First Look: PNW Components' Suspension Dropper Post and Gravel Line - Pond Beaver 2021

Apr 12, 2021
by Daniel Sapp  

PNW Components have solidified themselves as a popular brand in the mountain bike scene, and now they're branching out a bit, offering components for our drop-bar compadres. While Pinkbike is a mountain bike site, we do share the sentiment that PNW did in their press release that, "biking is just another excuse to hang out with our friends" and that said, a lot of mountain bikers do cross over to the curly bars from time to time.

There are four components in the gravel line, a handlebar, stem, dropper post, and suspension dropper post.


The Coast Suspension Dropper is a different take on a dropper post by combining suspension with drop. The post functions as a standard dropper post would, but it adds in 40mm of tunable air suspension delivered via a dual chamber hydraulic cartridge. It's designed to help take care of larger impacts before they wreak havoc on a rider's skeletal system.

The post comes in 100mm of travel for a 27.2mm size and 120mm of travel for 30.9 and 31.6 diameters. It sells for $179 and $199 USD respectively.





The Coast handlebar is designed to be extra wide for better stability, control and more comfort - all helpful for those who like to take their bikes onto more technical terrain. The bar is available in 480mm and 520mm widths with a 105mm drop and 20-degrees of flare. It sells for $69.





The Coast stem was made to match smoothly with the handlebar and is a good option for not only gravel but also XC. It has a stack height of 38mm and is available in 60mm, 70mm, 80mm, 90mm, and 100mm lengths and weighs 111g in the shortest and 136g in the longest. It also sells for $69.




The Rainier 27.2mm dropper features 125mm of travel, quite a lot for a 27.2" post. It also has tool-less travel adjust just as the more aggressive Rainier Gen 3 posts do. The post sells for $199.



Pond Beaver 2021





79 Comments

  • 185 2
 Soooo.... Someone finally found a use for all them old reverbs?
  • 7 2
 Thats FAX.
  • 24 0
 I have several squishy dropper posts - ahem: GRAVEL posts - I will sell for less than $200 US! Win win!
  • 24 0
 Dealing with a warranty claim on a less than 1 yr old Reverb that leaks air and has about 2cm of squish. How SRAM justifies charging $300+ for their post is bananas.
  • 21 0
 What is a suspension post if not a reverb persevering?
  • 2 0
 Way closer to the old external KS Lev than the Reverb though.
  • 5 0
 @jawright602: Nobody buys reverbs aftermarket. They conveniently come with your SRAM equipped bike.
  • 3 1
 @jawright602: just get it serviced. It'll work fine after that.
  • 1 0
 Didn't read the article. I read the title and came to talk some smack about reverbs.
  • 49 2
 [insert Reverb joke here]
  • 40 0
 20 degrees of flare is the *minimum*.
  • 4 1
 this comment is underrated
  • 14 0
 Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay.
  • 6 0
 You can get gravel bars anywhere.... People come to PNW components for the comfort and control.
  • 2 2
 They don't have any backsweep, meaning they lack comfort while changing hand positions. Once you try a dropbar with backsweep, you never go back to unergonomical straight dropbars. You don't ride flat bars without backsweep either.
  • 27 0
 You could say memories of other squishy droppers are *reverberating* in my mind...
Sorry, everyone else just said "insert reverb joke here," but no one actually wrote one. As you can see, comedy is not my specialty.
  • 25 6
 Everyone is adding suspension on their gravel bikes. Just biy a short trave full sus trail/xc bike. Will be a lot more fun
  • 30 6
 Gravel bikes are just mountain bikes from the 90's. Even going through the same evolution... wonder when flex stems will be a thing
  • 7 4
 @islandforlife: Exactly...I posted this in response to someone else:
Yup, most gravel bikes are not only essentially the exact geometry and tire width as early/mid 90’s MTB’s...but they’re following the same innovation path as 90’s MTB’s, including: Tires growing wider, front suspension, shorter but still long stems, seat tubes getting shorter and top tubes longer, suspension seat posts, droppers (as funky as they were back then), bars growing wider, some are getting slacker, increasingly wild colors, etc. Exactly...next is risers (likely non-drop soon), full suspension, bigger knobbies, etc. Within a year or two, I expect “gravel bikes” to effectively be a 1995 hardtail MTB but with 29” wheels, disc brakes, and better functioning suspension and drivetrain =P

