The new and improved YEP Uptimizer 3.0 dropper post was shown for the first time at Winter Bike Connection 2020, in the beautiful Massa Marittima, Italy. We caught up with Andrea Chiesa, founder of YEP, a man with 25 years of moto racing driving and technician experience under his belt. The 3rd gen Yep dropper’s main feature of interest is the DIY servicing, doable while still in the seat tube without the need for special tools. Also new is its shimmable travel and, take it or leave it, tuneable compression on the drop.
YEP Dropper 3.0
The YEP Uptimizer 3.0 is a mechanically actuated hydraulic dropper seatpost available in 80mm, 100mm, 125mm, 155mm and 185mm travel lengths. It is made up of parts from Italy, Switzerland and Taiwan, and is assembled by hand to order. Add a bit of bling to your bike; the dropper collar and Joystick lever are available in a range of six anodised colors. We got a shot on the 155mm dropper, mounted to an Ibis Ripley.
The YEP Uptimizer 3.0 is super easy to compress. It requires such little effort that I reckon YEP would do well to market the dropper post for children’s bikes, as well as adult’s bikes. Many children’s mountain bikes don’t feature a dropper post. Not because they wouldn’t benefit from one, but because they are simply too light to compress most of them. The ease of compression is apparent throughout the entire drop, with no “ramp up” when you get near the bottom. Speed of return isn’t so fast and powerful that you’d need to worry too much about getting hit where it hurts.
The hydraulic system operates off a large air chamber, thus the system pressure is relatively low with respect other hydraulic systems. This is why such little effort or weight is required to compress the post, and it means the seals aren’t exposed to undue pressure. Beyond the five standard drop lengths available, travel can be shimmed down in 5mm increments with the use of pre-cut plastic shims that come included.
Also tuneable on the Uptimizer 3.0 is the “progression” of the post. Compression is pretty darn linear, stock. But, if you’d prefer it to “ramp up” near the bottom of the travel, you can add volume reducers, or tokens, to make the drop more progressive. I can’t say I’d be keen on this. Personally, i’m an all the way up or all the way down kind of rider but I can see that a more progressive dropper might make it easier to fine tune the height of the post on-the-fly if you’re someone who likes to ride with the post somewhere-in-the-middle on, say, undulating trails.
How to service the YEP Uptimizer 3.0
YEP reckon the Uptimizer 3.0 is fully serviceable by the majority of riders, and I’d say they are probably right. With very little knowledge of how a dropper post works, one should be able to follow the simple set of instructions given by YEP to perform a full bleed of the system, change the oil and clean the bushings and wiper seal. That said, if you really lack the confidence or patience to have a shot doing it yourself, I’d say your local bike shop mechanic will de delighted to be presented with such an easily serviceable dropper. Its main attraction for me is that the dropper can remain sat in the seat tube while you perform the servicing. No messing about with cables. No tear down. No special tools. No mess. Unless you forget to release the air first. See below.
Other dropper posts boast ease of servicing, of course. There is the Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper with a Vent Valve located underneath the saddle clamp. You need to remove the saddle and clamp to get at it, but it does allow you to release the air that has crept past the internal floating piston, thereby removing the irritating “squish” that develops when this happens. You can perform a full bleed of the Reverb, but it requires full disassembly of the post and the use of special tools. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Similarly, the Bike Yoke Revive dropper post features a similar release valve that serves the same purpose, but it is located at the top of the dropper shaft, thus can be done on-the-fly at the trailhead. It takes around 20 seconds to perform so your pals won’t get too miffed with you.
The YEP Uptimizer is similar to the abovementioned in that it features a valve at the top of the shaft. The valve merely allows you to adjust air pressure. It isn’t the interesting bit. The interesting bit is the bleed port, located underneath the saddle clamp, that gives you direct access to the cartridge. It allows you to perform a full bleed of the system, and change the oil completely if needs be, thus is more than just a quick fix. You wouldn’t be performing this on the trailside of course, but it is a proper job that should give you a longer squish-free period before the next bleed. YEP provide the bleed kit with your purchase of the 3.0, though you can also perform the bleed with a standard SRAM bleed kit should you be without it for whatever reason.
The bushing and wiper seal can also be easily cleaned and re-greased. Unscrew the top cap of the post, compress the post by a cm, then allow it to extend. With the cap out of the way it will drag with it the bushing, conveniently cut to allow its complete removal from the shaft. Clean off the trail crud, clean the exposed wiper seal, reassemble, and bob’s your uncle. Smooth dropping once more.
Lever Up with the YEP Joystick
The YEP Uptimizer 3.0 dropper is actuated by a cable, internally routed to YEP’s Joystick remote lever. The lever is pretty interesting in itself. The majority of dropper levers operate about a fixed position pivot, with bearings of varying sizes determining the ease of operation. For example, the bearing on the OneUp Components lever is oversized, making actuation super smooth and easy.
YEP’s lever is pretty unique. Its Joystick design means it can be operated in any direction. We press the dropper lever with our thumb while we are in the seated position, in order to drop the post out of the way before a steep descent. However, pressing the lever with your thumb isn’t so easy if you’re hammering the pedals up out of the saddle. Your wrist is in a totally different position, rolled forward on the grips. With the YEP lever, you have the ability to operate the Joystick with your index finger instead, as it is probably more easy to reach in this position. Personally, I didn’t find the Joystick particularly ergonomic for my small hands. The lever is just a fraction too far away from the bar for my wee thumb, and the distance is not adjustable.
The fact that it can move in any direction will probably mean it is less liable to snap off when you bin it on the trail. What’s more, the Joystick is designed to be used with any cable operated dropper post, not just the Uptimizer. The end of the Joystick can be unscrewed to reveal a grub-screw style clamp, such that the lever can take the nipple end of the cable, or the open end of the cable.
Pricing and Availability
The YEP Uptimizer 3.0 will set you back €420. That price includes the Joystick remote, tokens, travel adjusters and bleed kit. The Joystick remote is also sold separately for €49 in black. Bling up with one of six anodised colors for €57. The Uptimizer 3.0 will be available from March 15th. The Joystick is available now.