Dropper Posts: Are they worth it?

Hite-Rite Back in the day, I had a Hite Rite on my mountain bike. It was the original "dropper" and I loved it. Although the need met by the Hite Rite never went away, these simple spring-assist seat height adjusters haven't been made for over a decade. For awhile people either went with fixed post height or got off their bikes and dropped their seats manually.

It's a pain in the ass to disrupt the flow and get off the bike to drop the seat for the tricky stuff, but I have regretted leaving the seat too high on many occasions after ronching my balls or going over the bars. Conversely, leaving the seat too low kills you on the climbs, so most riders had to stop to lower or raise the seat several times per ride.

Then along came the Joplin hydraulic dropper post and the game changed. Unlike the old Hite Rite, which required some sketchy one-handed riding while reaching back and loosening the seatpost quick-release, the Joplin had an optional handlebar remote to quickly lower your seat without dismounting or slowing down before rough terrain. Despite this advantage, the Joplin is notorious for seat wobble and reliability issues.

I'm not sure if the Joplin was the first dropper post, but it was the first one I heard of. Now there are many brands of dropper posts on the market. They fall into two categories, mechanical (spring) and hydraulic (hydraulic/pneumatic piston). The mechanical posts tend to be heavier, with limited positions (e.g. the Gravity Dropper drops either 1" or 4"), but since they're made with simple springs, they tend to be more reliable. Hydraulic/pneumatic posts are lighter, butter-smooth and can be set anywhere between fully extended and fully compressed, but every model on the market is plagued with reliability issues such as seat wobble and seal blowout.

Here is a list of all the dropper posts on the market that I'm aware of:

Mechanical Hydraulic/Pneumatic
Gravity Dropper Crank Brothers Joplin
Rase Black Mamba Kind Shock i950
  Specialized Command Post
  Rock Shox Reverb
  Fezzari Drop In

If you've ridden with a dropper post for awhile, please post a review in the comments below. Make sure to include the bottom line: was it a good addition to your bike, a waste of money, or too unreliable.