Given we’ve spent a good deal of time popping Merida’s own-brand Expert TR Dropper Post up and down over the last year or so, it felt like something we should probably share some thoughts on. With all the dropper post limelight stolen by the big guns, it can be easy to overlook some of the lesser-known but very respectable options.
The Merida Expert TR Dropper Post is supplied on many of Merida’s high-end bikes but, more relevant to this review, is also available separately through the big M’s dealer network. As a replacement or upgrade, it’s worth some consideration before you spend hundreds more on a better-known option.
The TR is a cable-operated dropper post with a bar-mounted remote lever and a standard-affair twin-bolt seat clamp. It’s a simple and subtle black on black with minimal branding and there’s little visually to catch your eye or clash with your colour scheme. No complaints at all there.
The TR is only available in 30.9mm diameter but with 3 options, 395mm length with 125mm drop, 445mm length with 150mm drop and 495mm length with 170mm drop. All options are £159.99.
Installation and setup is as straight forward as you’re likely to get. Simply loop a gear cable through the bottom of the post, feed it through your cable-routing and then pull it tight at the lever, cut-off any slack and add a cable ferrule. A barrel-adjuster at the lever allows you to fine-tune cable tension quickly and easily without tools or faff.
The lever is a simple, comfortable and easy to setup shifter-style affair. Push it and the post goes up, push it again and the post goes down. For those with more cluttered bars or grip-shift, Merida are also able to supply a ‘paddle’ style shifter.
You’ll notice that the trigger photo’d has a foam pad attached. This isn’t as-standard and seems to have been added as an upgrade my one of the Merida team before the bike reached us. The out-the-box setup has subtle ridges to add a bit of grip.
Perhaps a testament to the post’s reliability, we’ve had no reason to strip-down any of the Merida dropper posts on our test bikes. The internals are a simple affair and, we’re told, are similar to posts such as the Brand X. If you need to do some maintenance you can unscrew the post’s collar, pull it apart and clean and re-grease without needing a bike shop or specialist tools. The cable-operated design is again a blessing, making the post easy to remove and refit without any of the faff you’d see on hydraulic cables.
Out on the trails, the post has, like all of the best components, just done its job silently and without hassle. Our super longterm Merida eOneForty Limited ground its way through the Merida demo-fleet, a winter of testing with Wideopen under Joe and was eventually purchased by Jamie as his own bike.
Despite the tough and muddy life it hasn’t once failed or needed a strip down. The cable has been replaced a couple of times and the lever rebuilt once. It’s probably not as smooth as it was from new and occasionally needs a little ‘yank’ to get it to full height. It’s probably well past the advised service duration with no failures and no bike shop bills. We can’t say we’ve had as much luck with more expensive, hydraulic droppers.
Last but not least, the price. The Merida Expert TK dropper post will cost you £159.99 and is easy to install at home, meaning no added costs. The price is far below what you’d pay for a dropper from many other brands and the reliability makes a solid case for not really needing to spend the extra cash.
There are plenty of posts available for a similar price to the Merida but there doesn’t seem to be many options that completely blow it out of the water. As an example, the Brand-X dropper is £140 but only available in 125mm or 150mm drop, though 30.9mm and 31.8mm diameter options. The post in our Merida eOneForty is deep into its second winter of hard use and is definitely in need of a strip-down but is soldiering on brilliantly with no signs of letting us down.
What Do We Think?
The Merida Expert TK dropper post is a tough, reliable, easy to maintain and great value dropper post that’s a worthy consideration for your next upgrade or replacement. A solid workhorse, it’s stood up (and down!) to all of the abuse were able to chuck at it. There are other options out there for similar prices but nothing ground-breakingly different.
Easy to install and maintain.
Has survived months and months of riding.
The price is rock solid.
Could Do Better:
There are similar posts available for similar money.
Check out the Merida Expert TR dropper on their website here.