We are on the hunt for the best dropper post lever on the market. There are more and more quality dropper posts out there today, and each of them have their own take on the lever remote. Regardless of if you are using a Fox Transfer, an SDG Tellis, OneUp Components Dropper Post, or a Crankbrothers Highline, if the lever remote doesn’t have a smooth action or can’t be adjusted to the most efficient spot on your handlebars, then the dropper post isn’t going to perform like it should. We have picked out three popular cable actuated dropper post levers from PNW, Wolf Tooth, and OneUp Components to see how they all compare. In this particular comparison, we will be using a Fox Transfer dropper post, one of our absolute favorites. Here we go!
PNW Components is built around creating quality products all for a fair price. The team at PNW all have years and years of experience in the cycling industry and have put their heads together to bring us the PNW Loam Lever. When most of us think about the performance of the dropper post, of course we think about the post itself, but we tend to forget about the importance of the dropper lever. You could argue that the lever has just as much to do with how the dropper post performs as the post itself does. We chose to test the Loam Lever for a few different reasons: it's highly adjustable, the design uses high quality materials and machining techniques creating a durable product, and because the Loam Lever we think just looks incredible. Check out the PNW Loam Lever.
Installing the Loam Lever was nice and easy. It took longer to connect the new shift cable to the bottom of the dropper post and run it through the housing then it did to mount up the lever and get everything dialed in. I have somewhat smaller hands and with other dropper levers in the past, it's been a challenge to find one that mounts in the most comfortable position to be used efficiently.
The Loam Lever has two different spots to mount the hinge bar clamp. I ended up mounting the hinge clamp in the left whole on the lever blade, which moves the paddle farther away from the grip. The hinge clamp I mounted to the left side of the brake to get the paddle in the most efficient position.
One feature unique to the Loam Lever is the lever position set screw that gives you a third adjustment to position the lever blade. Right out of the box I didn't feel like I needed to adjust the lever position set screw. The small set screw changes the angle of the paddle and is just another feature that makes the Loam Lever a premium product. Overall, the Loam Lever offers plenty of adjustment and I think will work for a wide range of setups.
Wolf Tooth is a passionate cycling components company that is built on a love for bikes! The company's background is in engineering and manufacturing, and so from the beginning their mission has always been to make parts on their bikes perform better and more reliable. Wolf Tooth is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and now has a full lineup of components from chainrings, dropper post levers, seatpost clamps, and more. Wolf Tooth is most known for their narrow wide chainrings but since they introduced the Wolf Tooth ReMote dropper post lever, it has immediately become one of the most popular dropper levers on the market. The ReMote is designed to be efficient, lightweight, ergonomic, reliable, and top notch quality!
Installing the Wolf Tooth ReMote was straight forward and very similar to the PNW Loam Lever. Step one is getting the bar mount hinge clamp in the right position and then the lever blade and bearing assembly is designed to slide left and right, that way you can get the lever positioned in the most efficient spot underneath the handlebars. The lever blade on the Wolf Tooth ReMote Light Action is relatively long and so it made sense to mount the hinge clamp inboard of the TRP Quadiem brake clamp. I then slid the lever as far as I could toward the grip and the ReMote was in the perfect spot.
Step two is getting the cable crimped and the cable tension adjusted properly. There is a nice groove around the sealed bearing similar to the PNW Loam Lever which keeps the cable on track keeps it from pinching. A small pinch bolt locks the cable in place and an integrated barrel adjuster is there to fine tune the cable tension. Without much adjustment, the cable tension was spot on and the lever was activating the post quickly without any delay.
OneUp Components first came on to the scene with their 1x11 sprockets. These larger sprockets gave you a larger gear range and more climbing power! Now that 12 speed shifting is all the craze, OneUp has expanded to other components like pedals, their famous EDC tool, and dropper posts. We decided to test their dropper post lever because it is a little bit different than the others we've already seen. The OneUp dropper post lever is made from carbon and the lever is positioned tighter underneath the handlebar compared to both the PNW Loam Lever and Wolf Tooth ReMote. Let's check it out.
