Crankbrothers Highline dropper post review

If you can live with 125mm of travel, this new post is worth a look

Return speed is slower than some other posts on the market, but the action is smooth and thus far perfectly reliable.

Return speed is slower than some other posts on the market, but the actuation action is smooth and thus far perfectly reliable. Photo by Dave Kozlowksi

Lowdown: Crankbrothers Highline Dropper Post

No matter what is written here about Crankbrothers Highline dropper post, the lingering issue of trust (or lack thereof) will scare some people away. The California-based component maker has an occasionally checkered past in the reliability department, especially when it comes to getting saddles out of the way on descents. Its Kronolog post is arguably one of the bigger failures in recent cycling component history. But our job is to look at the here and now, not the past, so we came into this test with an open mind, and (as mush as possible) without bias. So how well did the Highline work right out of the box? And did it stand up to the test of time? Read on to find out.

Stat Box
Length: 400mm Housing: Jagwire Lex-SL
Material: 7075-T6 aluminum Routing: Internal
Travel: 125mm infinite Clamp head height: 50mm
Size: 30.9mm or 31.6mm Saddle attachment: Twin-bolt head
Remote adjust: 360-degree rotation, 22-degree tilt Warranty: 3 years
Weight: 580g (30.9 w/remote, cable, housing) MSRP: $350
Construction: Igus glide bearings and keys Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 out of 5
Cable: Jagwire Elite Ultra Slick

  • Premium bearings
  • Moderate return speed
  • Jagwire cable housing
  • No speed adjustment
  • Glide keys prevent play
  • Lack of loud thunk
  • Ergonomic remote
  • Only available in 125mm stroke
  • Best lever we’ve used
  • Internal routing only
  • Fully sealed construction
  • Major reliability trust issues
  • Spherical remote adjustment
  • Quick stop position lock
  • Quick connect cable installation
  • Adjustable lever free stroke
  • Comparatively easy install
  • No bleeding necessary
  • Replaceable hydraulic cartridge
  • Very smooth action
  • Trelleborg dust wiper
  • Ease of saddle swap
  • Simple, elegant design
  • 3-year warranty
  • Reasonable price

Review: Crankbrothers Highline Dropper Post

Let’s be honest, if the Crankbrothers Highline dropper post doesn’t succeed, it could be exceptionally damaging to the company. Over the years, the California-based component maker has garnered a rep for making beautiful looking products that didn’t always stand up to the test of time. The Kronolog dropper post is one of the best examples, but there are others. It’s likely most of you know at least a few riders who’ve sworn off the company’s products completely.

MSRP is $350, but you can find it on the Internet right now for almost $50 less.

MSRP is $350, but you can find it on the Internet right now for almost $50 less. Photo by Dave Kozlowksi

It’s also important to note that Crankbrothers readily admits these faults. When Mtbr met with their PR team when this post first launched at Sea Otter, much of that initial conversation focused on the admission of past shortcomings and how this time was going to be different.

Check out Mtbr reader reviews of the Highline dropper post.

They claimed the days of taking shortcuts in the name of company growth were over, and that after a change in leadership, they’d plowed significant time and resources into product development. The Highline had been 2.5 years in the making, and even then they’d be offering it with a 3-year manufacturer defect warranty, a virtually unprecedented step in a product category that heretofore has been rife with failure. Who among us doesn’t know someone who’s dropper post has sh*t the bed?

Marks on the post make it easy to correctly set saddle height.

Marks on the post make it easy to correctly set saddle height. Photo by Dave Kozlowksi

This mea culpa is meaningless, though, if the Highline doesn’t live up to (and even exceed) expectations. It can’t just be good, it has to be great. But before we get into performance, let’s talk a little about set-up. In an effort to nail reliability, Crankbrothers opted for a self-contained (and easily replaceable) hydraulic nitrogen cartridge with a pre-charged pneumatic spring and hydraulics that conspire to actuate and control the post.

Check out the full crop of new dropper posts for 2017.

If there is an issue, the thinking goes, you simply pop out the cartridge and drop in a new one. The whole process takes a couple simple tools and about 5 minutes — and requires no bleeding or complex rebuilds. This means shipping time for the new cartridge could become a factor, though Crankbrothers says its dealers and distributors are stocking extra cartridges to ensure speedy replacement time if an issue does arise. Here’s a video that outlines the process.

Continue to page 2 for more of the Mtbr Crankbrothers Highline dropper post review »

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.

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  • butch says:

    The reverb is truly awful, the only good thing about it is that its a dropper post.

  • SRoy says:

    I’d not mind to have a working dropper but the expense and reliability issues seal the deal for me (the KS I purchased few years ago did not last a season and I’m less willing now to burn this kind of money for a replacement).

  • zinger says:

    Who in their right mind would buy a crank brothers dropper ?, their past track record has been terrible !!, I made the mistake of buying the Kronolog Seatpost – a post which was designed to eat its own seatpost – needless to say its dead now. Maybe if they offered a trade in for all past Kronlog owners for the new post and it proved to be a great post they might get a bit more love for the product … The only dropper post i’ve had no trouble with is the gravity dropper post – fully mechanical and bomb proof , but you never see any reviews for them anymore…..

    • Ray says:

      Zinger, I know Crank Brothers past, but this post is very reliable and simple, I would say, just as reliable as a Mechanical, We could say the same about the reverb, Been through 3 in 3 years, now that’s Crap! But they will replace it every time LOL!

  • p brig says:

    I would rather have a reliable product than a reliable warranty. Given their track record (and my personal experience) for horrendous reliability, how these guys remain in business is truly a marvel destined only for the most hardened theorists to ponder.

    • JimF says:

      Their pedals are good enough (2 and up, 1s are POS) and I’d consider them the best options for their simplicity and universal design.

  • Mwojo says:

    9point8’s dropper option is working very well for me, and most of it is user serviceable. 9 months on the post and no issues so far though. Highly recommend.

    I previously had a Thomson dropper, and it needed wiper seals after 6 months andd was due for another rebuild (only able to be done by Thomson) after a year. Worked well, but seemed like the service interval was extremely short, and all service had to be done by Thomson.

  • jc says:

    Paging Jason Sumner: How is it holding up thus far?

    • Jason Sumner says:

      JC — Thanks for query. After a year of moderate use still all good. And they now have a longer travel option.

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