Dropper posts are pretty much ubiquitous on trail MTBs and are even showing up on XC bikes straight from the manufacturer. Because of that, there are many choices for the rider looking to gain some clearance from the bike no matter what size or shape frame.
Seattle-based PNW Components has been putting out accessories for mountain bikes and gravel bikes, and their latest & greatest dropper is the Loam. Available in three diameters to fit most frames (30.9mm, 31.6mm, and 34.9mm) and four travel lengths (125mm, 150mm, 170mm, and 200mm), riders have a lot of options to suit their needs and riding style.
Sold as individual components, PNW allows buyers to mix and match to fit their budgets or preferences but provides great guidance to make sure riders are getting exactly what they want when they order. I chose the 30.9mm diameter dropper in the interest of saving some weight in my 34.9mm diameter frame, and my seat height permits a maximum 150mm drop as I have it set up (I’ve got legs on the shorter side for my height – 6’1″ with a 30″ inseam).
The Loam Lever, post, and small parts kit come in completely recyclable packaging that looks great and does an excellent job of protecting the products during transit – a great example of how sustainability doesn’t have to mean compromising function and form. I wish more companies would put the effort in to provide sustainable packaging options like this!
My 30.9mm diameter x 150mm travel post, Loam lever, matchmaker mount and hardware, uncut cable, housing, and ferrules weighed in at 632g total. I trimmed 23g of housing and cable for a system weight of 609g installed.
Installation was a breeze, and anyone familiar with installing dropper posts should have no issue getting the Loam set up properly. I didn’t need them, but PNW Components has a great illustrated walk-through on their website that should answer any questions during installation.
With the cable head located at the bottom of the post, and the clamp at the lever (why aren’t all cable actuated droppers like this!?) I can say without exaggeration that this installation was the easiest internally routed dropper I have ever put on a bike – bar none. Total time to install (including removal of the previously installed hydraulic dropper post) was approximately 25 minutes including minor cleanup. First-time dropper installers should expect a slightly longer time but really – it’s about as simple and easy as this sort of thing gets.
Make it your own
PNW gives riders the option of choosing the colors on the rubber parts by the post seal head and lever thumb pad to add some personal style to the Loam dropper and lever – I went with boring old black for both to keep with my otherwise all-black component choice. Just another cool feature that makes these products stand out from the rest.
As a rider, I use my dropper post all the time – whenever I’m not moving you’ll find me perched atop the post at its minimum height, and of course any time the trail starts to head down as well. Typically I’m an all-the-way up or down kind of rider, but the PNW Loam travel allows you to stop the post at any point within its travel solidly if that’s your thing. Post travel speed is adjustable by adding or reducing air pressure via a shock pump valve under a rubber plug at the top of the post, under the seat clamp.
Total travel is adjustable on this post – a really cool feature that is best-in-class execution in my opinion. Travel can be changed on the fly, in the middle of a ride – no tools are needed and it is truly field adjustable. That cool rubber ring around the post collar just under the seal head isn’t just for looks – it gives you a great grip on the collar.
All you have to do is drop the post to about halfway down the travel, unscrew the collar, and move the white bushing to the corresponding amount you want to reduce the travel. Screw the cap back on and you’re good to go – it takes less than a minute once you know what you’re doing. You can see just how well the seal head is doing at keeping mud and crud out – nothing got past it in the two months I’ve had it out in the PNW winter.
The matching Loam lever is super solid, mounts via a supplied matchmaker for SRAM, Ispec for Shimano brakes, or a universal bar clamp. Finish quality is excellent and the satin anodizing seems durable, and will match any component group.
Cable clamping at the lever makes maintenance headache-free when necessary (again, this really should be the standard), and the barrel adjuster provides easy access to fine-tuning the feel of the lever. It should be noted that the Loam lever is designed to be mounted on the left side of the bars only – not an issue for most 1x drivetrains these days but worth mentioning.
An Enduro sealed cartridge bearing keeps the lever feeling nice and smooth through its throw no matter what the conditions, and there is zero “slop” – the lever fitment is perfectly matched to the body for a precise feel when actuating. Lever throw is adjustable via a small set screw visible just to the left of the barrel adjuster behind the cable, accessible from the front of the lever body.
With a lifetime warranty and fantastic customer service, the Loam dropper from PNW Components is my personal pick of the litter for cable-actuated dropper posts on the market today. The ease of installation, tool-free travel adjust while installed in the bike, massive adjustability, and flawless function makes the Loam a reliable addition to any mountain bike capable of accepting an internally routed remote. Through the messy winter trail season out in Central Washington where I live, the Loam dropper has defiantly performed through many power washes, muddy hike-a-bikes, a few unscheduled trips off-trail (with and without rider) with absolutely zero issues.
I have conducted no maintenance through my two months with the post and have no reason to as of yet. As a rider who lives out in the boonies quite far from the nearest bike shop, I generally take care of my own bicycle maintenance – that is to say that I don’t maintain my bikes much beyond the absolutely necessary and I am quite pleased to not need to pay much attention to my dropper. It’s a perfect compliment to my dual-coil suspension setup on an otherwise extremely low-maintenance bike. Coupled with the matching Loam lever, the PNW Loam dropper system has never let me down, looks great, and I couldn’t ask for more. MSRP for the Loam Dropper is $199 USD, and MSRP on the matching Loam Lever is $69 USD.
Check them out at PNWcomponents.com