Product Test: CrankBrothers Kronolog Dropper Seatpost
Crankbrothers inherited the Joplin dropper seatpost from Maverick, and while they deserve kudos for their efforts, they could never get the bugs worked out of the temperamental design. Finally, Crankbrothers’ engineers pulled the plug on the product. Were they turning their backs on a potential gold mine? Hardly. The introduction of the $300 Kronolog on-the-fly, height-adjustable seatpost proves they want to lead the category, not abandon it.
The aluminum Kronolog uses a mechanical system rather than hydraulics to control the post’s height settings. An air spring complements the mechanical features by providing adjustable preload and return speed. The air spring is adjustable using a suspension pump. A keying system between the quill and shaft prevents rotational play. The seat drops 5 inches in stock form, but the drop height can be reduced in approximately 3/4 of an inch increments by adding a spacer. The remote actuation lever attaches to the handlebar using a standard handlebar clamp and can be configured for either right- or left-hand control.
The Kronolog is available in either 30.9-millimeter or 31.6-millimeter diameters and is 16 inches long. Our 30.9-millimeter version with remote and cable weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces. You can check out CrankBrothers’ website here.
Field test results:
Installing the Kronolog on a large Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon was fast and simple (Pivot supplies cable routing guides for this type of accessory). The seatpost’s seat clamp allows micro-adjustments of the saddle’s tilt, and the clamping system remained secure and quiet throughout the test. The Kronolog’s remote release lever is designed on a split-perch clamp, so you do not have to remove handlebar grips, brake levers or shifters to mount the remote. Thanks, Crankbrothers.
Read any Mountain Bike Action test of a bike equipped with a dropper seatpost and you will understand why we are such big fans of the concept. In short, it lowers your center of gravity, making your tires feel fatter and improving cornering performance tremendously. The advantage can be felt on everything from steep descents to flowy singletrack.
The Kronolog blows away other mechanical dropper posts for smoothness, overall feel and noise. While it doesn’t quite match the action of a hydraulic post, it is not far off the mark. You would have to operate the Kronolog and a hydraulic post side by side to notice a difference.
The Kronolog is loaded with features you will really come to appreciate over time. The post’s actuation cable attaches to the post’s body so it doesn’t move with the saddle. This makes cable routing easy, and the cable never comes in contact with your leg when the saddle is dropped. Another welcome feature is that the post can be dropped and raised incrementally. You can drop it to any position between full extension and full bottom out and just let go of the lever. The saddle sticks at that height, and it doesn’t matter if you are going up or down.
The seatpost has to be removed to change the preload/return spring air pressure, but this is a fine-tune that you should only have to do once. We liked the factory tune just fine.
Weight will always be an issue with any adjustable dropper seatpost. Removing the Syntace carbon seatpost and replacing it with the Kronolog resulted in a net-weight gain of 12.1 ounces. On our high-end Pivot, that’s an unacceptable 3 percent weight gain. If you blew your budget to build the lightest bike possible, any dropper post is not really an option. On a bike in the 28-pound neighborhood, it is an easier pill to swallow.
Our Kronolog developed slight side-to-side play after 90 days of use. It is enough to be annoying. Also, the seat clamp brace (it fits between the seat rails) broke. It is made from some type of composite material that may save weight but it isn’t up to the task at hand. We’ve seen owners fabricate their own braces out of aluminum. These two problems force us to reduce the star rating “shows potential, but has drawbacks” until the problems are addressed. Crankbrothers backs the Kronolog with a two-year warranty, so that might help you with your buying decision.
This review first appeared in our July 2012 issue. Subscribe to MBA here.