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Thomson Elite Covert Dropper Seatpost

Tom Collier reviews the Thomson Covert Elite Dropper Seatpost for Blister Gear Review.

Thomson Elite Covert Dropper Seatpost

Thomson Elite Covert Dropper Seatpost

Features:

  • 5 inches / 125mm of infinite travel
  • 5mm of setback
  • Short throw remote lever for quick height changes
  • Return speed is damped in the last 15mm of upward travel
  • Ambidextrous remote

Stated Weight: 592 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight:

Post: 488 grams

Lever, Cable, 53” of housing & post attachment: 140 grams

Total Weight: 628 grams

MSRP: $450

Reviewer Info: 5’8” 160 lbs

Test Duration: 25 days

Test Locations: Park City, UT; Jackson, WY

Intro

Several years ago, Thomson fixed-length seatposts became ubiquitous on mid-to-high end bikes, because they were one of the first manufacturers to get it really right. Their fixed-length posts are relatively light, and hold the seat in place with nary a slip nor creak.

Fast forward to our current world of dropper posts.

The first offerings had terrible reliability, but subsequent posts from KS and Rock Shox (among others) were reliable enough options to be viable choices.

Dropper posts can take a while to get used to, so a single ride doesn’t always sell the concept. But use one long enough, and you’ll be sold.

Having used dropper posts extensively for a few years, I couldn’t imagine riding a bike without one.

I’ve owned a RockShox Reverb, a KS Lev, and a KS Lev Integra post. They all work satisfactorily, but every single one has needed service, and the seat clamps have a habit of slowly slipping and creaking. (The KS clamps have been the worst offenders. Every month I find that my saddle nose is several degrees up from where I had set it initially.)

So while I wouldn’t give up on a dropper post, I do, at times, long for the reliability of my old Thomson post.

Then Thomson released their own dropper.

The Thomson Elite was released late 2013. It came in two versions, one with a lever under the saddle to activate the post (it’s been discontinued), and a second with a cable remote that attached into the post just below the seat clamp.

There were some initial hiccups, and given the lack of a stealth version, some of the hype fizzled.

But late last year, Thomson updated the post with a stealth version—the Elite Covert—which got my attention and made it a potential contender.

Thomson Elite Covert Specs

The Elite Covert is only offered in one drop: five inches, which is plenty for my short legs. But taller folks might wish for longer, and shorter folks might wish for a 4” drop version, since a tall seat tube and long dropper post can yield a minimum seat height that is too high.

The length is 400mm, while the usable length is 300mm, and the minimum height is 188mm.

The Elite Covert comes in 30.9, 31.6, and now 27.2mm diameters.

The seal head is 28mm tall. The head features a 5mm offset toward the back. You could run it forward, but I’m not certain Thomson would support a warranty if issues developed.

Tom Collier reviews the Thomson Covert Elite Dropper Seatpost for Blister Gear Review.

Tom Collier on the Thomson Elite Covert Dropper Seatpost.

Thomson uses a sealed cartridge to provide hydraulic actuation of the post. It uses high end Norglide bushings, Trelleborg rings and seals, and Motul oil. Because it is sealed, the user can’t adjust air pressure, but the hope is that this will prove to be more reliable than unsealed options.

(Thomson notes that the Elite Covert passes EN fatigue and strength tests for seatposts, and that other, lighter posts do not. Take that for what you will.)

Cables, Housing, and Installation

The post is cable actuated, and is very easy to install.

The cable attachment to the bottom of the post is very clean and simple, and again, installation was extremely easy.

The cable and housing on the post are actually more similar to brake housing rather than derailleur housing used on dropper posts like the KS. Thomson does this to provide more flexibility around the tight bend by the bottom bracket that most stealth routing has.

This is pretty cool. I like that Thomson looked outside the box, and that this move isn’t too committing since you can always switch to standard 5mm brake housing and a shifter cable.

Setting up cable on a KS post is always a bit of a pain. You have to cut it to just the right length, then finagle it into the mechanism at the bottom of the post. The Thomson cable terminates at the remote lever instead, so working on it is easy. It also isn’t very particular about cable length, so you don’t have to break out the calipers or scale to measure cable vs. housing length. Little details like this are really nice.

Fit & Feel

When handling the post, it feels like you’d expect any Thomson product to feel. The seat clamp doesn’t slip, and it doesn’t creak. (Note: I weigh 160-165 lbs, so if you weigh more, your experience may vary.

