PNW is a tiny Seattle-based group of bike company and shop veterans who’ve got together to answer the mountain biking component problem as cost-effectively as possible with a range of direct-sell products. Its dropper posts and remote levers already have a great reputation but the Generation 3 Rainier dropper seatpost takes adjustability, versatility and user-friendliness to a whole new level. Add the Loam Lever and you’ve got a brilliant performing combo at a killer price.
Rainier G3 Post
PNW produces seven different dropper posts, but the new post is designed to answer all the usual issues. By making the cable-pull linkage on the base as small as possible and shortening the lower tube overall lengths to be super short for a given stroke. The 125mm stroke post is only 393mm long, with a minimum insertion length of 125mm and minimum seat collar to rail height of 179mm. That means you can squeeze more stroke (there are 125, 150, 175 and 200mm) into less space or fit a dropper into bikes that were too cramped before. There’s a comprehensive online guide on what length to get and the post gets height markers for easily repeatable, multi-rider set up, too. The genius part of the post is that if there’s not quite space for the full stroke of each size you can limit extension by up to 30mm in 5mm steps. That’s a super easy process too, just unthread the collar by hand, move the stepped key shim round using the etched indicator on the post as a marker and then retighten the collar. Presto - your 170mm post is now the perfect height.
As it uses a sealed air sprung cartridge maintenance is just a case of cleaning and lightly regreasing if it gets sticky. While this is a new design, previous PNW experience and user reviews suggest it’ll be super reliable and it’s covered by a three-year warranty. A nipple cradle design (rather than a tiny, awkward barrel) makes cable installation easy and it even comes in a 27.2mm option although that doesn’t currently have an adjustable stroke mechanism and only comes in 90 and 110mm options. With post only, the cost of £174 (27.2mm is £193) is very good value too, which leaves slightly higher than average weight as the only potential issue. The twin bolt top and bottom rail cradle mean it can handle deeper carbon saddle rails as well as conventional metal ones so you can always offset some ‘seating package’ weight that way and still come out with a relatively cheap overall cost.
PNW does four different remote levers but the Loam is the undisputed flagship. It’s beautifully made too with a minimalist CNC-machined plate providing the base for the stainless steel cable barrel adjuster, the sealed bearing mount for the lever itself and two bolt holes for the different plain band, SRAM Matchmaker and Shimano EV or ISPEC II. The lever itself is CNC machined with a broad paddle and inset silicone gripper pad in black, orange, grey, teal or red (PNW do grips and bars to match too).
By using a bolt and washer cable clamp the Loam Lever will work with nipple or barrel ends of the cable so you can use it with any cable operated droppers. Just be careful to measure everything up properly before tightening so you’re not repeatedly clamping and unclamping the cable as the small-diameter washer can make it fray. That’s literally the only tiny niggle we had with the lever though, and if you route the cable around the bolt so it overlaps more of the wire rather than lining it straight through you can reduce the risk of cable split.
Seeing that a lot of dropper posts still stumble at the first fitting hurdle, the almost universal, user-friendly and uniquely tuneable fit of the Rainier already puts it ahead of most. The roller and linkage cam mechanism gives a naturally smooth actuation and despite the short shaft, there’s minimal rotation wobble. Add the silk smooth operation of the Loam Lever and it’s super easy to modulate ride height and return speed. That puts it way ahead of the stiff or loose agricultural feel of most ‘well, it works’ posts and leapfrogs Fox to become our new gold standard of analogue dropper post feel at the thumb.
The fact it’s around 50g heavier than Fox is countered by the fact it’s £195 cheaper too. The only question remaining is how it’ll last long term, but given our previous PNW experience, a three-year warranty and the overwhelming praise for reliability and customer service in consumer reviews we don’t reckon that’s a big worry.
PNW sets out to answer all the glitches of one of the most vital yet potentially problematic components of modern mountain biking. It has not only nailed length, frame and saddle fit and easy installation issues with the Rainier G3 but added unique, blissfully simple stroke adjustment, luxury lever feel for immaculate control in whatever mount standard you need and colour coded it for extra grip.
Add near universal sizing options, a three-year warranty and a cost that’s only slightly more than most generically agricultural ‘ride till it dies’ posts and PNW hasn’t just moved the dropper benchmark. The company has picked up the bench entirely and moved it to a totally different hill with a much better view and a sweet trail network to enjoy this brilliant post and lever combo on.
Tech spec: PNW Rainier G3 post and Loam lever
- Rainier post weight: 618g (150mm, 31.6mm)
- Loam lever weight: 56g (22.2mm band clamp)
- Rainier post price: £174
- Loam lever price: £67
- Sizes: 27.2, 30.9 and 31.6mm (34.9mm soon)
- Stroke: 90, 110 (27.2mm)