What is it
With the aim of minimizing the reliability concerns that often plague other dropper posts, the Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost utilizes a simple three-position mechanical low pressure air system with just 8-10psi needed for actuation. Travel options are 90mm and 125mm, it comes in 30.9mm and 31.6mm sizing, and cable routing is internal only.
The Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost is compatible with a variety of brake lever-bar mount configurations, including Shimano I-SPEC and SRAM MatchMaker, and it features a two-bolt saddle clamp that’s designed to offer easy adjustment without slippage concerns.
Mtbr tested the 125mm 31.6 version with a total system weight of 588g (post 473g, lever 27g, uncut housing 88g). Price is $370. And if you’re wondering why the fixed drop points, which are 0mm, 30mm, and 125mm (or 0mm, 40mm, and 90mm on the shorter travel version), Ritchey says that rather than opt for the more common infinite adjustment, they decided to simplify the mechanism, which lowers weight while increasing durability.
- Very stable at all positions with no saddle play
- Can add air at top of post, meaning full removal not necessary
- Good sized lever with grooves for better purchase
- Compatible with Shimano I-SPEC and SRAM MatchMaker
- Comparatively low price
- Low weight
- Easy install
- Easy to execute periodic maintenance
- Functional saddle clamp that’s easy to adjust
- Simple cable actuation system less prone to issues
- Audible thunk when returning to high position
- Not infinite travel
- Only available in 90mm and 125mm travel lengths
- Squishy lever feel
- Sub-par bar clamp
- Must get air pressure just right
- Middle travel position can be tough to find going down
If you’re a member of the enduro-bro crowd, you can stop reading now. With just 125mm of non-infinite travel, the Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost is not for you. But if on the other hand, you’re looking for a lightweight XC’raceable dropper that won’t empty your wallet, this is a post worth considering.
Right out of the box the Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost was easy to work with. Install was headache free thanks in part to cable attachment on both ends. And when the time comes for service, this post’s internals are simple enough that most semi-competent home mechanics won’t have issues. The Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost employs a basic low-pressure air system, and it can be disassembled with just a couple hex keys, strap wrench, and snap ring pliers. Ironically, this feature may never be fully experienced, as Ritchey doesn’t recommend a specific service interval, advising to only open up the post if it develops play or stops working smoothly.
One install knock, though, was the included bar clamp, which felt like a cheap afterthought. You have to remove your grip to install it, and it was so snug that it marred our test bike’s carbon bars. The remedy was stretching it out with a flathead screwdriver and filing off the sharp edges. But Ritchey would be well served to include a better clamp when/if they do a refresh to the Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost.
Back to the positive, the remote’s inline barrel adjuster is easy to operate, allowing for simple adjustment while riding, plus you can add more housing if you happen to cut wrong during initial install. The barrel adjuster is also critical to this post’s function, as you really need to nail set-up to avoid inadvertent actuation.
The remote lever itself felt squishy and the lever body moves slightly when you press it. The remedy is to set it up so you barely need to move the lever to actuate the post, which (sort of) allows you to forget about the lack of rigidity of the lever body. Swapping on a Wolf Tooth remote is arguably a better option, but that’ll cost you an additional $60.
Also like mentioned above, air pressure is critically important. Add too much and the Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost could launch a satellite into space. But have too little and the post won’t achieve full extension. We found that the best way to dial it in was to aim just a touch high, then hand bleed it down while testing speed until it was just right. Perhaps the best remedy would be a wider air pressure sweetspot than the existing 8-10 psi. Also while we loved the fact that you can access the Schrader valve without removing the post, the valve can be a little tricky to access because it’s so close to the post’s saddle clamp. A shock pump is a must.
Those issues aside, the Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost has been rock solid, developing none of the telltale play so common in other posts. And that is true in all three positions. We also learned to appreciate the 3-position concept. Most of the time you either want your saddle all the way up or all the way down. And the middle position, which is actually closer to the high side, works well in those in between situations when you still want to be able to throw in a few seated pedal strokes without wrecking your knees.
Bottom line, for the price and intended use, the Ritchey WCS Kite Dropper Seatpost does its job and does it well. During a summer’s worth of testing it’s held air, developed no hint of play, and faithfully raised and lowered our saddle when asked. We also appreciated the saddle clamp, which was easy to set up and adjust.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
More Info: ritcheylogic.com
Editor’s Note: Mtbr test rider Jordan Williford contributed to this product review. Read about Jordan’s search for the perfect 29er trail bike here.