Scads of dropper posts have been designed since we stopped clamping quick-release levers and Height Right springs to slide our MTB seat posts up and down, and a lot of them look and function similarly. The uniform shapes and functionality make sense since they all perform the same job and have to fit inside the same tube. The Manic dropper post from X-Fusion isn’t necessarily one that stands out from the crowd, and in its case, that’s a good thing. It’s a simple post that works well for a reasonable price, and it can be fully serviced by any home mechanic.
Having ridden with this dropper on several test bikes, and now packing it with mud on our winter tracks, I’ve collected some thoughts on the Manic (available at JensonUSA and other online retailers.).
The Manic saddle-clamp provides a wide range of adjustability with a set of 4mm Allen bolts that are angled for easy and direct tool access. The head and bolts have remained tight and quiet since it was mounted up, with no slippage at the saddle rails.
At the other end, clamping the post into the frame takes a little more precision than some. It’s easy to over-tighten the seat post collar, resulting in a post that returns slowly and doesn’t always reach full mast. Fortunately, this is something that has to be adjusted once, and after I found the right collar tension the post popped up and down like any other, and it hasn’t moved in the frame.
Prior to all that clamping, the cable and housing lengths have to be sorted. The Manic uses what we can, fortunately, call an old-school method of running the cable between post and remote, clamping the cable end in a tiny knarp that has to be measured precisely before the post can be installed. In contrast to the faster method of clapping the cable end in the remote lever, this procedure requires more back and forth steps with the housing and post, and there is more room for error. It also doesn’t allow you to unclamp and tighten the cable once the post is installed, leaving only the housing-adjuster at the lever to tighten things up. While it works just as well once the post is installed, I look forward to the full phasing out of this dropper cable clamping method.
At full mast, the 31.6x170mm Manic dropper I tested is 478mm long, and weighs 563g without the remote, with a minimal insertion length of 170mm. If you count the actuator it’s closer to 515mm long. For reference, a 31.6 OneUp V2 post with 170mm (reduced from 180mm) of travel is 470mm long, including the actuator, and weighs a reported 545g. While the weight difference isn’t so significant, the post length is something that riders with shorter inseams or long seat tubes will want to double-check. No one wants to be stuck with a dropper post that they can’t extend fully because it doesn’t slide far enough into the frame.
|Travel options||100, 125, 150, 170mm|
|Diameters||30.9, 31.6, 34.9mm|
|Total length with actuator||515mm (for 170mm travel)|
|Total length without actuator||478mm|
|Minimum insertion depth with actuator||170mm|
|Max insertion (collar to base of actuator)||285mm|
The maximum insertion length is another important component of frame fit for shorter-legged riders to consider. If your inseam dictates that a given post travel will require slamming the lower tube until its collar touches the top of your frame’s seat tube, you will need a clear and straight 285mm of seat tube to get the fit. I maintain a 71cm saddle height, and the post was perfectly bottomed out against the curve of the Privateer 161’s 420mm seat tube.
Return speed and air pressure for the Manic are constant, and cannot be adjusted to fit each rider’s preferences. I only need my dropper to go down smoothly and return even faster, without issue. That’s it. The Manic does exactly that, even in below-freezing temperatures. If you like to dial in the speed and force of your dropper you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Manic posts are home-serviceable, with tools that most tinkerers have in the shop. I popped my 170mm post apart to see how much dirt made its way inside and was impressed to find it quite clean, with plenty of factory grease remaining. The pins that stabilize the post are still in great shape, and there is virtually no wiggle at the head.
If the repair video above looks daunting, know that there are alternatives for some of the steps. For example, you can use a pair of strap-wrenches instead of a vice, and leave the post on a radiator heating unit for a while if you don’t have a torch or hair-dryer.
Finally, there’s the lever. The thumb lever angle and placement is widely customizable to fit any hand or cockpit requirement, and it’s plenty comfortable to push on all day long. The three indents on the lever give it some amount of traction against gloves, and I haven’t had any issue with my thumb slipping off. Also, there will never be an issue with the cable ferrule coming off at the lever and letting the frayed ends stab your hand since that end of the cable is tucked below the post.
Most folks purchasing a dropper today are replacing one or upgrading to longer travel, rather than buying their first post, and the Manic fits both of those needs well. It has been smooth and fast enough for everyday trail use. The weight is reasonable, as is the price of roughly €170/$200.