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.
*If you’re not here to learn about levers and want the TLDR version to quickly make a purchase, then scroll to the bottom of this article for an “If this, then that” graphic that will point you in the right direction.
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. While our levers cannot be directly connected to a hydraulic dropper post, we do offer an adapter that enables them to connect to the RockShox Reverb Dropper Post, which has hydraulic cables.
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, that are standard in the MTB industry?
Bikes with road style drop bars will require much different lever placement than mountain bikes as the handlebars have different geometry, diameter and are often wrapped with bar tape. If your new lever will be mounted on drop bars, we recommend purchasing our Drop Bar Lever which can be placed on the drops of your bars for easy access while riding with several hand placements, or our Adventure Loam Lever with 31.8mm clamp to attach to the handlebars closer to the stem.
The PNW Components Drop Bar Lever can be mounted on the drop of your drop bar and then wrapped into the handlebar tape.
The Adventure Loam Lever is our highest quality lever for use with drop bars, but demands that your left hand is away from the hoods or drops in order to be used.
The PNW Components Adventure Loam uses a 31.8mm clamp to mount near the stem of your bike.
Note: If you’re searching for a lever for an E-Bike, we would recommend reaching out to our Customer Service team directly (email@example.com) 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 in regards to 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 won’t have room for a shifter style dropper lever such as our Puget 1x or Loam 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 Puget 1X 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 and Puget 1X, 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 and the Puget 1X Lever. Continue reading to see which lever is the best option for you.
Your Bike’s Brake Setup
When choosing between the Loam Lever and Puget 1X, it’s important to think ahead and plan where you would like to mount the lever in regards to your brake levers. The Puget 1X can be mounted via two methods; with a 22.2mm Hinge Clamp or directly to Sram brakes with a MatchMaker X Adapter. The Loam Lever is capable of being mounted with its own 22.2mm Hinge Clamp and MatchMaker X Adapter, but goes two steps beyond the Puget 1X’s abilities by being compatible with Shimano I-Spec ii and Shimano EV adapters.
The PNW Components Loam Lever can mount to your handlebar using the 22.2mm hinge clamp (center) or directly to your brakes using the Sram MatchMaker X (left) or Shimano I-Spec ii adapters (right). Not pictured is the Shimano EV adapter.
Using a 22.2mm style clamp allows for the most adjustability when it comes to lever placement, but if you’re aim is to minimize the number of clamps on your bar in exchange for less adjustability, a direct mount adapter may be the best choice for you.
If adjustability is a major concern for you, then the Loam Lever and Adventure Loam Lever are winners by a slight edge. All of our levers can be rotated around the handlebar (if you elect to use the optional hinge clamp for our 1x style levers) and both the Loam Lever and Puget 1X have two bolt positions for attaching the clamp. This is where the Loam Lever gains its edge in regards to adjustability; there is a small bolt on the backside of the lever body called the Lever Position Set Screw that can be used to adjust the reach of the lever. Not only can you adjust the side to side location of the Loam Lever with the two bolt holes on the body, but you can also adjust the forward to back position. Some people prefer the lever to be hidden underneath the handlebar while others like it located front and center. With the Loam Lever, you're free to position it where there is space.
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 for mountain bikes and the Adventure Loam Lever for gravel/road bikes.
The Puget 1X, 2X, and Drop Bar levers are all designed to perform well on the trail and in the elements, but the Loam Lever 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 five 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 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 PNW Components Loam Lever is currently available in five colors: Cement Grey, Really Red, Black Out, Seafoam Teal, and Safety Orange from left to right.
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: Adventure Loam Lever ($79), Loam Lever ($69), Puget 1X ($49), Drop Bar Lever ($47.20), and Puget 2X ($29).
Summing It All Up
By now you’re probably thinking we would recommend the Loam Lever to anyone, and in truth we would, but the Puget 1X, 2X and Drop Bar levers all serve their purpose as well. If affordability is of your utmost concern and you’re not worried about adjustability, then the Puget 1X 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 find yourself riding in the drops often and keeping both hands on the bars at all times is a must, check out the Drop Bar Lever. However, if you’re a seasoned mountain biker, gravel grinder, or road cyclist that wants the best of the best, we recommend the Loam Lever and Adventure Loam Lever with confidence.