My history as a roadie and as a shop rat is such that even now I like a matching cockpit. Whenever possible, I want the bar, stem and seatpost to be from the same manufacturer and even the same series of parts. One of my bikes has a Profile bar mixed in with an otherwise Zipp cockpit and that’s only because the dimensions of the Profile bar gave me fit dimensions I couldn’t achieve with Zipp parts; even so, I had to talk myself over several weeks into making the switch.
Shimano’s Pro line of parts doesn’t get a lot of press, and I’m not entirely sure why. When I consider the bar/stem combinations I’ve used, the Pro line has offered an impressive balance of stiffness to weight without being crazy expensive. And with the advent of Di2, there’s not another component line that offers as clean a way to route the leads as Pro does.
And now there’s a dropper post in the Pro line, the Koryak. The dropper uses a replaceable cartridge that allows 120mm range of height. It comes in two diameters, 30.9mm and 31.6mm. Suggested retail is an affordable $270. Shimano claims a weight of 536 grams and was nearly bang on the money; I got 538g on my scale.
The head is a one-bolt affair and while they can slip if not sufficiently tight, if you use a torque wrench it’s easy to make sure the head is tight enough that it will never move. More important, single-bolt heads are much easier to adjust, both in the garage and on the trail. The post comes in only one offset—0 degrees.
I’ve heard this post criticized because it allows only 120mm of adjustment, not the 150 or 170mm seen in some other posts. I’ve used posts with 150mm of travel and the funny thing is that I don’t miss that other 30mm. I write that as someone who can’t live without a dropper post on a mountain bike. I once told dropper-post skeptic Tony Ellsworth that a mountain bike without a dropper post is an incomplete mountain bike.
What’s amazing to me about riding with a dropper post is that it has taught me how to descend better when high-posting. That doesn’t really make sense to me, but there’s stuff I used to drop the post for which I no longer need to move it out of the way. However, that has done nothing so much as confirm the sheer necessity of the dropper.
There are two factors that really make a difference for me where dropper posts are concerned. The biggest is the lever. With the Koryak, you have a choice between a traditional top-mount lever and for 1x bikes, a lever that duplicates the movement of a front shifter. As I’m still riding with two chainrings, I went for the top mount. The dimension I really care about is the lever length as that dictates just how much leverage you get on the cable. The Koryak lever is long, much longer than some of its competitors’ such as the KS. The other factor I care about is adjustability of return pressure. I’ve encountered a couple of less-expensive droppers that are spring-loaded and aren’t adjustable; the challenge being they can return with shocking force. Yo, the undercarriage!
One of the ongoing reasons I love Shimano products is their reliability. I’ve watched many friends suffer with dropper posts that lose pressure and won’t rise, posts that won’t lock, or posts that won’t release. Did I mention side-to-side play? I’ve put the Koryak through some reasonably abusive rides, but it still works like the day I pulled it out of the box.
Final thought: How did we ever live without dropper posts?