Photo: Anthony Smith
The first era of the dropper post was full of promise, but also full of heartbreak. Early designs often let us down when we needed them most, but they’ve grown up a lot since then.
Arguably the most grown-up is the 9point8 Fall Line. Unlike posts that are held in place by closing one tiny valve between two fluid-filled chambers, the 9point8 relies instead on the friction around a small, expanding bladder located inside the post’s upper tube. The adjustable air spring is the only large, sealed chamber on the Fall Line and even if it fails, the post can still be manually positioned and held in place by the bladder. The lower-priced Race Face and Easton posts license the same technology, but I think it’s worth springing for the real thing.
9point8 does all of its assembly and some of its manufacturing in-house, in Canada. It offers longer-travel options, including this unprecedented 200-millimeter version. The Fall Line’s ‘Stroke Spacers’ are also unprecedented. I was just a few millimeters short of fitting the full length of this post, but with some disassembly and an inexpensive kit from 9point8, I was able to dial it in perfectly. I disassembled it again a couple months later when the return got a little sticky. The fix was similar to cleaning and lubricating fork wipers, but it’s quicker and drier. The only other fix I made was to upgrade the somewhat awkward-feeling trigger.
The Fall Line behaves like a traditional, infinitely adjustable post. It’s smooth, quiet and rattle-free. But the return speed isn’t dampened like you may be used to. The nearly instant extension actually makes more sense. Why wait, right? The Fall Line was always there for me when I needed it. Plus, it’s got Canadian citizenship, so it’s a keeper.
$400-450 / 9point8.ca
Plus Schwalbe's overhauled "Super" series of casing options