Seth Kendall over at Jenson USA spent some quality time with our Loam Lever. It made him reminisce on the rise of the dropper post and the components that go along with it. Read his thoughts below:
Employee Review: PNW Components Loam Lever
- Name: Seth Kendall
- Age: 38
- Rider Height / Weight: 5’9″ / 165lbs
- Location: Pacific Northwest
- Riding Style: A bit of everything, but mostly trail to all mountain and DH. Dabbles in BMX, pump track, and gravel riding.
- Favorite Trail: Hard to choose, but currently loving trails with diverse terrain that varies from one segment to the next.
When it comes to bike product reviews, some products garner all the limelight. It’s easy to get wooed by the clean lines of a new frame, the technical capabilities of a fork, or the lightweight strength of a set of fancy wheels. Other items are relegated to the background and we only think of them when they don’t work just perfectly or when they break. In this review, I want to look at one of those unsung heroes of componentry that should claim a much more prominent podium spot of our attention… the dropper post remote.
Let’s start off with a bit of history. While I can’t claim that I adopted the very first dropper post to hit the market, I did jump aboard the dropper bandwagon quite early and, despite many a limitation, questionable performance, and frequent service intervals, I was an instant fan. For me, dropper posts opened my world of riding to be filled with more flow, harder charging, taking on techier sections, and welcoming climbs. None of these things were off-limits before, but the necessitated act of having to stop and lower or raise my seat meant that I either had to interrupt the flow of my ride or to compromise my riding position. The advent of dropper posts meant I didn’t have to compromise… well, almost.
Early dropper posts all came with a lever found underneath your saddle that you had to pull to raise or lower the saddle. If you’ve ever mobbed down a trail or been surprised by an upcoming trail feature, you’ll understand the challenge that could arise from having to remove one hand from your bars in critical scenarios. Luckily, it wasn’t too far down the timeline before the first bar-mounted remotes were brought to market. Unluckily, it seemed that no actual riders were consulted when the engineers designed these remotes. They we’re rather clunky, had weird or no ergonomics, and next to zero adjustability. Perhaps, even engineers weren’t consulted and, instead, these were just repurposed levers from some other application. This is all to say that these remotes sucked, just not as bad as the saddle levers. This left a rather large hole in the market for someone to do it better.
Fast forward to the today, the options for dropper posts and remote levers has grown immensely, and the fit and function of both has improved so vastly that the issues of the past are starting to grow dim in memory… kind of. Dropper posts continue to get more capable and more reliable and remotes have gotten better, but most of them aren’t amazing. This doesn’t mean that they don’t work. Just that, in the sea of well thought out, beautiful, and awesome components, these still seem like more of an afterthought of design. Luckily, there are a few companies putting remotes at the forefront of their design work.
Enter the PNW Components Loam Lever. At risk of having this review spoiled early, this thing is so good! And, before I get accused of my review being bought, the test lever that I am using was given to me for free, but I don’t get to keep it (in fact, we are giving it away to a lucky winner). As I type this, I’m sad that I will have to remove this lever and am already planning on buying one to replace it.
These accolades don’t come lightly from me. I’ve ridden and tested nearly every lever/post combo out there. The only exceptions to this, that I can think of, is the BikeYoke Revive post/lever (which has been garnering a lot of praise) and a couple electronic posts. While I have found several competent levers from brands and one truly great lever from Wolf Tooth, the Loam Lever is my current top choice. Now that you know how much I like this lever, let’s dig into why and how it stacks up to its main competition.
PRODUCT DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY
There were 4 key characteristics that were the main driving factors when it came to designing the Loam Lever; dialed machining, no slip grip and ergonomics, adjustability, and weatherproof capabilities. Many levers before this seemed to aim to achieve 1 or 2 of these but compromised the others. The Loam Lever checks off all the boxes.