I mounted the post on my bike with a new WTB Volt Saddle (review to come), and grabbed the seat to check how much wiggle there was.

Answer: None. There wasn’t any perceptible motion.

Every other post I’ve done that with moves quite perceptibly. It isn’t really a big deal when you are riding, but it gives the feel of a high quality part.

The post also doesn’t move at all if you have it compressed and lift the bike by the saddle.

NEXT: The Ride, Comparisons, Etc.

7 Comments

  1. Michael August 3, 2015 Reply

    Interesting review.
    My immediate impulse is to attack, based solely on the sub heading that “The Thomson Elite Covert May Be The Best Dropper Post On The Market”. I’ll try to be more tempered.
    I’d like to see further discussion on:
    1) How limiting it is to only offer the post in one size. It’s like saying the Nomad is the best bike ever, but you can only get it with a Large frame.
    2) The recent development of alternative levers. i.e. the Southpaw and front derailleur conversions. This turns a “this lever is 5% better than the other lever” discussion into an almost irrelevant sidebar with the exception of the Reverb which has no option given that it’s not a cable release.
    3) User serviceability of what is basically a suspension product. All posts will fail. And most certainly, all will need servicing. Whether you can find someone to do yours, or if you have to wait 3 weeks for turnaround or if you can do it in your garage with readily available parts and instructions makes such a difference that it has become the main decision maker for many users.

    Thanks for your review. I look forward to your thoughts.

    • Tom Collier August 3, 2015 Reply

      Michael,

      Kudos for a measured response on the internet. My thoughts:

      1) Offering only a 5″ drop option is what it is. I’ve provided the post measurements so you can determine if the post is too long to provide the correct climbing height at maximum insertion into the seat tube. If you are worried that the post might not provide enough drop, I recommend trying a technical descent with your current post set 5″ below climbing height and you should discover fairly quickly if the seat still feels too high.

      2) The MSRP on a KS Southpaw lever is $50. That is a pretty big aftermarket purchase relative to the price of the complete post. I see your comment as akin to saying that it doesn’t matter if a bike comes with bad brakes because you can always purchase aftermarket options that are better. Dropper posts are expensive. They ought to come with levers that work well and don’t need to be upgraded so I do think a discussion of lever performance is relevant.

      3) This is a great point. Service intervals and serviceability are both areas where all dropper posts could stand to see improvement. The Thomson Elite Covert dropper seatpost is not user serviceable and requires a return to the manufacturer or authorized service center for repairs. However, the service interval is two years compared to a 3 month service interval for KS. Rock Shox does not list a service interval for the Reverb on their site. When my post needs service I’ll update this review to reflect my experience with Thomson’s service dept.

  2. David August 12, 2015 Reply

    Regarding service intervals- I’ve got two Thomson droppers, one standard, one Covert. The standard one I bought right when it came out. It made it to a few months shy of the two year service interval, at which point it started returning a bit slowly. It still worked, just the return wasn’t as quick as it should be. Thomson turned it around and had it rebuilt in a couple of days. Including shipping both ways (I live in Seattle, so we’re talking all the way cross country) it took less than 2 weeks.

    If the length doesn’t work for you, that’s a bummer, but for those that it does (and I would argue that this is the vast majority of riders) it is definitely the best constructed, best designed post out there. And I’ve owned a LEV and a Reverb.

    • Tom Collier August 12, 2015 Reply

      David,

      Thanks for the input! It is great to hear your experience with the post and Thomson’s service dept.

      -Tom

  3. john September 29, 2015 Reply

    Hey Tom,

    In the hopes that you’re still following this discussion, and despite it being over a month old, would you mind letting us know if by that minimum measurement you gave that you meant there is 188mm minimum distance between the top of the seatpost collar to the seat rails? I ask because I also have short legs, and on my current setup, I’ve got exactly 7-1/2″. That turns out to be just a very small amount more (188mm=7.402″!).

    Many thanks!

    cheers,
    john

    • Tom Collier September 29, 2015 Reply

      John,

      Just remeasured for you. That measurement is to the bottom of the rails. Both the Reverb and KS Lev are shorter in 5″ configurations.

  4. john September 30, 2015 Reply

    Hey Tom,

    Thanks so much for returning to this discussion to reply, and for doing the re-check on the measurement! It looks like the Thomson is not going to work for me…

    cheers,
    john

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