Should You Put a Dropper on a Drop Bar Bike?
My personal mechanic (aka my fiancé, Kinsey) had the fun task of figuring out how to install the 125mm Bachelor Dropper Post on a bike that wasn’t meant to have a dropper. I chose the regular Loam Lever, instead of the drop bar lever. With my carbon Thomson drop bars the only place that was perfectly round and could accommodate the lever is right next to where the stem attaches. Since I'm usually racing with my hands on the hoods, I do have to quickly move my left hand over to use the dropper, but I don't find it to be too much of a hassle. To keep things clean, Kinsey was able to route the dropper cable internally where the front derailleur cable would normally go, since I'm running a 1x11 drivetrain.
Once everything was installed, I had the “difficult” job of test riding my new set-up. The dropper post functioned perfectly, and I enjoyed the satisfying feeling of pressing the Loam Lever, just like on my mountain bike. Most of the gravel rides near my house involve riding straight up a mountain and coming back down, so it's nice to drop my seat and get a little further back when I'm riding the steep, chunky gnar on Squak or Tiger Mountain. I often find myself giggling from a combination of fear, adrenaline and sheer joy when I realize just how fast I can go with my seat down.
Photo by Kelly Nowels: Instagram
The next test was using my bike for what it was designed to do: race cyclocross. At both of the races I did up in Bellingham, and the 1.5 races* I did in Seattle, the dropper was indispensable. The Cascade Cross races are known for being technical and having steep singletrack sections, which is exactly where the dropper shines. Even if my dropper is up 95% of the time in a race, the 5% where I do use it, I am 100% grateful to have it on my bike. On technical muddy descents and while hopping over barriers, it’s worth the extra weight. The lever is so easy to use and I don’t even notice it’s there unless I need it. My verdict remains: every off-road bike should have a dropper!
*Disclaimer: If you decide to go full send with your new dropper in a cyclocross race, it's not my fault if you end up with 7 stitches in your knee (I'm definitely not speaking from personal experience…wink, wink)!
Photo by Paul Turner
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