Dropper posts are de rigueur in the mountain bike world and are steadily creeping into the land of drop bars. As gravel bikes become more capable on rougher terrain than ever before, the need to get the saddle out of the way on steep descents has become more crucial. The latest company to unveil a gravel specific dropper post is Shimano’s PRO Bike Gear brand.
I was lucky to bag an exclusive ride on the new PRO Discover Dropper Post at Grinduro Scotland back in July. The 4 timed stages around the southern part of the Isle of Aran offered a number of opportunities to put the drop to use on some of the more rowdy technical sections!
PRO Discover Dropper
The PRO Discover Dropper joins the brands lineup of MTB droppers introduced in 2018 as the shortest travel post in the range. The alloy seat post, available in 27.2mm diameter and internal cable routing, offers the rider a 70mm drop. The seatpost weighs 417g with a 350mm long body and 0mm setback.
The post integrates with a new remote lever, designed to integrate seamlessly with the new Shimano GRX shifters. The lever has a unique ‘double paddle’ design, enabling the rider to operate the dropper from both the hoods and from the drop.
UK prices and availability are still TBA. The official PRO press release announced the prices in USD as follows:
- Discover Dropper Post 70mm: $299.99
- Dropper Post Lever: $69.99
The Grinduro Test
How long does it take to review a component like a dropper post? I like to spend at least a month, ideally longer. And how long does it take to form an opinion of a product? That’s a tough one too. First impressions count for a lot, but it takes so much more time before you can make a reasonable judgement. How does it perform over time? Is it reliable? The list of questions goes on and on…
A single 100km ride isn’t enough to pass this off as definitive review of the PRO Discover Dropper Post, but luckily the Grinduro course is a perfect blend of every flavour of gravel, flowing singletrack and rocky descents. There really isn’t a better place to give any gravel product a proper beating. So take this test as first impressions rather than a definitive review.
I immediately fell in love with the PRO Discover Dropper Post. The action is so slick, and it’s easy to set the height and maintain it, anywhere within that 70mm of travel. For anything really steep, you naturally slam the post all the way down. But there were occasions out on the course where I found myself looking for a middle ground. Mainly on the twisty, rooty sections through the forests where I could benefit from a lower centre of gravity when cornering.
My experience of dropper posts isn’t vast, but I’ve ridden a few. At full extension, some present evidence of some ‘bobbing’ when hitting heavy ruts or bumps. It’s an annoying trait when you’re pressing on at full chat. Thankfully, the PRO Discover Dropper Post displayed none of this and remained solid and complaint-free.
The post returns to full height instantly with no hesitation or sticking. It’s a fast return rather than the steady, often sluggish response of many cable operated posts. The seals of the PRO Discover Dropper appear to be high quality, and the stanchion is buttery smooth, which no doubt contributes to its speed and reliability. PRO’s experience of MTB dropper posts clearly shining through in the development of this gravel specific unit.
The PRO Discover Dropper Lever is a stand out feature with that nifty 2-way action. Being able to pull on the lever with a single prod from the hoods or push the lever with your thumb from the drops, means the controls are always right to hand.
Operating the lever from the drops felt naturally intuitive. Having the paddle so close to your thumb meant that I could drop the post without any hesitation. Blind drop around the corner? No problem. Doink! Down with the post. The lever action required more force than I would have preferred, it could lead to some ‘finger fatigue’ on a prolonged ride. Perhaps with further use, the cable would loosen up and the action would improve.
I found the action from the hoods was a lot less positive. In fact, it was neigh impossible to operate it with my index finger unless I exerted A LOT of force. I raised the issue with Shimano at the tech zone and after some prolonged fiddling and adjustment, it felt no different. The alloy lever is also not what you’d describe as ergonomic. It’s very squared edged and can hurt your finger if not using gloves. Some rubber contact pads would not have gone amiss just to make it more comfortable to operate.
If your gravel riding takes you into some quasi-MTB style descents, a dropper post is a no brainer. The ability to continue at speed on technical trails a welcome payoff to the additional weight the post brings. PRO’s Discover Dropper Post offers ‘just’ 70mm of drop, but is more than ample for rigid, drop bar riding. It’s quality and build impressed but the feel and action of the lever didn’t match the same glowing quality of the seat post.
Find out more at www.pro-bikegear.com
Last modified: 29th September 2019
I thought GRX was supposed to have a dropper function in the left hand gear/brake levers instead of operating the front mech?
Just like a SRAM shifter, you can re-purpose the front shift lever to operate a dropper post… The test bike from Shimano was equipped with GRX x2, hence the addition of the new dropper lever.
James where you squeezed the cable on 2x front orbea setup ? Do you have photo of it ? Coz I have oreba and looking for some options how to do it. Thank you!
Sorry Milan, I’ve no photos. Shimano supplied the press bike so all we had to do was ride!
🙂 ya. No problem! Ty
Yup But for most packages you have to pay extra for the proper brake lever with that function. This lever is extra too but less expensive – about $100 cdn. I got used to mine I just hope it doesn’t break @ the seals .
Has anyone posted a comprehensive review comparing PNW, Wolf Tooth, KS, and Shimano’s Pro drop bar lever for dropper posts?
Would be nice to see a comparison, alas I run a 2x so I am unable to use the left hand shifter — wonder if there is a work around for Di2 2x?
Not that I know of. But we do have a PNW drop bar lever on a test bike and it has in my opinion, a much nicer action. It’s comfier on your thumb after repeated use too.
You could set up the Di2 to shift both front and rear derailleurs from the right shifters using automatic mode. Then you could use the “dummy” GRX shifter on the left to actuate the dropper post.
Interesting & pretty accurate description. I’ve had mine on a gravel rigid frame, which I have been running on the same trails as my Mtb. No suspension means the frame & post take it all. That can be pretty hard on those plastic seals if you are coming down while the back of the bike bouncing up. With your tail meeting the seat the seals CREAK! But so far the action is still pretty good. The stiffness at the lever is just something I got used to.