Manitou Jack Dropper Post 2018 Mountain Bike Review

Manitou Jack Dropper Post 2018

Reviews / Seat Posts

Manitou 16,953

At A Glance

With the arrival of Jack, Manitou have at last joined the party and released their first dropper post into an increasingly wide selection of rival seat posts. The more weather-beaten readers among you will be long familiar with Manitou, they’ve got a great pedigree going back to 1990 – when Doug Bradbury build the first Manitou fork with 1.5" of travel using elastomer springs. The following year Answer licenced the design, but kept the name Manitou, and so began a long history of mountain bike product design focused on suspension forks.

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Fast forward 28 years and Answer have collaborated again with Manitou to produce the Jack, their debut dropper post, available in 125mm and 150mm travel, in both 30.9mm and 31.6mm diameter builds. It’s a cable-actuated, internally routed post employing an ‘Air-Back’ hydraulic cartridge to raise the seat.

It looks set to target the competitively priced posts just above the budget ones but sneaking in considerably cheaper than some of the big brands and the hydraulic options. What’s most impressive at in this price bracket is the 520-gram weight, which is lighter than all but the much pricier carbon and high-end offerings from other brands.

At first glance, Manitou have played it safe and gone for the same Henry Ford inspired colour scheme as almost every other post on the market: black. Full stealth collar, saddle clamp and trigger with discreet logos, finished with stainless seat bolts on the smartly machined head of the upper. It all looks reassuringly solid and chunky, no obvious gram-shaving or corner cutting here.

The trigger is not quite what I’ve come to expect from modern droppers, being a basic inline model mated to a gooseneck cable guide that joins the cable outer about 50mm out from the top of the handlebar. Adjustability of the position looks limited as the switch has to be pressed downwards, and remain in line with the bar clamp, rather than offset under the grips like a gear shift trigger.

The overall length at 450mm works out deceptively short for a 150mm post (the 125mm model is 50mm shorter again), as the cable emerges at a forward angle from the base meaning this is a strong contender for those on smaller frames wanting maximum travel from their droppers. The collar is comparatively tall in contrast, but even so, the post worked out shorter overall than the 125mm travel versions of the Crank Bros Highline and Rockshox Reverb I stood it alongside, whose stiff, vertically aligned cables mean they actually need more seat tube space to fit despite a shorter advertised length.

Installation was straightforward once the cable and outer had been threaded through the frame. The seat clamp and trigger clamp both open wide to give an easy fitting and a barrel adjuster at the trigger end of the cable means fine-tuning of cable tension is a doddle. The rigid gooseneck cable housing projecting forward on top of the handlebar does look rather vulnerable to impacts and snagging.

On The Trail

In use, it’s got a fast and silent return action, with a reassuring audible ‘clack’ sound as it tops out. There’s no lateral or vertical play at all, leading to it simply feeling very solid and reliable, the kind of product you can forget about once fitted. The trigger works fine in use once I’d adjusted to it being out of reach of my thumb in the usual riding position, and remembered to move my hand across to shift each time. If you’ve got big hands or long thumbs this won’t be an issue, and if you’re running it on the right-hand side, or with two or three chainrings, it may well be the best place for a trigger to avoid it interfering with gear shifters.

Performance has been faultless in all weathers, temperatures and conditions, and I’m really impressed with the build quality and durability.

Overall

Overall I think it’s a solid, good value post and a promising entry to the market for Manitou. Both the weight and the short overall length are impressive, and I love the smooth action and solid feel of it in use. With a more ergonomic trigger that did away with the vulnerable bar-top gooseneck, it would be an excellent post. We'd recommend the Jack to any rider looking for a light, reliable and easy to set up post, particularly those short of seat tube height in their frame. If you’re running a single chainring consider upgrading the trigger to one of the many compatible aftermarket ones from Wolftooth, Fox, KS, Raceface or other low profile, repositionable remotes.

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This review was in Issue 54 of IMB.

For more information visit Manitou

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By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

Tried this? What did you think?