We saw hints of Kind Shock attempting to develop an electronic dropper a couple of years ago at the Taipei show, and now they have what they’ve called a 90% finished product. Check out how it works, plus their new Zeta dropper for the gravel, cross, and road folks that lets you customize the length so it’ll fit on just about any bike….
Just like SRAM’s eTap, a wireless product on a bike can eliminate all the hassle in having to route and maintain cables (or wires), plus it eliminates any chance for damaged or pinched cables in a crash. The KS Electronic LEV dropper effectively just uses a servo-motor to activate the same existing LEV mechanism via Bluetooth. The one above is a working prototype that I got to tinker with, and my initial impression was that it worked just like it should… so I thought.
The switch is a rather large panel with a pressure switch (the white circle), that sends a bluetooth signal to the servo control unit when pressed. Talking to their Director of US Operations, Rick Taylor, he demonstrated how a slight lag can cause the post to not stay put if you stand up too soon after dropping it. It didn’t do this when I was first tried it because it must have been fine with my “timing”, but when I tried it again knowing of the quirk, sure enough, the lag caused it not to stay put. Since first publicly showing their early work in developing their electronic dropper, Magura got busy and released their Vyron Bluetooth dropper; and we’ve seen reports of lag being an issue. Because of this, KS chose to put a lot more focus on all but eliminating the lag, so are now making a few more tweaks before releasing it into the wild. They’re shooting to have things ready by Eurobike in early September.
Back on the mechanically actuated side, the new Zeta gravel/road dropper is aimed at those wanting a little lower center of gravity on the descents or sketchy areas for a bit extra stability. Coming in both 35 & 50mm version, what makes the Zeta unique is that it uses a seat-mast cap that clamps to a trimmable stanchion.
The reason behind a cut-to-size dropper post is that gravel and road bikes don’t have near as much seatpost exposed as mountain bikes and it would be difficult to have a post that would fit everyone’s bike. For instance, if they made a post for someone that could jack the post up pretty high, it wouldn’t go down far enough for those frames that may need much less post exposed. KS even marked where the post can be cut to make things easier when measuring it.
The dropper remote they had on display is a modified version of their current bar mount with a larger clamp for the 31.8 bar (for next to the stem). This version is best for cross, so when hopping barriers it’s right where your hands are on the tops. They also have a version they’re working on that can be activated while your hands are on the hood so you can hit it when descending without having to risk taking your hands off the bar. The Zeta will come in 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters (for now), and they’re hoping for it to weigh in around 460g. There will be also be a carbon mast version available, bringing it down some to around 440g.