Can an upside down short travel dropper post keep pace in the world of ever longer travel posts?
Photos: Colin Levitch
DT Swiss are moving back into the suspension game and have included a dropper post for the XC crowd within their 232 range of products. The dropper post is light, simple, short drop and it's inverted.
That's right, the DT Swiss D 232 One dropper post has an inverted design. This means DT Swiss house the complex parts of the mechanism in a larger diameter carbon head, as they don't need to fit within the constraints of the internal size of a seat tube. The lower post is carbon (or alloy on the D 232) and this keeps the weight down to 369g on the 30.9mm diameter test model we have. That's very light, and at least 150g lighter than most dropper posts save for the Bike Yoke Divine SL with 80mm drop.
That low weight is achieved by running a light coil spring, with no need for an air spring and seals. The 60mm of drop has two positions. It is either dropped, or it isn't. The post uses a regular cable that is clamped at the dropper lever, and DT Swiss provide a very neat over the bar lever. I did stick with my Shimano dropper as I prefer the under the bar feel. The cable actuates a spoke inside the post, making for a very light action at the lever. It was very easy to set up, and I used a shim to fit my 31.6mm frame, which is what DT Swiss recommend.
The inverted design doesn't allow scope for much more drop – although 80mm may be possible if you had 210mm of clearance from clamp collar to your saddle rails. Having used a 65mm drop post on my XC bike at first, I've become very much used to 125mm for the last two years – was 60mm drop really worth almost $800 in 2020?
On the trail
I went riding thinking that dropping back to a 60mm dropper was about as wild as high posting. And for the first few trails that is how I was riding as well. But soon enough I adapted, just like I did when first fitting a dropper post to my XC bike in early 2017. While the 60mm drop is short, it still makes a difference, especially on an XC bike. Sure, sometimes you want to get back. But you also want to get low, and that involves getting weight over the front and rear wheels to keep tyres loaded for traction. And from a performance point of view, more drop would be nice, but 60mm makes a huge difference.
With two set positions, if you don't compress the post the full 60mm, it will come back up. This is something I got used to in a few rides. The post has a very positive sound on return and a very light feel at the lever. The effort for actuation is the lowest I have used.
My bug bears with any dropper post is side to side play and short service intervals. The DT Swiss 232 One dropper is not immune from play, but even after a few months use it is very slight. Servicing on a whole is very simple. There are so few moving parts, and you unscrew the ring below the mast head, making sure the spring doesn't go too far, then clean it and re-grease and using a light grease. You don't even need to take the dropper out, or the seat off the post. This is another feature that makes it very suitable for racing.
The weight, low drop, light action and ease of servicing all mean you have the bare essentials of what's needed with a dropper post, with none of the major setbacks like weight, excess play and a short service window. It's a perfect addition to an XC race bike like the Trek Supercaliber we tested recently, or even a gravel bike. And that inverted design means your seat bag is an easy fit as well.
RRP: D 232 ONE $774
D 232 alloy $529 (available March)
- Lightweight and reliable
- Easy servicing
- Very easy maintenance
- Not enough drop for many
- Premium pricing