Long-Term Test: Kind Shock LEV


Tested: Kind Shock LEV Dropper Post

By Ryan Palmer/This review originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Bike Magazine

Looming in the shadow cast by the commercially successful Rockshox Reverb dropper post is the KS LEV, a peer whose consistent performance and reliability shine through the darkness like a diamond in the rough. This should come as no surprise, considering that Kind Shock developed its first dropper post prototype as far back as 1991.

Some of the other editors at Bike have raved about the LEV's durability, so we decided to really put one through the grinder. This thing truly is an impressive piece of machinery. After months of use, the LEV still feels as smooth as it did the day I installed it—which is more than I can say about any other height-adjust post to date. I haven't needed to perform a single second of maintenance to it, and I've constantly swapped it from bike to bike.

But durability isn't the only highlight: the LEV has some seriously ingenious features and is available in an array of configurations, with diameters of 27.2, 30.9 and 31.6, as well as three length options offering four to six inches of get-down. For starters, there is no cable movement. this superb design affixes the remote's cable to the lower half of the post—as opposed to the head—so the cable doesn't move up and down with the action of the post
itself, thus eliminating that infuriating cable loop that rubs tires and scuffs paint.

In addition, the cable entry point can be situated anywhere around the circumference of the seat tube to suit any placement of the bike's cable guides. The remote switch is clever as well. Its low profile and symmetrical design allow for it to fit with any brake lever and shifter setup on the market, on either side of the handlebar. Plus, it can act as the inner collar on ODI lock-on grips, allowing for a tidy cockpit arrangement.

Setup is also simple, and the user manual has a straightforward guide to help ensure that it is done correctly. anyone with moderate mechanical aptitude should be able to handle the task.

And if you need to remove your post for any reason, you can unhook the cable in seconds without tools and re-attach it just as quickly. No cable-tension adjustments are necessary.

The LEV's infinitely adjustable movement is silky smooth and incredibly low friction, requiring very little force to drop. The return rate is varied by how far the remote lever is pushed, and is very fast yet controlled. Regardless of where the post is in its travel, it is rock solid. there is zero squish, and I didn't notice any fore-aft or side-to-side play, even after countless miles in the saddle. Despite this impeccable performance, I was sure I'd be able to get the LEV to slip when I mounted it on a hardtail. Harsh hits shot right through the rigid frame and into the post, but it didn't budge, instead delivering the shocks straight through me. It's my new favorite dropper post