I kinda want someone to create an “updated” mid-90’s hardtail — pretty much a current gravel bike but with 60mm to 75mm front travel, narrow-ish 25” wide flat bars or risers that provide the proper steering force and ground feedback for a 70-degree head angle, 2.1” to 2.25” knobbies, dropper, cushy post/saddle setup, etc. Or alternatively, someone could start a company offering up-cycled 90’s MTB’s with disc brakes. They’d be just as fun as, if not more fun than, gravel bikes, IMO.
  • 2 4
 @islandforlife: I'm a big fan of ghe Goldilocks principle. So for me, a mid travel aluminum 27.5 bike is all that I need. Can do anything with that. Dh, enduro, xc, bikepacking.
  • 2 1
 @WRCDH: Amazing.
  • 5 1
 @WRCDH: great answer. Exactly what I have been concluding having gone down the gravel bike rabbit hole.. marketing from the industry has created these niches to go all in into the mtb-ing of road bikes.. and people go for it... "flatbar gravel bike" my ass hahah. In my personal opinion, a MTBer should never get more than a versatile road/gravel bike with tires not bigger than 35c.. 52/36 with maximum 11-40, ackward narrow drop bars with a little bit of flare, seatpost with 25mm offset (negative of course, to slacken that seat angle more).. in that way when you get back to your enduro bike, you feel fantastic again hahahaha.. but at least get to train if you live in flattish boring area.
  • 3 1
 @Lagr1980: Yes, this is why I love my 1994 Kona Hot and my 1999 Litespeed Tellico — they make easier trails feel really exciting, and then my new Trail & Enduro bikes make me feel like a superhero pro when I ride them after =P

I don’t really want a gravel bike because I have some excellent vintage MTB’s as well as different eras of newer and old XC bikes — all of which are probably just as fun as gravel bikes (and my bikes are probably faster). My vintage XC bikes are all era correct and allow me to experience those eras again every time I ride them...it’s always great fun and thoroughly enjoyable, especially when I drop my buddies on their new bikes =)

Here’s my 1999 Tellico on my local trails (which are old-school trails I’ve been riding since 1992!): www.pinkbike.com/video/532712
  • 2 1
 @Lagr1980: “Flatbar gravel bike” hahaha! Great points!
  • 4 1
 @WRCDH: Fantastic points. There's one major reason though why I'd pick up a modern gravel with wide drop bars, 70mm stems, knobby tyres and all over a 20+ yrs old mtb: it feels tons more solid and safe. I still have a 2005 cannondale jekyll 700... in excellent condition, yet it feels as though it might fold under the weight of a good hard stare. Plus it weighs about 1.5x as much as a decent steel gravel.
  • 14 1
 Saying gravel bikes are useless and you should buy an XC bike, is like saying XC bikes are useless and you should buy a DH bike.

Different machines for different types of riding.

For me gravel is all about touring and exploring new nature, forests, etc. A gravel bike is fast and you can easily cover 120km+ on it on a day, meaning you can really explore big areas. The bike is still fun to ride on dirt / gravel roads and even when you have to link your off road parts together with some kilometers on paved roads, it will still roll fast and it won't become boring like on an xc bike.

Where as XC bikes are noticeably slower, boring on dirt roads and even more boring when you need to hit some paves parts on your tour. Mtb for me is doing a 20 / 30km ride in a really small part of the forest. You don't do it to explore the nature, you won't cover enough distance on it (especially not on technical trails). You do it because you want to challenge your riding skills on technical terrain.
  • 10 0
 Also flex / small amounts of suspension are there for a different reason on gravel bikes: it is purely to reduce fatigueness so you can do longer rides and explore more during a day.

