Wolf Tooth Resolve dropper seatpost review: preaching Right to Repair
A self-bleeding design shows Wolf Tooth is ready for increasingly complicated products.
A self-bleeding design shows Wolf Tooth is ready for increasingly complicated products.
Wolf Tooth Components got its start by machining aluminium blocks into narrow-wide chainrings. Yet recent years have seen the Minnesota-based manufacturer expand its unique and often-clever product offerings to include dropper seatpost remotes, drivetrain compatibility converters, multi-tools, rotor lockrings, brake adapters, headsets, grips, and the list goes on. And today, the company adds a cable-actuated hydraulic seatpost into the mix.
I found Wolf Tooth’s entrance into the crowded dropper market interesting. It’s easily the most complicated component the manufacturer has made to date and shows an obvious expansion of their engineering capabilities. I’m also intrigued because Wolf Tooth is one of the few companies in cycling that shout about the ‘Right to Repair,’ and I’m quite happy to lend my microphone to such businesses pushing for this.
That said, this review isn’t a deep dive on the intricate internal elements. If you want another opinion, check out the review from my colleague Mike Kazimer at PinkBike.
Said to have been four years in the making, Wolf Tooth has released its new Resolve dropper with quite an impressive list of claims.
It’s said to feature the first self-bleeding cartridge, where dropping the post (like, when you descend) automatically purges trapped air from the hydraulic cylinder that would otherwise cause the post to feel saggy or springy in its top bit of its travel. That patented cartridge design, along with every other piece, is serviceable by a competent home mechanic, and Wolf Tooth offers all the parts and instructions to do so.
The post is also claimed to offer the shortest stack height (32 mm) and a short insertion length, both features intended to let you fit more dropper travel for a given saddle height, along with greater compatibility with smaller bikes and those with curvy seat tubes. It edges out OneUp – the previous benchmark for a short stack dropper – by a single millimetre. Specific measurements can be found at Wolf Tooth’s website.
Wolf Tooth is currently offering the post in 125, 160, and 200 mm travel options, all of which can be infinitely shimmed down in 5 mm increments to any length (disassembly required for installation). Want that 200 mm post to be 185 mm? Yep, no problem. Want that 125 mm post to only offer 50 mm of drop? Yep, just stack up those internal shims.
Wolf Tooth also say the Resolve is one of the lightest dropper posts when comparing grams to millimetres of travel. A 160 mm x 31.6 mm post (without cable or remote) weighs 515 g, which is a competitive figure. It’s recommended to pair the post with Wolf Tooth’s own ReMote Light Action dropper remote (a product I rate extremely highly), although most other remotes will work, too.
Currently, the travel-adjustable post is only available in 30.9 and 31.6 mm diameters. So what about a gravel-friendly 27.2 mm size? “We have no timeline to share for this, but know that the 27.2 mm diameter is on our radar,” said wolf Tooth’s marketing manager, Kurt Stafki. Wolf Tooth has the Resolve dropper priced at US$350, US$365, and US$380 for the 125, 160, and 200 mm versions, respectively.
That pricing looks pretty good compared to several similarly high-end droppers, and it’s worth noting that while Wolf Tooth machines many of its products in-house, the Resolve isn’t one of them. “The parts of this dropper post are made in Taiwan,” explained Stafki. “We started this project with the intent of machining everything in-house. Then we started pricing out the final retail price based on cost and it quickly became too expensive for customers to justify. The only way to bring a dropper post like this to market with competitive pricing was to outsource manufacturing. It was designed here and is assembled and shipped from our Minnesota facility.”
Those familiar with Wolf Tooth’s other products will be familiar with how sensible their products often are. And installing this post proves the Resolve is no different. The seatpost clamp uses a traditional two-bolt design that makes for easy compatibility with round and most oval (carbon) rails. The bolts are high quality and easily accessed with regular tools. Meanwhile, attaching a cable to the base of the seatpost is as simple as threading the head of a gear cable through the provided bushing and slipping that into its groove – there are no tiny hex keys or weird angles to fight with.
Once installed, the Resolve does exactly what you expect it to: move when called on and act like a rigid post when ignored. The post’s function is closely comparable to my previous personal favourite, BikeYoke Revive dropper, with a heartfelt clunk to let you know when it’s reached either maximum or minimum extension. In this sense, the Wolf Tooth is slightly more pronounced, perhaps even harsh, with a solid thunk if you let your weight sink until the post bottoms out in its length. Either way, there’s no mistaking when you have or haven’t reached its full travel.
The actuation is fast, but not to a point that you’re scared to have your ass hover over it. Meanwhile, the post offers a smooth feel through the controlling lever and I found myself being able to finely control the extension height when combined with Wolf Tooth’s own remote. That said, and like a good number of other droppers, the Resolve’s valve doesn’t easily open (to drop the height) if your weight Is firmly on the saddle, and it can take a large push of the lever to force the valve open if you don’t first ease your weight from the saddle.
The self-bleeding cartridge works as claimed and it’s refreshing to have a seatpost that solves its own sag issue without having to intervene with a manual process, a rebuild, or worse, an internal cartridge replacement. That said, the downside of Wolf Tooth’s design is that you’ll draw air into the fluid chamber if you activate the post while the bike is on its side or upside down (merely storing it is no issue, it’s just if the post is activated while in this position). And if this happens, you’ll need to do a few paused up-and-down cycles of the post before the air and its sponginess wholly disappears.
Wolf Tooth is one of a few companies in the cycling world to push the “Right to Repair” message strongly. Historically Wolf Tooth’s products have been relatively simple in design with few moving components. While offering a full selection of service parts was great, it was not significantly impressive. However, the Resolve post adds real weight to Wolf Tooth’s stance on the repairability of its products.
Arguably, three important elements make something deserving of the ‘Right to Repair” label. Firstly, the manufacturer must make all the repair components available at a fair price. Secondly, all required tooling should be accessible for purchase and realistic for ownership. And thirdly, the process for doing the repairs should be made accessible and easy to follow, ideally with instructional videos. Wolf Tooth has nailed it on all fronts.
This dropper is entirely rebuildable with a required level of mechanical ability and tooling that, in my opinion, is similar to replacing the air spring of a suspension fork. It’s not at all beyond a competent home mechanic and is easily within the repair scope of a career shop mechanic.
Performing the most basic of maintenance on this post is a little more involved than other designs that allow the main seal to be cleaned and greased with the post still on the bike. By contrast, cleaning the Wolf Tooth’s main wiper seal, greasing the brass keyways (which prevent the post’s telescoping tubes from twisting on each other) or adjusting the travel will all require at least a partial disassembly of the post. Doing so requires you to remove the seatpost from the bike and the saddle from the seatpost. And you’ll quickly find yourself using a pair of snap-ring pliers and a rather special socket (supplied with the post and readily available through automotive tool suppliers, too).
Still, the fact that you can buy individual pieces for just a few dollars rather than whole components is wonderful. And heck, Wolf Tooth will even sell you a new outer tube to convert this post between 30.9 and 31.6 mm diameters.
Wolf Tooth may be a late entrant into the dropper post world, but their entry is well thought through. Bigger picture, I see this dropper post as a clear sign that the company has matured to a point that they could quite possibly produce any bicycle component they set their mind to. And the question of what’s next is one I posed to the company.
“Expect to see more complex and intricate components from Wolf Tooth in the coming months and years,” said Stafki. “We’re still working on improvements and innovation in our existing product lines for chainrings, headsets, multi-tools, and more, of course, but we’ve also identified a few other areas that could use something new. If there is something that you expect Wolf Tooth to make, there’s a good chance that we’re working on it now or will be in the near future.”