Wolf Tooth Resolve Dropper Post Review
The new Wolf Tooth Resolve dropper post features an innovative self-bleeding cartridge, a fully self-serviceable design, and a shorter stack height than any other dropper currently on the market. We had a chance to install one and give it go. Here’s the full review…
Considering that the beautifully machined Remote dropper lever has been in Wolf Tooth Components’ product lineup for a few years, I’d wondered whether their engineers might be tinkering with a dropper post to go along with it. The mind-boggling growth of their product range in recent years only fueled that speculation. Lo and behold, the Minnesota-based company unveiled the Wolf Tooth Resolve Dropper Post just last week. As expected—in true Wolf Tooth form—the post is beautifully machined and offers a couple of unique innovations that others don’t. We had the chance to try one a few weeks ahead of its launch for this review.
Bleeding Edge Design
It’s comforting to think that dropper posts are becoming almost as ubiquitous as tubeless tires these days. In my opinion—especially given my giraffe-like legs—they’re one of the best mountain bike innovations to come along in the last two decades, tubeless tires being the other clear winner. However, droppers had a shaky start in their early days. Posts were generally unreliable, often developing the ride-screwing squishy-post syndrome or just failing altogether.
Thankfully, droppers have dramatically improved in recent years. One reason is that most manufacturers moved away from the old internal floating piston (IFP) designs for their hydraulics. In short, IFPs use a single sealed piston to separate air and oil in the chamber. They were notorious for having leaky seals that allowed air to sneak into the oil chamber, thus compromising the hydraulics and causing a saggy or spongy post. The evolution of sealed hydraulic cartridges has rectified this problem for the most part, although many of them can have similar issues.
I’ve had a couple of sealed cartridges become squishy, and they ultimately had to be replaced. Fortunately, companies are still innovating. BikeYoke released the Revive post with a manual bleed lever a few years ago. Both the new Fox Transfer and the OneUp V2 have proven themselves extremely reliable. And now, Wolf Tooth is showing its teeth with the world’s first self-bleeding dropper. I won’t go into great detail about how it works as you can see it all in the video below. I did get to test this feature, though. Find out what happened in the next section.
On the Trail
I installed the 200mm Wolf Tooth Resolve dropper on my Cotic SolarisMax frame with a PAUL dropper lever. It was about as easy to set up as any dropper I’ve installed. The box includes a cable, housing, an XZN-16 socket for self-service, and the little cable barrel that slots into the actuator lever on the bottom of the post. Once fitted, the Resolve was powerful and quick, and it pops up with that satisfying “thunk” sound that lets you know it’s fully actuated.
Fortunately for the sake of this review, I wasn’t one-fifth into my first ride when I got to test out the self-bleeding technology. As I started to climb, I realized I’d misjudged the saddle height on this newly built bike. I had to stop and move the seat post up to get the fit right. The SolarisMax has a super tight rubber bushing at the dropper cable port, which makes it hard to pull the housing out. To raise the post, you have to wrestle with it a bit with one hand feeding the housing and the other pulling upward on the saddle.
As I was wrenching on the saddle, trying to slide the post out, I realized I forgot to actuate the Resolve to its full extension. I popped it up, tightened everything down, and jumped on to check the height. I immediately noticed that the post was a little squishy. Remembering how it self-bleeds, I pushed the lever, dropped it all the way down, let it sit there for a second, and then popped it back up. It was good as new, and it completely locked out. I haven’t had any issues since.
The Long and Short
The Wolf Tooth Resolve comes in 30.9 or 31.6 diameters, and the lower tube can even be swapped to switch between the two if need be. It’s also available in 125, 160, or 200mm travel lengths. I opted for the 200, of course. For folks looking for something in between those sizes, Wolf Tooth offers the option to customize the Resolve’s travel amount when you purchase through their website. The post allows up to 10 spacers that reduce travel in 5mm increments—up to 50mm in total. The spacers are also available to purchase after the fact, and the procedure can be done in your garage or by a mechanic at your local bike shop. It requires disassembly and a couple of tools, although it doesn’t appear to be too difficult. Maybe not as easy as it is with other tool-free shim systems I’ve seen, however.
I was surprised—and kind of relieved—that Wolf Tooth didn’t try to best other droppers on the market with some ultra-long-travel option. Around 200mm is the reasonable limit, as far as I am concerned. And although they didn’t one-up their competition in the amount of travel, they beat them in the short game, for now. As dropper posts are becoming longer in the travel department, companies are outdoing one another to give them a shorter stack height.
For those unfamiliar, stack height in a dropper is the distance from the center of the saddle rail to the bottom lip of the head (the maximum insertion point) when the dropper is fully compressed. To accomplish this, droppers are being designed with flatter and more compact saddle rail clamp assemblies and smaller heads. This space-saving tweak maximizes the amount of travel folks can squeeze into their bike, which is especially helpful for shorter riders who want a longer-travel dropper post.
