Origin8/ TMARS Dropper Seatpost 1st Impressions

P1000670

I was just moments away from pulling the trigger on that $400 well respected companies dropper post when reality bit hard. I'm a husband and a father, living on modest paychecks. I have no business buying a expensive seatpost, that as the internet rumors will tell you has had some of its own issues with failures.

I had a dropper post that I loved, a Giant Contact Switch. But I sold it with my Niner Jet 9 so I could get a dream ride. A long travel 29er in the form of the Kona Satori otherwise known as the Buddhist Monkey. The bike so named for the Buddhist term, Satori for Enlightenment and for the front tire; The Chunky Monkey. The story goes something along the lines of a Buddhist met a Monkey and somewhere along the road of parties they reached Nirvana over too many shots of Tequila. That story and a review of the bike comes later....back on topic.

P1000671

The Satori came with a Crank Brothers Kronolog dropper seatpost. I heard the rumors of failures of this post and while I did not doubt them with my own experiences with Crank Brothers(CB) Pedals which always ended in catastrophic failure, I decided to give this post a chance. It lasted all of two weeks before failing with CB customer service saying, ummmm, we don't have parts right now, it may be up to four weeks before we have your seatpost repaired. Yeah, that didn't fly to well with me and the search was on.

That twinge of guilt at buying such a ridiculously expensive seatpost lead me to searching the net because you know if you read it online, it must be the bees knees. I found some interesting conversations in the forums about the Tmars Dropper and the Origin8 Dropper Seatpost that look damn near the same and basically knock off versions of the famous Gravity Dropper that while I still believe to be overpriced, the best version of a dropper on the market due to its entirely mechanical function of springs, a locking pin and a cable operated lever.

Both the Tmars and the Origin8 Dropper Post could be found for under $100 through Amazon and Ebay. I took a chance and ordered the Origin8 in the 31.6 size for my Kona Satori.

Out of the package it has three settings with a full extension, 90mm drop and 110mm drop and it weighed in at 604 grams including the remote lever and the cable. This is about 100 grams heavier then a Gravity Dropper Turbo including the remote and lever but being 1/3 the cost of a Turbo, I can take a 100 gram hit. I'm no bean counter. I want durability over weight loss. Especially considering I'm a 6 foot tall Goat, Bear Sasquatch Thingamabob that weighs in at over 200 lbs. If I really want to lose some grams I'll give up my beer, pizza and Peanut M&M's. Yeah Right.

Before I even mounted it to the bike I took it apart and found the same sticky grease that Shimano puts all over their chains for packaging purposes. I cleaned all of that mess off the spring and stanchion and used some Phil Wood waterproof grease thinned with Dumonde Freehub Oil.

I tried to like the remote lever but was bulky and it's heavy friction, side action is one of the sloppiest levers I've seen to date. I knew I'd be finding a way to replace it as soon as I had seen pictures of it but I gave it a chance for a day. It sucked.

Original remote lever

I found a Suntour Fork lockout lever on Ebay for $16 after reading about a similar mod a guy had done on the TMARS dropper from the Singletrack World forums.

Suntour Fork Lockout

The Fork remote taken apart. The actually locking mechanism consist of the Parts seen on the bottom left of my hand; the lever, button, cam plate and spring(not pictured)

Suntour Fork lock dissassembled

I reassembled the fork remote without the locking mechanism and added in two brass washers bought at the local hardware store to take up slop that had been caused by removing the unlock lever.

New Lever installed, rider view

Then it was on to how to secure the cable. I did try to run the cable so the cable head was in the new lever and used a grub screw to secure the cable in the locking pin. For whatever reason I could not get the set screw to secure the cable tight enough to keep it from slipping. The original design had the cable head slipping in the locking pin but they used a cable with a head smaller then a standard gear shift cable. I ended up drilling out the locking pin to allow a standard gear cable to slip in it  and then I used a cable knarp at the remote lever end to secure the cable.

"Lock Box" spring and lock pin

The cable knarp I used at the lever end. It worked great.



New Lever installed, side view

I've only had the dropper for 2 months and the issue I have had so far is a broken remote cable. If this thing lasts a year, at $96 including the cost of replacing the lever I'll consider it a success especially when competing with dropper post that cost 3-4 times as much.


1 comments:

  brankulo

March 6, 2014 at 8:11 PM

jeremy, have you considered older ks posts? they can be now had pretty cheap. i have had mine, i950R, for over 3 years of heavy abuse now and all it ever needed was dab of slick honey under collar once in a while. best $230 i have spent on the bike. plus it is fully rebuildable at home, which is great plus for me if it ever decides to break.