MANITOU JACK DROPPER POST REVIEW
REVIVING MANITOU’S STAKE IN THE DROPPER GAME
Review by Michael Walker | Photos by Caitlin Wilkinson
The dropper market is flooded with different models by now, with options to cater for just about every rider on every budget. There are a few different systems that stand out though, whether it be for their overall quality; efficient length for the amount of drop provided; or for their innovative features that set them apart. BikeYoke is a company who sits in both the former and latter of those categories, offering a high-quality package with their Revive system which eliminates the need to service due to air entering the system. Many have enjoyed the BikeYoke dropper, so when Manitou was looking to bring their seatpost offering back up to scratch, rebranding the BikeYoke Revive was a very smart choice, but they added a few touches to make it their own. We’ve been testing the Manitou Jack dropper post for many months, and it’s time to share our findings.
The Manitou Jack is their singular dropper post offering, available in 80mm, 160mm or 185mm (tested) for both 30.9mm and 31.6mm seat tubes. Riders with the less common 34.9mm post will have to use a shim if desperate to brand-match their dropper post to a Manitou suspension product. This cable actuated dropper comes with Manitou’s own under-bar lever; a high-quality offering using a cartridge bearing that is compatible with the Hayes Peacemaker bar clamp or the included split bar clamp. Manitou provides a Jagwire 1.1mm dropper-specific cable for the post, which comes with an integrated head that forgoes the need to clamp the cable at the post end. Cable tension adjustment is made at the lever end, making setup and adjustment easier.
The Jack dropper uses the BikeYoke Revive internals, meaning it carries the same Revive function which allows for any air that migrates into the system to be quickly and easily bled on the trailside with a 4mm allen key to restore sag-free function. The actuator at the foot of the post can be rotated 360 degrees to align the cable exit in the best orientation, helping with clearance on certain frames with pivots in the vicinity. The Manitou Jack dropper post tips the scales at 525g (claimed, without remote and cable), and retails for $434.99 (shorter models $399.99).
From the get-go it was clear the Manitou Jack dropper seatpost carries the same high quality as its BikeYoke brother. The surface finish and presentation of the dropper are fantastic. It feels like a solid product in your hands with a flawless surface finish and very fine attention to detail. Installation went about as smoothly as any dropper installation does nowadays – it’s a simple process and no challenge for your average home mechanic. The actuator rotation is a nice touch, ensuring the cable exited the post in the optimum orientation. It didn’t take much fettling at all to get the lever actuation feeling perfect thanks to that integrated head on the Jagwire cable, which meant it was simply a case of pulling the cable through and clamping at the lever end. The one slightly annoying thing is the bolts on the saddle rail clamps are T25 and not a standard hex, meaning there’s a few different tools required to set it up. It isn’t an issue as such, it just doesn’t seem necessary.
In terms of operation and use the Jack dropper post has a snappy and repeatable actuation which stayed very consistent and did not skip a beat during testing. The feel at the lever is more of a precise notch rather than a mushy push feeling which some droppers have, letting you know exactly when the mechanism is actuated, and the post is ready to drop. I wasn’t sure how much of this sensation was the down to supplied lever and how much was the actuator in the post, so I fired my PNW loam lever back on to test and it appears to be in the actuator. The Revive function is not something I needed to use during testing nor is it a symptom I have ever suffered from in the past, however it is a nice feature to have as for some it may save a trip to the bike shop for repair…we’ve all experienced the Reverb suspension seatpost effect at some point, right? The one big drawback with the post for me is the fact there is no travel adjustment beyond moving it in and out of the seat tube, and no longer 200mm+ offering. At this price point it is disappointing considering that droppers less than half the price offer this feature, most of which are tool-less and on the fly. That said, if you happen to fall on the sweet spot for the lengths offered then it won’t matter to you.
How much can you really say about a dropper lever? Quite a bit, as it turns out! The lever is quite a simple design but executed well with a fantastic surface finish and solid feeling body. The cable adjuster is smooth with clear clicks between adjustments, which aids in the set up greatly. One of the disappointing things with It however is the use of a split clamp instead of a hinged design, which makes installation a little bit more time consuming. There are three mounting screw points on the lever, which act as the reach adjustment side-to-side on the bar. Typically, you only see two, however this may have been a requirement due to the short length of the actual lever itself, which is quite short. When combined with the higher-up position of the clamp caused it to collide with my Hope tech 3 brake levers in the furthest out position. This led me to keep it in the middle position which wasn’t ideal, the short lever matched with a comparatively long throw did mean it felt like quite a stretch to reach my thumb over to actuate the dropper. The thumb face of the trigger is smooth machined aluminum which can be quite slippery when wet, and some of the square edges on the trigger can feel quite sharp. It didn’t inflict any injury, but I could see it being an issue in the event of an accident. Overall, it’s nice that a lever is included as part of the package, but the design doesn’t feel quite on par with the post to be paired with it.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Manitou Jack dropper seatpost is a high-quality offering that provides satisfying and repeatable operation and asks for little in terms of maintenance. The Revive function may potentially save a trip to the bike shop for an overhaul, however the lack of adjustability at this price point and small range of travel options is a bit disappointing when compared with other posts. The inclusion of a lever is nice, however the lever supplied is far from the best and doesn’t feel well paired to the dialed post.