During the early days of the mountain bike industry, there was constant innovation as people discovered first hand what worked and what didn’t work, or what was missing on mountain bikes. Backyard inventors had a field day coming up with new doodads that they thought could smooth out bumps, prevent chain suck, or generally make riding safer and more comfortable.
One of the must have items for every mountain biker circa 1987 was the Breeze and Angell Hite-Rite. The Hite-Rite was invented by mountain bike pioneer Joe Breeze and Josh Angell, and was designed to make it possible for riders to lower their seat for downhills, and then put it back to normal height without having to stop and get off their bike.
The Hite-Rite was a strong, stainless steel spring. To install, you set your seat to the normal riding height and clamped one end of the Hite-Rite to the post, and the other end to the seat post binder. In theory, when you came to a downhill section, you could flip your seat post quick release and your seat would lower. When you got back onto level ground, you would lift your weight off the saddle and it would spring back up normal riding height.
It seemed like everyone I knew bought a Breeze and Angell Hite-Rite. Eventually they came out with a much more expensive titanium version of the Hite-Rite.
Did it work? I had one on my bike and to be honest I never used it very much. It worked great going down but when it raised the seat back up it was never quite the right height and the seat was usually off center just enough to be annoying. I always ended up getting off my bike to fine tune the saddle height and positioning anyway so the Hite-Rite seemed kind of pointless. In the end, it was easier and faster to just slide off the back of your saddle and hang your butt way out over the rear wheel.
One thing that was really good about the Hite-Rite was it made it harder for someone to steal your seat. A thief had to undo the quick release and remove it completely in order to remove the seat and post. I kept a Hite-Rite on one of my bikes for years for this reason.
I don’t have a Hite-Rite anymore – it disappeared from my parts bin years ago. I might pick up one on eBay though and install it on my vintage Rocky Mountain Avalanche if I ever get around to restoring it.