Where as suspension on a mtb is aimed at being able to tackle more technical terrain and keeping more speed through techy sections.

That said I'm not a fan of telescopic suspension (seatposts) for gravel: it has too much friction and will only absorb the bigger bumps. While the whole point is to absorb the constant general chatter, which is being done more effectively by introducing proper flex into the rigid forks, rear triangles, handlebars, rigid seatposts (such as Cannondale Save) and stems (not talking about suspension stems, I would love to see some more horizontally flattened stems to absorb a bit extra chatter for gravel).
  • 8 0
 Don't get me wrong, I love both. I just don't get why people need to compare them. It's like saying hamburgers are better than beer. If I'm hungry I will prefer the hamburger, but if I'm thirsty I will choose the beer. That doesn't mean that one is superior over the other. It's both great things that serve their own seperate purposes well.
  • 2 1
 @WRCDH: I ride a cx bike as a gravel bike all the time, and on really ridiculous adventures I find myself wishing I had front suspension and a dropper post...and then I realize I should've just ridden my hardtail 29er. Never fails.
  • 3 1
 @Zuman: I live in a place with a bunch of trail systems within a 30 minute drive, and a whole bunch of fire roads and snowmobile trails that I can ride from my house (and that connect into those same trail systems). I find that the perfect do everything bike is a carbon 29er hardtail with a 120 fork and a dropper. Rowdy enough to get after most of what I find in the woods, but still efficient enough to bang out some miles on a road if I have to. Of course this doesn't stop me from also having a squishy 29er that I ride when I just want to shred singletrack.
  • 2 1
 @Mattin: I do a lot of exploration rides on my CX bike with 35mm slicks (fire roads, dirt roads, ATV tracks, etc), but there have been a bunch of times where I've done the same types of rides on my 29er hardtail. With the right tire setup and gearing (2.4 Ardents, 34-10/42 11spd) I find it's not terribly less efficient. I might not be able to paceline with a bunch of roadies (who wants to do that anyway?) but I can pretty comfortably cover 30ish miles of single/doubletrack, fire roads and dirt roads with a few miles of pavement to get me out and back from the house.
  • 3 0
 No, because then I cant wear my tight lycra with my shampooed and conditioned mustache as other bikers will call me all kinds of words :-(
  • 4 0
 @adamszymkowicz: It really depends on so many factors indeed. For example when I visit family in Spain, no way I would ride my gravel bike there, it's all big sharp rocks and super techy terrain. A gravel bike would be slower on all of the offroad surfaces in that area and just suck the fun out of it.

But here in The Netherlands it's flat (for any small hills I need to drive at least 2h) and even there it's all super smooth hardpack dirt. If I come into two 50m / 50 yards long semi-"technical" sections on an 80km / 50 mile ride, it's already a lot. In that case there is no point to drag an XC bike for a whole day, to have the benefit for less than a minute in total. And the difference in speed between a gravel bike and an XC bike is a lot higher on this smooth surface.

So it really depends on many factors which bike is "perfect".

That said, I am happy we have such a wide variety of choice in bikes: Really everyone can find something that matches their riding style and local trails perfectly.
  • 1 1
 @adamszymkowicz: but we should not blur the line between CX or gravel and MTB. too capable gravel bike its an mtb from the 80-90s ; ). preach.
  • 4 0
 @Lagr1980: Backcountry, XCO, trail, all-mountain, downduro; aren't bikes supposed to just blur lines anyways and just be measured by the smile they put on their owners' face?
  • 2 0
 @Mattin: Haha, comparing beer to burgers, I love it! I'm guessing in the Netherlands you don't know the English idiom "comparing apples to oranges", which would have been my choice of words, but I like your version even better. And yeah, I think the reflexive anti-gravel bike sentiment in the PB comments is pretty silly. For certain types of riding, they really are the right tool for the job. No need to get defensive about it; nobody's trying to take away your MTB.
  • 4 0
 @WRCDH:

I see this sentiment a lot, and I understand where it's coming from with all the BS marketing, but the reality is that gravel bikes really aren't intended to be proper trail machines. (Even if some people have fun doing that.)

