Mountain bikers have a love-hate relationship with dropper posts. They love getting their saddles out of the way, but they hate the fact that droppers have a habit of letting you down at the worst times. Personally when I have bought quality dropper posts I’ve had pretty good luck with reliability. The only times I have been really let down are by budget droppers and I sort of knew I had that coming. In the past I had been using RockShox Reverbs and the posts themselves have never let me down or required unreasonable maintenance, but a number of times the remote has failed due to air getting inside. This is an easy 10min fix with a bleed kit, but it really sucks when it happens 10mins into a 3hrs ride and your saddle won’t come up.
My bigger beef with droppers has been how awkward the remote levers have been to actuate. Yes I am talking about you Reverb. It’s like they examined what would be a nice ergonomic position for the dropper lever and then did the opposite! So when I was shopping for a dropper to put on my Knolly Endorphin back in 2017 an easy to use remote lever was top of my list and at the time 9point8 had one of the best remote options [they still do!] since you could buy a Wolf Tooth remote with the dropper.
My final requirement is an offset head. I’m not a fan of the current fashion to design super steep seat tubes in bikes. They work great on super steep climbs, but that’s like 5% of my ride and I like being further back for efficient pedaling the other 70% of the ride where I am sitting and cranking on less steep terrain. Not to mention I can always slide forward on a slacker saddle position to make it steeper temporarily when I want to, but it’s pretty hard to sit off the back of the saddle on a steeper saddle position. There are no other quality droppers with setback head options so that does limit my choices. What’s great about the 9point8 dropper is that I can swap back to an inline head on a bike with a slack enough seat tube so I don’t have to stock two types of dropper. Another nice point with this dropper head is that the tilt and fore/aft adjustments are independent so it’s easy to access the air valve or swap out the saddle without dialing it your tilt again.
With these ^^^ three issues in mind I settled on a 9point8 Fall Line dropper. It has a very simple user serviceable design. It can be converted from setback head to inline head. It has 3 remote lever options including the wonderful Wolf Tooth lever and it’s cable actuated so no more air in the remote hose issues. Oh ya it was designed and built in Canada. Go Team Canuck! 🙂
It’s been about 5 years since I got my 9point8 dropper and I have very little negative to say about it. Once installed it has been 100% reliable. It goes up and down in a way that I can just forget about and focus on my ride. The speed it goes up can be adjusted relatively easily via air pressure. The required maintenance [re-lubing upper seal] is a fast 5 min job without taking dropper out of bike. The remote lever is a pleasure to use and has not needed any attention at all.
I do have a few gripes, but they are minor. During the initial install the way the cable gets attached to the remote lever is fiddly and if you don’t pay attention you’ll end up fraying the end of the cable and having to start over. So if you are going to do the install at 1am the night before a big ride make sure you have a spare cable handy. The post needs to be re-lubed somewhat frequently. I’ve had to crack the dropper head and add grease inside the post 3 times in one year. That’s more often than I’d like, but it’s a trivially easy job. Another gripe is the cost to ship small parts from 9 point 8 is high so buy some grease and a rebuild kit when you order your post. It sucks to pay $20 shipping on a $20 order. The final thing is that at the recommended air pressure the saddle will come up so fast it can push your balls up into your stomach! You have been warned. Instead of the recommended ~25psi I use more like 10-12psi.
If you are keen on geeking out on all the internal details of the Fall Line dropper watch the rebuild video above. I’m happy to ignore the internals until I have to rebuild the post. 5 years in and I haven’t had to do anything more than lube the post. I did screw up seating the air seal when I relubed the dropper early on. I contacted 9point8 customer service and they sorted me out quickly.
The best recommendation for a product is buying it again. I put a Fall Line dropper on my Guerrilla Gravity Smash in 2018 and it’s been flawless since. It’s nice to have the same posts on a couple bikes to limit the spares I need to stock. The first 9point8 post from my Knolly Endorphin has since been moved to a Cotic BFeMAX and now lives on my Pipedream Sirius. It’s still going strong and being trouble free.