later), it’s up & down like the proverbial !

    I guess the point I was trying to make in my ‘slightly tongue in cheek’ comment to Matt, was that you never really need these new development (suspension forks, disc brakes, etc.) as your riding style tends to fit the equipment available. However, most of these developments tend to make riding the trails easier, thus opening up more trails for your enjoyment that you might otherwise have avoided.

  9. PIJ says:

    Indeed! Been pinged off more times than I care to remember, but I put that down to being a biking twonk rather than blame my seatpost – although that has just gone into my lexicon of viable biking excuses. As for hanging my ase over the back, I have several singed mudguards to that effect, plus once a strap from my Camelbak popped over the saddle meaning I couldn’t get back up. Double twonk that one.

    Just remember being burnt for the first, oh, ten years with crappy suspension forks [Lynx Quasar Evo being one that comes to mind, as does any manitou built during the 1990’s, or the first incarnation of the RC36 with single lipped seals – oh I can bore for England; indeed do on this subject] so have watched the “ploppers” with interest and a little cynicism. Indeed, a lot of cynicism given the need of some to be re-built every ten miles or so.

    The Rockshox one is getting good reviews, excepting a bit of wobble and eye watering cost. One wonders why this particular one couldn’t have a modicum of suspension built in though?

  10. Dave says:

    Obviously I’m a bit biased on this sbject having 2 of the things. The Gravity dropper is a great bit of kit and I’m very happy with that on the 5. My 5 is more of a rough and tumble machine anyway so better suited to that sort of thing.

    The Joplin I bought because it was on offer and at just over £130 with remote it was a great buy even after noting the many forum -ve posts. I’ve read so many of them about kit I like that I feel in these days of minority decision making and H&S State Police that too many people are not mechanically sympathetic, leading to a negative image. It’s been fine for me and ridden much of the winter although I did zip tie some inner tube to the stanchion to help weatherproof it.

    There you go, much more controversial that calling Matt a “grumpy old git”.

  11. Dandy says:

    There’s nothing controversial in calling Matt a grumpy old git, we all do it 😉

    Besides, I bet he gets that every day at home, like the rest of us 🙂

  12. Jem says:

    I have to agree with the comments above of the benefits of owning a dropper.

    You can of course ride most of our trails locally and Welsh trail centres without one, but they do make the riding more fun.
    I like to put the dropper right down on the burms at the end of BKB and try to see how fast I can get round It certainly makes it easier as your centre of gravity is so much lower, does not always work I have been into the scenery trying a couple of times!!

    Mine was bought prior to my trip to Sierra Nevada in Spain last year, there I had the dropper down and the seat post down on some of the descents they were so scarry.

  13. Colin says:

    These kind of debates only happen on the internet and make me laugh.

    If you feel you need one, buy one and you will probably benefit from it.

    You may only need one if you ride a certain way on certain trails.

    If you don’t feel you need one, don’t buy one and you will be equally happy. You probably don’t like wick it up a little on the more adventurous trails, which is fine. You needn’t assume those who buy them are any lesser a human being for doing so!

    I have one and think its great but I can’t help wondering if sometimes they’re a bit of a mask for a frame that doesn’t quite fit you properly?????

    As for all this Matt-bashing, leave the poor guy alone, he can’t help being carbon fibre.

    ……….. lightweight

  14. Dave says:

    lol @ Colin.

    I think you’ll find these sort of “conversations” also take place in public houses across the world. D’Andy may be able to confirm that for us…….

  15. PIJ says:

    You mean you people are real?

  16. PIJ says:

    Come on guys, it’s been some time since a thread has caused some degree of discussion so hats off to Matt for starting this one off. Let it run!

    And I’m impressed that it’s not been hijacked at all. At Coed y Brenin recently I was thinking of a dropper post, and boy were my Maxxis Aspen tyres good there. Anybody else got any opinions on the best trail centre tyres?

    Ooops!

  17. Matt says:

    LOL @ you lot!!

    Grumpy old man? Probably, but where have I been grumpy in this post? I just ‘suggested’ that the dropper craze is maybe not for everyone. I don’t see the Amanda’s, Adam’s and Darren’s of this world using them for example. Although they probably will get one at some point to prove me wrong…

    Methinks people are being a bit sensitive 😉

    The stuff I don’t ride is purely because I don’t fancy the outcome if I get it wrong and not because I feel my saddle is too high. Up to now I haven’t had many options for the Five anyway although I do occasionally drop my post manually in recognition that some circumstances benefit from it.

    DaveW’s points I think have been most constructive:

    1. The real-world weight gain is not as much as it looks on paper
    2. There’s efficiencies to be had climbing as well as descending

    I’m certainly not saying I won’t get one though, it’s just some people seem amusingly defensive – over their riding abilities, or their spending habits I’m not sure which 🙂

    @D’Andy – Yes, Jedi option is probably the most cost effective investment from what I’ve heard.