They're just supposed to be a 'better road bike', for the sort of real life, mixed-surface roads and paths that normal people have been riding their road and CX bikes on for decades. There is still a place for that style of riding, and there's no reason manufacturers can't build well-considered bikes for that purpose.

There is a massive market of non-competitive riders who want to do long, speedy rides for fitness and recreation, and want the comfort a gravel bike provides, but have no intention of pushing the bike off-road. Yes, a mountain bike or a hybrid can be used on the road, but you'll hate your riser/flat bars as soon as the road opens up and you're trying to cover ground into a strong headwind.

Just like mountain bikes, there is room for road bikes to evolve, and gravel bikes are the modern iteration of a 'fun' road bike. Unregulated by the UCI, and other forces that have kept road-racing bikes stagnant for decades, manufacturers are now experimenting with all kinda of stuff, and road cycling as a whole is better for it.

It's definitely frustrating seeing beginner cyclists buy gravel bikes under the false promise that the bike can 'ride roads and trails'. The reality is that most beginners will suffer pretty badly trying to ride anything technical on a gravel bike, and that sucks. But that's not the bikes fault, just shitty sales people.

It also confuses things seeing gravel bikes reported about on Pinkbike, (implying they are for trails) but in reality, I think Pinkbike is just expanding their coverage. PNW is mainly a MTB brand, and there are a lot of riders on this site who road cycle, so presumably there is interest. You might have seen the posts where they feature articles from their Cycling Tips sister site as well.
  • 3 0
 @barp: I have heard about, but felt bikes deserve better than to be compared to fruit Wink
  • 2 0
 @harrisongregoire: While it's true their evolution feels a lot like 90s mountain bikes, you're right that the end goal isn't the same and so gravel bikes will continue have their niche. Still, it's a fun parallel to observe.
  • 1 0
 @Lagr1980: I'd say cx and gravel are pretty close together now. I haven't actually raced cx in years, but I love my 'cross bike as a weapon of exploration. It's a little shorter than a modern gravel bike, but it can comfortably fit 45c tires, and I've hit 60 on a road descent in a supertuck and it feels perfectly stable. I also run a double chainring and two bottle mounts (making it very obviously not a cx race bike).
  • 1 0
 @Mattin: Totally agree. I live in western Massachusetts (other side of the state from Boston) and the terrain around here is very rolling, and absolutely webbed with dirt roads, ATV/Snowmobile trails, and fireroads, and that doesn't include all of the purpose built singletrack. Off the roads, the terrain varies from super smooth hardpack dirt to super chunky trails hacked out of the basalt, and back again. If I was only going to ride on the roads (paved or dirt), I'd for sure pull my cx bike out every time, but if I'm planning on hitting anything else, I grab the hardtail. Even a two mile section of blown out ATV track in the middle of a 40 mile dirt road ride is enough for me to want the squish.
  • 16 1
 First look at parts that are all, I think, a year + old?
  • 5 0
 a year and a half or so, apparently first look for the mtb crowd who stay away from everything without the word enduro or dh on it
  • 7 0
 That is nice, I was waiting for pwn 27,5 dropper back in stock for hard tail, that will be definitely nice add-on with suspension!
  • 5 0
 They are actually really awesome for that. I kinda feel like that need to market this to both gravel and MTB HT people. Nice for longer days on a HT or bikepacking.
  • 3 0
 If they bring out a suspension version with 220mm of drop, sign me up!!
  • 9 2
 *insert RockShox Reverb joke here*
  • 5 0
 Sooooo PNW, is this where you put indicator lines on your bar to center it easier?
  • 1 0
 I really dislike this part of the bars. That weird triangle logo pattern is not helpful.
  • 3 0
 @als802: what really bugs me is it could have been a cool AND useful pattern. But it's chaos!
  • 1 0
 Right! I just bought some Salsa Bend Bars for my new Gravel-duro-slope-down-country-commute-grocery-getter-kid-picker-upper and they have a nice transverse line that can be seen through the gap in the stem cap, really easy to center the bars. And Bontrager (among others, but I have a LOT of Bontrager parts due to my shop's affiliation) has had great markings for years. But the Salsa marking is super discrete and all you really need.
  • 1 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: I prefer the term downgravel
  • 5 1
 Next up will be riser drop bars, so you can be in a more upright position. Drop the curly lower bits and add some suspension for a new "all mountain gravel" bike.
  • 5 3
 Yup, most gravel bikes are not only essentially the exact geometry and tire width as early/mid 90’s MTB’s...but they’re following the same innovation path as 90’s MTB’s, including: Tires growing wider, front suspension, shorter but still long stems, seat tubes getting shorter and top tubes longer, suspension seat posts, droppers (as funky as they were back then), bars growing wider, some are getting slacker, increasingly wild colors, etc. Exactly...next is risers (likely non-drop soon), full suspension, bigger knobbies, etc. Within a year or two, I expect “gravel bikes” to effectively be a 1995 hardtail MTB but with 29” wheels, disc brakes, and better functioning suspension and drivetrain =P

