PRODUCT REVIEW: PNW COMPONENTS BACHELOR DROPPER POST
If you’re familiar with Chasing Epic and the companies we work with, you know that we like partnering with smaller, home-grown bike companies looking to grow with us. Last winter we connected with Aaron Kerson, the owner and founder of PNW Components, and had some interesting conversations. Aaron recently launched their Bachelor 150 dropper post, which came out with rave reviews from the likes of Bike industry monster Pinkbike.
We had been struggling with some of the KS Lev droppers last fall, and were looking for a better solution for our fleet of Ibis demo bikes. Aaron offered to send over a Bachelor 150 to test on my personal Ibis HD3, so who was I to argue? Let’s just say I’m impressed, and it’s not because he sent it for free.
If you’ve been on a Chasing Epic trip this year, you may notice that we’re phasing out our Fox Transfer droppers and slowly replacing them with PNW dropper posts. There’s a reason for that- we really dig what they have going on, and we like what we see. We’ve got a combination of their Bachelor (150mm travel) and Rainier (125mm travel) on our Ibis Mojo 3 and HD3, and they’ve been nothing but flawless thus far. Aside from a nasty crash in Moab where one of the customers bent the actuating lever, they’ve been reliable… which is really all you can ask from a dropper, right?
I’m not one for in-depth product reviews, so I’ll keep this one brief and to the point. The information and thoughts shown below are for the Bachelor 150 since I’ve got more saddle time with it (our Rainiers were just installed in late April), but I expect the same performance and quality from the Rainier as well.
- Infinite adjustment
- 150mm travel
- Weight: 565g
- Post length: 458mm (important to know if it will fit inside your frame)
- Internally routed. The Rainier offers both internal and external options.
- Price: $319.99.
Let’s face it, this is a large majority of what matters with dropper posts these days. Does it work, and does it perform reliably? With the PNW Components Bachelor, I can answer “yes” to both of those questions with significant first hand experience. I installed the Bachelor on my HD3 over the winter and rode it consistently 4-5 times a week for a large majority of the time between December and April. There were days when I had it out in sub-freezing temps down to 25 degrees here in Colorado… and absolutely no issues. No need to re-bleed anything, no cable housing issues, nothing. The lever felt as solid on day 50 as it did on day 1.
Additionally, we’ve now had PNW posts on a handful of demo bikes for the last couple of months and we’ve had zero issues with those, too. That’s more than I can say for our Fox Transfers, which required me to send FIVE of them back for warranty (out of 15) due to blown seals. Trust me, that’s not what we want on the demo bikes our customers are riding on our trips. Hell, that’s not what I want on any of my bikes.
If something does happen with the Bachelor, you can easily swap out the cartridge for a new one, which will cost you $150 (if it’s out of warranty, otherwise it’s free).
I’ll be honest, the lever is a little different. It’s not the shifter-type lever you see from Fox or WolfTooth, and it’s not the plunger-style that the Reverb uses. The first couple of times I used it, it took a little adjustment to get used to the feel… but after about 20 miles, it was second nature. The engagement is immediate and smooth, and the lever pops back up every time with no stiction. can’t ask for much more than that.
The “guts” of the post are hydraulic, and it’s mechanically-actuated… which means if something is loose or sticking, then it’s an easy fix. We haven’t had to deal with that, but based on the ease of installation, I’m not dreading a little work if it’s required.
It’s relatively lightweight (as far as non-carbon dropper posts go). It’s sleek looking. It’s made by a small company that’s eager to win your business and has the service to back it up. It’s made for riders, by riders. Oh, and they’re affordable: $319 for the Bachelor and $274 for the Rainier. I’m looking forward to getting many more miles on these things and reporting back later in the season… I expect great things with these posts. Keep up the good work, Aaron.