    @PIJ – My wife doesn’t believe any of you exist either!

    Seriously chaps keep up the banter… loving it!!

  18. StevenD says:

    A dropper post ? That is a new one on me, is this the latest bling ? I noticed the extra lever on D’Andy’s handlebars recently and wondered what it was for – did his 506 have an ejector seat ? You live and learn.

    I think they are very pricey for what you get and there seem to be questions about their reliability. When there are so many other things I could use that dosh for, and Jedi training is a good example, I think I am staying old school for now. But it will be interesting to see if dropper posts start to appear on more bikes when bought as new, rather than just selected high end ones.

    Just remember; real men keep it up all the time. But what do I know ? I still use inner tubes. 🙂

  19. PIJ says:

    Still waiting for on-the-fly adjustment of tyre pressures, and I can’t see why handlebars have to be the one width all the time.

    Honestly, how many adjustables do we need on our bikes? My forks I can adjust in six ways, brakes usually have two adjustments to play with, we have up to 30 gears to fiddle with, not to mention pro-pedal or messing with tyre pressures [and don’t get me started on appropriate tyres or tubeless tech]. Now somebody wants to add saddle height into the equation and I think for many riders this is just a step too far. Already we’re overloaded with stuff and funny little decisions to make whilst riding. Not for good reason people are going back to singlespeed….

    Blah, blah, blah.

  20. Dandy says:

    “some people seem amusingly defensive – over their riding abilities, or their spending habits I’m not sure which”

    I know you’re not referring to me, Matt. I rest secure in the knowledge that:

    a) My riding ability is confirmed by the higher number of recent bone fractures when compared with the ‘average Mole’. Naturally all caused when practising my latest freeride tricks (and not losing control on the flat and riding into trees)

    b) All my bikes cost less than a grand each, as the missus will confirm

    @PIJ – I quite like the sound of the ‘on the fly’ tyre pressure adjustment, and the adjustable handlebar width is already with us

  21. tony says:

    Thought provoking thread. I have a dropper post and use if regularly just to feel more confident on some of the more technical stuff although I’m no master of the big drops like DaveW. It is also great “dropped slightly” for technical twisty stuff.

    They are no big change to MTBing like suspension or disc brakes have been but they are a fairly useful addition to a bike nevertheless.

    My dropper post is a early Joplin and whilst it’s now a bit sloppy it has worked fine (using a rear crudguard when it’s muddy) with only 1 service. However is was a “realively” cheap £120 venture into trying dropper posts.

    I thing StevenD might have stumbled onto the reason for all of D’Andy’s broken bones. The Ejector Post??

    BTW. Matt we’ve got to the age when we’re allowed to be grumpy. Viva Grumpy!

  22. DaveW says:

    One more thing to consider is that it can be hard to use a rear crud guard with a gravity dropper on a 5.

    The lower part of the post is the only place you can fix it and this makes it too close to the rear wheel, so the back wheel rubs on the guard when the rear suspension is fully compressed. This may just be an issue with my small 5 frame (or “enthusiastic” riding style…) and not be a problem on your medium frame Matt, but is worth considering.

    (On my Titus, the mechanism rests on the top of the seat tube, so there is no scope at all for a crud guard – although I can be pretty certain the seat post won’t slip down…)

    You are welcome to try my GD before you buy, but I suspect you will be after something colour coded to set off your complexion rather than the ‘any colour as long as it is black’ GD.

  23. PIJ says:

    Dandy – adjustable width; you mean a saw don’t you? Fair point.

    Are you and Matt going to kiss and make-up? Or are the MM’s going to be the New Eastenders? Go Matt, go!

    As for being grumpy, did anybody catch DofE on the telly t’other night?

  24. Amanda says:

    Well lets get a girls perspective on this especially as she is more of a XC racer who rides a very light carbon bling bike. I put one on my s works epic having been kindly donated one from Adam and must say I was not hugely keen as my thinking was ifIi was any kind of rider I should be able to ride any terrian with my bike as it is BUT how wrong was I. Having recently ridden in the BC bike race in Vancouver the dropper seat post was my saving grace and actually gave me alot more confidance and a better handle of the bike on the very steep rockey and rooty terrian and had I not had one think I would of gone over the handle bars a fair few times as well. It did make me alot faster on this terrian as well so for me its been a revelation and it will be staying on my bike even if it is a little heavier this wont slow me down at all on the climbs.
    As for the weight gain a very wise dude told me the best way to loose weight from your bike is to loose it from yourself SO if you are worried about the weight gain just loose a few grams from yourself and youll be even. So stay away from the cakes on the sunday rides.

  25. Amanda says:

    Sorry Matt one more thing Adam does use a dropper post think you will see it on his 5 spot take a closer look next time.

    Darren doesnt have one has hes too stingy to buy one instead hangs his arse over the back of the seat but think you will find as from his recent experience at the BC bike race he nearly lost his gonads more than once so think it might be a birthday present for him.

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