The Mountain Bike Life
Thomson Elite Dropper Review

Thomson has been in the high end bicycle component game for a long time and have become a bit of a cult favourite for their amazing workmanship, ease of use and durability. When I heard they were coming out with the Elite Dropper post I wrote them up and asked if they could ship me one when they became available. A few months later I was ecstatic when a box from Thomson arrived at my doorstep. After putting it through the paces for a few months I am ready to share my experiences – spoiler alert…it’s good.

Thomson Elite Dropper Review

The Details:

The internals are a mix of the best bits they could find. For the first time, Thomson had to look offshore to make sure they were releasing a product that they could feel confident in putting their name on. To do that the Thomson Elite Dropper used only the best bits they could find including:

  • Custom made Norglide bearing bushings
  • Custom made Trelleborg O-Rings and seals
  • Thomson saddle clamps and fasteners
  • Motul Oil

Unlike other posts that have a two piece head, the Thomson uses a one piece forged inner post for strength and, well, it just looks better. It also uses the standard Thomson clamp. You will understand how awesome this is if you have ever had to deal with the sub par designs that some other post manufacturers use, I’m looking at you Crank Brothers. The finishing on the seatpost is up to Thomson standards with tight tolerances, very well thought out, strong and great looks. I think it’s one of the better looking posts on the market right now.

Thomson Elite Dropper Packaging

Great packaging

The remote lever is one of the smallest and lightest on the market; it’s a very slick design. It does not take much pressure to activate, nor does it take up much room on the bars. The edges are a little sharp but I ride with gloves and have never had an issue.

The rest of the details:

  • Return speed is damped in the last 15mm of upward travel
  • 5 inches/125mm of travel
  • 5mm of setback
  • 592 grams including remote lever, housing and cable (618g on my scale)
  • Passes EN fatigue and strength test for seatpost
  • The smallest most ergonomic remote lever available
  • Optional under saddle lever available
  • Sizes Available: 30.6 and 31.6 (27.2 available spring 2014)
  • Length: 400mm (27.2 will be 430mm)
  • Retail: £349.99 (UK), $449.95 (US), 399,00€ (Europe)

For those that hate the dreaded cable loop, Thomson is releasing an internal post in the spring of 2014 (their site says May) so if you prefer to run stealth you can do so soon!

Thomson Elite Dropper Head

This is where the magic happens, the one piece head and cable actuator, clean and tidy!

Setup

Easy. I first mounted it on an XL Banshee Prime and the cable was the perfect length. I had read that some of the first posts were shipped out with cables too short but Thomson fixed that ASAP. I mounted it right up with no issues. Just follow the instructions and you should have no issues with it.

I even had a chance to swap the post over to another bike a friend let me borrow when I was having some wheel issues. I just cut the zap straps and moved it over in 5 minutes. That is one of the joys of an external post, but how many times are you going to move a post from one bike to another? Not often.

Thomson Elite Dropper Remote

The remote lever takes up a tiny bit of space on the bars

Ride

As you may recall, I was running a different dropper seatpost for a while. Although my experience with that seatpost was not positive, I was sold on the concept. The Thomson is everything that post was not – good looking, high quality and most importantly it works well every time. I don’t have to worry about it crapping the bed on me on a ride, bring a spare seatpost along, or any other concerns. In short, it’s great.

When you want it to go down, push the button on the bars and it goes down, when you want it back up just push the same button and stand up. Done. The post does not slip in the seat tube, the saddle rails do not slip in the clamps and it stays where you put it! I have friends with other dropper posts that are always fighting with the crappy clamps. I do not think that is something you should have to worry about on a product you are spending this much on – it’s just bad design.

I live in the rainforest that is known as Vancouver Island, and the only issue I have had so far is the one time we got snow it became very hard to raise or lower the post because the cable was freezing in the housing. Just about any cable design is going to have issues with cold temps like that, and I have no other issues to report…it just works.

Thomson Elite Dropper Up and Down

Check out the cable loop, the top is when running full length and the bottom is when fully dropped

On the topic of the external cable and the dreaded cable loop of death, I have never had any issues with it. It has never caught or rubbed on my leg, and where it does rub on my frame I use frame saver tape as I do for all the other cables on my bike. It’s really a non issue. I think so many people have issues with it because when these posts came out there was no cable management on the bikes and people were running too much hose, but now with proper cable management and setup it has become a non issue for me.

Thomson Elite Dropper Weight

It weighs in a little heavier than advertised on my scale

Conclusion

The Thomson Elite Dropper is the best dropper post I have ridden and it shows out on the trails here. I keep seeing more and more of them, and everyone has the same feedback – it’s just awesome compared to what they were running before. Yes, they are a bit more expensive than some of the competition, but in my experience you get what you pay for, and you are paying for a very high quality product when you get the Thomson post.

While I loved this post, there are a few things that could be changed to make it better. First off, I have no idea why they put measurement marks on the inner post, it would be more useful on the outer post so you can actually measure where you have the post sitting in the frame. The little “O” ring that they have on the inner post is just as useless.

Pros:

  • Quality design, parts and looks
  • The best clamp design out there
  • It just works

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • One of the heavier posts on the market (only a few grams though)
  • I would like 6″ of travel
The Thomson Elite Dropper is beautiful

A thing of beauty

If you are looking for a quality dropper post take a look at the Thomson Elite Dropper, ride it love it and never look at another post. There are tons of other dropper posts on the market, and Thomson is not the only manufacturer to make a good dropper – I just happen to think that it makes the best.

 

UPDATE (12/29/2014):

I thought I would update this review since I have been riding it a few seasons now. I did have an issue with the post where it would not lock into place, basically turning it into a suspension post with no rebound or compression adjustment…lol. I contacted Thomson and they said it was an issue with the seals that some of the first run of posts had and they had since resolved The hassle of sending my post in and waiting for them to send it back was not great, but since I have had the post back on my bike it has been running flawlessly.

There are a few little things I would change on the Thomson Elite Dropper, the first would be to make the rebound rate adjustable or speed it up just a bit. I prefer mine to be a tad faster than what the Thomson ships with. And the second is that the height markers on the “stanchion” part of the post just makes no sense at all, they should be on the black part so you easily set it to the correct height after post removal or adjustment.

Other than those little things I still think this is one of the best posts on the market. Yes I did have to send it in to have some work done on it, but Thomson took care of it and have improved their product. I have yet to have an issue with it since. They stood behind their product and did not make excuses or blame the user for the issues (it happens more than it should). To me this is what sets the good companies apart from the not as good, create a good product and back that product up with great service….it’s not hard but some seem to forget that 2nd part.

If you have any questions about my experience on the Thomson Elite Dropper Post please ask in the comments below.

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