I had been waiting for this product for a while. I finally had an opportunity to try it out on a borrowed bike and after a few rides in different environments I can say that this is a significant improvement over the existing KS-i950r that I currently ride with.
Product: KS LEV dropper seatpost
Manufacturer: Kind Shock
Rating (1-10): 8.5 of 10
Pros: Unlimited drop range, solid button, no moving cables
Cons: The button is smooth, which makes it more difficult to use with sweaty fingers
Configuration: 30.9mm dropper seatpost with no setback
Verdict: This even exceeds the older generations, it is a worthy upgrade.
Website: Kind Shock LEV-3
Review: I had been in love with my KS-i950R dropper post ever since I had installed it on my Blur. However, that love affair cooled significantly about a mile into City Park, when it continued to drop even though I was not pushing the button. Luckily the round-trip of shipping, warranty repair and returning was less than a month, but being without it taught me to appreciate a regular post again.
Then I borrowed a bike with a LEV. The LEV is really an amazing piece of equipment. What makes it most interesting is the cable connection. The only enduring gripe that I have with the i950R is that the cable attaches under the seat. That means when I drop the seat, the cable is also moving. There are times when the compression puts the cable on the rear wheel and there is rubbing. The LEV's connection is so much more straightforward that I believe in the future we'll look at seat-mounted dropper cables like we view 8-track tapes - they served a purpose but there is a much better way of handling this.
The post drops quickly, as promised and springs back into place with the simple press of a button. The button itself is small and easily mounted onto the bars without having to take the grips off. Two small gripes about the button: first, when you flip your bike over on the trail for service, you'll be resting it on the button (not good) and the smooth surface is fine in colder weather, but on a hot, sweaty Texas day it becomes too slippery.
With the infinite dropping capacity of the LEV, you can drop a little or a lot, up to the length of the post. This infinite range probably helps expert riders more with those of us amateurs settling in on an "all or nothing" strategy.
I have not had an opportunity to address maintenance on the LEV, but if it is like the KS-i950R, it should be low on the maintenance range (except for warranty repairs...)
The seat stays very firm with no shifting (either front to back or side to side) as with some posts. I can't say how long this model was used before I tried it, but it felt very firm underneath me as I rode.
This is one of the more pricier seatposts on the market, but if you are going to spend money on a dropper, this is worth the extra dollars to have the lower cable attachment.