It was only a few short years ago that you basically had two dropper options: cheap, finicky ones that rarely worked and expensive, finicky ones that mostly worked. Fast forward to today and there are loads of options, most of them good. We went from one tough decision of which one isn’t the worst but still inexpensive to which one works best for me in an endless sea of options? We have PNW Components to thank for adding a whole bunch of options to choose from.
I’ll just put this out there right now: PNW does not make a bad dropper. PNW’s lineup consists of seven different droppers, all of which are highly rated and made to suit a certain style. Not sure which one is for you? I’ll give you a brief rundown of each one to help you decide which one to drop on your bike.
The Cascade is a coil-sprung dropper built for reliability. Named after the famed mountain range, it sports three different travel lengths: 125mm, 150mm, and 170mm. Each length is available in 30.9 and 31.6mm seat-post diameters, so it goes without saying that there is a Cascade that will fit your bike and your legs. It has a larger than usual stanchion to give it a little extra stiffness and the DU bushings help prevent it from getting seat wobble. All in all, this is PNW’s classic take on a great, reliable dropper.
As you might expect from a dropper with 27.2 in the name, the Pine is meant for less aggressive riding and more weight savings. Meant for XC, gravel, and cyclocross bikes, the Pine comes in two lengths: 90mm and 110mm. Those lengths may not be a whole lot, but their intended audiences probably aren’t riding the steeps of your local DH tracks. It’s always nice to get even just a little more wiggle room on your lightweight pedal bike. The Pine 27.2 features external routing at the midcap instead of at the post head, which eliminates cables going every which way when you want to get low.
Another good ol’ coil-sprung dropper, the Rainier IR is a step up from the Cascade in the packaging department. It contains almost all of the same features of the Cascade with the added benefit of internal cable routing if you’re into that kind of thing. It has a large diameter stanchion for extra stiffness and DU bushings to help prevent your saddle from developing the dreaded wobble. It has supremely smooth actuation for its three different travel heights (125mm, 150mm, and 170mm in case you were wondering). It’s available in the two most common seat tube diameters (30.9 and 31.6), so it’ll definitely fit on your aggressive XC/all-mountain/enduro/whateveryouwanttocallyourdamnbike bike.
The Ridge is a no-fuss, reliable coil-sprung dropper that will get the job done. It’s PNW’s most cost-conscious dropper, but without compromising reliability or performance. It has a sealed hydraulic cartridge to keep things going over time and prevent the elements from ruining your ride. It comes in two-seat tube diameters, but only one drop length of 125mm. It also features internal cable routing to help your bike looking clean and fresh. The Ridge is great if it’s your first foray into dropping your saddle.
The Bachelor is the OG PNW dropper. It’s the dropper that sits at the top of their range as the big, bad, do-it-all dropper. It’s meant for long days in the saddle that earn you the long descents you dream about. Instead of being coil-sprung like some of its brothers, it’s air-sprung to keep weight off. It is made of lightweight 7075 alloy to also help reduce weight. It’s also PNW’s most versatile dropper with an insane 12 different variants to choose from. You know it’s meant for big mountain rides when the longest drop it comes in is 200mm (that’s like having a downhill fork stanchion under your butt!). It’s also available in 125mm, 150mm, and 170mm. The latest Bachelor has an upgraded cartridge and is compatible with more levers than before. And like all PNW droppers, it has sweet DU bushings for extra wobble-protection.
Switching gears a bit, we’re back to another lightweight dropper for those who prefer hard climbs over hard descents. The Rainier 27.2 is the predecessor to the Rainier, which means it is rather similar to its namesake. It features the same internal cable routing, infinite adjustment, and dual-bolt micro-adjust head. The biggest differences? The seat tube diameter is just a wee bit smaller and it drops just a wee bit less.
Last but not least, we have the Coast Suspension dropper. PNW claims this is the world’s first suspension dropper, which might make you wonder, “What is a suspension dropper?” It is, quite simply, a dropper with suspension. Yep, this dropper is kind of like another rear shock for your tushy. Now you might be wondering, “Why?”
The answer? Long mountain bike rides. And I’m not talking about three hours rides that you and your buddies take every once in a while. I’m talking bikepacking and trekking trips. When you’re spending serious time in the saddle on a bike that might not have real suspension in the back, having 40mm of suspension in your seatpost to smooth out the potholes, rocks, bumps and lumps, suddenly doesn’t sound so crazy. What’s great about the Coast Post, as they call it, is not only does it rock suspension, but it also rocks 100mm or 120mm of drop! So you can smooth out your regular rides as well as get your saddle out of the way for when things get rowdy...or even just to make getting off the bike a little bit easier.
I would say that’s it, but PNW offers so many options for you to find the perfect dropper for your rig. Besides catering to almost any kind of biking situation, PNW also knocks it out of the park with reliability and quality. It’s really hard to say anything bad about a PNW dropper unless you’re the most nitpicky person on Earth. Without a doubt, they make some of the best dropper posts on the market and they do it while being a super rad company run by a super cool couple.