Eurobike: Thomson Debut Dropper Post & Introduce New Carbon, Ti & DH Handlebars
September 12th, 2012
If you isolate individual bike components to specific brands, how many of us think of Thomson when the topic of quality seatposts pops up? Quite a few us I’m sure and that’s for good reason as for the best part of ten years have made one of the most iconic posts ever. Times change as do our needs as riders and the rise of the dropper post has transitioned through its infancy and is now an essential component for many of us and a logical path for Thomson to take.
Elite Dropper Post.
Still in the prototype stage, the Elite Dropper features 5″ of infinitely adjustable travel via an internal hydraulic cartridge with a nitrogen charged return spring. The Elite Dropper will be available in both a remote bar mounted option and lever under the saddle style option too. I think it’s fair to say that the appeal of this post is inherently Thomson and the aesthetics alone will no doubt drive some of you nuts!
The process used to put the logo on the stanchion is similar to the one used by suspension manufacturers and a first for a dropper post, but how good does it look? Rad is the word and using the same clamp as the traditional seatpost is genius. Unfortunately for those gagging to get this on their rides have quite a few months to wait as were looking at around 7-8 months to see these bad boys in your local bike store. Price will be right up there with the competition as well…
Thomson aren’t just looking to take a slice of the market by releasing yet another dropper post, but instead want to introduce a product that stands head and shoulders above the crowd. With unique features such as a 16 point shaft base which prevents the post from twisting and a special valve in the cartridge that stops the post from pulling through its travel when depressed and lifted from the saddle, Thomson have really looked at the design challenges raised by both the concept and where the competition have tripped up.
Not everyone wants another lever and cable/ hose coming off their handlebars and the lever under the saddle style control is one that you quickly get used to and one I quite fondly miss from my old Joplin… There’s not a lot more that I miss about that one though.
This is another area where I think other droppers on the market pretty much get it a little wrong. Rock Shox can get away with their lever, especially if you run a Sram transmission and Avid brake set up, but the other brands leave you with having to make compromises with your cockpit trying to find room for yet another thing you need access to when the going gets rough. The new lever pictured here is still very much in its prototype stages, but you get the picture. Less is more and more is less…
You could say this is where the magic is? The cartridge which controls the Elite Dropper’s ability to be non-twisty, infinitely adjustable is manufactured externally from Thomson who outsourced the tech and manufacturing from industry experts leaving the job of crafting something exquisite from aluminium, safely in their capable hands. The cartridge is pretty rad on its own, with oil in the upper part (the post is technically hydraulic) and a sealed nitrogen in the lower part, which is pre-set at 135pi and controls the posts ability to ascend through its travel when you depress the lever. There is also a special plunger in the cartridge that allows you to control the return speed just like a Reverb. Neat huh?
Thomson DH direct mount stem and bar combo – although the stem’s not new, the bar is and with a 12mm rise, 780mm width and weighing in at 295 grams will be pretty popular when they hit the shelves this Autumn.
The Thomson All Mountain Carbon Bar is not your average carbon bar. Designed for the rigours of arduous all-mountain shredding, the carbon is designed at a molecular level to react to harsh impacts by becoming increasingly stiffer as the vibrations become more violent. It does this yet remains supple over small hits ensuring they won’t fail on you without losing any of the characteristics that make carbon bars what they are.
The XC bars have a subtle rise, but rather neatly have that iconic logo going in both directions so you can run them with a + or a – in the rise and still have a sweet looking set up. Attention to detail folks!
Ti bars? These things are the nuts – each one is made from a single piece of custom titanium tubing, which is then machined down to the shape we see below. This method is incredibly expensive but allows the manufacturing process to effectively keep material allocation to a minimum and keep it where its needed and vise versa, maintaining a low weight to strength ratio. These are very expensive and yes, you will want them when you have them in your hands, trust me!