VITAL MTB REVIEW OF THE BACHELOR

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Tested: PNW Components Bachelor Dropper Post

With a focus on quality and a competitive price, PNW Components latest dropper post has a lot going for it.


Over the past years we have improved nearly every part of our bikes, yet the dropper post seems to be the one component that still never works quite right. There is often a lot of play in the nose of the saddle or it starts to sag after a few rides, or maybe you would just rather ride your bike than spend a few more hours working on your seat post for the third time this week – shoot, it's just an expensive stick that holds your seat, right? PNW Components aims to change our current perception of the dropper post by offering a high quality, reliable post at a lower price than much of the competition. That had us asking, can the Bachelor compete with the big brands?

PNW Components Bachelor Highlights

  • Made from ultra-light 7050 aluminum
  • 150mm travel (170mm option coming soon)
  • Available in 30.9mm or 31.6mm diameter
  • Air spring, hydraulic damping, adjustable return rate
  • Sealed cartridge construction
  • Thumb-lever or shifter-style remote available
  • Dual-bolt, micro-adjust head
  • Infinite height adjust
  • Internal cable routing only
  • Color: black
  • Claimed weight of 565 grams (verified, 652 grams with cable and lever as tested)
  • MSRP: $319.99 USD

Initial Impressions

PNW Components sent us their Bachelor dropper post with their newly redesigned shifter-style thumb lever for 1X applications (a classic thumb lever is also available). Clear instructions and everything needed to install the post were included in the box. Installation was quite easy and only lead to a few frustrating moments: while working the barrel nut into the bottom of the post actuator lever, tight tolerances around the barrel nut cause any excess cable sticking past the barrel nut to hang up a bit. Having said that, cable actuation of the post is a nice feature because it means that you can forget about oily messes and bleeding hoses. A small nuisance during post installation is a lot better for us than a costly and messy service down the line.

Because of the sealed cartridge design, replacement parts are a lot cheaper and easier to come by, which gives you more time on the trail. The use of an airspring helps keep the weight down, and the Bachelor comes in at a comparable or slightly lower weight to other popular posts on the market.

External measurements are en important aspect of any dropper post, as they dictate how your chosen post will play with your frame and your own body size. Here is how the Bachelor measures up (to compare to other posts, check out our Dropper Post Face Off):

Full Length (bottom of cable dock to rail)

Collar to Rail

Minimum Insert Full

Bottom of Collar to Base

Max Extension (seat tube to rail)

456 mm

208 mm

122 mm

248 mm

332 mm

 

On The Trail

We used and abused the PNW dropper post in the region the company takes its name from – the Pacific Northwest. Typical trail conditions ranged from dry and dusty to all out mud and water, and it would be fair to say that these types of riding conditions accelerate wear and tear while putting the durability of any moving part to the test.

In the battle against the elements, the PNW Bachelor post rose to the challenge and thrived. Over countless rides and thousands of actuation cycles the Bachelor still remained smooth and returned to the extended position like new. The thumb actuated lever is comfortable to use and feels intuitive on the trail.

With the two bolt head holding the saddle in place we never had an issue with the seat angle creeping up or down despite a few unfortunately awkward seat bounces. Internal brass keys keep the saddle pointed one direction and limit that dreaded saddle play to an almost undetectable minimum. Changing the air pressure in the post allowed us to fine tune the return speed to our liking.

Looking at how PNW would stack up in our Dropper Post Face Off (an update of which will be published soon), the Bachelor scores good points on price, weight, and general usability (which includes reliability), while it drops the ball at little bit when it comes to the travel options and the execution of the shifter-style remote. In sum, it should more than hold its own in the middle of the table, which makes it a great offering for those in need of 150mm or 170mm of travel, and looking to spend a little less on a smooth and reliable dropper. If it's less travel you require, you're out of luck here.

Things That Could Be Improved

Overall, the PNW Bachelor post is quite solid and there are only minimal things that could be improved. Our thumb lever had about a quarter inch of vertical play which was noticeable in the parking lot; however, this vertical play was never an annoyance on the trail (see video below). While we were able to get our thumb lever set up in a pretty happy spot, we would have preferred it to be at a slightly different angle. Depending on the type and angle of other handlebar controls, the thumb actuator lever or the cable coming out of the lever may experience some contact with bottom of the brake master cylinder, which can limit the angle at which the lever sits at. Additionally, the lever included with our post was not MatchMaker or iSpec compatible, which could be annoying for users who like a super clean cockpit setup.

Long Term Durability

Our experience with the Bachelor post has been positive and it has fended off the abuse we have dished out so far. If the post starts feeling sticky, PNW offers detailed instructions for a simple rebuild and re-grease of the post to get it feeling like new again. A sealed damper cartridge should provide years of reliable service, and is super easy to replace should it ever fail. While the nose of the saddle currently has no lateral play, this is something we will keep an eye on as similarly designed posts we have had in the past have developed some play over time.  

What's The Bottom Line?

Boasting a competitive weight, a fair price and excellent reliability, PNW's new dropper holds its own in the ring against the competition. Our time with the Bachelor post has been trouble free throughout the months of abuse we have put it through. The best parts on any bike are the ones you can install and forget about because they just work – the PNW Bachelor post is on that short list of parts.

More information at: www.pnwcomponents.com.


About The Reviewer

David Howell has been riding bikes for the last 16 years, with the majority of that being downhill and trail riding. He raced some downhill in Colorado, but now prefers dirt jumping, trail riding or downhilling with his friends. Working in shops for six years fueled his passion for riding all styles of bikes and has provided an in-depth knowledge of current parts and trends in the industry. His favorite trails are fast and have a good mixture of rough, rocky sections mixed with smoother flowy sections – natural jumps and berms just add to the fun. With a plow riding style and tipping the scales at 225-pounds, he puts the hurt on even the beefiest components.

 

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