Crank Brothers Highline Dropper Post First Look & Review

JUSTIN | 28th July 2016 | PRODUCT REVIEW

The biggest innovation in mountain bike technology in recent years? Forget plus size tyres, boost spacing and press fit bottom brackets, arguably the real game changer has been the dropper post.

We have several options to consider these days when choosing a dropper post from all the big players, a component which many now consider essential. Allow me to make the decision that little bit harder and present you with the release of the Crank Brothers Highline. And while all the offerings may seem relatively simmilar there has been a concerted push recently for improved reliability, a common gripe from riders, and one which will affect Singaporean riders in particular, given our climate. Designing the perfect lever must also be on the top of the list of priorities.

The Highline is a cable actuated 125mm infinite drop post, available in the popular 30.9 and 31.6 diameters. It features a zero offset two bolt seat clamp, internal routing and an ampidextrous lever, which can be used above or below your bars. Doing all the work internally is the Highline’s air spring, a sealed and pre-charged unit with a three year warranty for your peace of mind. Installation was a straightforward fifteen minute job for this mechanically challenged reviewer.

On the trail this post performs exactly as expected, with smooth action and a nice, just audible clunk at the top of its travel, so you know when you have achieved full extension. The main seal seemed to keep all the muck out on one of the wetter rides I had been on recently. Compared to the post I normally use the Highline’s 125mm travel came up a bit short for me, but Crank Brothers have a 150mm travel version in the works. It also comes in a good bit lighter than my current model, at a claimed 580gms.

Two features which I feel need the most attention are the seat clamp and lever assembly. The rear bolt tightens into a slotted section, which allows you to remove or install the seat by swinging the rear bolt outwards, without running the risk of losing fiddly bolts and washers. This turns a mildly irritating job into a straight forward one and gets you out on the trails faster. The clever little lever can be positioned anywhere your brake levers will allow on the bars. A ball and socket joint allows it to be rotated to your preffered position, to the tune of 22 degrees, which makes it one of the most versatile levers on the market. I placed it where a front shifter (remember those?) would be and found it comfortable and solid, with a light action. Its versatility is the key though, and this a very well thought out design, possibly the best out there.

In your search for the perfect dropper post you will need to ask yourself what is most important. The Highline’s lever particularly is a winner for me, but the world over, what riders seem to be looking for most of all is reliablility. A sealed air spring with a three year warranty inspires a lot of confidence.