Review: KS LEV Dropper Seatpost, 150 mm and Carbon Models

Components

Installation
The design of the system means that the routing of the remote’s housing is greatly simplified since you don’t have cable movement. On my Ibis Mojo HD I ran the housing down the right side of the top tube, and then crossed it over to connect around 40º left of center, to miss the seatpost QR clamp lever. After positioning the bottom cable connector per routing requirements, you actually end up rotating the saddle clamp system for the final alignment, and not the main body. You adjust where the saddle resides in relation to the cable connector by dismantling the saddle clamp and unscrewing the return air spring valve cap located on the top of the stanchion, and rotating the saddle clamp bottom cradle in 20º increments.

The installation manual doesn’t have any  details of the arrangement other than mentioning the 20º increments, so I learned it while poking around with the clamping mechanism. The top of the post has six dimples, which mate into the bottom of the saddle clamp cradles 18 indentations, which offer a clever and simple way to rotate and then lock things in place. Since the bottom of my post was 40º left of center, I rotated the top cradle over two notches, so that the lower lip of the cradle was pointing towards the front of the bike. I then screwed down the air valve cap, which locks the cradle in place.

The bottom portion of the saddle clamp floats (its free to rotate), and what locks everything together is the lower saddle rail holder convex shaped mating with the cradle, along with the final bolting together of the bottom and top clamp pieces. The robust two bolt saddle clamp worked decently, and I was easily able to screw it together and insert the saddle  rails, and then perform the usual pitch adjustment of the saddle for personal taste. It was easier to work on the clamp since there was no cable attachment mechanism at the top.

I cut the housing and cable to length, and attached the spring and hook end- piece to the post. It took me a few times to get the hang of hooking the cylinder that connects to actuator, and I found that by pressing the cylinder upwards using a small screw driver simplified things, without getting my fingers greasy. An additional benefit of the design is there is no need for an adjuster barrel, since the spring-loaded system seems to deal with cable stretch and slop.

Impressions
I have used the LEV for four months now, and the lever action, seatpost actuation and movement have been silky smooth. Using the system is quite easy, just press and hold the lever, and either weight the saddle into the lower positions, or unweight, and let it pop up to the desired location, and then release. The actuation of the lever was smooth, and I didn’t feel the usual cable roughness or friction issues, and it locked into position and remained there. I haven’t suffered any stickiness or notchiness, and the stroke has been smooth the entire time. I tested their i950-R model and I dealt with repeated issues with the post getting stuck in certain positions, so it was pleasant to have a post that moved so nicely from the get-go and has always remained that way. I really liked that there was no housing moving up and down when I drop the saddle, and it certainly gives the bike a much cleaner look. Even when other manufacturers’ adjustable seatpost systems are set up properly (trimmed and routed as needed), the housing still gets in the way when the saddle is dropped, and pokes you in the leg on occasion. It was also enjoyably to not have to do any cable adjustment or fine tuning to make the seatpost work as the only thing I have done is tweak the saddle tilt a couple of times.

One of the few weaknesses of the seatpost, is that when the air temperature hovers around freezing, the action starts to feel like it’s running in molasses, and when it drops below 25° it can stick and won’t fully return to the upper most positions without grabbing the saddle and pulling it upwards. From reports on other hydraulic posts, namely the Rockshox Reverb, this same sort of problem happens at below-freezing temperatures, so I can only assume it has to do with the hydraulic fluid.

Review: KS LEV Dropper Seatpost, 150 mm and Carbon Models Gallery
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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Cliff Swanson says:

    I prefer having the remote for a dropper post mounted on the right side of my handlebar. The LEV remote appears to be compatible with mounting on either side of the bar but all of the KS videos and user info show the remote on the left side. I’d like to get the issue of whether the LEV remote is compatible with mounting at the right side grip sorted out before I buy one. I’ve checked the user manual for the LEV online but there is no mention of this issue. I’d be grateful for an informed answer. Thanks.

    • albert says:

      It’s fine. I have mine mounted on the right side.

    • Barrett Lawson says:

      Cliff,

      I just looked at my LEV remote and I think that the clamp is symmetrical. I’ll have to pull the grip off to double check, but it looks like the notches for the ODI grip tabs are on both sides.

      I’m also interested in finding out if (and which) other companies’ grips fit. Loaded Precision has a new grip on the market and I asked them by email and they said they didn’t know.

