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KS LEV Ti Seatpost

Marshal Olson reviews the KS LEV Ti seatpost for Blister Gear Review

KS LEV Ti seatpost

KS LEV Ti Seatpost

Diameter: 30.9mm

Length/Travel: 385mm / 125mm

Actuation:  Carbon remote w/ RECOURSE Cable and Housing

Head/Rail: Zero offset two-bolt micro-adjust/standard rail

Blister’s Measured Weight:  518g (complete system, with cable, housing, and lever)

MSRP: $439

Duration of Test: 400+ miles

Prior to using the LEV Ti, I ran the KS Supernatural, which was cable actuated from the head. The overall layout (Thomson style head unit) is the same.

The big selling points of the LEV Ti versus the Supernatural were that it removed the loop of cable and fixed it to the frame, and that it saved 80g, both of which suckered me into swapping over to the LEV Ti.

Compared to the standard LEV, The Ti mainly saves weight in the lever (10g), the Ti seat post bolts (10g), and the shifter cable/housing (15g).

The standard LEV is also offered in an internally routed (Integra) version while the LEV Ti is not.

In practice, I never had an issue with the Supernatural’s loop of cable, or any durability issues, beyond a standard rebuild at 1000 miles. However there is something about the cleanliness of design present in the LEV Ti, and eliminating superfluous material is always appealing.

The overall action and feel of the LEV Ti is similar to that of the Supernatural. Both seatposts offer a small noise at top-out and bottom-out which I really appreciate. It helps cut wasted time when you are unsure of where you are in the travel.

The feel from the stock lever worked well for me, and its integration with ODI Lock-On grips is a nice touch. The lever itself is the same as those on other KS posts, just in a more machined, slightly lighter package. I had no alignment issues with Sram, Avid, or Shimano brake levers, or Sram shifters.

While the overall package of the LEV Ti is nicely appropriated, I did have a few issues with it that were not present in the Supernatural:

(1) While I did not notice it pedaling, the saddle had a side to side tick, where the Supernatural was rock solid.

(2) After sitting for a few hours in the garage or back of the truck with the seatpost down, the post would not return to full extension without physically pulling on it. No amount of pressing on the lever would get it to release back up. It didn’t require much force, but I did have to pull it up manually. This continued to be an issue despite repeatedly lubricating the seals and stanchion. My assumption is that there is something mechanical within the post causing the problem. This issue never manifested itself on-trail, and I can’t speculate that it would or could, but it was slightly worrisome and never went away. Internally, the KS has a factory sealed cartridge system, so rebuilding it myself was not an option.

(3) The RECOURSE ultra light cable broke within 20 miles of use, right at the end of the housing on the lever end. I did not detect a burr on the lever or an issue at the housing prior to the failure. I continued to use the stock housing and just ran a shift cable with no issue.

Bottom Line

The KS LEV Ti is certainly a nice dropper, and I would not try to talk someone out of buying it. But it costs twice as much as the Supernatural, and realizes only a small weight savings. The post didn’t really solve any problem I was having with the Supernatural, and it had a few small niggles that, while they haven’t affected performance, they have been slightly annoying, especially given the price-point. I expect something more refined than the basic alternative, and unfortunately, I didn’t find that to be the case with the KS LEV Ti.

All in all this is a nice post, but my experience with it makes me believe the KS LEV Ti is not a category leader. If anyone has similar experience with the LEV seatposts, and has any fixes to my issues, please post them in the comments section below.

 

2 Comments

  1. Michael May 31, 2015 Reply

    Marshal, great to see you back contributing more reviews. I always look forward to your insight on gear and you’ve never steered me wrong.
    Regarding the KS posts, I’d like to add some of my own experience if you don’t mind. (feel free to delete this if you think it’s muddling up the review)
    I’ve used the Supernatural, LEV and LEV DX extensively, and had a brief experience on the KS ETen.
    SUPERNATURAL: Great bang for the buck makes it a solid first dropper option. In muddy situations, the cable release under the saddle is problematic and I’ve had it fail several times mid-ride. Failure however, simply requires changing out the cable which is very easy. They came out with a different attachment under the saddle for 2015 which looks to directly address the mud-vulnerability. The cable routing can be tricky for some longer travel bikes. One bike I ran this on, the rear tire would rub the cable during shock compression, making an unsettling noise and wearing out the cable prematurely.
    LEV/LEV DX: It just seems like they’re trying to find ways to build more price points for the same post. Which is great if you want to save a few bucks and go with the DX. The DX is a few grams heavier and has a little less bling. Function is identical.
    ETen: Bought one of these when I thought I needed a temporary backup post. It’s cheap, so definitely the best way for someone to get into droppers without much commitment. It’s really heavy though. And the action is stiff and sluggish. And light riders might not even be able to “drop” it without bumping their saddle really hard. The one bolt seat clamp is really crummy too.
    SOUTHPAW: Although KS has arguably the best release lever on the market, the SouthPaw is an amazing bang for your buck upgrade if you’re running a 1x drivetrain. Massive improvement in it’s light action and in its ergonomic position.
    RELIABILITY. I don’t think anyone has created a reliable dropper post yet, so debating this is a fools errand. The bottom line with droppers is whether or not yourself or someone else can service it quickly and effectively, and how often it’ll need to happen. Kind Shock as a company has positioned themselves at the far end of the poor-customer-service spectrum and at the far end of the how-do-I-fix-my-shit spectrum, leading countless shops to actively discouraging KS sales. That said, this fellow on MTBR has reverse engineered a complete do-it-yourself post rebuild for KS posts. Something KS curiously, would rather you not do.
    http://forums.mtbr.com/general-discussion/ks-lev-diy-cartridge-rebuild-899659.html

    • marshal June 1, 2015 Reply

      awesome post, thanks michael!

      interesting feedback on the southpaw… i look forward to trying one. the ergonomics look awesome. have you had the lever slip or rotate at all?

      it is too early to say anything definitive (400mi use), but I have been pleasantly surprised by the Thomson Covert, as compared to the Gravity Dropper, Reverb, and KS posts previously used.

      Cheers!

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