9point8 are fairly new to the MTB component game, but at Sea Otter, they really firmly grasped our attention with a new dropper seatpost that features a plethora of industry first, game changing features. To name a couple, the post can be removed from the bike without tools, and the lever can be configured/aligned about a dozen different ways on either side of the bar. It even comes with its own 4mm allen key torque wrench. Shortly after a quick demo we knew we wanted to get our hands on one. A few months back we received a sample of their new “Fall Line” and we’re pretty blown away. Continue on to find out why.
• Infinitely adjustable
• Anti Galling, Black Ti saddle-rail clamping screws and angle-adjust screws.
• Inline or offset head configurations (with purchase of conversion kit)
• Install / remove the remote control without removing grips or controls
• Independent adjustment of the seat angle and seat fore/aft position
• Micro-adjustable seat angle
• Telescopic lock in push and pull
• Mechanical DropLoc™ braking technology (patent pending)
• 2 year warranty
First impressions / Installation
Before we pulled the Fall Line out of its interesting packaging, we were already a bit excited to find a 30.9mm dropper seatpost that offered 150mm of travel. This configuration is a bit hard to find and 2 of our long legged tester’s bikes utilize a 30.9mm post. Anyhow, everything looks pretty straight forward but is a bit different than most posts. The Fall Line is cable actuated and air sprung, yet it uses a hydraulic brake to keep it firmly in place.
Trimming to the correct cable housing or hose length on internally routed dropper posts is never fun, but installation overall was pretty easy. The quick connect houses a T-Nut that butts up against the cable housing end. After passing through that T-Nut, the cable is cinched in place by two 2mm allen set screws. Our only real complaints during installation was that the 2mm set screws were easy to round out and difficult to tighten firmly – additionally, we learned that they have to be balanced and centered side to side well or they will hang up on the inside of of the sleeve that houses the T-Nut. The quick connect itself and its seal nut both use hex heads, but thread in by hand easily and DON’T need to be snugged down with a wrench in order to keep everything secure.
The installation went well all things considered – we chose to use 9point8’s 1X adapter($16) which allows you to mount the lever in a way that would mimic the positioning of a thumb paddle of a front derailleur shifter.
Up top, 9point8 offer inline and 25mm offset heads. What’s really cool however is the way that they’re configured. Fore and aft, two 4mm titanium screws adjust the tilt of your saddle. If you want to slide the rails and move the seat without affecting the saddles angle, or you want to remove it altogether, the two screws on the sides allow you to do that VERY quickly. Saddle removal exposes the valve which charges the air spring that helps the post return to top out.
Once we got through an ever so slightly tricky, yet clean and oil free installation it was time to hit the trails. Straight away we really liked the lever feel and its low profile nature. While the action doesn’t feel quite as smooth and low resistance as some fully hydraulic offerings, the lever stroke is short and feels very natural. Physically our thumbs never slipped on it – machined dimples likely assisted in that a bit when things were wet.
As far as the action is concerned with the post itself, it was smooth and flawless. Some things that we really appreciated : ZERO side to side play. A smooth and controlled return with a positive top out that wasn’t abrupt. The DropLoc brake inside works in a way that no matter how hard you push down or lift up on the saddle, it doesn’t budge. The Fall Line is the first seatpost that we’ve ever used which felt as firm and stiff as a rigid post. At times we almost forgot we were on a dropper. This is also likely due to the high quality construction which you can really feel the second you get your hands on it.
We’ve always been a fan of the RockShox Reverb and its smooth hydraulic actuation, but one advantage we found with the Fall Line’s cable actuation is that it works flawlessly when temperatures drop. Additionally, the brake inside the post uses such a small amount of fluid that it’s also unaffected by temperature.
The Fall Line lever configure options are infinite and guaranteed to cater to any rider’s preferred setup. We appreciated the tool free removal – at one point we had a bit of a hard time stuffing a size large 29″ wheels bike into a bike bag. 30 seconds later we’d removed the post and saddle without having to touch a tool, much less syringes and messy fluids. Pretty damn cool.
So far this is hands down, the best dropper post we’ve ever used. Time will tell how it holds up over the long haul, but we’ve seen no indications of any durability issues. 9point8 also back the post with a 2 year warranty and for a newcomer to MTB seem to have excellent support, documentation and parts availability. The weight and price are both competitive and come in a bit lighter and lower cost than most offerings. The Fall Line is low in profile and looks incredible, while offering more options than you can shake a stick at in terms of lever and head configurations. It provided smooth, flawless action from front to back and gave us no grief. While the installation was a touch on the finicky side, we never had to use any oil, or syringes and for that we were grateful. Every aspect of this post is screams that it was developed by a brilliant engineer with a refreshing eye for useful, unique features. There is more than one reason that industry giants Easton and Race Face happen to be licensing the “DropLoc” technology from the small Canadian brand. All in all, the 9point8 Fall Line is far and away the new leader in the dropper post game.