  • PG says:

    I’ve had a 27.2 mm LEV on order for a couple of months now. My LBS says that KS says they had some problems with this diameter and therefore have not released it to the market yet. Has anyone heard anything about the 27.2?

    • Brian Mullin says:

      PG: I spoke with the KS rep, he said there are no issues with the 27.2, the demand is exceeding production. Just have your LBS place the order so that your in line for one, they can get it backordered with the distributors

  • Brian Mullin says:

    Cliff: either side of the handlebar is fine. I ran it once on another bike that way without any issues.
    PG: I hadn’t heard that, but we’ll check with our KS contact for further info.

  • Sluggy says:

    Brain… did you try increasing the air pressure in the post to off-set the post getting sluggish in colder weather ?

    • Brian Mullin says:

      I didn’t try that as yet since changing the air pressure is a pain. I doubt that increasing the air pressure would help when it gets down to 25 and the post sticks, but it might help when it gets sluggish. I will test altering the pressure and see what happens. The problem is that when the temps are normal the return speed will be too fast for my personal tastes?

  • Izzy says:

    I’m seriously hoping this design trickles down to lower price points. USD395 is just too expensive for me.

  • TeeEss says:

    I loved the idea of the cable not moving. Installation was easy and could almost be done in the dark. (don’t…I said almost) I got it in September and have loved it since the first ride. I put my remote on the left, but it can easily go either side. Great post.

  • rob says:

    How do you know whether you need the 125mm or the 150mm. Im 6’2. My climbing seatpost length is about 9in. From collar to rails on seat

    • Barrett Lawson says:

      KS has said you need 50mm of stack height plus the travel from top of the seat tube to the center of seat rails.

    • Fabricio says:

      measure your full length and buy the closest to your actual seatpost, also check where is the mark of the frame in your post. I measure 5’11 and use the 385-125 in my Ibis size M and is @ 4″ from top of seat collar in the frame to top of the outer barrel of the seatpost, hope this help

    • mike says:

      You will need the 150. I have a 125 with an overall length of 385. I’m 6’0″
      If you need a longer seat post you will need the 150. It is 435 total length

      • rob says:

        Does it matter if I don’t completely slam my seat to the frame when I drop it? Its only 5in collar to rail in the lowest position

  • Dude says:

    Brian,

    Does it work to press the lever while weight is seated, or do you need to unweight the saddle for the trigger to work? (how about on the other droppers you reviewed)

    Thanks

  • john says:

    I have a Ritchey WCS Streem seat with 8mm rails and want to know if this seat post will work with 8mm rails

  • Shoji says:

    Don’t bother the seat bolts stripped after a dozen rides. Very poor product if you ask me.
    And no I’m not some 300 lbs Clydesdale.

  • b5280high says:

    I own another KS but not the LEV…I’m tagging on this string b/c it’s active.

    I would like to attach a tag-along bike (for kids) that clamps on your seat post. Does anyone have feedback if dropper posts (KS or otherwise) are less durable than a standard post? Obviously I could not lower the seat but when pulling kids behind me it wouldn’t be needed. Posts can take pressure of my fat a** sitting on it, but not sure if lateral pull would affect it differently.

  • stampers says:

    I’ll take a stealth reverb personally if my frame allows cause of the actuator being hydro compared to a cable on the LEV. I just like the smoothness with the button. Without stealth routing though the decision gets more difficult. You can’t deny that the smaller integrated actuator on the LEV is attractive and no housing management to deal with if frame isn’t stealth compatible is nice.

    I’ve gotten 3 bikes in the last 3 years and have put a height adjust post on each, including my hardtail 29er. Once you get one, you’ll never want to have compromise on seat height again.

  • Brett says:

    Absolutely loving the LEV. My best accessory purchase so far, ever.
    Yeah, it’s kinda expensive but I ride an expensive bike so it goes hand in hand (Orbea Rallon 30).
    I ride 25-50km every weekend for the last 6 months and had no issues what so ever.
    Love the LEV!!!!!

  • mankind says:

    im a 250lbs guy do you think LEV can take my weight?

