EB13: LH Thomson 27.2, Stealth Dropper Post Coming – Alloy & Titanium Riser Handlebars Here!

LH Thomson stealth dropper seatpost with 27-2 option

The LH Thomson stealth and 27.2 dropper seatposts are both prototypes, but they show where the company’s heading.

The stealth version is further along and could be ready by the end of the year. Its the same cartridge as the original, just flipped. So all they need to finalize is the pull mechanism and put it through a little real world testing.

The 27.2 required a complete rework. The current cartridge wouldn’t fit in the tube, so the insides of the cartridge are placed directly into the slider shaft, and the upper part of the post become the shell of the cartridge. So, the machining has to be extremely precise. The other challenge is that the oil that makes it work is held in place by about 15 quad rings and O rings. And they have to hold back 200psi of nitrogen and oil. If one fails, the whole thing fails. The originals have more room or bigger seals – the 27.2 requires smaller parts, which are tougher to make as reliable. They’re hoping to have it out in the spring, but it’ll all depend on how we’ll it tests between now and then.

Drop in to see more pics and their new titanium riser bar…

LH Thomson stealth dropper seatpost with 27-2 option

They’re testing two different methods of cable routing. This one’s silver piece in the middle is shaped to hold the ball end of a shift cable, which would then feed to the lever, where it would be clamped tight. The alternative is to have the leading end of the cable at the lever like the current version, clamping at the bottom of the post.

LH Thomson stealth dropper seatpost with 27-2 option

As the cable pulls the silver piece out, an internal rod reciprocates by pushing into the cartridge, which releases it to drop or rise. The prototype lever is at the top and feeds the cable end into, then under, the lever, folds around and clamps so the end is facing away from your thumb. Our hunch is they’ll stick with the original so long as they can make a clamp for the bottom of the post strong enough to secure the cable over repeated pulling.

They’re also developing an inline barrel adjuster to take up slack in the line. It feeds directly into the lever.

LH Thomson titanium and alloy riser handlebars

A Titanium Riser Bar is hard to do. Thomson’s brand manager Dave Parrett says they put about 34 total hours of heat treating into it – 10 hours to prep it, 10 to soften it so they can work on it, then a final heat treatment to harden it.

The “work on it” part of that involves butting it to make it thick where it needs to be. At that point, the whole bar is 31.8 in diameter. Then they have to swage it to make the ends thinner to fit the grips. That pulls it about 20% wider than it started. Assuming it hasn’t cracked during either of those processes, it then gets bent to make the riser. And it has to be done in Asia because there’s no one in the US that can do it, and they know they won’t sell enough to justify the expense if adding a whole new building and a couple million dollars in tooling and machinery to make it themselves.

The alloy Trail bar gets a 20mm extension from the carbon bar’s width and is downhill tough, beating DIN standards.

LH Thomson titanium and alloy riser handlebars

Retail on the titanium riser is $349.95, weight is 345g. Alloy is 295g and $109.95.

BikeThomson.com

Comments

goathead - 08/30/13 - 6:13pm

Will these products fit my 650b bike? or are they 29er specific? How about a women’s specific version?

Hmmm - 08/30/13 - 6:15pm

“Retail on the titanium riser is $349.95, weight is 345g. Alloy is 295g and $109.95.”

Hmmm. Which way to go…

mtbtec - 08/30/13 - 6:16pm

What about a 30.6 post that shims down to a 27.2 seat tube?

Kanye - 08/30/13 - 6:23pm

Any actual advantage to that Ti bar, aside from bling?

Fanboy - 08/30/13 - 6:33pm

mtbtec
shims in every size imaginable are available from Cane Creek. (for their Thudbuster posts)

Kanye - 08/30/13 - 7:06pm

How’s their stock on negative shims?

Josh - 08/30/13 - 7:25pm

I think they’re a little light on negative shims…….

MulletRacer - 08/30/13 - 9:11pm

A ti bar is flexier. So if you like yanking on a wet noodle, (I know I do) than Titanium is right for you.

Kark - 08/30/13 - 9:51pm

negative shims are waay lighter than positive shims.

..it’s a wonder anybody at all bothers with the positive shims.

JimmyZ - 08/30/13 - 10:59pm

heat is my negative shim. heat and brute force.

