PNW Bachelor Dropper NSMB AndrewM (7).JPG
REVIEW

PNW Bachelor Dropper Post & Loam Lever : Review

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jun 6, 2019

Sublime With Loam

It was summertime and the roots weren't greasy. I'd just finished a 100°C* ride in Squamish, where conditions were loose over hard which means learning to ride a bike all over again, something I feel like I do five times a year, every year. That's mountain biking.

I spent a fair amount of the ride thinking about this PNW Bachelor dropper post. Squamish is a great place to test a dropper post, and especially the usability of a dropper post remote, because on a lot of trails they're more valuable than shifting. The functionality of the Loam Lever and Bachelor dropper got a close examination.

*Actually it was 23°C

PNW Bachelor Dropper Post: Teardown

For an in-depth look at the Bachelor's internals check out my teardown article with Jeff from Bikeroom.

PNW Bachelor Dropper Post: Teardown

High quality manufacturing, an excellent reputation for customer support, and the best stock remote in the game.

PNW Dropper Post Bachelor NSMB AndrewM (28).JPG

That's a lot of value in a post that sells for 300 USD with the Loam Lever (240 USD with no lever), with 150mm, 170mm, or 200mm of drop.

As for the post itself, the Bachelor continues to go up and down and remains happily tight from twisting. I haven't had to add air to date. It'll stop on a dime and hold hard anywhere along its 170mm stroke. The 7075-Aluminum post is also available with 150mm or 200mm* drop, with or without the Loam Lever, for the same price and with the same 3-year warranty.

On that subject, the only reason not to pick up a Loam Lever with the Bachelor, or any PNW post, is if you already own a Wolf Tooth ReMote. The ReMote I reviewed is potentially a better product in that its horizontally sliding perch allows for a much greater range of fit customization around a variety of brake lever lengths and clamp widths. The Loam Lever pivots smoothly on a sealed cartridge bearing, is easily rebuildable, has a grippy rubber traction pad, and is easily placed with Magura, TRP, and Shimano brake levers.

*200mm is only available in 30.9 and 31.6. At this time 150mm and 170mm options are also available in 34.9.

PNW Bachelor Dropper Post: Teardown

The Loam Lever is easily the best dropper remote coming stock on a dropper post. It's the second best one I've used.

PNW Bachelor Dropper NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

Night or day. Rain, shine, or sweat. I've never missed or slipped an actuation with the PNW setup.

PNW Bachelor Dropper Post: Teardown

Rebuildable to clean or replace the cartridge bearing. The rubber traction pad offers extra grip in all conditions.

The Loam Lever is easily the best dropper post lever that comes stock with a post. Assuming it ends up in an optimum position, I would also not be surprised to see plenty of them attached to other brands' dropper posts at 70 USD a pop.

The Bachelor itself is a beauty blend of the reliability and guarantee of a Wintek-cartridge-post but with a fully serviceable cartridge. Manufacturing and materials quality however are reminiscent of boutique options with significantly higher price tags.

My working theory is to run the longest dropper post that fits in my frame at climbing height and clears my rear wheel at bottom out (for an FS bike), which for me is a 170mm drop in this case. I'm not sure if I 'need' a 200mm dropper post on any bike I've ridden, but I certainly know lots of riders who would like to try one on their bleeding edge steep seat tube angle (STA) bikes.

pnw_bachelor.jpg

Some useful information from PNW Components (not our measurements)

Preaching Service

There are a number of great dropper posts on the market. For 150mm travel and under it's hard to argue with the X-Fusion Manic package which includes a very good remote for 200 USD. For an extra 50 USD I was happy with the new versions of the Bontrager Line and FSA Flowtron, although both work best with an upgraded remote, and the Crankbrothers Highline remains a favourite.

All of these posts use a Wintek cartridge to deliver an excellent uppy-downy experience. Support is easy as well because companies simply swap out the non-adjustable, non-rebuildable cartridges.

With the Bachelor, PNW promises a similar lever of cartridge swapping support but the dropper features adjustable rebound speed (via air pressure) and a cartridge that is completely rebuildable for customers who like to tinker or who have posts they're servicing out of warranty.

