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TPE16: Kind Shock Electronic LEV and gravel/cross/road droppers are just around the corner

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KS P1100117

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….

KS Lev E

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.

KS P1100116

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.

KS P1100124

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.

KS P1100125

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.

KS Zeta

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.

KSsuspension.com

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Frank
Frank
6 years ago

I just don’t see the point of a road/cross/gravel dropper post. Never have I ever thought I needed a lower saddle on a road of any surface type. While I can kinda see the point for hopping on/off the bike in CX, isn’t the old rolling dismount/remount a pretty basic skill of the sport?

Chefdog
Chefdog
6 years ago
Reply to  Frank

I put a dropper on my CX bike and I love it for off camber technical sections. It does make a huge difference. I could see it being useful on gravel descents, but yeah, largely just for CX and not so much for Road applications.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
6 years ago
Reply to  Chefdog

There’s a comment exactly zero fast cyclocross racers have ever made.

Alex
Alex
6 years ago

The zeta is cool, but aren’t most road/cross bikes 27.2? Also, would be sweet if they came up with a way to make it work with a left drop bar shifter

Ck
Ck
6 years ago

I feel like my knee or thigh would rub on that large battery box. Why was it not rotated 90 degrees so it sat in a vertical orientation?

Alex
Alex
6 years ago
Reply to  Ck

I think they’ve said they’re still working on the aesthetics, hopefully they’ll slim down and/or reposition that box

TheKaiser
TheKaiser
6 years ago

Droppers could certainly use some continued refinement, and I welcome the attention they are giving theirs, however my knees and thighs winced when they saw the sharp corners on that thing. Even if they don’t hit in normal riding, techie trail riding often causes a lot of abnormal situations.

Brassass
Brassass
6 years ago

Surely it eliminates chances to brake remote cables, but which one is more likely to get damaged in a crash, electric devices or mechanical cables?

nsp234
nsp234
6 years ago

before adding stupid battery operated gimmicks, couldn’t they start workimg on the weight and/or the travel? I’m still keeoing a little bit of hope that I’ll live long enough to witness dropper posts that don’t weigh the better half of an entire frame…

hllclmbr
hllclmbr
6 years ago

Svelte!

pTymnWolfe
6 years ago

They should make one with electromagnets.
…………Magnets!!
How do they work!?!

Fred
Fred
6 years ago

They should make one that drops without you having to sit on it!

will
will
6 years ago

I frequently take my “gravel bike” (an old Surly Cross-check) on mountain bike trails. I can see how it would be helpful to drop the seat, especially since descending in the drops (the only way to really get on the brakes) puts you in a pretty awkward position when it’s steep. I don’t even have a dropper on my MTB, but having one on my ‘cross bike for situations like that actually appeals to me more than having one on my MTB…

Ol'shel'
Ol'shel'
6 years ago

Hopefully, they’ll ban dropper posts and adjustable gizmos in ‘cross. The entire idea is to use a bike that’s poorly-suited to conditions.

SB
SB
6 years ago
Reply to  Ol'shel'

Any intended use aside, our shop has had some of the worst customer service from KindShock in many years. I hope they can serve their customers with better service as they continue to make more products.

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