Difference Between External & Internal Dropper Posts

When it comes to choosing a dropper post for your mountain bike, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go for an internal or external option.

Both types have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to understand the differences between them before making a decision.

In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics of internal and external dropper posts, and help you decide which one is right for you.

Internal Dropper Posts

Internal dropper posts, also known as stealth dropper posts, are designed to be installed inside the frame of your bike. This means that the entire dropper mechanism is hidden from view, resulting in a clean and sleek appearance. The only visible part is the saddle and the lever that controls the post’s movement.

Advantages of Internal Dropper Posts

  1. Aesthetics: One of the main advantages of internal dropper posts is the sleek look they provide. With no external cables or mechanisms, your bike will have a clean and uncluttered appearance. This not only enhances the overall aesthetics of your bike but also reduces the chances of snagging cables on trail obstacles.
  2. Protection: By having the dropper post hidden inside the frame, it is less exposed to external elements such as mud, water, or debris. This can help prolong the life of the dropper mechanism, reducing the need for maintenance and repairs. Additionally, the internal routing protects the cable from potential damage caused by impacts or crashes.
  3. Frame Compatibility: Internal dropper posts are now a common feature in modern mountain bike frames. Most frames come with routing options specifically designed for internal dropper posts, making it easier to install and integrate them seamlessly. This compatibility ensures that the dropper post fits perfectly within the frame, enhancing the overall stability and reliability of your bike.
  4. Increased Frame Space: With an internal dropper post, you have more space on your frame to attach accessories such as water bottle cages or storage bags. This can be particularly beneficial for longer rides or bikepacking adventures. The ability to carry essential items conveniently adds to the versatility of your bike, allowing you to be better prepared for various riding conditions.

Disadvantages of Internal Dropper Posts

  1. Installation Complexity: Installing an internal dropper post can be more challenging compared to an external one. It requires routing the cable internally through the frame, which may involve removing the bottom bracket or other components. This could be a time-consuming process and may require professional assistance. However, once properly installed, the internal dropper post provides a seamless and reliable operation.
  2. Limited Adjustability: Internal dropper posts often have limited adjustability options. The length of the post is fixed based on the frame size, and there may be fewer options for fine-tuning the saddle height to your preference. However, most modern internal dropper posts offer a sufficient range of adjustment to accommodate different rider heights and riding styles.
  3. Maintenance and Repairs: While internal dropper posts are generally well-protected from external elements, they may require more specialized maintenance compared to external dropper posts. In case of any issues, such as cable fraying or hydraulic leaks, accessing and repairing the internal components can be more challenging and time-consuming.

External Dropper Posts

External dropper posts, as the name suggests, are mounted outside the frame of the bike. The post is connected to the seat tube using an external mechanism, which can be adjusted using a lever mounted on the handlebars. This type of dropper post is more commonly seen on older mountain bikes or entry-level models.

Advantages of External Dropper Posts

  1. Easy Installation: Compared to internal dropper posts, external dropper posts are generally easier to install. There is no need for complex internal routing, making it a more straightforward process, even for those without advanced mechanical skills. This ease of installation allows riders to quickly upgrade their bikes without requiring professional assistance.
  2. Adjustable Length: External dropper posts often offer a wider range of adjustability, allowing you to fine-tune your saddle height according to your preference or riding style. This flexibility can be particularly useful if you frequently switch between different terrains, such as steep climbs and technical descents. The ability to easily adjust the saddle height on the go enhances your overall riding experience and improves efficiency.
  3. Cost-effective: External dropper posts tend to be more affordable compared to their internal counterparts. If you’re on a budget or simply looking for a basic dropper post, an external option can be a cost-effective choice. This affordability makes external dropper posts accessible to a wider range of riders, allowing them to experience the benefits of adjustable saddle height.

Disadvantages of External Dropper Posts

  1. Aesthetics: Unlike internal dropper posts, external ones have visible cables and mechanisms, which can make your bike appear cluttered. However, some riders may not mind this aesthetic trade-off and prioritize the ease of installation and adjustability offered by external dropper posts.
  2. Maintenance and Protection: External dropper posts are more exposed to external elements such as mud, water, or debris. This exposure can lead to increased wear and tear, requiring more frequent maintenance and potentially shortening the lifespan of the dropper mechanism. Regular cleaning and lubrication are necessary to ensure optimal performance and longevity.


In the end, the decision between an internal and external dropper post will depend on your personal preferences, riding style, and budget. If aesthetics and frame compatibility are important to you, and you’re willing to invest the time and effort in installation, an internal dropper post may be the right choice. The sleek appearance, enhanced frame space, and protection from external elements make it a compelling option.

On the other hand, if you prioritize ease of installation, adjustability, and cost-effectiveness, an external dropper post might be the better option. The straightforward installation process, wider range of adjustability, and affordability make it suitable for riders looking for a convenient upgrade.

Remember, both types of dropper posts can greatly enhance your mountain biking experience by allowing you to quickly and easily adjust your saddle height on the go. Whether you choose an internal or external dropper post, the important thing is to have fun and ride with confidence!


  1. What are the advantages of internal dropper posts?
    • Internal dropper posts provide a sleek and clean appearance to your bike.
    • They are protected from external elements, prolonging their lifespan.
    • Most modern frames are compatible with internal dropper posts.
    • They offer increased frame space for attaching accessories.
  2. What are the disadvantages of internal dropper posts?
    • Installing an internal dropper post can be challenging and time-consuming.
    • They have limited adjustability options compared to external dropper posts.
    • Internal dropper posts may require more specialized maintenance and repairs.
  3. What are the advantages of external dropper posts?
    • External dropper posts are easier to install compared to internal ones.
    • They offer a wider range of adjustability for fine-tuning saddle height.
    • External dropper posts are more cost-effective.
  4. What are the disadvantages of external dropper posts?
    • External dropper posts have visible cables and mechanisms, affecting the bike’s aesthetics.
    • They are more exposed to external elements, requiring more frequent maintenance.