What makes a mountain bike component special? I guess there are a lot of potential reasons. One particular factor that can really make a component really show it’s worth is just how much better it is than the part it replaced. Sometimes components are just ok, you don’t think too much about them until you upgrade and realize what you had been missing. Other times, you have components that are a such source of frustration that you end up wanting to curse whoever designed the part to a lifetime of pedaling cheap department store bikes.
I have been running a Thomson stealth dropper post for over a year. I love the post. It goes up and down every single time, it doesn’t have excessive play in any direction, and it looks great. However, I hated the lever, and I had a very good reason. There were a few nitpicky things I didn’t like, such as the over the bar mounting and the cable having to go over the top of my brake lever. The ergonomics weren’t the best either. Those are things I could have lived with just fine. What drove me over the edge was that I kept snapping cables. It was fairly consistent, happening every couple hundred miles, but it happened with little warning. Mid-ride it would decide to give up and there you were without a functioning dropper.
The biggest problem I ran into was a lack of dropper levers that were designed without the cable head at the lever. Thomson uses the cable head at the bottom of the post. I was pretty much out of luck. Then Wolftooth announced the ReMote. A dropper lever that is compatible with pretty much any cable actuated dropper post out there, ie anything but the Reverb. If you don’t know anything about Wolftooth you should just know this. They are a solid company that focuses on solving problems. They make super high quality stuff right here in the USA. Needless to say I was stoked to see they had a product that was exactly what I needed.
So how is it?
In short, really freaking awesome. If that’s all you needed to hear then go ahead and order one. If you’d like to know why, read on.
So the guys at Wolftooth went and exceeded expectations with the mounting options. They made the remote compatible with any Shimano IS or SRAM matchmaker mounting system, along with a standard bar clamp. That makes for a super tidy handlebar setup. You can order adapters to convert your lever should you change braking systems. How cool is that?
The cable is clamped at the lever with a bolt head set up and not just a set screw, similar to a derailleur. This makes for a very sturdy interface that does not slip. It also allows a really simple way to dial in cable tension. Especially on a post like the KS Lev. You can set you cable stop and then just pull tension snug at the lever and you are good to go. No fiddling with weird gauges or anything like that making for a much faster install time. No more trial and error. The lever also incorporates a nice barrel adjuster on the lever for easy adjustment on the fly.
The lever itself has a very grippy machined surface that offers a lot of grip for riding with or without gloves. This is a really nice feature for people like myself who sweat way too much on the bike in the summertime and end up with slick controls (or if you ride in the rain). Also, it has a super cool looking wolf face on it. (Wolves are awesome)! But one of the biggest innovations is that the lever rides on an actual cartridge bearing! No more rattly pinned levers with all kinds of play in them. This isn’t something that I would have really thought to be necessary, and it isn’t I guess. But it is so nice and smooth that now other levers feel cheap to me.
It only comes in black. So it matches everything.
Finally, the price. It’s $60. Yep, high end machined lever on a cartridge bearing with integrated barrel adjuster. And it’s sixty bucks. Boom. For comparison, a Fox Transfer lever is $65.
This may sound like an over the top gushing of endorsement, but I legitimately think that this is the nicest dropper levers on the market and recommend it to anyone. The silky smooth operation, mountain options, and incredible build quality make it really stand out as an upgrade anyone would appreciate. There are several competitors like Cane Creek entering the aftermarket lever mix. But Wolftooth has set the bar here, and they set it high.