One of weakest aspect of dropper posts (other than long term durability of course) has consistently been the remote triggers. My thumb has slipped many a time due to a small often fragile interface. Most aren’t comfortable to use or are too slippery, so it’s not a surprise to see more than a few riding buddies rig up a modified front shift lever replacement to address the issue, as many of the existing designs seem like an after thought. With many of us running 1x drive trains, the ergonomics of the front shifter paddle make a lot of sense. KS apparently thought so too, as they adopted the form for their aftermarket Southpaw Remote lever.
The Southpaw sells for around $35, making it a relatively small investment for improving the experience of lowering your post. Our friend Max stocks them at his Portland bike shop Hi-Five Bikes, and we picked one up to try.
Installing the lever isn’t terribly difficult, assuming you’re already familiar with cable changes on your post. To install the Southpaw, the old cable simply needs to be removed and routed through the new lever. In my case, I was able to cut the housing down as the new housing alignment was improved by the Southpaw. I elected to use a brand-new cable, saving the take- off and putting it into my pack for use as a spare.
The clamp on the Southpaw is a bit strange though, and where it stumbles a bit in terms of its design. It uses a split clamp design with a single bolt, and can be difficult to tighten securely on the bar. Even tightened with a significant amount of torque, it would still rotate on the bar with a bit of exerted pressure. As this can cause damage to carbon, I added a protective wrap around the bar before re-clamping the lever. (it’s still a little sketchy though)
On the Trail
Most mechanical actuated posts require a bit of slack to function properly so the Southpaw lever has a barrel adjuster for fine tuning cable tension. The downside is that because I have slack on the cable, it does tend to rattle a bit.
The feel and the shape of the lever is spot on though, and with the easy reach makes seat height adjustments a better experience. Not to mention it looks super nice on the bar, almost matching my right side shifter. It has a great feel, and I’m super stoked on the way it works on the trail.
I’m on the hunt to pick up a strip of the rubber strips (like the ones used to install reflectors or lights) as it would do a better job protecting my bar from being scored in the event of contact with my knee or the ground.
The Southpaw is compatible with cable actuated seatposts designs that house the head of the cable in the remote. I’m running it with the 9Point8 post, but it would also work on my Fox DOSS.
Pluses: awesome feel, great aesthetics, pulls cable cleanly. Lost of options for setting the angle
Minuses: moves on bar, could mar or damage carbon bars, not a fan of the open clamp
Although it keeps a good product from being exceptional, the KS Southpaw is still the best option I’ve found short of sacrificing a front shifter to activate a cable actuated post and definitely worth the $35 they’re asking. If you’re in Portland, pick one up at Hi-5 Bikes and tell them we sent you.
Alternatively, you could order the KS Southpaw on Amazon.com