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.
- Best short-travel dropper posts: descend faster with the saddle out the way
- Best bikepacking saddles: comfy saddles for multi-day adventures
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 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.
- Best gravel bikes: drop bar offroaders for racing and exploring
- Cheap gravel bikes: gravel bikes under $1,500
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.
- PNW Coast gravel bar and stem review
- PNW Components Range: handlebar, stem and Loam grip review
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