Thomson has been on the move as of late, expanding from solely stems and seatposts to a complete line of handlebars. The biggest news, however, is the transition from static parts to its dynamic five-inch travel Dropper Seatpost.
The leap from expertly shaping alloy stems and seatposts to mastering hydraulics might seem like a giant one for a company to partake in but, keep in mind, Thomson has always been an aerospace contractor first, and cycling component manufacturer second. What this means is that Thomson has more then enough resources and design prowess to confidently enter the dropper post market, and a quick review of this seatpost brings that fact to light.
Thomson did have a head start over suspension-manufacturers entering this market with its classic two-bolt saddle clamping mechanism. Like the long-running Elite seatposts, the Dropper post has a one-piece, forged cradle that provides the same strength and durability that made the original a mountain biker's favorite. But, that's all that this adjustable saddle-perch shares with the original.
Smartly, Thomson outsourced the internals in order to decrease development time and to ensure reliability. This mechanism uses an oil cartridge to control height and a nitrogen shock to return it to full-height. It's controlled by a cable actuated handlebar remote that rotates a progressive cam, which opens the oil-passage valve between upper- and lower-chambers. Your weight forces the post down, and because oil doesn't compress, the post stays in whatever position it's in when you release the lever.
This makes the post infinitely adjustable, and the progressive cam ensures that the bottom doesn't instantly fall out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a nitrogen shock pushes the saddle back up, and return speed is damped in the last 15mm of travel. So, you won't experience the ejector seat or 'slapper action of those early spring-loaded dropper posts.
The nitrogen shock also eliminates complicated air actuation by eliminating the need to bleed damage-prone hydraulic alternatives. Another key element to dropper posts is side-to-side play. Thomson addressed this with a keyed, four-section shape that prevents any saddle slop. The Dropper seatpost comes with a handlebar remote that's minimalist in design and machined from aluminum in true Thomson fashion. Thomson also gives the option of an under-saddle lever that's available separately.
The Thomson Dropper Seatpost is available in a 30.9 and 31.6mm diameter and in the color Black. It's overall length is 400mm, and it's important to note that it cannot be cut down. Additionally, the post has a 5mm offset.
30.9 mm, 31.6 mm
5 in, 125 mm
Black, 31.6 x 400: 507g
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I'm 230 lbs, ~245 lbs with all my ride gear, and have been mountain biking for about two decades. Most of my riding in the past ten years falls into the all-mountain category. The Thompson post appeared promising, out of the box. The post head makes saddle adjustments easy, and rock solid. Plus, the head/shaft machining is clean and bomber (I had problems on my old KS 950i post, where the saddle eventually spun on the seatpost shaft head). The handlebar level is small, and required some trial and error to find the best ergo location to mount the thing on the handlebars. Strangely, Thompson shipped the post with a cable housing that was at least three inches too short for my frame (easily solved with spare housing I had on hand). Once installed, the seatpost adjusted easily, and had a rock-solid feel. Unfortunately, the post developed slop in the collar at the top of the fixed section of tubing (the part that stays inside the bike frame). After about a month of use, I could see several degrees of movement in the saddle and hear creaking during seated climbs. No post I've used so far has been perfect, but at this price, the Thompson shouldn't show this much wear in less than a season.