Words by: Reamonn Ryan
PNW continues to dominate the saturated market of dropper seat posts. With an updated Rainier post and a lineup of 6 droppers ranging from gravel bikes to enduro bikes, you can see any of PNW’s posts on just about any bike a dropper can fit on in today’s world. Having ridden the past 2 versions of their Bachelor post for the past 2 years, I have always been pleased with the performance of their products. Seeing quality products coming from such a small company just makes you feel a certain way. The reliability their products hold and the confidence you experience riding without a worry in the world really make for a good time out on the trail. With every update we see coming out of PNW, I can assume good things to come from their new Rainier Dropper.
The Rainier post was built around the motto “set it and forget it.” A motto many mountain bikers live by and the driving force behind why many riders are turning back to coil-sprung suspension but that’s a whole different story. Nobody wants to work on their bike more than they have to so having components that help you tinker less and spend more time on the trails is pretty essential if you are trying to have a good time on your bike.
From first glance, you can visibly see a design change, most noticeably in the collar which features some cool and classic PNW styled artwork. Overall, there are many differences in the post from an extremely user-friendly travel adjustment system to dial in your desired travel range, a shorter insertion length for more drop on modern bikes, and finally, an air cartridge that still features the Rainier’s “all-weather” performance it’s reputation was built around.
In today’s world, riding without a dropper post seems almost fictional. The Dropper Seat Post could single-handedly be considered the most essential upgrade to mountain biking in recent years. For anyone reading this who has never ridden a dropper, here is why. A Dropper Post allows you to lower your saddle when riding technical obstacles or most descents. The reason you want a lower saddle on obstacles or descents is to allow you to move your legs more freely and not risk having the saddle hit your butt and buck you over the bars. Being able to maneuver your bike more helps you become a better and faster bike rider
With so many options on the market and the MTB world going wireless, you might want to ask yourself why you should go with a cable-actuated post like the PNW Rainier as opposed to RockShox’s new Reverb AXS or any other cable-actuated post out there?
Recently, I went all out and tried RockShox’s new wireless Reverb AXS post to see what the hype was all about but found myself quickly turning back to the traditional cable-actuated design. There were 4 reasons behind this movement back to cable.
The first being my sincere laziness and inability to remember to charge my battery. The fact that with a cable-actuated post you literally don’t have to do anything is just so much more appealing to me.
The second reason being length and fitment to my bike. Although it was nice not having any cable to fish through the frame and I could easily swap the post between bikes, I wanted my saddle more out of the way for those technical descents and jumps. The Reverb AXS at its longest length comes in a 170mm as opposed to PNW’s Rainier which comes in a 200mm travel and can be adjusted to fit perfectly.
The Reverb AXS developed an annoying amount of side to side play that was common in the normal Reverb and some droppers 2-3 years ago. Most droppers do have a minimal amount of side to side play, however, I did find the amount of movement on the reverb to be rather annoying while in the saddle. The Rainer post has the least amount of side to side movement out of any post I have used or felt in the past.
The cost is dramatically different and for something that performs nearly the same as any other post on the market, it is hard to justify paying double or triple for the Reverb AXS what you can get others droppers for. The Rainer comes in at $179 USD so I wasn’t out a bunch of money right off the bat and in the event I tomahawk my bike down a rock garden, I won’t be dropping another $800 down the line. That isn’t a very likely thing to happen but it is always a possibility.
Installing the Rainier Dropper is very simple. Most modern carbon mountain bikes actually feature integrated cable guides so you don’t have to worry about fishing a cable through your frame for hours… If your bike is slightly older and doesn’t have guides, use this Park Tool IR-1 Internal Routing kit. It will make your life 10x easier. Set your height, set your cable tension, cap it off and you’re ready to roll. We do recommend taking your bike to a professional mechanic if you don’t know what you are doing. We also have a video going over how to choose the right size dropper post that you can see here if you need some help.
Having ridden dropper posts for the past couple of years, I feel pretty confident in knowing when and where to use my dropper and know that the post should perform almost instantly to keep me out of sticky situations. That is exactly what I experienced with PNW’s Rainier Post. Getting used to the feeling of a cable-actuated post was a little strange having ridden the Reverb for months but it performed perfectly. The post actuated very smoothly and did not return too fast. An issue we saw with many posts in the past like the old RaceFace Turbine and Specialized Droppers.
Having a longer travel post allowed me to feel way more comfortable on those tricky descents and I could notice my ability to move the bike around had increased significantly. Not to mention the lack of side to side play was nice as I didn’t feel like I was sliding around while in the saddle pedaling. No stiction has formed over the weeks of use and the post always returns to the proper height whenever I need to sit down and pedal. I’ve ridden it in all sorts of weather (besides snow) and the post performed just as it should in the rain, mud, and dust. Overall, I would say the post performs exactly how you would want a dropper to out on the trail.
“My conclusion with the Rainier is that this post has it all. From reliable and smooth functionality to good looks and fitment, all the way to a killer price point. PNW hit the nail on the head with the Rainier and I do recommend it to anyone looking to get a dropper for the first time or someone trying to upgrade to something that works better than most of the competition on the market today.”- Reamonn
This article was written / authored by Reamonn Ryan. Reamonn has worked in the bicycle industry for 6 years now and currently runs our Instagram account along with testing products, editing video content, and writing blogs like this one you just read. Reamonn was a die hard BMX kid for over 10 years and once he started at Worldwide Cyclery made the switch to mountain bikes where he can send stuff better than most guys at the shop. If you like any of our Instagram posts or have gotten any responses from your DM's it was most likely from Reamonn, so give him a thanks. As with all of our employees, Reamonn is a key part of making Worldwide Cyclery the "Best Damn Bike Shop in the World".