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PNW Rainier Gen 3 gravel dropper post review

We’re massive fans of the MTB dropper posts from Pacific North West components but has the company managed to package all that positivity into gravel/drop bar compatible sizes and shapes?

PNW Rainier Gen 3 gravel dropper
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Excellent dropper post and lever actuation with bonus adjustability in a short, skinny, lightweight road/gravel friendly format with an unbeatable warranty for an excellent price

For

  • Impressively smooth action
  • Light
  • Long-stroke for 27.2mm
  • Short overall length
  • Cunning lever design
  • Easy set up
  • Top value pricing
  • Excellent reliability
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Eco-conscious
  • Universal saddle clamp

Against

  • Reversed lever looks odd at first
  • Direct buy

We’ve been running the PNW Rainier G3 post and loam lever for over a year now and it’s been a totally trouble-free dropper post that’s still as stand-out smooth to use as it was when we got it out of its neat, eco-friendly cardboard packaging. The great news is that the company has transferred all that functionality and the same super useful features into a short-travel 27.2mm post that’ll slide into most gravel bikes, too. Add an innovative but equally well thought out remote lever, lifetime warranty, low weight, and low price and you’re laughing.

Design and performance

While MTB dropper strokes are regularly extending past 200mm now, that’s way more than you’ll need for a gravel bike. It’s also more leverage than most frame manufacturers would probably like you to put through a skinny 27.2mm internal diameter seat tube. That means this post tops out at 125mm stroke but that’s still more than any other 27.2mm options. Plus by unscrewing the collar and moving the plastic key sleeve inside you can drop that to 100mm in 5mm steps. Even at full stretch, it's only 452mm long with a minimum 'collar slammed to center of saddle rail’ height of 170mm and maximum insertion of 282mm (minimum insertion of 120mm) it’s unlikely to foul on seat tube bottle mounts even on smaller frames. The two-bolt clamp takes round metal rails or deeper carbon rails and it’s super easy to adjust and secure as well. At 453g the post is fractionally lighter than Crankbrother’s Highline in the same diameter too, and it’s a lot cheaper. If you’re really lucky you might even find a bargain through PNW’s Refurbished initiative where totally functional but returned/misordered kit is sold at a discount on its site.

PNW Rainier Gen 3 gravel dropper

The neat lever tucks just below the hoods for easy actuation (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

PNW also completely avoids the issue of trying to bend the actuator cable around the tight radius of the bar between shifter and tops by using a very flexible length of outer to wrap right around the back of the bar under the tape. That means the neat, wobble-free cable clamping lever projects forwards which looks and feels weird at first but once you’re accustomed to the position it’s really easy to operate from the hoods or in the drops. Despite the tight cable curve, it’s a really smooth and easily modulated action too. Post set up is super easy too with a barrel cradle for the nipple end at the post and a barrel adjuster at the junction with the conventional cable outer section to allow tension adjustment.

The result is a post that gives you enough saddle drop to make a real difference on descents or anywhere else you want to get dynamic. That gets your gravel bike even closer to proper MTB performance or just increases confidence a lot more than awkwardly high posting down steep or rough bits of trail. Speaking of MTBs the post works with any of PNW’s other remote dropper lever options if you want a lightweight short travel post for a retro or otherwise skinny-tubed flat-bar bike.

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PNW Rainier Gen 3 gravel dropper

A maximum insertion of 282mm should allow full seatpost insertion even on smaller frame sizes (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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PNW Rainier Gen 3 gravel dropper

Easily adjustable seat clamp will accept round or oval rails (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

The bottom line is that however you want to judge the PNW Rainier G3 post and the range of droppers available it’s almost impossible to fault. Weight, function, sizing, adjustability, reliability and pricing are all excellent. The lifetime warranty is fantastic and the refurbished program and eco-packaging are big wins in the war against waste. It’s very rare we give a five out of five score, but this one earns it.

Tech Specs: PNW Rainier Gen 3 gravel dropper post 

  • Price: Post $179.99 / £144.71 plus postage, drop bar lever kit $59.00 / £43.37
  • Weight: Post 453g
  • Stroke: 100-125mm