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Dropper Posts

A truly and uniquely mountain bike specific invention. The first incarnation, the Hite Rite [1984] from Joe Breeze, usually required you to slow down and fiddle with the seatpost quick release - all without putting a foot on the ground. Soon came remote cable activation for the Hite Rite from IRD [1988], and only much later did internal pneumatic dropper posts come to the market. How did we live without this for so many years?

Who was first? As with most inventions, it's a matter of patents and sales. For example, Kind Shock [1998] developed a prototype post from an office chair pneumatic lift, but waited 12 years to develop it to market.1) So, it doesn't count - but it's very close.

Patents in this case aren't the best indicators of “practical inventions,” as many adjustable height seats were patented but none came to market, or they were excellent ideas which never proved to be practical, either because they couldn't be developed or because they couldn't sell them.

So, first to market and sales wins. Even if they later lose a patent infringement lawsuit.

Gravity Dropper [2003] is acknowledged as the first dropper post and was quickly followed a year or two later by Maverick, RockShox, Crank Bros., etc. Why not Hite Rite? Because it was frustrating to use while moving and would easily get out of adjustment. But it remains a huge innovation from the man who “invented” the first mountain bike eight years prior.

1984 Hite Rite patent 1977 Adjustable Seatpost patent 1997 Adjustable Seatpost patent

  1. [1984] Angell & Breeze : Hite Rite google patents
  2. [1973] Showa Group : google patents
  3. [1997] R. J. DeFreitas : google patents

2005 Maverick Speedball 2008 Crank Bros. Joplin 2010 RockShox Reverb

  1. [2005] Maverick Speedball : maverickbike archive
  2. [2008] Crank Bros. Joplin : pinkbike
  3. [2010] RockShox Reverb : pinkbike

1984 Hite Rite with a 1988 IRD Remote
1984 Hite Rite with a 1988 IRD Remote dirtscrolls

2003 Gravity Dropper
2003 Gravity Dropper (Oct 2003 archive)

2015 Magura Vyron
2015 Magura Vyron pinkbike
Electronic dropper post.

2019 Rockshox Reverb AXS 2019 Rockshox Reverb AXS
2019 RockShox Reverb AXS ebike-mtb
Now, with Bluetooth and an IPhone App

Kind Shock's earliest English patent for a dropper post seems to be from 2007.
tech/post.txt · Last modified: 2022/01/04 09:11 by mtbtimeline