I kinda want someone to create an “updated” mid-90’s hardtail — pretty much a current gravel bike but with 60mm to 75mm front travel, narrow-ish 25” wide flat bars or risers that provide the proper steering force and ground feedback for a 70-degree head angle, 2.1” to 2.25” knobbies, dropper, cushy post/saddle setup, etc. Or alternatively, someone could start a company offering up-cycled 90’s MTB’s with disc brakes. They’d be just as fun as, if not more fun than, gravel bikes, IMO.
  • 7 0
 Riser drop bars have existed for years.
  • 4 2
 If you're adding suspension to gravel bikes and making them more capable for bigger hits at this point you may as well get a short travel xc bike.
  • 4 0
 That is exactly the same as saying "if you add rear suspension to an XC bike, you might as well just but a proper downhill bike".

Different machines for different use.
  • 2 0
 *buy
  • 1 3
 @Mattin: No, its really not.
  • 5 0
 @cougar797: Thanks for the well argumented point, that really convinced me to change my mind Wink
  • 4 1
 @Mattin: Haha had to keep it to normal PB standards Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @cougar797: Thanks for not letting us down Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @Mattin: except modern gravel bikes have more in common with an xc bike and application is suited for long distance rides on not gnarly terrain. Xc bikes and dh bikes are two complete diffrent application.
  • 3 1
 Interested in a PNW bar tape. If it is anything like the loam grips, they are going on my roadie.
  • 3 1
 Awesome! Its like a drop bar mountain bike!
  • 3 0
 i believe that is the point
  • 7 3
 Ahem, it's like a shitty drop bar mountain bike from the 90s.
  • 3 2
 @f*ckingsteve: At least now we can have better brakes to make it easier to go over those nice lookin' bars.
  • 3 0
 @f*ckingsteve: Yes, the quality of bikes has not evolved at all since the 90s?
  • 1 0
 I had almost given up on getting a new PNW Loam dropper. At least now, you can pre-order.
  • 1 0
 Or should I say “drop”
In my next Post?
  • 1 0
 Things a dirt road bike doesn't need for a thousand, Alex.
  • 1 0
 This has all been out for quite a while, why is this for Pond Beaver?
  • 2 1
 Cool.
  • 2 1
 Not
  • 1 0
 Very clever indeed
  • 1 1
 PB, where's the gravel filter?
  • 1 0
 9er gravel quite wining

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