Review: Crank Brothers Highline Dropper Post

Crankbrothers Highline

Named after one of Sedona Arizona’s favorite trails, the Crankbrothers Highline (spelled Hiline in Sedona) has a butt load of super well thought out features that address many complaints with other dropper seatposts.  Droppers are a product that bring about some lively conversation in Sedona since the terrain demands their use more than just about anywhere I’ve ever ridden due to the extremely undulating and steep terrain.

Details: Crankbrothers Highline $350 – 125mm drop – 30.9 or 31.6 – 580 grams

Riding the Highline: Out of the box post action is super smooth with absolutely no vertical or side to side play.  Post return is super smooth without being too quick nor with harsh top out.  Lever operation is easy on the thumb and feels totally natural since the lever is precisely where I want it under the bar and adjusted to my thumb bio-mechanics.

Setting up the Highline:  It’s the easiest internally routed dropper that I’ve installed by far. Why?

  1.  The head of the cable is inserted at the post which makes adjusting cable tension much easier.  No plastic cable measurement guides needed or messy hydraulic bleeding.
  2.  The rear bolt clamp mounting hardware is split to allow easier saddle installation without completely removing mounting hardware.
  3.  The remote lever is hinged so you don’t have to take your grip and brake off to install or take off.

Crankbrothers Highline

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Crankbrothers Highline
The super adjustable ergonomic under the bar lever is similar to a one of those things we previously used to shift into different chainrings.   The spherical ball mount allows for infinite adjustability possibilities to accommodate rider preferences no matter how short, long or crooked the thumb.

The Good:

1) The lever is the best I have used with crazy awesome adjustability.

2)  Installation of the post with cable coming from the post is the easiest internal/stealth installation I’ve experienced.  The new Fox Transfer is close, but you have to use a weird adapter on the cable end to make it work like the Highline installation.

3) Simplicity! The post is soooo user-friendly with the replaceable hydraulic cartridge, making for an easy service!

4)  Warranty: Reliability with dropper posts is where most struggle.  This post sports a 3 year warranty and the quality of design and materials seem to be at a very high level.  The Trelleborg hydraulic seal (dust wiper) looks more like a shock dust wiper than the wimpy seals on many of the current dropper posts.  Crankbrothers even includes grease to reapply under this dust wiper.


The Bad:

1) I had to replace the hydraulic cartridge since it was losing travel and not extending fully.  The post was only extending to around 110mm before cartridge replacement.

2) 125mm travel is fine for most, but it would be nice to have the option of 150mm.  Most riders can not take advantage of this with the current design though since the post is so long.

3) Post length.  This is NOT a problem for me, but those with shorter legs will have trouble since the Highline is about 30mm’s longer than most other 125mm droppers.  I can run a 150mm KS on my Ibis with no problem, but the Highline will only go down about 15mm more than where I normally run my post.

4) Actuation is vague feeling.  I believe this may be due the post being a little harder to actuate at the lever.  I find myself double checking if the post is fully up since there isn’t much feeling or sound as the post returns to full height.

Crankbrothers Highline

After a little over a month with the warrantied hydro cartridge no issues have come up.  Unlike most dropper posts the Highline remains free of play from side to side or up and down.   If you don’t need longer than a 125mm dropper and want a post with great ergonomics and a generous 3 year warranty, this may be your post.  Like any dropper posts, it has drawbacks, yet are minor compared to the issues many other dropper posts are plagued with.  The Highline does a nice job of addressing many of my complaints and emerges as a very good contender in my book.

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