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The Shimano GRX ST-810-LA lever is the cleanest, best-performing way to control your drop-bar bike's dropper post. Building on the tried and trusted GRX design and mechanicals, it's an expensive but a worthwhile upgrade for the long term.
Anyone who's ridden a bike with a dropper post off-road immediately appreciates their value – being able to get your weight low and back dramatically improves stability, safety and control on technical descents.
With the advent of much greater tyre clearance, drop-bar bikes are being ridden up, down and along ever-more technical trails: enter the drop-bar dropper-post remote lever.
Dropper posts on drop-bar bikes aren't new. For years I've ridden an externally-cabled 27.2mm mountain bike post, with a short length of zip-tie sticking from the actuator housing at the top of the seatpost collar. Rough terrain ahead? Reach down, pull on the ziptie, get cracking. This works fine, but does require taking a hand off the bars – not optimal.
Amongst the Gravelati there are hacks of SRAM DoubleTap front shift levers and other such shenanigans, but there was no bolt-on solution from the big players - unless you've just won the lottery, in which case the RockShox Reverb AXS dropper post can pair with an AXS front shift lever for wireless dropping.
The ST-810-LA is for a 1x cable-actuated setup – if you want a dropper and a front mech you have other external switch options, such as the PNW Components Coast Suspension Dropper, while Wolf Tooth Components and Shimano's own PRO also offer drop-bar switches. These are all bar-clamped, though, and require some shifting of hands to actuate.
The GRX ST-810-LA is the only dropper lever in the GRX range, either 10 or 11-speed, and there's no Di2-compatible option, in case you were wondering. Being at the higher end of the spec it includes both free stroke (how soon the pads bite) and lever reach adjustment.
In the box you get an inner cable (thankfully non-coated) and the ferrules/barbs/olives needed for SM-BH90 hydraulic hose (not included). The bleed procedure is identical to other GRX levers.
There's a hefty amount of cable pull (8.3mm to be exact), and this has no problem actuating my non-Shimano Tranz-X post. One point of note is that the cable head end goes in the shifter, so you need a seatpost that clamps at the post end.
Many mountain bike-specific posts feature a clamp at the lever end, where it's easy to install and adjust, so the reversed cable orientation might be an issue. Solderless barrel nipples ('knarps') that simulate brake cable heads are easy to find, at least, though if your post takes a smaller cable head it might take a bit of filing.
Alternatively, if you use a PRO dropper, compatibility isn't an issue.
The look and feel of the 810-LA is pretty much identical to the mechanical GRX levers, apart from the hood cover where the 810 gets a ribbed instead of smooth handgrip area. To be honest, I felt no difference between the two over some pretty darn muddy, wet and rowdy rides, though the look doesn't match.
The RX810-LA performs brilliantly, with plenty of power and modulation, whilst the grippy surface and contours of the lever give confidence in all weathers.
After a good few month's riding the dropper actuation is as smooth as new, with maybe a bit more lever throw required as the cable beds in. There's enough throw overall I haven't needed to retension, and I don't expect to anytime soon either.
It's no exaggeration to say that having dropper control and full grip is a game-changer for confidence and safety. You find yourself using the post a lot more. You don't pause when spotting obstacles, and at high speed it's sometimes nice to get your body a bit lower in the bike. These are not times you want to be fumbling for a small switch somewhere on the bar.
Now £210 is not a small amount to pay for convenient control if you already have a left lever, and the £30 premium over standard is more palatable as part of an initial GRX setup.
You can bag the 810-LA for as little as £145 online so shopping around can help dramatically. If you are speccing a 1x build from new it's a complete no-brainer to go for the 810-LA over a separate dropper switch.
As investments go the 810-LA is a pretty safe bet. The great design and build mean the chances of it breaking or wearing out are very low, and once you have such control you'll wonder how you ever did without. Highly recommended.
The best way to control your drop-bar dropper, bar none
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shimano GRX ST-RX810-LA dropper post lever, left hand
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Shimano says: "For a streamlined cockpit and easy access to the seat dropper post lever, SHIMANO's RX810-LA dual control lever integrates the brake lever and dropper lever for fast and effortless operation."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Integrated cable pulling system
8.3 mm cable stroke
Control dropper post from shifting lever
Anti-slip brake lever
MODEL NO ST-RX810-LA
SERIES GRX 11-speed
Color Series color
Average weight 263 g
Brake lever specifications_Brake fluid_SHIMANO Mineral Oil SHIMANO Mineral
Brake lever specifications_Brake hose color (kit) Black
Brake lever specifications_Recommended brake caliper BR-RX810
Brake lever specifications_Servo wave mechanism
Brake lever specifications_Brake hose (Kit) SM-BH90-JK-SSR
Brake lever specifications_Funnel bleeding
Brake lever specifications_Hose joint Straight
Clamp band Steel
Clamp band_Inner diameter 23.8-24.2
Shifter type Single lever for adjustable seat post
Shift lever_Release Resin & Steel
Shift lever specifications_Front speeds 1
Shift lever specifications_SL outer casing_Lever side OT-SP41
Bracket cover color Standard
Usual high Shimano quality.
Can't fault it; smooth and consistent.
It's Shimano – it'll be fine.
Standard for a Shimano GRX lever.
The grip is very good.
At RRP, aftemarket, it's a hefty bill. Buy online and discounts are meaningful.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Can't fault it – perfect.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of installation and predictability.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There's literally no comparison, as no other manufacturer makes a dropper post integrated lever. If you're comparing with AXS wireless, though, it's a bargain!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
As a solution for cable-actuated droppers, it's a home run. It's only available as a top-spec 810-level option, though, meaning you're mixing with 400 or 600 and the cover look is different, but that's really the only issue. It's a fantastic nine.
About the tester
I usually ride: Sonder Camino Gravelaxe My best bike is: Nah bro that's it
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, general fitness riding, mtb, G-R-A-V-E-L
Living in the Highlands, Mike is constantly finding innovative and usually cold/wet ways to accelerate the degradation of cycling kit. At his happiest in a warm workshop holding an anodised tool of high repute, Mike's been taking bikes apart and (mostly) putting them back together for forty years. With a day job in global IT (he's not completely sure what that means either) and having run a boutique cycle service business on the side for a decade, bikes are his escape into the practical and life-changing for his customers.