If you've recently installed your first dropper post it can take some time to learn how to properly use it. Yes, you push the lever and it goes up and down, but learning when to use your dropper is much more important and difficult than learning how to make it work. To get the most out of your dropper, you'll need to be able to use it in various situations on the trail, both while climbing and descending. Check out PNW Squad member Kyle Warner's crash course on how to use your dropper post and then hit the trails to put his methods to the test.
A fully extended dropper is great for climbing long distances over predictable terrain, but can be quite dangerous when descending. At the full height of your dropper post your knee should be slightly bent when your foot reaches the bottom of bottom of your pedal stroke. This will allow you to stretch out your legs and generate maximum power so you can have the most efficient climbing experience possible.
What Kyle designates as "Trail Mode" is having the dropper post lowered 2 to 3 inches below it's fully extended position. In this position you can efficiently climb through technical sections of trail, like roots and rocks, while eliminating as you're able to put a foot down if needed. With your saddle lowered a few inches, you can still pedal in a seated position and although you lose power and comfort, you gain maneuverability and peace of mind.
Pedal Strike Mode
From a completely lowered position, raise the saddle about 2 inches to get into "Pedal Strike Mode." This mode is for the risk averse rider in all of us and can be used on medium speed trails that lack technical aspects but still require some pedaling. "Pedal Strike Mode" allows you to keep your weight centered over the bottom bracket so you're not pitched forward over the bars if you happen to (you guessed it) strike your pedals on a hidden rock or root.
Are you about to drop in to a trail that you know is purely gravity fed? Lower that saddle completely out of the way and get to shredding. Riding with your dropper post fully compressed will allow you to reach an attack position so you can quickly overcome anything the trail throws at you. This is the safest position to use while descending as it frees up space for you to bend at the knees and shift your body weight to control your bike.
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