Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
Sponsored by SDG Components
A few weeks back SDG Components announced their Tellis dropper post. The project has been years in the works with countless hours of testing, design and toiling. SDG is a company that has made seat posts before, but never ones that go up and down. In fact, over the years they really haven’t made much of anything besides saddles, posts and a couple grips because, as they put it, “We only make things we know we can execute well, and receive 100% of our attention. We’re not here to just sell products to make a buck,” said SDG owner, Tyler Anspach. So, you may ask, why a dropper post now, in a market already full of dropper post options? According to SDG’s North American sales director and chief tester, Devyn Pelley, the reason is, “Dropper posts still suck!”
I can still remember the days of manually dropping my post before hitting my favorite descents back in my teenage years. While I’m beyond thankful for the brilliant minds that have created this often-overlooked component, I can’t say I disagree with Pelley. Chances are, if you haven’t personally had a dropper post issue, at least one person in your riding group has.
Improving durability was a driving factor for SDG when it came time to develop the Tellis, but it was only one of four tenets the company held close. Simplicity, feather light actuation and affordability complete the mantra SDG engineers hummed every morning on their way to work. So how did they achieve their goal? Let’s take a closer look.
Simplicity – The Tellis parts list is impressively short. In fact you can count them all on two hands, and still have a free thumb to actuate the lever. SDG firmly believes in the less is more philosophy when it came time to making the Tellis work– so just in case it stops working, you’ll have an easy time repairing it.
Durability – Some of the same features that make the Tellis so simple are what make it durable. Less moving parts means less things to break. A sealed cartridge (which can be easily replaced as a unit) has been tested for over two years around the world and in all types of conditions. The actuator is also a very easy and quick job with minimal tools needed should that need servicing or repair.
The thankless goalkeeper of the entire system is the engineered wiper seal. SDG’s seal tightly hugs the sliding portion of the seat post to block as many of the nasty contaminants you’ll find on the trail as possible. Less bad stuff inside means more good times for you, outside!
This homemade, I mean, professionally engineered test rig subjected the stanchion and seal to a lateral load combined with vertical movement through a grimy mix of muddy, rock water in temperatures down to -20 degrees Celsius.
Actuation – SDG claims the Tellis has the lightest thumb actuation in the industry, and we’d have to agree. It may not be something that seems like a big deal, but after riding it and going back to other thumb levers, it truly is something we love about the Tellis. SDG achieves this light actuation with two key features. First is the length and shape of the lever. The second is the design of the actuator. It provides extra leverage, which decreases the amount of force required, which is a nice thing after a long day with lots of techy riding.
Affordability – Despite what you may think, SDG is a small company run by a passionate few. While they have a robust distributor and technical network around the world, SDG actually has a small home office and minimal staff so overhead is rather low compared to much bigger competitors. Since they lack some of the big expenditures of other big companies, SDG can pass those savings on to their customers.