As an example, Virginia was able to easily get away with a 150mm travel model of the new Fox Transfer on her Why Wayward. The Transfer has a 38mm stack height, which was the shortest at the time. Her previous dropper had about a centimeter more stack, and she was limited to a 125mm model.
Exact stack heights vary based on model and sometimes post length, but at the time of this publication, the Wolf Tooth Resolve has the shortest stack height on the market at 31mm. For comparison, OneUp boasts a 33mm stack, and the Fox Transfer has a 38mm stack height. Speaking of comparisons, there are some numbers and a few other factoids to consider when comparing the Resolve to other posts further below.
With a Seat Bag
I’ve only taken the Resolve out with a seat bag once, but I also tested it in a controlled environment to see how it compares to others. In a past dropper post test, I packed a seat pack to a baseline weight of about three and a half pounds (1.6 kilograms), which was the litmus test. I repeated that, loading an Ortlieb seat pack with an inflatable sleeping mat, a 32°F Enlightened Equipment quilt, a spare layer, and a couple of other odds and ends. It weighed 3.55 pounds, all told.
Once mounted with the Wolf Tooth Valais on the Resolve, I dropped it and then engaged the lever to pop it back up. It hoisted to full actuation, but it was a hair slow at the end of the stroke. I had the same result with a much more used Fox Transfer and a relatively new PNW Rainier 125mm post. The 200mm OneUp V2 post proved to be a tad more powerful, however, with no hesitation at the end. That being said, it’s not a huge difference, and it probably shouldn’t be a deciding factor. Honestly, 3.5 pounds is a little much if you’re using a dropper seat pack, in my opinion. Three pounds, even with a small bag, is a little more realistic.
It’s worth adding that I checked the air pressure to verify that it was at or near its max pressure (260 PSI). That’s where I ran into a couple of issues with the Resolve. First, the cap that covers the air valve—which is nicely designed, I might add—is tool-free. I guess it was super tight because I couldn’t get it off, even when using a glove to grip it. I ended up using a piece of dowel rod and a rubber mallet to gently hammer it loose. Not a big deal, but it would be nice if Wolf Tooth added a slot for a coin or flat-head screwdriver.
The other issue is that the air valve is inset within the XZN-16 socket recess. I have two Fox shock pumps and both have a large chuck that wouldn’t fit in the recess (shown on the right in the photo above). I also tried a Topeak two-stage pump (shown on the left in the photo above), but its knurled chuck was too shallow to be able to thread onto the valve. I borrowed a friend’s RockShox pump (shown in the middle in the photo above) that finally worked. In the end, I ensured the pressure was at ~260 and had the same results with the bag test. This isn’t a deal breaker, just good to note.
Wolf Tooth Resolve vs. Other Droppers
I’ve added some numbers below for four other dropper posts with a similar travel length. These are all posts that I find to perform well and have proven to be reliable. ADJ=Adjustable travel; BL=Bleed option; SH=Stack Height; WT=Weight. As you can see, the Wolf Tooth Resolve not only has the shortest stack height of the group, but it’s also the lightest—factoring in the fact that the BikeYoke Divine has 15mm less travel.
The one other point of comparison I’ll add is that the Wolf Tooth Resolve is the only 200mm+ post here that ticks all the boxes. However, it’s also the only one that we haven’t put thousands of miles of use and abuse on to verify its reliability. I’m guessing it will be great based on Wolf Tooth’s engineering prowess, but I’ll be sure to update this down the road after a lot more ups and downs.
- Model Tested: Wolf Tooth Resolve Dropper Post, 200mm, 31.6
- Actual Weight: 561 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Parts made in Taiwan, Assembled in USA
- Price: $379.95
- Manufacturer’s Details: WolfToothComponents.com
- Quick, powerful post with an adjustable air valve
- Self-bleeding design works and is an excellent innovation
- Short stack height is great for shorter riders
- Fully self-serviceable and customizable with minimal tools (and an included socket)
- Lightest dropper post in its class
- The air valve cap needs a slot for a screwdriver; it’s almost impossible to remove if overtightened
- The recessed air valve is inaccessible with some shock pumps
- Relatively expensive, albeit assembled in Minnesota
Being somewhat of a pundit—borderline monomaniac—for dropper posts, I’m happy to see companies continue to develop new technologies in an effort to make them more user-friendly and reliable. The new Wolf Tooth Resolve is evidence that they simply keep getting better. In summary, it’s a quick, powerful dropper post that ticks all the boxes: it’s the lightest post and has the lowest stack height in its class, it’s self-serviceable and adjustable (both travel and pressure), and offers a really neat self-bleeding function that proved itself on the first ride. I had a couple of minor hiccups with access to the air valve, but neither are deal breakers. And while I haven’t put enough miles on it yet to judge its ultra-long-term durability—that takes about 2,000 miles, in my opinion—I have a pretty good feeling about it, given Wolf Tooth’s attention to detail and high-level engineering.
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