If you’re trying to convince a high-post holdout that MTB dropper posts are worth their added weight and cost, or you want to build up the lightest bike possible, the Fall Line R Dropper Post from 9point8 is one of the featheriest options available. According to the 9point8 site, it’s the lightest dropper on the market, celebrated by the clever tagline “engineering is lighter than carbon.” How light? The 30.9 x 150mm post tested here weighs about 415g, remaining well under 500g with the cable and Digit Remote connected. The Fall Line R post will set you back $466, and the remote costs an additional $65.
The Fall Line R is available in 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters, with a choice of 75, 100, 125, or 150mm stroke lengths that can be adjusted by adding internal spacers. The brand’s other droppers stretch between 75 and 200mm of travel, while this extra light stick maxes out at 150mm. Once the travel is selected you can choose between carbon or metal saddle rail clamps, aligned straight above the post, or oriented 25mm fore or aft with a series of different rail clamps. If your bike’s seated position makes the frame feel a little long or short, and the saddle can’t slide any further, those offset rail clamps will open up the positions considerably.
The post head angle is easily adjustable with the usual two bolts, while two saddle rail clamps hold the butt platform in place so you don’t need to grow a third hand to hold the saddle while mounting like some other posts require. I tested both metal and carbon rail clamps on different saddles, and the dropper head has remained tight and quiet throughout testing. The carbon rails on my Syncros saddle are massive, and the 9point9 rail clamps manage to hold them with tight tolerances that forego any scratching or marring of the carbon under pressure.
The lower segment of the post has an adorable pair of crossed-out scissors printed to remind owners not to cut it. The folks at 9point8 clearly know the classic weight weenie tactics to cut and drill-out anything that looks like “excess material.” There’s also a convenient series of measurements on the back side of the post to ease installation from one bike to the next. The mounting hardware at the base of the post connects to the cable and then screws into the base of the post, with the idea that riders could own a few sets of mounting hardware and swap the post between several bikes. In practice, I found the post rather difficult to install and remove, and will definitely keep it in one frame.
The Fall Line R Dropper has worked flawlessly for the past few months, snapping up and down when commanded on every ride just like the best posts out there. It has a notably fast return action, requiring very little air pressure to shoot a beer can off the saddle and into the air. As usual, the speed can be regulated to your liking by adjusting the air pressure. There is some progressivity when dropping the post, with a little added resistance in the final centimeters of the stroke. That progressivity took about one ride to get used to and then I fully forgot about it.
It’s been numb-fingers cold in the forest lately, and this post has slowed down noticeably with the drop in ambient temperature. It’s not problematically slow, but riders who pedal through the snow regularly may want to increase air pressure during the winter months.
The less exciting side of this post is the install process, which takes more time and patience than any dropper I have mounted in the past several years. You need to follow the install video to the letter, and plan to finish more than two beers while tinkering this one into place. The unnecessarily complicated mounting hardware at the base of the post is supposed to aid its swappability between bikes, but it seems the classic cable-head capture that nearly every other brand uses would achieve the same goal with less complication. Fortunately, once the post is installed its pinpoint functionality is worth the hassle.
The folks at 9point8 decided to go with an existing Wolf Tooth lever for their thumb-command option, and it was clearly a smart choice. The ergonomics, adjustability, and overall feel of this lever are on par with the PNW Loam Lever, making it one of the best in the business. It’s tough, relatively lightweight, and dead simple to install and adjust.
I’ve also been pulling on the 9point8 Stout Stem, and I’m happy to report that its bolts and clamps are as sturdy and quiet as their dropper post head. Made from top-shelf 7075 aluminum, this little bar holder is a great looking addition to any cockpit at $99. The 50mm stem with a 35mm clamp weighs about 140g.
While we can’t all afford to count grams, it’s great to see some quality bike parts out there that don’t cut weight from their list of priorities. The Fall Line R Dropper Post will go up and down all day long with less weight than the competition, on anything from a gravel bike to a dual-crown super-enduro machine. For lighter-weight riders who may want to pedal a sub-33-pound bike up the hill, components like this will make it possible.