In the last decade, no component has added more versatility, capability and straight-up fun to our everyday, mid-travel mountain bikes than dropper seatposts. Kind Shock is one brand with a strong dropper post game, offering a whopping 14 posts in their lineup. Available in three lengths, and drops of 100, 125, and 150 millimeters, the Lev Integra's multiple configurations can accommodate just about every combination of rider height, riding style, and seat tube.
The cable-actuated and internally routed Integra includes a lever with a clamp that’s grooved to replace an inboard ODI grip clamp. I replaced the stock lever with KS’s $35 Southpaw lever, which sits under the handlebar where front shifters once roamed. It’s much more ergonomic than the stock lever, and well worth the investment.
Internally routed components look sleek, but can be a pain to install and service. The Lev Integra is no different in this respect, yet those who travel with bikes will appreciate how easily the post disconnects for disassembly. The 150-millimeter drop range is controlled by an air spring which hydraulically locks a sealed cartridge to hold the saddle at the desired height. Saddle position is easily adjusted by a traditional twin-bolt head design.
On the trail, the 610-gram Lev Integra is one of the smoothest-feeling posts I've ridden, in terms of both lever feel and the actual movement of the post. I generally run droppers with the return on the faster end of the range, since a speedy return provides a little peace of mind when blindly plopping down the backside in preparation for an in-the-saddle effort. The Integra's return speed is determined by the air pressure in the post, which is adjusted at the valve underneath the saddle mounting clamps.
None of the dropper posts on the market performs flawlessly yet, but they're certainly a lot more reliable than just a few years ago. Occasionally, the Integra didn't want to rise after having been left in the down position after a ride. Pulling up or pushing down on the seat brought it back to life and this not an issue while riding. The Integra showed very little unwanted wiggling or saddle movement–a common problem amongst droppers. With nearly six inches of travel, drag-free motion and reliable performance, the KS Lev Integra remains one of the frontrunners in the industry’s dropper post parade.
Pricing: $380 – $430 (depending on size)