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Review: PNW Components Loam Dropper Post and Lever

Dropper on trail
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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!

Actual Weight

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.

Easy Installation

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.

Loam Rear
Riders can choose from several colors for the textured rubber ring around the post collar

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.

Stumpy Side View
The Loam dropper post on my 2019 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper

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.

Rider staging

Adjustable Travel

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.

Loam Travel Adjust
Field adjustable travel is truly as simple as it looks – brilliant!

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.

Loam Lever
The lever is super adjustable and features an Enduro bearing keeping things nice and smooth

Loam Lever

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.

Growler's Gulch

Final Thoughts

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

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Gabriel
Gabriel
10 months ago

I’ve put the Loam Dropper on four different bikes now and recommend it every chance I get. I’m a huge fan and huge fan of PNW in general. They’re a great little company that really does stand behind exceptional products with exceptional service. I had an issue with one of the droppers I installed and within hours of calling them another one was already on the way and at my door in a couple days, before I’d even shipped the first one back. Can’t say enough good things about them.

One question about something you mentioned in the article. You said you put a 30.9mm dropper in a 34.9mm frame to save weight. How does that work, are you using a shim? If so what’s the net weight savings? Is that a common thing to do? I’ve never been all that concerned with weight so I’m not very familiar with the secret ways of the weight weenie (I only say that as a term of endearment, much love).

Chris
Chris
10 months ago
Reply to  Gabriel

Great question! I do use a shim to step down the 34.9mm diameter of my seat tube to the 30.9mm diameter of the post I reviewed. 34.9 is kind of a huge diameter for a dropper and many droppers that are 34.9 diameter are hugely heavier than their smaller counterparts – for example the loam dropper in 34.9 has a claimed weight that is 134g over the 30.9 version at the same travel. 134g may not sound like a lot, but weight weenies have been known to spend huge dollars to shed much less weight, so going with a smaller diameter is an easy and cheap (or same cost) way to keep things nice and light without sacrificing any function.

Eric
Eric
10 months ago

Absolutely can confirm; we now have three or our fleet if five running PNW droppers. We’ve had multiple Fox transfers (Gen1 and Gen 2), multiple Reverbs, an OnOff, and multiple Bike Yokes, but the PNW has much smoother action than the others, no “ka-thunk”, no hesitation, no sticking, and no play. And, having tried various levers (Fox, Wolf Tooth, One Up, Pro), the matching PNW again is smoothest and most solid and has an absolutely Swiss watch level of feel to the lever action. The fact that PNW is LESS expensive that the others, is stupid easy to install, AND comes from a small company is just absurd. It is the G.O.A.T. of droppers. : )

Chris
Chris
10 months ago
Reply to  Eric

I’m with you! It’s been a real revelation of an experience getting to review this dropper, and I’m a huge fan of the moves the company has made to support local bike shops as well. Can’t really ask for more!

sluck
sluck
10 months ago

I would definitely buy if they can promise to remove the constant non-stop adds on everything I see on the internet.

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