Dropper posts are everywhere these days and most modern bikes are built to accommodate one with proper cable routing options, etc. I’ve had the Command Post BlackLite aboard the Ibis Ripley this spring and I’m a fan.
2014 Specialized Command Post BlackLite Features:
- Bonded head for a lighter and more secure fitting on seatpost
- Three versions of drop-adjustability for bike and rider size: 125mm, 100mm, and 75mm
- Quick-release engagement cable on the post head makes setup and removal simple
- Diameter: 30.9mm / 31.6mm
- Tested: 31.6 with 125mm drop
- MSRP: $275
BlackLite hits the mark
Some may say that dropper posts are the most overrated mountain bike accessory of our day while others will swear by them and call them sliced bread. I can totally appreciate them on the right bike and dig the ability to drop the saddle out of the way when things get technical. But, not every rider will accept the weight tax and extra fiddling that comes with a dropper post.
When it comes to the Command Post BlackLite, you get quite a lot of post for the money. At $275, I’ve got carbon seatposts that nearly cost that much and it comes in at a price well below most of the competition. The BlackLite will most often find its way to the trails via an off-the-shelf Specialized model, but I’m saying that it’s worth taking a look at it if you are in the market as it’s function and price are quite compelling.
The installation process takes a bit of time, so prepare for at least 30-45 min. I’d say the most important part is figuring out the proper routing. I had mine aboard an Ibis Ripley, which didn’t have that tricky of routing, but it did take some time to get the proper length and position. Since the cable line will move up and down with the saddle height, I also had to take into account cable rub at each position. Luckily I’ve got plenty of frame protection stickers and was able to employ them at will. If you care about your frame’s finish, I’d suggest getting some.
Some dropper posts use hydraulic fluid to activate the design, the BlackLite uses a cable. It may not be as smooth, but it is much more serviceable — especially on-the-fly. Additionally, it’s easy to pop the cable off the seatpost for removal (for travel, perhaps).
It was a bit frustrating getting the proper bar position for the trigger. The clamp on the Shimano XT brake levers is quie wide, and I was not using Specialized grips, so the trigger was placed a little ways inward. Had the trigger’s paddle angled outward instead of inward, things may have been less of a stretch, but as it was installed, it took a deliberate movement to hit the paddle. Still, it’s a good thing the paddle was so easy enough to trigger in spite of the less-ideal position.
Are droppers worth the weight penalty?
Dropper posts are very commonplace these days and with reason. The minor weight penalty outweighs the utility. Dropping a seatpost on-the-fly can make descending much more comfortable and allow more extreme angulation. I loved all of that with the BlackLite and found myself angulating corners and charging descents I couldn’t do without a dropper.
This one is easy to get the hang of. One tap of the lever and a quick saddle push yields an audible click, so you know you’re in business. The midpoint is where I always dropped it to when needed. I only used the lowest setting for transport when finagling multiple bikes on the rack (works nicely).
The Command Post BlackLite really allowed me to get the most out of the best features of the Ibis Ripley. That bike just accelerates and loves to carve up swooping singletrack. At the same time, it is quite the capable climber. As such, raising and lowering the saddle really took the capability of the Ripley up a notch and allowed me to flow from uphill to downhill without flinching.
As far as cockpit reach is concerned, you’ll have to be satisfied with a setback post. Riders with shorter reach may not be able to get the proper saddle position. Luckily, it wasn’t a problem for me as I was able to get the Specialized Henge Expert situated just right. The single bolt design makes for easy adjustments (fore/aft and angle) and the easily-removed engagement cable is a nice touch for travel or service.
Throughout my testing, I never had to add air — I just set it initially and left it during the three months of use. The action of the post remained consistent and smooth with the right audible clicks at each stop to make things even more intuitive.
- Straightforward installation
- Includes everything you’ll need
- Trigger is responsive (and easily adjusted thanks to included barrel adjuster)
- No fluid to mess around with
- Air has stayed steady for entire test period (no need to add more air)
- Trigger is not playing nicely with width of XT brakes — would be even worse if I had a front derailleur
- I wish the paddle angled outward instead of inward
The Bottom Line
The Command Post BlackLite is a dropper with a solid price point with excellent function. Changing saddle position is a breeze and becomes completely intuitive. The benefits are many — with more aggressive descending being at the top of my list.