Evan T - 08/31/13 - 12:25am

@mulletracer; I have the ti flatbar and it’s great – plenty stiff. Saying that I’d like to quantify that statement: I’m 212 pounds (approaching 100kilo’s which would be 224(?) lbs), I ride XC on a 2013 stumpjumper comp hard tail, and have only ridden the bar on the trails twice thus far with the bar. I started riding / racing MTB XC in 2001 and work in the industry currently.

The reason I got the bar was not because it was titanium, it’s because it had the bend I wanted (6 degree back with 0 up) and the width I wanted at 720. I’ve always preferred straighter bars in either a riser or flat. I considered the carbon version closely and made my decision after talking to the Thomson guys and gals directly (whom if any are reading; you stay classy, you).

After talking to them they acknowledged that the ti bar is a very specific product, for them aimed at riders who ride rigid in the case of the flat bar. It’s inherent metallurgical properties dampen trail chatter better than carbon or alloy while remaining high strength.

My only point of confusion is in-between talking to the guy in charge of their handlebars who told me that bar ends were good to go but the after ordering and unpacking when I read the user manual which specifies that bar ends are not to be used.

Would I recommend this product to a friend or customer… maybe. There is a significant pay-to-play cost with the bar which Thomson does acknowledge, he was upfront about it and went on to say that they don’t expect to sell a lot of them. I suppose it comes down to who wants the bars, a weekend warrior or casual rider doesn’t NEED them, even if they want them. But they may WANT them. to which I’d say that you could save more weight by upgrading other components on a bike first. However, for a heavier rider or someone who is abusing to components may fill this niche. Furthermore for those on rigid bike who ride regularly and / or race often then yes, spring for the bars.

Thomson does do some things I don’t like, I have a stem and seat post of theirs on my All City, Mr. Pink (steel road bike) and I haven’t quite come to terms with the idea that 3mm bolts are a good thing after having some bar rotation issues after hitting potholes at 40+mph. Again I am a bigger, more aggressive rider than some, but the stem bolts where all installed with a torque wrench. I wish I could bring the faceplate of the stem up to 4nm rather than the specified 3nm. I assume that the choice was made to move to a 3mm bolt on their current generation of road stems from the previous generations 4mm is so that the heads would strip out on the bolts before one overtoqued them and damaged the threads inside the stem.

@Hmmm I see you point and I agree with you, there’s an expression in the bike industry; “light, stiff, cheap… pick two.” for many ti bars are killing a fly with a sledgehammer, doubly so considering that I expect the alloy bars that Thomson make to be perfectly serviceable and an upgrade over virtually any OEM bar on the lions share over many that come supplied. but as I stick with my aforementioned want vs. need argument. Hell, the Thomson guys couldn’t give me a single reason to NOT buy the carbon flat bar other than whether or not I wanted to few MM’s of rise (or drop) that they are made with. In retrospect as I ride more I find myself wanting to lower my cockpit just a touch.

I suppose you have to understand Thomson’s place in the marketplace. They are a boutique manufacturer who create a very limited number of products for a small slice of the total cycling population and they make very good products for that population.

greg - 08/31/13 - 2:06am

at a given diameter and weight, ti is stiffer than aluminum.
3mm heads arent my preference either, but with the threads well greased and grip paste applied to the clamping surfaces, the specified torque has worked for me.

phil - 08/31/13 - 6:36pm

@Evan T, okay

Kyle G - 08/31/13 - 7:35pm

I want more TI. Always more TI. Always.

Ham-planet - 09/01/13 - 8:08am

@Evan
Thanks for your concise post. You can rest assured all of us read it in full.

MB - 09/01/13 - 9:39am

@Evan – I’m 240 lbs and have ZERO issues with my BlackSheep Ti bar (same weight as Thomson, but $100 cheaper and custom bent and cut for me) and ZERO issues with my Kish Ti bar, (almost $200 cheaper, semi custom bend, and WAY lighter). Those are both 22.2 bars, so I use shims which are part of the weight. I would say both are between stiff and just noodly enough to make them super comfortable on very long rides. The Black Sheep is on a rigid 36er and the Kish is on a Lefty 29er for comparison.

I’ve held the Thomson bars and I laughed out loud at the weight along with the LBS owner and a custom builder standing there. We were collectively surprised that Thomson crossed the line into bling for bling’s sake territory.

So why the F would anyone (logically) toss out a handful of EXTRA cash for a super stiff and heavy Ti bar, (and made overseas if that matters to anyone)? Out if Ti you should either get stiff but heavy or not as stiff but light. In no universe should you pay more for option #1…

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