PNW Bachelor Dropper NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

I haven't touched the Bachelor since my teardown with Jeff. It's still perfectly smooth but it never hurts to unwind the seal head and have a peak.

PNW Bachelor Dropper NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

It looks great, it works great and I had no problem finding a good position with multiple different brake lever lengths and clamp widths.

PNW Bachelor Dropper NSMB AndrewM (6).JPG

Up or down the post has remained very tight vs. twisting. Not as tight as new but better than most posts I've used.

That level of support is expensive to deliver, especially for a smaller company, which is a strong motivation to keep the QA high and deliver posts that will legitimately run for three years without any issues. Swapping a cartridge is a fast, easy, job and if there were an issue PNW will also send one right away to limit downtime.

For Emily and Aaron, the owners of PNW, it comes down to mirroring their expectations as consumers. No one wants to miss out on hero dirt waiting weeks on a dropper post warranty. The positive customer reviews are legion so I think they're hitting the mark.

A great dropper post option with 150mm, 170mm, or 200mm of travel. Fully rebuildable with a 3-year warranty, an awesome reputation for customer support, and the best stock dropper remote - all for 239 USD or 299 USD with the Loam Lever.

There's a lot to love about this Bachelor.

Comments

Tjaardbreeuwer
+1 Andrew Major
Tjaard Breeuwer  - June 6, 2019, 5:11 a.m.

Have you tried it with anything attached to the saddle? I run a tube and CO2 on my saddle rails, and my 170mm E13 post has a problem reaching full extension.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 6, 2019, 6:07 a.m.

I had to stretch the spring (and Slickoleum the seal head) on my e13 to get it to pop the last few mm with anything on the seat (just a tube). Also make sure not to overtighten the saddle-rail clamps - that will prevent you getting it up. 

I just run a tube (standard/regular weight) and have no problem. Haven’t tried more weight.

Reply

rigidjunkie
+1 Andrew Major
Allen Lloyd  - June 6, 2019, 7:35 a.m.

PNW stuff is awesome and their service is equally awesome.  I thought my Reverb was a nice post until I tried a PNW on my other bike, I have seen the light and can't wait for my Reverb to break so I can justify replacing it.

Reply

cyclotoine
+2 Allen Lloyd Andrew Major
cyclotoine  - June 6, 2019, 8:26 a.m.

I can't justify (to myself) replacing my functioning stock reverb on my FS, but I wish I could. I picked up the PNW Rainier Stealth post for my fat bike as it will see riding at -25C. The action on it is amazing and the quality of the product overall is very impressive. I like it better than the Reverb. I regret not ordering the loam lever.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - June 6, 2019, 11:48 a.m.

Loam Lever is excellent. Nice Christmas gift for your bike when the snow flies?

Reply

throatpoker
-4 C. Dyer Skyler Andrew Major Velocipedestrian
throatpoker  - June 6, 2019, 5:56 p.m.

I don't use cable operated brakes nor would I use a cable operated dropper post. It used to be there were only a couple dropper post on the market and it was a luxury. Now everyone is making them and there are a ton of them out there for sale new and used.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+4 Graham Mattingly Velocipedestrian upandown Skyler
Andrew Major  - June 7, 2019, 6:42 a.m.

I mean first off, how are brakes and dropper posts even comparable? Presumably you use cable actuated shifting? Dropper posts don’t need to manage heat or provide any modulating effect at the lever. 

By my count there are three dropper options on the market that aren’t cable actuated. 

The only one that has remote ergonomics and post action close to this one is the AXS Reverb which is 3x more money, has two batteries, and will have a significantly higher cost of ownership (parts + labour at service time). 

Definitely need more info to understand where your statement is coming from .

Reply

tashi
0
tashi  - June 9, 2019, 3:02 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Timo
0
Tim Owens  - June 11, 2019, 4:07 p.m.

Picked up a Cascade and used Amazon as a payment method.  Being a Amazon Prime customer got me overnight shipping at no extra cost.  298 CAD with lever delivered to my door the next day.  Been riding it for close to 6 months and have had zero issues.

Reply

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