Words by: Liam Woods
At this point if you haven't heard of PNW Components and their complete line of dropper posts and dropper levers, you might still have a rigid post on your bike...gross. The Loam Dropper is PNW’s latest dropper post offering and takes the spot as the brands highest quality model. With an all new updated design, PNW has been able to drop weight, reduce insertion length, add in adjustable travel, as well as bring in some PNW flair with the option to easily change the color of your collar, more on that later. All these new features come in at a killer price point of $199. One thing we love about PNW is how they always seem to get riders the features and reliability they need without the insane price.
Earlier this year we reviewed the PNW Rainier Gen 3 Dropper post. This was our first look at the adjustable travel feature as well as the shorter overall insertion lengths. Reamonn ended up making the switch from the RockShox Reverb AXS post to the PNW Rainier Gen 3 because of this feature, he could get in a longer travel dropper on his bike, which for him was more important than having a wireless actuated dropper post.
Not to mention the few hundred dollar price difference as well, who doesn't like saving a few hundred dollars?
As we dive into some of the specs of the Loam post, you will notice a common trend. Across all the sizes and travel options the weight has been reduced as well as the overall length of the post. One of the coolest specs/features of the Loam post is the colored silicone band found on the collar of the post. Much like their Loam Dropper Lever that has different colors of the silicone thumb pad, the Loam dropper follows suit. You can purchase different colored bands to match your Loam Lever and really carry that subtle yet detailed color theme throughout your bike. Grab a set of PNW Grips in that same color and now you look as good as Cody Kelly! The post ships with a black silicone collar but you have the options to choose from Safety Orange, Seafoam Teal, Really Red, Cement Grey, Pacific Blue, Dune, Fruit Snacks & Moto Green, so there is no lack of options with the Loam post. Not to mention the wide range of post diameters & travel options, see below:
What makes the Loam Post different from the previous top level Bachelor post or the more recently released Rainier Gen 3 dropper post? To start, the Loam post started with an all new design over the Bachelor post, with a huge emphasis on shorter insertion depth as well as shorter overall length, both equalling more drop which means more party! Next, is the reduced weight across all travel options, again, lighter weight = more party! A feature that has been brought over from the Bachelor is the adjustable air cartridge, allowing you to control the return speed of your dropper post, something not found in the Rainier Gen 3. But a feature that is found in the Rainier Gen 3 post is the tool-less travel adjustment, allowing you to adjust your travel by 30mm with 5mm increments.
What do you want a dropper post to do? Well, first you want it to drop the seat out of the way...duhhh. But you also want it to drop smooth, fast, and consistently. That last part is what hinders so many dropper posts on the market to this day. I think everybody has been on a ride and either your dropper post or your buddies started having issues mid ride. It won't come up all the way, it has trouble dropping, or it starts to have some sag, so you are no longer sitting at your correct saddle height. We have been lucky enough to have a few months on the new PNW Loam Post, putting it through the stress of dropping it like it's hot and raising the roof over and over and over again on every ride. To no surprise, the post kept up without missing a beat. While it was mid-summer in SoCal so we can't really talk about its extreme wet weather performance, we battled another issue here. Dust, and lots of it. Wet weather riding gets all the attention when it comes to harsh riding conditions, and of course, it is the harshest on bikes. Second to that is dry dust, the way it works into your suspension seals, dropper post seals, suspension pivots, and bearings all around, creates slow moving, sticky seals with creaky pivots. With a short rainy season this year the dust and “powder” has been really bad. Providing a great real world test to how the Loam Post will stay working as intended.
Our test post was a 31.6 170mm post and while I didn't need to use the travel adjust feature, I find that 170mm or more is perfect for my style of riding. Of course, I had this matched up with the Loam Lever to control things up front. With my time on the Loam Post, I had zero issues, I started by setting up the post to the max PSI rating, as I like my post to return fast and swift. The return of the post even at this max PSI rating is still controlled and nothing like those old Specialized Command posts that would take out your family jewels or worse, end your future family from happening. The return speed stayed consistent with our time on the post, never having an issue, getting sticky, or slowing down. While we don't have enough time to fully breakdown the post and all of its pro’s and con’s, we can say that it hasn't failed under us so far and that we will continue to run this post and can later comment on the longevity performance. Although we don't have any doubts that it will live up to its Loam name and be ready to shred for months to come.
The PNW Loam Dropper Post combined some of the best additions from their previous droppers, the Bachelor and the Rainier Gen 3. Features like an air adjustable cartridge, tool-less travel adjust, and shorter overall insertion lengths across all sizes. What is new to the Loam Post is the interchangeable colored silicone collars to now match your Loam Lever and PNW Grips. Oh, it's also cheaper than the Bachelor post at only $199. You can get all these features while saving a few bucks! We love all things PNW and are stoked to see this new Loam Post packing in all the features without emptying out your wallet.
This article was written / authored by Liam Woods. Liam has been in the bicycle industry for over 10 years as a racer, professional mechanic, service manager and as of late, media and content creator. Liam has ridden thousands of different bikes, ridden countless components, tested endless MTB apparel of all kinds and written reviews on it all. He's a key piece to the Worldwide Cyclery "All Things MTB" content creation puzzle. He also makes consistent appearances on the Worldwide Cyclery YouTube channel and Instagram.