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First impressions: SDG Tellis dropper post

Feather-light feel and simple design on the SDG Tellis

When SDG made the decision to wade into the increasingly crowded dropper post market with it’s new Tellis post, the company didn’t want to just add another option without adding anything new. The company has been focused for decades on making saddles and grips, and didn’t need to make the move to dropper posts, but felt it had something new to offer.

SDG’s Tellis is designed to address four problems common to dropper posts: durability, simplicity, affordability, and lever feel. After two years of development and testing in Kamloops, B.C., the company is confident they have achieved their goals with the Tellis. “It is an affordable, easy to work on and above all else, a reliable dropper seat post,” the company says.

SDG Tellis Dropper post
SDG Chief Tester Devyn Pelley putting the Tellis through wet Kamloops weather Image: SDG

When it came to testing the Tellis, the Huntington Beach, Cali.-based company leaned heavily on SDG Global Sales Director, and Chief Tester Devyn Pelley, in Kamloops. Pelley set up a secret science shed with a reciprocating linear actuator motor to cycle the Tellis post for six months, as a complement to the lab testing in Taiwan. In a more traditional form of testing, Pelley also thrashed the Tellis on his local Kamloops trails, riding through -20 Celsius to make sure the post’s feather-light actuation would continue to work flawlessly through a Canadian winter.

Wanting to test more than cold weather functionality, Pelley developed a self-contained vat of muddy grit that encapsulated the seal around the shaft. The machine ran for months as in an effort to promote real world exposure to water, mud and debris. SDG reports the Tellis system remained clean and functioning even after countless hours of cycling through the muddy water.

SDG’s Tellis dropper post comes in 125 mm and 150 mm travel options, though 100 mm and 170 mm options will be added later in the summer, and is available in 30.9 mm and 31.6 mm seat post diameters. The internally routed post comes with a 2 year warranty.

SDG Tellis Dropper post

First impressions: SDG Tellis dropper post

I’ve been testing the 150 mm version of the Tellis and so far it has lived up to all of SDG’s claims. The post feels solid, with no rotational movement, and the lever has a nice, light feel to it, as advertised. The Tellis was quick and very straightforward to install. Attaching post connect to the cable head, which makes installing the post in the frame simple. There’s little fiddling with cables and wrenches on the post side, as you try get the post into the frame.

SDG Tellis dropper post
SDG’s Tellis attaches to the cable head via the black guide inside the green part of the post

From there, you just thread the end of the wire through SDG’s remote lever, and you’re on your way. The lever itself is equally simple and functional. The clamp can be attached without removing everything else off your bars, and its slim design doesn’t take up valuable cockpit space. A pinch bolt locks the cable in place, and a barrel adjuster allows for a small amount of fine tuning for the posts engagement point. True to its word, SDG has done the research and refinement to give the Tellis an incredibly light actuation feel and the lever paddle is easy to find and operate, which is appreciated when you come across an unexpected scenario and suddenly need your post out of the way.

SDG Tellis dropper post
SDG Tellis dropper post lever

The 3d forged head on the Tellis makes the overall post length shorter, which anyone with limited real estate in their frames seat tube will appreciate. It does mean tightening the seat clamp bolts requires a bit more dexterity with a wrench, but that is easily worth it for the shorter length and the post is still simple to install.

SDG Tellis dropper post
Scratch resistant coating on the SDG Tellis and handy insertion guide markers

Two of the big claims SDG makes are that the Tellis is reliable and easily serviceable. Both hinge on the fully sealed cartridge system the post relies on for its travel. Reliability can only be tested over time, but the scratch resistant coating in on the posts lowers has held up to several tests already without signs of wear. Riding conditions have been better described as “deep dust” than “wet slop” lately on the wet coast, but that rarely lasts long. The Tellis will see rain and grit soon enough, and I’ll report back on long term reliability after a couple months of that.

SDG Tellis dropper post
SDG sounds very confident in the Tellis’ ability to survive prolonged bouts of wet weather

Serviceability on the Tellis appears quite straightforward, and SDG has created handy YouTube videos for service and installation¬† SDG has opted for the sealed cartridge system for exactly that reason. Part of the posts reasonable cost does come through the posts minimal available adjustments. There’s no return speed adjustments on the Tellis, which sends your seat up towards you at a quick, but not lightening fast rate. There’s also minimal positioning adjustments at the lever end. The narrow bar clamp means you have more space to move the lever inboard or outboard, and the svelte lever should give you room to rotate the lever. But most of the adjustments do come by physically moving the lever around on the bar.