RockShox Reverb Review

Components Pro Reviews

Impressions
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. I used it in four locations, at the very bottom, somewhere in the middle, slightly down from the top, and the top position. The actuation of the lever is buttery smooth, without the usual rough and stiff feel that a cable gives, and it provided the same response in any position, and it always remained uber quiet. The speed remained constant throughout the stroke, although when pushing it down to its lowest setting you did need to provide an extra dollop of pressure. I played with the speed control, and left it in the fastest setting, but it was still too slow and viscous for my taste, and I would have preferred more speed, although I think, the tight seals exacerbate the problem. Occasionally, on technical terrain, it would not return quick enough from a lower position to make a precise move, usually resulting in a blown line, or at least causing a moment of hesitation. The stroke has a consistently plush and smooth feel through the entire travel, without any stiction or notchiness, greatly helped by the coated aluminum bushing and low friction brass keys. I think that 125mm or 5 inches of height adjustment are optimal for All Mountain riding, and the Reverb infinite functionality made great use of the full stroke length. It locks into position wherever it was last adjusted or set at, so it can’t be pulled up during a hike-a-bikes or any sort of saddles grab.

The seatpost is quite an engineering marvel, but with the hydraulic nature of the internals and the remote, it will require more long-term maintenance than a more mechanical setup. Fortunately, the Reverb is easy to bleed (the seatpost comes with a bleed kit), and the replacement of the seals is a fairly straight-forward process, albeit it’s somewhat convoluted, so I would have my LBS perform the procedure. In the four months of my usage, it did not require a bleed, and I would assume that the seals might need to be done every year or two? SRAM provides nice videos for both procedures, refer to “How to bleed the remote system,” and “How to replace the post seals.” The seals have performed admirably, even with the constant use and abuse, and the ugly weather conditions, and sand and dirt tossed at them. Watching the seal replacement video, you can see the expertise and experience of their suspension forks and shocks in the fancy and high tech triple-lipped energized sealing system, and the sundry foam rings, wipers, o-rings, bushing, etc. It uses an energized seal, which is the spring you can see at the top of the seal that holds it on the shaft.

The triple brass keys kept the lateral play to a tolerable minimum of slop, which was noticeable when torquing off the saddle. The saddle clamp took a few rides to get tightened properly, but once it was settled in, it never loosened again. The bottom cradle for the saddle clamp are long, so odd sized, and titanium and carbon rails are well supported, and the two bolts angle out, so they are easy to tighten with normal-sized tools. Even with all the impressive features, functionality and engineering, the seatpost and remote weigh a very respectable 544 grams for the 31.6 x 380mm size. The unit was durable, but I worried about the somewhat fragile barb by the saddle clamp, as even with the rubber booted protector (aka strain relief), it sits out there in the harm’s way, and on more than a number of occasions I thought I had damaged it? If something happens to the hydraulic hose or remote, meaning a failure or leak, perhaps during a crash, the seatpost will remain in its last position. This might be a problem if the last position was the lowest setting, since it would make the pedal home excruciating difficult. One odd thing, it makes a funny bubbling or leaking noise from the seals when you jam the saddle down, and I assume it’s just pushing captured air out from the tight seals?

Caveat Emptor: I did not have any issues with this adjustable seatpost in any manner during its four months of abuse, but that doesn’t mean that over a longer period of time that issues may arise? Plenty of people on biking forums and the blogosphere have reported issues with the Reverb, and the same can be said for other manufacturers designs. The newer adjustable seatposts are complex, whether hydraulically or mechanically activated, and they are in the infancy (or infamy) of design, so bugs, durability and flaws are bound to crop up. I found the Reverb to work flawlessly, end of the story.

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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  • rockhop says:

    Some of us ride in the winter. No hydro post review is complete until you know its reliability in temps 45* and less.

  • francois says:

    What is up with the roadie saddle?

    How does it compare to the Specialized Black Lite post?

  • trailbrain says:

    I’m actually surprised you got 4 months out of it. Mine lasted 6 rides then failed…wouldn’t hold air.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    You know I am a closet roadie? I just started to test the new BlackLite seatpost. It’s a much nicer design, as the remote cable installation is very straight forward and easy to perform, and it has a quick-release (the cable end piece pop’s out of its seatpost holder) to make removal simple. I like it so far, as it return is lightning quick, and less things to worry about since its a mechanical system. Review out soon!

  • MtBeR says:

    As much as I would never ride without an adjustable post again my Reverb has come with its share of problems. In nearly 12 months it’s gone back to the distributor three times. Once to get the hose and button replaced (under warranty), once to get the button replaced (result of a crash) and another because it couldn’t hold air, not exactly sure what they did, can only assume change the seals (under warranty). As good as they are is as bad as they are.

  • Max says:

    If you found it “Viscous – even on fastest speed setting” than it should be bleeded definitely.
    Mine didn’t work at all out of the box.

  • spgallo says:

    My Reverb lasted one ride before the barb on the seatpost snapped. Rockshox sent me a new hose kit with an improved strain relief design that look more like what is on my Avid Elixr disc brakes. I haven’t had any problems yet with ~250 miles of hard riding.

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I will try and get them to send me a bleed kit and the new barb!

  • Rob says:

    Mine worked straight out of the box, best piece of kit for the bike ive ever bought !!

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