Kind Shock, otherwise known as KS, is a well-known name in the mountain bike dropper post game, offering a plethora of sizes at a variety of price points. In conjunction with my review of the Marin San Quentin, I tested the relatively new KS E30-I dropper post along with the Southpaw alloy remote. Here’s what I found.
Specs and construction
The KS E30-I is an internally-routed, air-sprung dropper post that’s designed to offer great performance at a reasonable price. Kind Shock offers the E30-I in three diameters — 27.2, 30.9, and 31.6mm — and four travel lengths for each diameter, up to 150mm. I tested the 30.9mm version with 125mm of travel. See the chart below for all the possible combinations that are available.
The head features a two-bolt retention system that allows for proper saddle placement and adjustment. The air pressure in the sealed cartridge is not adjustable.
On paper, the only real place the E30-I seatpost seems to skimp is on the weight. KS claims the 125mm travel version I tested weighs 550g, which is fairly hefty compared to pricier posts in the KS range like the Lev. I found mine weighs even more than advertised, 636g, which is nearly a pound and a half. The post feels weighty and dense in the hand, and that weight doesn’t even include the cable or remote which tack on another 107g according to my scale.
The Southpaw remote offers a bit of an upgrade over the standard, KGP over-the-bar lever that is included with the E30-I. Again, KS offers options, starting with the alloy version and moving up to carbon. While the materials (and weight) may change, all three versions of the Southpaw look and work the same.
The KS E30-I retails for $209 USD, while the Southpaw alloy lever is priced at $35 USD.
I followed the installation instructions included with the KS E30-I and was surprised at how quickly I was up and running. Routing the cable through my bike’s downtube was probably the most difficult part, and even that was a cinch. (Pro tip: I use a 90-degree pick tool to nab the end of the cable and pull it out of the exit hole at the bottom of the tube.)
KS went with a tool-free attachment design on the actuator at the bottom of the post like many posts these days, which makes it easy to remove the post and put it back in as needed. Setting the nut at the end of the cable takes some fine motor skills, and I found it’s crucial to snip off any excess cable as close to the nut as possible to make sure the post slides easily into the seat tube. This also helps when setting or removing the nut from the actuator.
The Southpaw remote is similarly simple to install and configure. If you’ve ever installed a brake or derailleur cable before, the process will be very familiar. The KS parts, particularly the lever and included cables, are high quality which helps the job go smoothly.
Affixing a saddle to the two-bolt seatpost head was a little frustrating, but then again it always is. There’s probably a way to slide saddle rails onto the head without removing one or both of the bolts, but I never figured out a good method. The upshot is, once I had the saddle in place and the bolts threaded into the barrel nuts, getting the right saddle placement and angle was easy.
On the trail
Based on a few bad experiences in the past, I’m always stoked when a dropper post works right out of the box, and the E30-I does not disappoint. Throughout my testing, it dropped when I asked it to drop, and it returned when summoned. It doesn’t get any simpler than that, and if you’re looking for a post that just does the job, you can stop reading here.
Compared to other posts I’ve tested, the E30-I is noticeably slower on the return. Rather than shooting back into position, it tends to ease its way back up, even more slowly when it’s cold outside. The good news is it comes back every time, and I can’t think of a time when the post didn’t return quickly enough for me to make my next move.
Dropping the post produces an audible hissing noise as the air in the chamber compresses, while a soft clinking, brick-on-brick sound lets the rider know the post is back at full extension.
One problem that has plagued many a dropper post is the development of side-to-side play that results in noticeable twisting at the saddle. Somehow, KS has completely (and I mean completely) eliminated this from the E30-I. Most posts twist a degree or two after breaking in, but I couldn’t get the E30-I to budge one bit. It feels completely torsionally locked.
The Southpaw remote is the best option for anyone running a 1X drivetrain because it’s so easy to use. KS has done a nice job with the design and the lever feel is good with just enough front-to-back travel. It looks great too, and my only complaint is I found the glossy, smooth finish caused my thumb to slip off the lever on more than one occasion. At some point I’ll probably stick something (a small piece of inner tube?) to the lever to make it grippier, particularly in wet conditions.
The KS E30-I offers solid and reliable performance at a reasonable price. For those who are looking at buying a dropper post for the first time, or adding one to a bike that came without, the KS E30-I is easy to install and gets the job done.
Right out of the box, the E30-I includes everything riders need, but I recommend also purchasing the Southpaw remote to replace the included KGP over-the-bar remote.
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Thanks to KS for providing the E30-I for review.