Most riders that have ridden with a dropper post will agree – they can have a profound impact on the way you ride. Unfortunately, they also can present a number of durability headaches and frankly are pretty expensive. With each successive generation dropper posts have greatly improved, but in our opinion there’s still quite a bit of room for improvement.
Since introducing their first Pulse dropper post in 2013, 9point8 managed to catch our attention with their stepper style drop post which added a unique ratcheting feature in addition to the standard up and down found on most posts. Their latest design eliminates that ratcheting motion in favor of infinite adjust, but it’s still unique in the fact that it apparently is the only mechanical dropper (no hydraulic cartridge) on the market that provides infinite adjustment.
The result is a dropper that won’t require bleeding, and according to 9point8 should prove to be one of the most durable posts yet…
When 9point8 calls the Fall Line a mechanical post, they are referring to the fact that there is not a hydraulic cartridge that allows the post to lock into place anywhere along the travel. The Fall Line still uses an air spring that is pressurized through the top of the post using a standard suspension pump, but instead of a hydraulic locking device, the post uses a patent-pending mechanical DropLoc brake that expands to lock into place. According to 9point8, that makes the Fall Line the first mechanical dropper post to offer infinite travel adjust. In order to give the post a less mechanical feel, the internals have been designed to manage the airflow when the post is extended or compressed which provides some damping using the air as a cushion. Also, since the locking mechanism is spring actuated, the seat post will still lock into place even if the air spring loses all pressure. The post won’t return on its own, but you will be able to position the saddle manually and comfortably ride home.
Engineered to exceed the EN fatigue test which simulates a 170lb rider bouncing on the post for 100,000 cycles, 9point8 joins Fox and Thomson as the few droppers to pass testing. Much of that is due to the fact that their brake system is capable of withstanding 900lbs of force both up and down, which should mean the ability to pick up your bike by the saddle and not have the post extend.
Actuation of the post is activated with a standard derailleur cable which includes a quick connect fitting at the bottom of the post. The quick connect makes removing the seatpost for packing much easier, and it includes an anchor for the housing itself so pulling on the cables outside the frame won’t cause issues with the function of the post. Available in stealth routing only, 9point8 offers 2 styles of remotes including the original which is like a mini brake lever, or the new lever which allows three different mounting positions with the same lever.
To keep the inner barrel from twisting, 9point8 uses a patented 3 key, expanding locking collet design that features a bullet shaped nose at the tip. These keys sit in corresponding groves on the lower edge of the inner tube and self tighten every cycle. That results in a seat post that will stay tight even as the internals wear from use.
First shown as a prototype at Interbike, the Fall Line will be shipping in the next few weeks in either a 150mm drop, 125mm drop, or compact 125mm drop version for frames with limited seatpost insertion. Each seat post is also internally shim-able to reduce the travel using plastic spacers. Initially the post will only be available in 30.9 and 31.6 diameters, but 9point8 says the design is easily scalable to go down to 27.2mm which they may make in the future.
One last feature that makes the Fall Line even more enticing is the fact that one seat post will work with either set back or zero offset saddle clamps. If you purchase the post in one set up and decide later you need the other, a single part can be purchased from 9point8 that will allow you to change the post. Claimed at 495g for the 125mm standard post, Fall Line droppers will sell for $379 at 9point8 dealers or direct to consumer.