The latest addition to PNW Components' lineup is the Loam post. This new dropper is the replacement to the Bachelor, with a design that is lighter, more adjustable, and less expensive than its predecessor.
The Loam is available in three different diameters and four different travel lengths, each adjustable down by up to 30mm in 5mm increments. The post uses an adjustable alloy air cartridge to move up and down, sells for $199, and comes with a three-year warranty.
PNW Loam Details
• Travel: 125, 150, 170, 200mm
• Alloy air cartridge, adjustable return speed
• 30.9, 31.6, or 34.9mm diameter
• Internal cable routing only
• Tool-less Travel Adjust
• Weight: 532g (170mm)
• $199 USD (remote sold separately)
PNW's Loam post builds on their Bachelor with a refined design. The post has a shorter overall length across sizes; the 125mm travel post measures 385mm, including the actuator, while the 200mm post measures 540mm, including the actuator. All of the posts feature PNW's tool-less travel adjust, allowing riders to reduce the extended travel by an additional 30mm in 5mm increments. Insertion depth is less than the Bachelor, as is the overall weight. It's also $40 cheaper.
In addition to those features, the post's return speed can be tailored to a riders' preference by an air valve at the top of the post head. For the fashion-focused parts matchers, PNW now has color accent bands for the collar available in various colors that, unsurprisingly, sync up to their grips and Loam Lever's color palette.
The hydraulic cartridge is made by PNW's manufacturer, not Wintek like many other posts. It's covered by a three year warranty, and if it falls outside of that window PNW sells the cartridges for $75. To ensure that it function properly in colder weather, PNW uses a lower viscosity hydraulic fluid in the internal cartridge. The stanchion lube used is rated for a wide range of temperatures and conditions. The post's seals are made from a temperature-resistant rubber, which is claimed to remain more supple at lower temperatures.
Adjustable return speed along with customizable color bands set the Loam apart.Performance
I have had the Loam post on my daily ride for several months at this point and have been riding it in poor conditions more than sunshine. The post's installation was a breeze, and it mated up nicely to PNW's Loam lever. The head of the post use a simply two-bolt clamp system; it's basic but it works. Changing bands on the collar is easy and simply required a pick to get the edge up.
The action of the post raising and lowering is smooth and consistent. When it comes to lever feel its actuation is not quite as smooth as some other posts, such as the Fox Transfer - the lever is a bit more difficult to push. The adjustable air pressure can give a good variance to the return speed, and although I left it more towards the conservative side, fans of a poppier return will have no issues speeding things up.
Adjusting the travel internally is easy and doesn't even require removing the post from the bike. The cartridge has performed flawlessly, and the main head seal has put up a winning fight against plenty of seal-wrecking, rain-saturated terra firma along with near-daily battles against my pressure washer.How Does it Compare?
Comparing the Loam post to others on the market, it's one of the least expensive options available. PNW's Rainier IR is $20 less, but not as full-featured as the Loam. While it doesn't come with a lever, even adding PNW's Loam Lever on still has the dollar figure in the lower third of posts.
When you look at travel, OneUp's $209 V2 post is the next closest competitor. It offers 210mm of adjustable travel, and it's slightly shorter for the same amount of travel. The total length of the One Up post at 200mm is 530mm, vs. 540mm for the Loam post. It is slightly heavier, but not enough to make a difference; we're talking 12 grams or so. However, in my experience, that V2 post is more prone to returning slowly after being exposed to mud and grit. The seal on the Loam post seem more mud resistant and requires less maintenance.
If you're looking strictly at weight, and comparing other 170mm-ish posts, there won't be a lighter one until you double the price to $400 for a BikeYoke Revive. Travel wise, options are also limited to OneUp without, again, doubling the price. All things considered, the Loam post is arguably one of the best values out there.Pinkbike's Take