Dropper posts are often claimed as one of the greatest innovations in the Mountain Biking world and have totally revolutionised the way we ride. Perfect saddle height can easily be achieved depending on the terrain and riding style, all with the press of a lever. It’s one of those bike upgrades that has become so pivotal in my riding that I have no idea how I ever managed without one. So the stoke was pretty high when I was offered a Rainier dropper post and Loam Lever from PNW Components to review on my Evil The Offering.
PNW Components and Loam Lever waiting to be unboxed
Why a dropper post?
The benefits are massive once you become familiar with using a dropper and it quickly becomes a subconscious action that you’ll find hard to go without. Freedom and confidence is quickly found with the saddle out of the way. Before you know it confidence grows, skills increase and there’s simply more fun to be had, which everyone wants, right!? Whether it be a gnarly descent, a sweet jump line, hooking into some corners, or even technical climbs, your thumb will be always reaching for that lever to get the saddle out of the way.
Back when I got my first dropper post there wasn’t a whole lot of choice. Premium offerings proved cost prohibitive and the cheaper alternatives were often plagued with reliability and/or performance issues. Even in this regard though the benefits did outweigh the negatives and we all lived with these compromises.
Fast forward to today, and we are totally spoilt for choice when it comes to posts. There are various price points to pick from that will help all riders find a suitable option. It can be somewhat overwhelming now with different designed cartridges, cable actuation, levers and travel options to pick from. We now even find ourselves taking a bikes seat tube length into consideration when buying to ensure we can get those saddles slammed lower than ever. If you do need any guidance hit up the friendly & knowledgeable customer service team via firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Do Bikes! Rainier 150mm Dropper Post and Loam Lever
Out Of The Box
Anyway enough about the ‘why’ of dropper posts and let’s dig into the Rainier. This internally routed and infinite adjustment post from PNW Components comes in 125mm, 150mm and 170mm travel. So no matter if you are vertically challenged or towering over your rivals like Paul Van Der Ploeg you’ll find a length to suit. There is an option for the most common 30.9 or 31.6 seat tubes to ensure it’ll fit the majority of bikes out on the trails today. Keep in mind though that PNW have other models that extend outside of this range, including a 27.2 model.
The Rainier comes packed neatly in a box promoting ‘Do Bikes’, as hell yeah, that’s why we are here, right! A basic lever along with an inner and outer cable is included. The lever appears perfectly suitable, though for this review I’ve opted for the optional Loam Lever. No fitting instructions are included, but we’ve all got the Google machine these days and in no time at all you’ll find all the details needed online. The 150mm 30.9 post weighs in at a respectable 585g or 683g with the lever and uncut cable.
Before we get into the dropper post details, I’ve just got to get this out of the way first. It’s not often that you would get to use the word ‘Engineering Marvel’ or as PNW put it “Techy AF” in the same sentence as a dropper lever. But remember, it’s the first thing you’ll look at when using the dropper, it’s the main touch point for your finger to smash when you hit the gnar. So it’s important that it looks and feels great.
Rainier Internally Routed 150mm Dropper Post - 585g
The Loam Lever is seriously all that! The CNC machined lever pivots around a massive bearing which feels smooth and free of any play. The teal, grey or orange silicone-blend pad is grippy and feels great against a gloved or ungloved thumb, plus it has the benefit of adding some bling or helping colour match those components.
The Loam Lever
With a 22.2mm bar clamp, Shimano I-Spec and SRAM matchmaker MMX options available I would even recommend this as a wicked upgrade if you are in the market for a new lever. PNW lists all compatible droppers on the website which is super handy. I would highly suggest giving this lever a run!
The Loam Lever
Now back to the dropper post. Installation on the Evil The Offering was super easy, the included Jagwire (nice touch!) cable comes with a barrel that slides into the base of the dropper and the open end of the cable is threaded through the lever where a grub screw clamps down on it. I had a small mishap and broke the cable end cap that came included, so be wary with those, they are pretty small and thin and a little more care needs to be taken.
A little bit of slack was taken up with the adjuster on the lever, the seat clamp torqued to spec and we were away! The first thing I noticed was there was barely any side to side movement in the saddle, this thing is pretty rock solid in that regard which is a welcoming change. A quick pedal around the street had the dropper feeling damn good in no time at all.
How does it perform?
Out on the trails the PNW Rainier behaved exactly as it should. A push on the Loam Lever and the 150mm post slides down smoothly with minimum resistance. There are no apparent delays waiting for the dropper to start it’s downward travel like some that I have experienced. This is really a major dislike of mine, as you never know when a feature on the trail is going to come up and you want that saddle out of the way like, right now! So I was well excited that the Rainer didn’t suffer this snoozy delay and was always ready to get out of the way for a shred.
Evil The Offering meet Rainier
Once your weight is off the saddle, it returns to full extension at a moderate pace. No concerns here of smashing the saddle into those ouchy bits at supersonic speeds. It probably falls a touch on the slow side as to what I am familiar with. This can be considered a positive or negative depending how quickly you like the post to return. The return speed is mainly apparent when testing in the workshop or a driveway shake down. Once out on the trails, it wasn’t as noticeable. I found that if I was having a sprint out of the saddle and needed the post back up it was always there in time and didn’t leave me hanging. There is a soft, yet audible thud to let you know when the post has hit full extension. It’s actually a quiet post to operate and those who long for the zen of silent bikes should be pretty stoked with this.
Rainier Internally Routed Dropper Post
Rainier out on the trails!
The Overall Impression
The Rainier simply fits right in and quickly disappears into the ride, it just works. There is something appealing about not having to ‘adapt’ or ‘get used to’ a new component and this post achieves that perfectly. I won’t say it’s the most buttery smooth post I’ve ever used, but it’s definitely up there with the best of them.
When I first started writing this review I hadn’t had much trail time on the new dropper so I wasn’t sure how I could comment on reliability. Though it’s now been doing it’s thing for over 2 months of extensive riding without any issues at all. So all I can say is that my initial impressions are nothing but positive. PNW Components offer up a really generous 3-year warranty so if there are any issues that arise you can be confident they’ll be addressed. Would I recommend it? Totally! The Rainier I’ve decided will remain on the Evil which is one of the best testaments in my opinion of product satisfaction. As Ferris Bueller (who has no relation to Mountain Bike riding, though was a cool dude) once said, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up”.