Chief Editor of Tyres and Soles, Jason Lorch, has spent years testing and reviewing mountain bike gear in Australia, and after a couple of months aboard the PNW Components Rainier IR Dropper Post, he awarded it the first ever 10/10 product rating in Tyres and Soles' history. Read on to hear his take about why the Rainier IR paired with the Loam Lever could be the "ultimate dropper post combination."
"By the way, you guys got a 10 out of 10! First time for us. I have to say, we have been blown away by the product and it's performance. You guys should receive some kind of award for this combo. It truly is amazing and I hope you're proud of it." ~ Jason Lorch, Tyres and Soles
Tyres and Soles Review: PNW Rainier IR & Loam Lever Combo
The PNW Rainier and Loam Lever combo could be the ultimate dropper post package
It has to be said that the dropper post is one of the most impactful upgrades to a bike you can make. It changes the way you ride, for the better, and gives you a much safer experience on the trails.
Unless you’re a pro-XC racer (but even pro-xc riders are starting to change) or just an old skool rider who prefers fixed seat posts (why!?!?) or simply just hasn’t purchased a bike in a few years, then you will see that the dropper post is now ubiquitous amongst mountain bike riders.
Features - Rainier IR Dropper Post
The whole idea behind the Rainier dropper post is a “set it and forget it.” ethos, and hell, isn’t that what we’re all looking for these days? A return to a simpler riding experience while the gadgetry is doing (or should be) doing its work under the hood. A bit like magic. Well, the Rainier is just like that, it’s sheer magic to ride with.
The PNW Rainier IR is an internally routed dropper post that uses a coil spring rather than an air cartridge. The coil spring brings a level of reliability by reducing issues such as air leaks and stickiness due to swings in air temperature, summer vs winter for example.
The Rainer IR has a large diameter stanchion with added DU bushings which reduce the side-to-side play that you get in pretty much all other dropper posts on the market. After the months of riding, there’s still no play detected. The Rainier is also pretty light. We weighed it on our scales and it came in at a feathery 0.58kg.
Features - Loam Lever
The Loam Lever is a CNC machined custom aluminum lever designed to replace pretty much any cable actuated dropper lever on the market (see specs below). With an underbar design, the Loam lever keeps the cockpit nice and clean and comes in a range of bar and brake matching options such as the Shimano I-Spec or Matchmaker.
The Loam lever uses a large non-slip, injection moulded thumb pad, available in three colors. Orange, teal and grey. We chose the orange as it matched some of the other components on our bike. The end result is mouth watering and certainly is a conversation starter on the trails.
PNW has focused on ease of installation by using a split clamp design, which means you don’t need to remove your brake lever or grips to get the job done. PNW also designed it with a cable clamp bolt, instead of relying on cable head, making it much more universal and simply faster to install.
Adjustments can be refined by using the grub screw behind the lever. This adjusts the distance between the paddle and your thumb, similar to how brake lever adjustments work.
On The Trails
We’ve been testing the Rainier IR and Loam lever combo for about 6 months and have been amazed at the overall performance this package offers, at such a competitive price point.
The Loam lever thumb pressure feedback is precise and buttery smooth and the large non-slip, injection moulded thumb pad is very comfortable to use, in all weather conditions. The buttery smooth feel is partly down to the oversized sealed bearing the lever uses. There’s nothing worse than a wobbly or jittery lever, but after 6 months of testing, we still have a wobble-free lever. In terms of sensitivity, it’s up there with the best.
What we like is the speed of the dropper. It has that Goldilocks feel, not too fast, not too slow. There’s no need to shift your body weight to get the downward motion started, no stickiness or grinding. It simply drops and drops perfectly smooth, every single time.
What can we say about the Rainier IR dropper post and Loam lever combo? Well, it truly is a fantastic product that marries perfectly together. If you’re looking for a dropper post upgrade and are thinking of the higher priced brands, then stop! Stop right now and check out what PNW can offer you. This combination is worthy of an award in our books.
Review: Jason Lorch - Tyres and Soles Chief Editor
Photos: Richard McGibbon - Tyres and Soles Chief Photographer