Installing the OneUp dropper lever was straight forward and very similar to both the PNW Loam Lever and the Wolf Tooth ReMote. The handlebar hinge clamp first bolts to the lever using a T25 torx. There are two different positions on the lever to mount the hinge clamp that effectively move the lever position in or out from the grip. I found the best fitment combination was to have the hinge clamp mounted on the left hole on the lever and mounted to the handlebar on the left side (closer to grip) of the brake lever. I am using TRP Quadiem brakes on this particular bike, and those brakes have fairly long brake levers. And because I have somewhat small hands, mounting the OneUp dropper lever on the grip side of the brake mount is the best option.
One thing I noticed right away about the OneUp lever that is different than the other two lever tested here is that the lever position is set more underneath the handlebar. The thought is that more of your hand can stay attached to the handlebar while reaching to actuate the lever. I like the idea on paper, but for me having smaller hands, it made the OneUp Components lever hard to fully actuate. Just getting the lever set up in the shop, I knew it wasn't going to be as comfortable or efficient as the others tested here. I ended up trying to rotated the lever higher up so that it was easier to reach. Keep in mind my experience might be totally different than yours if you have longer fingers.
After getting out on each of these different dropper post levers for a couple of weeks, it was relatively easy to see straight away how each of them performed and how they differed. When it comes to dropper post levers, you want something that is going to sit in the perfect position on your handlebar so that you can reach for it quickly and efficiently. There should none of this almost taking your hand off the bar to reach for the dropper lever. You want to be able to actuate that dropper post at the flick of a switch.
First we can talk about adjustment. Each of these dropper levers, the PNW Loam Lever, the Wolf Tooth ReMote, and the OneUp Components lever offer a similar amount of range of adjustment. In this particular test, I was using a hinge clamp bar mount option across the board. Each of the three levers offer either two different mounting wholes for the hinge clamp or like on the Wolf Tooth, a slide feature that effectively allows you to do the same thing. This gives you the option to slide the lever blade position either closer or farther away from the grip end. All of us have different sized hands and fingers, and so this adjustment is very important. I either moved the lever blade with this adjustment away from the grip if mounted on the left side of the brake clamp or towards the grip if mounted on the right side of the brake clamp.
Second, even though all of these dropper levers are designed to fit underneath your handlebar similar to where a front shifter would have been five years ago, there are some differences with how they are fitted. The PNW and Wolf Tooth levers are very similar. The angle of the lever blade resembles the upshifter on your derailleur. As you push the dropper lever, the lever blade moves down and away from your palm. With the OneUp lever, the lever blade is tucked tighter underneath the handlebar and resembles more of an downshifter on your derailleur. As you press the dropper lever on the OneUp, the lever blade moves forward towards your knuckles. This for me was a bit more uncomfortable and because of my small hands made the OneUp Components lever harder to use.
And finally, each of these dropper levers are top notch quality. The PNW and Wolf Tooth are machined from aluminum and use oversized sealed bearings with nice hardware. The OneUp lever is made from carbon fiber, uses a machined aluminum clamp, and also an oversized sealed bearing. When mounted to the bar, all of these dropper levers are super smooth and give you are great feel for the dropper post actuation. So which one should you choose?!
Don't make me choose just one! There are a lot of great dropper post levers out there and these are some of our favorites. Each of them are top shelf quality, feature a wide range of adjustment, and used large sealed bearings. If I had to choose one, I would have to go with the Wolf Tooth ReMote Light Action. It's always been a challenge for me finding a dropper post lever that fits exactly where I want it underneath the bar. I have relatively small hands and like to hold on to the very outside of the grips, and so getting a dropper lever close enough without hitting my knuckle is a challenge. Right away, the OneUp Components lever just didn't quite work for me like I wanted. I really like the attention to detail and clamp design on the OneUp lever, but it was harder to reach. Other riders might have a completely different experience, but I knew it was going to be down to the PNW Loam Lever and the Wolf Tooth ReMote. In the end, these two dropper levers function very similarly but it was the thin lever blade design on the Wolf Tooth that led me to choosing the ReMote. I would highly recommend each of these different dropper levers, and hopefully, some of this insight helps you make the best choice for your next build!
Max Morgan is 26 years old, and lives in Brevard, North Carolina. Max grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and started racing downhill at the age of 15. He has now been racing professionally for the last 8 years, competing in the UCI World Cup series and U.S. Pro GRT series. To learn more about Max, check out Max's rider spotlight here!