Reviewed: KS Lev Dropper Post

Reviewed by Jonathon Weber

For someone who compulsively reads bike industry news and gear reviews, I can actually be quite the Luddite when it comes to my own bike. I ride a hardtail with a 1×10 drivetrain that I hardly ever tune, and that’s part of the beauty of my bike. So when I started thinking about using a dropper post, it was really the idea of adding another moving part that turned me off. When it came down to it, though, I was sick of compromising on seat height – and so were my knees. I wanted the power that comes with good leg extension but also wanted to be able to move around the bike freely, and that meant not having my seat in the way. I realized that ultimately, the post would pay for itself if it kept my knees healthy and more than make up for its own weight if it improved my pedaling efficiency and descending capability. In the end, this post seems to have done both, and I’m sure most any dropper would. So there’s my basic argument for these wonderful pieces of mountain bike tech.

Features

  • Super smooth action.
  • Infinitely adjustable seat angle.
  • Intelligent cable routing method without cable growth.
  • Ergonomic carbon lever can replace an ODI inner lock-on grip clamp.

Verdict

The Lev’s action is at least as smooth as Rockshox’s Reverb, which seems to be today’s benchmark for droppers. I could detect only a very small amount of play at the seat when wiggled off the bike. It feels solid once sat on, though, with little flex and no noticeable play. The seat clamp is a traditional, infinitely-adjustable two-bolt design, which didn’t slip or strip like some single-bolt posts. I found the carbon lever to have a very ergonomic feel and didn’t have any trouble with control spacing after mounting it to my grip.

I chose the Lev for its cable routing:  KS wisely routes the cable to the collar on the top of the post’s slider – a static point that sees no movement as the rider cycles through the post’s infinite travel. To me this is an essential feature for an externally-routed post; other companies route the cable to the head of the post, which means that there is a lot of extra cable hanging off the bike when the seat is at the bottom of its range. Of course, this is a moot point if your frame features internal routing. Many users (myself included) are also making an improvement to the post’s cable routing by adding a v-brake noodle in between the lever and the housing. This provides some direction to a cable which is otherwise a bit awkward and unsupported. Overall, the KS is the most refined (though also most expensive) post on the market. It’s function is flawless and user-friendly.

Rating

  • Innovation: 2/2
  • Function: 2/2
  • Aesthetics: 2/2
  • Features: 2/2
  • Quality/Price: 1/2
  • Overall Rating: 9/10

 

Pros

  • Zero cable growth design
  • Smooth action
  • Ergonomic actuation lever
  • Infinite positioning

Cons

  • Most expensive post available.
  • The air port’s location under the saddle means removing the head of the post every time pressure needs to be adjusted. Of course, this shouldn’t need to be done much, except maybe during initial setup.

Specs

Available Length / Travel / Diameter Options

  • 435mm / 150mm (30.9 or 31.6 diameter)(tested)
  • 400mm / 100mm (27.2 diameter)
  • 385mm / 125mm (30.9 and 31.6 diameter)
  • 335mm / 100mm (30.9 and 31.6 diameter
  • Price: $450 for the tested 435mm option.
  • Weight: 580g including remote and lever.

 

 

 


 

7 Comments

  • Ryan says:

    Awesome work Jon, welcome to the MTBVT team!

  • Joshg says:

    How long have you been riding the post? This is very timely as I was just reading up on posts, seems the reverb got its act together. But people really seem to like the lev. Check out bike mag recent issue for another positive review and vitalmtb long term review. Like the stationary cable.

  • Weber says:

    I spent three months on the post and logged about 35 hours of actual riding. I was pretty trigger happy and probably used the post nearly as often as I shifted. The only maintenance I performed was a cable tightening, which was made easy by the in-line barrel adjuster shown in the photo next to the specs listed above.

    Check out this aticle for a detailed look into what goes into making one of these:
    http://m.pinkbike.com/news/The-Assembly-of-a-KS-Lev-Seatpost-2012.html

    Cheers!

  • Joshg says:

    Thanks for the answer, great to hear someone’s experience beyond internet forum banter.

  • Mat Long says:

    The Thomson Elite Dropper is actually the most expensive on the market at $449.95

  • Mike says:

    I think the KS Lev is the best seatpost on the market, based on some demo rides and general web feedback. However, for aftermarket installations there is not enough information available on the compatibility with various bike/frame setups and installations with external cable routing. Also, the enclosed installation instructions were rather a joke – not sufficient to properly install the post. Fortunately, there are videos available on the web with excellent instructions.

    I ordered a KS Lev DX 30.9 mm post with 125mm travel to install on my 2006 Specialized FSR S-Works. When I started the installation, I followed this video on the Art’s Cyclery website.

    I quickly encountered a few problems:

    1. The aluminum protective end cap on the bottom of the post was stuck fast. There is no mention of how to remove this cap (pry or unscrew?) in the video. I used a pair of Channel Locks to final get it unscrewed, but in doing so, put some scratches on the cap. The cap needs to have more grease on the threads or just tighten finger tight at the factory

    2. After measuring my current seat height, transferring the dimensions to the Lev DX and inserting into my frame, I soon realized that there is not sufficient length in the seatpost tube to install the 125mm post. It’s too long for my bike. I will have to ship my post back and order a 100mm post instead. I could find no guidance on the web or in the enclosed manual to determine which length posts would work with my bike.

    3. Neither the enclosed manual, the KS website nor the Art’s video gave advice on how to route the cables externally. There needs to be more info on these installations for the aftermarket version.

    I’m bummed about my results so far and ran out of time to get my post installed before my upcoming 3-day MTB fest in Oregon. Still, I look forward to getting a 100mm model and completing the installation. For me, aside from beefier tires, a dropper seatpost is probably the best way to improve riding/confidence on sketchy downhill sections.

  • Sheldon Pennoyer says:

    I purchase the internally routed LEV Dropper post. It is extreamily hard to install with a very poor design in the cable connection to the seat post. Another flaw is that they do not provide you with a suffiecent amount of cable or cable housing for an X Large frame sizer. This will cost you an additional amount of money which is unexceptable since the unit is so costly.

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