PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 Dropper Post
Available Dropper Lengths: 125, 150, 170, 200 mm
Available Diameters: 30.9, 31.6, 34.9 mm
Configuration Tested: 30.9mm x 200mm; 22.2 mm clamp; Loam Lever remote
Blister’s Measured Weight:
- Seatpost: 669 g
- Lever: 46 g
MSRP (as tested):
- Seatpost: $179
- Remote: $69
Reviewer: 6’, 165 lbs
Test Location: Washington
Test Duration: 4 months
Prices on dropper posts have been coming down over the last few years, as more options come to market and the technology matures. PNW Components has been offering some of the more modestly priced options for a few years now, and we’ve been testing their mid-tier option, the Rainier Gen 3. At $179 for the post, it’s one of the more affordable options out there, but how well does it work and what do you give up compared to more expensive options?
Design and Options
The Rainier Gen 3 post is available in 30.9, 31.6, and 34.9 mm diameters, and in four lengths with travel ranging from 125 to 200 mm. All four sizes can have their travel reduced by up to 30 mm, in 5 mm increments, using stepped bushing under the post collar. It’s not an entirely novel system, with several other brands offering something similar, but it is notable for how quick and easy it is to adjust — simply unthread the collar by hand, slide the bushing up the seat post, rotate it to the desired setting, and reassemble. I actually found myself toggling the post up and down by 5 mm to compensate for different shoe and pedal height combinations over the course of my testing, rather than get a tool out to adjust the seatpost height itself.
The Rainier Gen 3 is offered with internal routing only, and uses a standard shifter cable for actuation. The head of the cable is installed at the post end, which is by far my preferred orientation, for ease of installation.
PNW Components offers several different lever options to pair with the Rainier Gen 3 — a 2x shifter-compatible Puget lever ($29), a 1x, shifter-style version of the Puget ($49), and the top-tier Loam Lever (tested, $69). Compared to the Puget 1x, the Loam Lever adds a rubber pad for grip on the paddle, a sealed cartridge bearing in the pivot, and adjustable position for the lever, via a set screw that acts as a stop for the lever and alters its rest position. The Loam Lever is also available in 10 color combinations, and in versions for a standard 22.2 mm bar clamp, Shimano iSpec II and iSpec EV, and SRAM Matchmaker clamps.
The Rainier Gen 3 uses a sealed, non-serviceable cartridge for actuation. Like the OneUp V2 dropper and a number of other posts, should the cartridge fail, it’s just a matter of swapping in a new one. As we talked about in the OneUp V2 review, that system has its pros and cons. Certainly, not opening up the hydraulic guts of a post is far easier than tearing into them to replace seals and so on, and more viable for many home mechanics. But making those parts effectively disposable is perhaps not the best option from a sustainability standpoint.
PNW Components does, however, have a very cool initiative to partially address this — by offering refurbished posts at a significant discount through their PNW Cycled program. These posts are inspected and serviced as needed by PNW Components, and are offered with a one-year warranty. Inventory is, of course, dependent on what they receive as returns and the like, but going the Cycled route brings the price of a Rainier Gen 3 down to $107.40.
The Rainier Gen 3 uses a conventional two-bolt seat clamp, and its cartridge allows it to be positioned anywhere in the travel range. Return speed isn’t adjustable, but feels about average — similar to the Fox Transfer, and a little slower than the OneUp V2.
One of the major selling points of the OneUp V2 is its extremely short overall height, which can help some riders eke the absolute maximum of seatpost drop out of limited available height. The Rainier Gen 3 is substantially taller than the OneUp, at 57 mm from the center of the seat rails to the bottom of the collar, with the post lowered (compared to 33 mm for the OneUp). At 6’ tall and on a Size 3 Guerrilla Gravity Smash / Gnarvana, I’ve got about 60 mm of seatpost exposed below the collar, on the 200mm-drop post. So this distinction is irrelevant for my purposes, but shorter riders or folks on bikes with very long seat tubes should take note.
Price & Comparisons
For reference, here are the retail prices for a few notable droppers currently on the market. This is by no means a complete list due to the crowded nature of the market, but rather is meant to highlight a representative sample.
$179 PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 (post only; $29-$69 for the remote)
$199 Raceface Aeffect R (post only; $39 for the remote)
$209 OneUp Dropper Post V2 (post only; $49 for the remote)
$299 Raceface Turbine R / Fox Transfer Performance / Marzocchi Transfer (post only; $65 for the remote)
$329–$389 KS Lev Integra (includes remote)
$349 Fox Transfer Factory (post only; $65 for the remote)
$349–$399 Rockshox Reverb Stealth (includes remote)
$399–$499 Bike Yoke Revive (includes remote)
$800 Rockshox Reverb AXS (includes remote)
The base $179 price for the Rainier Gen 3 puts it at the affordable end of the spectrum, though it’s worth noting that the $69 Loam Lever puts the total package price more in line with the Raceface Aeffect R and the OneUp V2.
On The Trail
I’ve spent four months on the Rainier Gen 3 now, and am thoroughly impressed. The post has worked flawlessly in that time, and is notably more smooth in its actuation than the OneUp V2. The Rainier’s lever-feel was a bit stiff when I first installed it, but it loosened up after a handful of rides and I haven’t thought about it since. My hunch is that the initial stiffness was down to the actuator on the end of the post, where the cable connects, which felt a bit sticky when I operated it by hand, when installing the post. It wasn’t a big deal and settled in quickly, but the lever did take a bit of extra force to operate for the first few rides.
I’ve been quite happy with the feel of the Loam Lever as well — the rubber face of the paddle is grippy and comfortable, and the adjustable paddle angle is a nice touch. The lever feels solid, and has remained smooth and free of slop over the course of my testing. I also appreciate that the Loam Lever uses a bolt and washer, rather than a set screw to clamp the cable — the bolt head is larger and less likely to strip, and is far less prone to fraying the cable where it clamps, making subsequent readjustments (or later cable removal) far easier.
What really stands out about the Rainier Gen 3, though, is its smoothness. A lot of budget-oriented posts work more or less fine, but feel notably stickier and clunkier than some higher-end options. That’s not the case here. Despite being on the affordable end of the spectrum, the Rainier Gen 3 feels excellent.
I’ve put a lot of miles on the Rainier Gen 3, and it’s holding up well so far. It’s still functioning as new, with smooth operation and no undue play or slop anywhere in the system. It’s a solid showing from PNW Components, but four months isn’t the longest-term test, so we’ll keep putting time on the Rainer Gen 3 and update if anything crops up.
The PNW Components Rainier Gen 3 is a solid performing dropper post at a very reasonable price, and is one of our top picks for riders looking for a good post without breaking the bank. The OneUp V2 is a bit lighter and significantly shorter at a given amount of drop, but can’t match the smoothness of the Rainier Gen 3. The OneUp also costs $20-30 more (post only), depending on travel. For riders who don’t need to stuff the most possible drop into the least total space, and are okay trading a few grams for smoother operation at a more modest price, the Rainier Gen 3 is a great option.