It’s not every day that a brand improves an already excellent product, and drops the price at the same time. That’s exactly what PNW Components has done with the new Loam dropper post. I’ve been testing one for almost exactly three months ahead of today’s launch, and here’s what I’ve found.
With the release of the Loam, PNW is retiring the Bachelor which previously sat atop the brand’s dropper post line. Somehow, the Loam is cheaper by $40, lighter by 40g, and adds adjustable travel, among other improvements. Honestly, I’ve not convinced the folks at PNW understand how the bike industry is supposed to work, but the upshot is consumers end up ahead.
The Loam is available in 30.9, 31.6, and 34.9mm diameters with travel lengths ranging from 125 to 200mm. I’ve been testing the 30.9/200mm version, and my sample weighs 579g.
Like the newly revised PNW Rainier which Matt reviewed in September, the Loam dropper features adjustable travel. With this feature, buyers can dial in the amount of travel they want, in 5mm increments, by up to 30mm, without needing a tool. Practically speaking, this means riders can maximize dropper travel based on their saddle and seat tube height, assuming there is ample room to fit the post’s overall length.
Speaking of overall length, PNW says the Loam is 18mm shorter than the post it replaces, making it compatible with more frames and potentially allowing some riders to move up to a longer-travel post.
The Loam is one of only two PNW posts to feature an adjustable air cartridge that can be tuned to tweak the post’s return speed. The air port is located below the two-bolt saddle clamp and can be charged using a standard shock pump.
Finally, PNW makes the Loam customizable by offering optional color bands that fit around the mid-cap of the post. The stretchy bits are like mini Livestrong bracelets, available in several colors to match PNW grips and dropper remotes. The Loam ships with a gray band and additional bands can be purchased separately.
Installation and removal are a breeze thanks to the slotted actuator. Because my extra large hardtail frame features a straight seat tube — and because I have long legs — I didn’t find it necessary to reduce the travel of the post. Mine ended up sticking out of the frame by about an inch or two.
On the trail
When I received the Loam dropper post back in August, I knew nothing about it. There wasn’t a spec sheet in the box, and the only clues I had were the markings on the post itself.
Within the first few miles of an initial 25-mile ride the Loam felt like a premium post. With 200mm of travel, the telescoping inner tube glides smoothly and consistently, and doesn’t appear to slow at either end of its journey. Out of the box the return speed is good; not too fast, and not too slow. Still, it’s nice knowing that I can make adjustments down the line, especially as the post starts to slow down due to crud buildup and the inevitable pressure leaks over time.
The Loam post functions quietly; there are no loud thunks on the way up, or clangs on the way back down. The actuator, paired with the Loam remote, offers just the right amount of throw that makes for reliable operation, even in a hurry.
After a couple hundred miles of riding, my sample has about a degree of rotational, side-to-side play. Other than that, it’s feeling great and will likely be my go-to dropper post for a long time to come.
It’s hard to believe that PNW offers their nicest dropper post for just $199, but keep in mind that doesn’t include a remote and buyers will need to pony up five more bucks if they want to customize the color. The brand’s premium Loam remote lever is priced at $69, while the least expensive, over-the-bar PNW option rings in at $29. Buyers who are upgrading from another dropper post likely already have a remote they can use.
Available online from PNW.