To say we're thrilled is an understatement. RotorBurn.com just posted their review of our Rainier 30.9 and it went pretty well. Check out the full review here: http://www.rotorburn.com/page.php?zp=496ad4
Dropper posts are a strange enough concept to get used to, so a single short ride isn’t always convincing. Use one long enough though, and you’ll consider getting rid of your children before the dropper. Having used dropper posts extensively for a while, I sure couldn’t imagine riding a bike on the trails without one. I’ve owned an X-Fusion Hi-Lo, and tested out a KS Lev, a KS Lev Integra, and Rockshox Reverb posts. They all work satisfactorily, but they each have their own issues. Movement, slippage, price, etc. So while I wouldn’t give up on a dropper post, it would take a fair amount of thought and research going in to which one I should spend the money on. I have been graciously sent a post to review from newcomer PNW Components, and their entry model, the Rainier.
The PNW Components Rainier is currently offered in two sizes: the 30.9mm/120mm, and the 27.2mm/80mm travel. I have fairly long legs, and the Norco Range (used for the testing) has 30.9mm tubing, so 120mm was my only option. The length of the post total is 425mm, suiting me just fine. The Rainier uses a sealed hydraulic cartridge for the actuation of the post. Because of it being sealed, the pressure can’t be adjusted, but I found no reason or need to adjust it.
Cables, Housing, and Installation
Actuation is handled by cable design, making installation astoundingly simple. The cable attaches to a lever, which is mounted to the underside of the post head. The cable and housing for the Rainier are similar to derailleurs, which means that you can use your external routing for the cable, and no extra fuss required. At this point in time, there are no options available for Stealth routing, as the cable runs to the head of the post. Setting up cables is always annoying, be it for mechanical brakes, or derailleurs. Cutting to the correct length, fitting it, stretching it tight, etc. Minutes can easily turn in to hours. The Rainier cable is already connected and terminated at the remote lever, so easy is an understatement on the installation of this. Details such as this are appreciated and applauded.
Fit & Feel
When I first picked up the post, it felt like any of the other high cost products. The side compression single bolt slide head doesn’t slip, and it doesn’t creak. I weigh 87kg (190ish lbs), so this was significant enough for me to mention! I mounted the post on my bike with a new WTB Volt Sport Saddle (nicked from my nephew’s brand new Norco Fluid), and grabbed the seat to check how much wiggle there was. None. No movement in the slightest. Hallelujah! Every other post I’ve tested had had either a slight side to side movement, or up and down. Now, I know that it isn’t a massive deal when you’re out shredding, but it really gives the feel of an extraordinarily high quality part. The post also doesn’t move at all if you have it compressed and lift the bike by the saddle. This was always a bit irksome when it came to the X-Fusion Hi-Lo.
I mounted the Elite Covert up to my Norco Range C 7.3, and have put in a month worth of daily riding on it thanks to a 50km Mountain Biking charity event here in Toowoomba, and getting at least 15km of riding most other days. Due to the tail end of summer here, it has been mostly dry and dusty conditions. Throughout the test, performance has been flawless. While I prefer side press levers (ie: X-Fusion Hi-Lo Omni lever, KS Southpaw lever), the Rainier lever is fantastic compared to those on a Rockshox Reverb for example. There was no perceivable stiffness from the word go, and once I got used to it, it was very intuitive. I have been informed that a side press lever is in the works for the Rainier though, so stay tuned for a future update! Speaking of the KS levers, the quality feels much higher. It also sits close to the bar, making reach quite easy to accomplish. The design is quite nice, almost something you would expect from RaceFace. The lever does sit closer to the bar than most though. If combined with a front shifter, it may cause an issue. I personally switched to a single front ring the moment I purchased the bike, so it was never an issue for me.
Going Up, Going Down
The Rainier is entirely silent during actuation, and when being compressed. This is very welcome to me, as the X-Fusion and KS posts I use frequently make a solid ka-chunk noise. It does mean that until you get used to it, and start to trust it, knowing when it is fully extended is a bit of a guess. The actuation and compression is tighter and slower than the KS or RockShox, but not so slow that it’s detrimental to your ride. I wholly expect that the movement will get quicker as time progresses.
The PNW Components Rainier dropper post competes with some of the biggest names on the market, and from my rigorous testing, the least seat play. If this dropper proves to be more durable than the others over the long term, the Rainier will become a definite player in the dropper post market. It has already become my personal go-to dropper, thus receiving my Mtn_Bike_Geek stamp of approval!
Stay tuned for an update in the future.
-Jon aka Mtn_Bike_Geek
• Material: 6061-T6 Heat Treated Alloy
• Infinite Adjust: why should you be forced to choose a position?
• Travel: 120mm
• Diameter: 30.9mm
• Post length: 425mm
• Single Bolt, slide adjust head
• Ultra light lever feel
• External cable routing