The Koryak dropper offers 120mm of drop with reliable action
Words: Mike Blewitt
Shimano, and their component arm PRO, are known for making reliable and good value products, no matter where they sit in the price range. Dropper posts are becoming ubiquitous to mountain bikes, from Olympic medal-winning cross-country bikes through to race-winning EWS bikes, and of course just about any trail bike. And away from high-end bikes and pro-level servicing, an important aspect is reliability and value for money, especially for dropper posts.
Enter the Koryak
PRO's Koryak line represents value and reliability in the line up, and that's the level where PRO have introduced their dropper post. The Koryak dropper has 120mm of drop, comes in 30.9mm or 31.6mm sizes (at 415mm long) and with stealth routing only. The posts come with two lever mounts. One that goes on the bar if you don't have a current iSpec II brake, and a second iSpec II mount if you're on a 1x group, or Di2 SynchroShift, and use current Shimano brakes. The position mimics that of a left-hand shifter.
Out of the box, with an 'Optislick' cable and SP41 outer, the whole lot weighs about 635g according to my scales. It's not XC light, but maybe Shimano will release something electronic and carbon in the Tharsis range in years to come.
The seatpost has an inline saddle clamp, which is standard for most dropper posts. It does use a rotating mount with a bolt at the side. Compared to twin bolts (fore and aft) this can slip. But with a 13Nm torque setting if you do it up correctly it's unlikely. The dropper uses an air cartridge which is replaceable, but not serviceable. That’s something a Shimano dealer will have to do though. The speed it goes up and down is fixed and determined by the air pressure of the cartridge. You can't change pressure to speed it up or slow it down.
The post is actuated by a cable, ported in the base of the post. Similar to a KS post, the cable runs from the lever to be clamped at the base of the post. The grub screw needs to be set about 18mm from the end of the outer, and getting that set isn't hard. But you need to snip the outer right at the end of twin-bolt grub screw, so there's no room to put a crimp. Frayed cables are a distinct possibility, and you'll take up any excess slack at the lever. All of this does work fine, but I think the way Fox route their cables from the dropper to then do cable adjustment at the lever is a lot easier.
Setting it all up was simple – about as easy as internally routed cabling can be. I had to knock out the bottom bracket on my bike, but I'd have to do that whatever internally routed post I was putting in.
On the trail
With my bike setup, I was set to go. I'd replaced a 65mm drop KS Lev Ci post, so that meant I was dealing with almost twice as much drop. Even so, 120mm might seem short for some, as many brands are moving to 150mm and even 170mm drop. I tested the unit with the iSpec lever and the ergonomics were spot on – I actually thought the position looked a bit odd but it felt great on the bike, with an easy lever throw.
The actuation up and down was slower than my KS post or a well-serviced Reverb, but not by much. It certainly didn't make me ride any differently. But, it's not tuneable – as PRO run a cartridge system, you get what you're given.
This post had a small amount of side-to-side play out of the box, but it got no worse over the testing period. Unwinding the ccollar makes It makes it easy to clean out and keep the seals lubricated.
Summing up the Koryak
For a first release from PRO, I think the Koryak is great. It's reliable and it works. There aren't a heap of options, with only internal routing available, and there is only 120mm of drop. I think it's an excellent upgrade for your bike if it's dropper compatible but has come without one. But if you're putting together a hard-hitting all-mountain bike, or looking to add some drop to your fine-tuned cross-country bike, you might be better looking at some longer drop, or lighter weight options.
Hits: Reliable action, Basic servicing, Great lever action with the iSpec mount
Misses: If you don’t run Shimano brakes you miss out on a great lever, No adjustment of rebound or drop speed
RRP: From $349