How to Choose a Dropper Post Lever

How to Choose a Dropper Post Lever

Raise your hand if you want help choosing between our dropper post levers. We can’t see you, but if you raised your hand we appreciate that you've indulged us and we’re here to give you some guidance. With five levers on our website that are all built with the same purpose it can be tough to understand the differences between them, so we get where you're coming from. As the designers of said levers we’re pretty confident we can help you find the lever you need by walking you through each of the four major deciding factors for choosing a dropper post lever. Let's start with the broad category of compatibility.  

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Dropper Lever Compatibility

We say “compatibility” as if there is one explanation for which levers will be compatible with your bike and which will not, but in reality there are multiple factors that play into what will work for your setup. Your current dropper post (or one that you plan to order for the future), the kind of bike you ride, your bike’s drivetrain and possible suspension lockout levers, and your brakes can all play a part in which lever you should choose.

Your Current Dropper Post

We’ll start with the easiest of decision-making factors under the compatibility umbrella. Our current dropper post levers will only work with dropper posts that are mechanically actuated, meaning actuated with a cable. All PNW droppers and levers are compatible with one another.

Mountain Biking vs Gravel and Road

The next thing you should do is take a look at the bike on which your new lever will be mounted. Does it have drop bar style handlebars, like our Coast Drop Bar, that are typically used on gravel and road bikes? Or does it have the flat style of handlebar, like our Range Handlebar or Loam Carbon Bar?

Bikes with drop bars will require much different lever placement than mountain bikes as the handlebars have different geometry and diameter, and are often wrapped with bar tape. If your bike has drop bars, we recommend purchasing our Drop Bar Lever Kit. If you prefer to install your lever on the drops of your handlebars for easy access while riding with several hand placements, choose the 24mm option. To place your lever up closer to the stem, select the 31.8mm clamp option.

The PNW Components Drop Bar Lever Kit with a 24mm clamp can be mounted on the drop of your drop bar and then wrapped into the handlebar tape.

The PNW Components Drop Bar Lever Kit with a 31.8mm clamp mounts near the stem of your bike.

If the lever is for your mountain bike, with flat bars, we recommend choosing between our Loam Lever Gen 2, Range Lever, or Puget 2X. Your choice will depend on compatibility and price point.

Note: If you’re searching for a lever for an E-Bike, we would recommend reaching out to our Customer Service team directly ( with your bike’s make and model, as well as a picture of the cockpit, to be sure our levers are compatible with your current setup. Some E-Bikes have bulky controls mounted to the handlebar that could impede the use of our levers.

MTB Drivetrain and Suspension Lockout

When we talk about your drivetrain lever compatibility, we only want you to pay attention to one thing: whether or not your bike has a front derailleur shifter. If your bike has a front derailleur (also called a 2x drivetrain) you will not have room for a shifter-style dropper lever such as our Loam Lever Gen 2, or Range Lever. If that is the case we would recommend you purchase our Puget 2X Lever, which is designed to be compatible with bikes that have 2x drivetrains. The Puget 2X Lever sits on top of the handlebar, instead of being mounted underneath it, and is positioned vertically to keep it out of the way of your front derailleur levers.

The PNW Components Loam Lever Gen 2 is designed for compatibility with 1X drivetrains.

The PNW Components Range Lever is designed for compatibility with 1X drivetrains.

Another factor in the 1x vs 2x lever style battle is whether your bike is outfitted with a suspension lockout system. If you’re using a product like the Fox 2-Position Fork/Rear Shock Remote to lockout your suspension on the fly, then it’s possible that a 1x style lever, such as the Loam Lever Gen 2 and Range Lever, will not be compatible with your cockpit. The vertically positioned Puget 2X Lever would be the better choice for you.

If your bike has a 1x drivetrain and doesn't use a suspension lockout lever, then we recommend choosing between the Loam Lever Gen 2 and the Range Lever. Think of the Loam as our top-of-the-line option, and the Range as the burly value option.

Continue reading to see which lever is the best option for you.

Your Bike’s Brake Setup

When choosing between the Loam Lever Gen 2 and Range Lever you may want to consider the different mounts available. The Range Lever can be mounted via two methods; with the 22.2mm mount or by removing the 22.2mm mount, and mounting directly to a SRAM brake with the built-in MatchMaker X Adapter. When you purchase the Loam Lever Gen 2 you have the choice of a standard 22.2mm mount, SRAM MMX, or Shimano I-Spec II, and Shimano EV adapters.

Using a 22.2mm style clamp allows for the most adjustability when it comes to lever placement, but if you aim to minimize the number of clamps on your bar in exchange for less adjustability, a direct mount adapter may be the best choice.

Aesthetics and Craftsmanship

It’s safe to assume that we’re all cyclists here, and as cyclists, it’s highly likely that we share a similar tendency: we like to treat our bike like family by buying it the best of the best. If you share a similar affliction for the most beautiful of components, our recommendation is the Loam Lever Gen 2 for mountain bikes

The Range Lever, Puget 2X Lever, and Drop Bar Lever Kits are all designed to perform well on the trail and in the elements, but the Loam Lever Gen 2 steps it up multiple notches both aesthetically and functionally. The injection molded thumb pad creates a nice comfy home for your thumb, acting as a non-slip surface during sweaty climbs or rainy rides, and currently comes in 9 colors to help you bring some flare to your cockpit. While the thumb pad's color and pattern immediately grab the eye, the lever body’s precision CNC machining has earned it the label of an “artisanal lever.” It also includes a sealed bearing that helps it maintain smooth actuation when used in the muckier winter months, or even while power washing your bike. The Loam Lever Gen 2 is a work of art that will have your riding buddies drooling while poking and prodding at your cockpit to see what they’re missing. The Range Lever also offers our signature cushy silicone thumb pad, and a sealed bearing with stealth cable routing. Though it’s forged body adds a bit of weight (+10G) and The Range is only available in black – we like to think of it as the Loam Lever’s rowdy little bro.

The PNW Components Loam Lever Gen 2 is currently available in: Really Red, Safety Orange, Fruit Snacks, Seafoam Teal, Pacific Blue, Moss Green, Black Out Black, and Peanut Butter

The PNW Components Range Lever is currently available only in Black Out Black


This category is fairly self-explanatory, but sometimes it helps to see all of the information in one place. Our current lever prices are as follows:

  • Loam Lever Gen 2 ($69-$74)

  • Range Lever ($49)

  • Puget 2x Lever ($29)

  • Drop Bar Lever Kit ($47.20)

Summing It All Up

By now you’re probably thinking we would recommend the Loam Lever Gen 2 to anyone, and in truth, we would, but the Range Lever, Puget 2X Lever and Drop Bar Lever Kits all serve their purpose too. If affordability is of your utmost concern and you’re not worried about weight or Gucci style, then the Range Lever could be perfect for you. If you have a 2X drivetrain and limited space in your cockpit, then we’d recommend the Puget 2X Lever. If you’re riding drop bars, check out our Drop Bar Lever Kits. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best, and you’ve got a 1x setup with a flat bar, we recommend our premium fun button, the Loam Lever Gen 2.