  • Mike says:

    My KS Lev 150mm/31.6mm failed today during a ride. Its only 2 months old. About 5 miles into AM trails I noticed that it felt like the post dropped some. So I actuated it and it popped right back up. It did it again, and I completely unloaded the inline cable adjuster just to be sure it wasn’t accidently actuating it. It dropped again. Got off and checked it and I was able to push the seat down by about 20mm; it felt spongy like it was compressing air. Tried to call the KS tech line in California, no answer, just voicemail; maybe they were at lunch. Filled out an online warranty return form and was emailed a RA#. Shipping is on me, nice :-( I weigh 230# and I have to admit that I belly flopped (embarrassing) on the seat on a 4 ft drop cuz my pants got caught on the rear of the seat. But I would think that this thing should be able to handle that. Maybe I just got a defective unit. I hope so, because I loved the post when it was working. I have it on a Full Suspension GT Force.

  • Tom R says:

    I have a 125 mm travel 30.9 mm KS LEV. When fitted as low as possible in the seat tube of My orange Alpine. It tops out 10 mm higher than my comfortable riding position. Is it possible to restrict the travel of of the seatpost. 110mm travel would be fine for me.

  • Randy Vaughan says:

    My ks lev has been sticking in bottom position after left there for 5 min or so and sometimes won’t go all the way down maybe half then sticks

  • Mike says:

    Followup to sag problem with the KS Lev. Ok, shipped it out to Cali on Oct.7, they received it Oct.12. They shipped it to me on Oct. 29, I received it on Oct. 31. So they had it 17 days to do warranty repair. That’s longer than what I have read from others, but still respectable in my opinion. It works better now than ever; no hesitation anywhere along the stroke. Very smooth. No idea what was wrong with it, because there was no paperwork with it when it returned. It is my original post, so they did actually repair my post. Overall I am happy with KS’s warranty time frame and the seatpost is excellent. I would definitely recommend.

  • Mike says:

    Randy, make sure that the torque on your seat collar is within spec. Too tight and you can distort the post and it may stick. Mine was doing the same thing then shortly after that it failed and sagged about 20mm or so. KS warranty repaired it w/o incident. Just go to the KS website and fill out the warranty request. they will immediately email you a RA#. Ship it to them and they will fix it.

  • Mike says:

    Just wanted to chime in about the adjustability range of the seat angle on the KS Lev. I have a Cobb DRT Plus seat and my bike is a 2009 GT Force. I’m not sure what the seat tube angle is, but with the seat clamped in the KS Lev it is not possible to get the seat level. It is nose up and I am not comfortable with it that way. The 2 bolts supplied with the Lev are special spherical head bolts which allows the bolt to pivot, however the bolts are not fully threaded and the top spherical nut bottoms out on the front bolt. I ended up getting a 6mm x 1.00mm die and threading the bolts another 5/16 of an inch or so. Now I can adjust the front of the seat down enough. KS needs to re-engineer the supplied bolts with fully threaded bolts. I doubt I am the only one that is running into this problem.

  • JMan says:

    Looking to but a dropper for my 2012 Jekyll 2
    This so far seems to be the most recommended by owners.
    Anyone owners out there who have had it for a year or possibly two still recommend it?
    The other two contenders are thompson, and fox DOSS

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Still loving mine after almost 2 years. No issues other than a need to replace the cable. I haven’t tried the Thompson as yet. I like my DOSS, but do like the infinite travel settings on the LEV, and how it simplifies the cable routing.

      • JMan says:

        Is the cable replacement maintenance that you can do yourself, or does it have to be send out to KS?

        • Brian Mullin says:

          Its easy to do, just a simple swap out of the housing and/or derailleur cable and hooking it back up to the cable hook.

        • Jason Soh says:

          If you know how to service your fork, then servicing is a piece of cake.
          After 1 year 3 months of hard riding in singapore, the post develop slow rising and step dropping when lever is pressed. I did a full servicing using KS youtube guide but it did not solve the problem. So I decided to dismantle the internal shaft, the oil inside is filled with bubble. I done a oil change using fox green fluid and now the post is working perfectly like brand new.

  • JMan says:

    Correction= Looking to buy*

    Most droppers out there seem to have so many issues and unreliable..
    Any thoughts on these 3 droppers I’m considering

  • JMan says:

    Thanks Brian, that’s good to hear. Yeah the fixed cable is a very attractive feature, as well as the infinite setting. The DOSS I figured was just reliable and durable by simply being a Fox product. From the little research I’ve done through the internet I think I’m almost sold on the LEV though.

  • BobP says:

    My brand new Lev won’t drop if I engage the release lever with weight on the seat. I have to hold the lever in, remove weight from the seat, then it will drop when I sit back down. Can someone confirm that this is not how the dropper is supposed to work. Thanks.

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