The new Vario dropper post from E*Thirteen takes on a different design than their previous dropper post but still maintains the reliability, low maintenance, and smooth actuation that we all love. The Vario dropper has a gas spring and now can be put in any spot along the dropper posts travel. Available in 180mm and 150mm options, they have the ability to be reduced in travel by up to 30mm in total with 5mm increments in-between. There is also a new dropper remote that goes along with the Vario dropper post, the Vario Lever. With a large thumb paddle that comes with grip tape installed, the lever mimics the ergonomics of a shifter and has tons of adjustments. The Vario dropper retails for $209 and the Lever that is sold separately retails for $49.95.
Installing the Vario dropper and lever was straight forward if you have installed any dropper posts before. The cable head sits directly into the lower dropper post carrier and there is no need for a bushing or anything to slide the cable into. The Lever is also very easy, I chose to mount the lever up to my SRAM MMX clamp going away from the stand-alone clamp E*Thirteen sent with the lever. The Vario dropper uses t-25 hardware to mount up the saddle and the lever uses a 3mm allen wrench, both of which felt solid when installing the post.
We opted for a 150mm dropper so I had plenty of room to fit the 150mm travel into my Mondraker Foxy 29. Although I didn’t need to reduce the travel at all, I still wanted to test it. So I took off the seal head collar and went ahead to see how the travel reducing works. It's pretty simple, there are some notches on the plastic bushing just below the steelhead collar and printed on the threads of the lower post part of the post is what travel the post will be at if you put in the stepped bushing lined up with that travel number. Within 2 minutes or less, I could take the 150mm post down to 120mm or any 5mm increments between those two.
Once the Vario post was installed, right away you could feel how smooth the post was to actuate. You press the remote and with little effort, the dropper drops out of the way, the return speed is also smooth and consistent. It’s not the fastest out there but it gets to the top quickly and doesn’t hit you where you don’t want it. After riding the dropper and the lever for a couple of rides, it was clear that my favorite part about the two was the remote and the ergonomics of how it sat on the handlebars. You have a decent amount of adjustment, with 3 mounting spots on the remote itself to get the remote closer or farther away from your hand, there is also a set screw that you can adjust the reach on the lever throw. I found that I could really get the remote low and wrapped under the bar how I like it with the E*Thirteen Vario lever, that way I don’t have to move my thumb too much to activate the dropper post.
After a few weeks of riding, the E*Thirteen Vario Dropper post is feeling good, smooth and after some small adjusting with the lever, I was able to get it exactly how I wanted it. The Vario dropper has some nice features that I think all dropper posts should have. The travel reducing system along with how easily you can service the dropper post is a must at this point, and you get both with the Vario Dropper. The Vario lever sits nicely on your handlebars, with tons of adjustment, more than most dropper remotes, as well as pre-installed grip tape on the thumb paddle and the option to pair too many brakes on the market for a nice clean look, it’s nice to see more options in the dropper post-game, this time from E*Thirteen.