Ritchey's WCS Kite dropper post might only have a maximum drop of 125mm and three height positions to choose from, but it brags a relatively simple internal system that crucially can be serviced easily and it's proved itself to be reliable and tough.
Some key things make the post attractive from the start, and more as the test period progressed - the seat clamp is easy and reliable to set and adjust. I like any post that has minimal faff installing and changing saddles - plus it's easy to dial in the right angle with infinite adjustment. The second major bonus is the internals of the post are simple enough to be home serviced if you have some awareness of what you are doing, and lastly the post has been reliable in some really varied weathers and riding.
Out riding, the three settings are handy - and quite practical, so the lack of ‘infinite’ positioning was never a problem for me. With full height being for all your super efficient pedalling, the second is 30mm dropped, which is great for a slightly lower centre of gravity, whilst retaining a good pedal stroke - and being able to move around the bike whether heading up or traversing more technical trails, and then the third ‘full’ drop - moving the saddle right out of the way.
The actuation is cable based - this makes it super easy to change and install, although the end into the post is just slotted in, and requires keeping the cable taut to stop it popping out as you install the post. Pulling the outer cable down as you pushed the post in eliminated this issue, but some sort of more ‘connected’ joint would be handy.
As with any cable system, getting the length right, and minimising tight angles is crucial - also minimising as much drag in the system helped improve the lever feel. The relative ease of install means that changing cables is pretty easy to do as they become gunked up over time.
The post return is quite firm, with a good clunk noise at full extension. This can be reduced with less pressure, but then that slows or makes the return fail. It pays to be mindful of the post as it returns, it's not so rocket-like as some, but you know it's come back up. Out on the trails, the three settings are all I found I needed. I especially liked the slight drop setting, handy for technical trails and a little more movement around the bike, but still able to pedal with some efficiency when needed.
One gripe is the remote lever - it feels too flimsy and at times I wasn’t confident it could take some ham-fisted thumb prods when things got a little sketchy. The pivot could be more robust as it feels very flexible at times. The shape and textured thumb area where very welcome in wet and muddy conditions. The recommended 10psi for the return is open to a little interpretation and I used the number of pump strokes to get a consistent charge. Obviously overcharging the post will make it slam on return, or you can slow it down if you like, but of course, this means a non-return at times. Elsewhere the whole post has a very well built and finished level to it, no rough edges and little fore/aft play in the post.
I feel the Kite with its 90mm or 125mm of drop is more focused for trail use rather than all-out enduro heavy-handeded use. It's not especially heavy and its more the fact the drop distances are shorter that make me consider it more focussed for trail and even gravel bike use. The drop of 125mm may not quite be enough for some people, but its the most popular travel available and the Kite stands its ground in this group, with its clean, subtle looks, reliable function and simple mechanism that could be home serviced. For me, its a no fuss, reliable set up that also works brilliantly as an actual seat post due to the clamp being really well made. The Kite is available in 30.9mm or 31.6mm diameters and also in 90mm or 125mm drop versions.
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