PNW Components is a components brand based in the Seattle area comprised of experienced bike industry folk that saw an opportunity to offer quality components at a price more manageable for the average rider. Their flagship MTB dropper post is called the Bachelor Post. Internally routed and available with 150mm and 170mm of travel, its available in sizes to fit 31.6mm and 30.9mm frames. Keeping things simple, its actuated using a cable and it utilizes a sealed damping cartridge and adjustable return via a self contained air cartridge.
PNW started their business off with the launch of a dropper post. Offered at a lower price point than the bulk of the competition and utilizing a consumer direct sales model, they’ve steadily grown their selection of products as well as reputation and sales channels. This being my first time running anything from the brand, I was looking forward to seeing how it stacked up next to the offerings from the major players in the seat post space.
When it came time to assemble my ride for 2018, the Bachelor Dropper Post looked to be a great option. 170mm of drop, a lower price point and reports of reliability from the field were the primary selling points.
- Material: 7075 Heat Treated Alloy
- Infinite Adjust allows you to set your saddle height anywhere in the travel
- Travel: 150mm or 170mm
- Adjustable air cartridge
- Includes lever kit (remote lever, cables/housing, all required hardware)
- Diameter: 30.9 or 31.6mm
- Listed weight: 565g
- Post length: 150 Travel: 458mm / 170 Travel: 498mm
- 2-bolt micro adjust head w/ zero offset
- Ultra light lever feel
- Internal cable routing
- 3-year warranty
Although I had a brand new Reverb post available for the build with the same amount of adjustability, based on the two defunct models that have sat on my work bench for almost two seasons (and two more on bikes with IFPs that have been sagging for months now) I was looking for something that would be easier to maintain and service that wouldn’t headache to deal with 12 months down the road. From past experience, I’ve had issues with Reverb posts in cold weather and the cable actuated Bachelor is less likely to be effected by Pacific Northwest winters.
I’ve already had good experiences with other posts utilizing a cable for actuating the lever, and the design of the Bachelor was sound. The best part of using a cable to operate the post is the simplicity.
Got a problem? Replace the cable. Living in the PNW, cable maintenance is part of our spring schedule already. And while bleeding the Reverb is simple when you’re familiar with the process, honestly, its a bit of a pain. Not to mention it can be a challenge for less skilled garage do-it-yourselfers.
The other issue which we’ve found plagues the Reverb after a season (or two if you’re lucky) is post sag. You’re looking at at least $125 in parts and labor to get a Reverb going again. With the PNW Components Bachelor, the air cartridge is a removable unit. Not only are you guaranteed to have three seasons of run time — thanks to the generous warranty — when it eventually does fail, (and this is a constant with ALL dropper seatposts – they all will eventually need to be serviced and rebuilt) you can simply install a replacement air cartridge, which is available at a nominal cost.
Installation went quickly, especially since I had recently installed a Fox Transfer post and I was able to reuse the already routed housing. The amount of housing required is the same as the Transfer with the difference being the cable feeds in from the lever. (I also own the Park IR-1.2 Internal Cable Routing Kit which makes the installation of the cable much easier- highly recommended)
I’ll admit the lever took me a minute to sort out as it can be utilized in a number of different directions for top, bottom and left right configurations. (I think – I was only concerned with my preferred setup and didn’t actually test the other positions)
The best part of the cable system is that it makes it easy to remove the post in the event it requires service. It pops out without having to remove the pinch bolts. Considering the pain in the ass other posts are in this area, this is extremely significant and I find it to be a major selling point.
On the Trail
When looking to dial in my new Transition Sentinel build, a 170mm dropper post was a requirement. After all, this is a bike pushing the envelope in terms of geometry — a 5″ or 6″ drop post doesn’t even make sense on a bike like this. A Reverb was an option, but again, with so many of them lying on my work bench in need of repair I wanted to try something different, and ideally something serviceable. I also had my Fox Transfer, which has performed flawlessly for over a season. However, while the Transfer is an excellent product, it isn’t available in a 170mm option yet.
The additional inch of drop has been amazing to have and pairs well with new school bike designs that feature more than ample stand over and clearance. And if you love jumps and double black diamond style trails it’s a no-brainer. I don’t think I will ever run a 6″ post on my main trail bike ever again; I definitely wouldn’t run a 5″ dropper unless it was a pure XC set up.
The remote lever
I am a fan of the thumb lever — it has a nice shape and is big compared to a lot of other levers. My ideal lever would mirror the Shimano shifter paddle, and this lever is not dissimilar. It also has a return spring in the lever which keeps it from rattling around, though it does have a bit of slop up and down, which other reviewers have noted. The movement isn’t at all noticeable when riding and may actually make it work better depending on whether your actuating the post from a seated or standing position.
Full disclosure: my post initially suffered from a slow air leak. Contacting the folks at PNW, they are aware of the problem though it doesn’t effect all of the Bachelors. Mine has been holding air for a few rides at a time but I was forced to remove the saddle every other week or so which got really annoying.
I had to wait for a new batch of replacement air cartridges but when it finally arrived (and I found some time to hide in the garage long enough to do the service) it was an easily accomplished service. Those that already DIY advanced repairs like bleeding their brakes or performing lower fork leg services shouldn’t have issues with the repair thanks to the service video PNW offers on their site. If you’re having a shop do it, it is a 15-20 minute job for an skilled mechanic. Since the cartridge replacement, it has functioned and performed perfectly.
I neglected to apply friction paste to the band clamp initially – a mistake I addressed after a ride where the clamp continued to move. It was a concern as I’m running a new carbon Di2 compatible Shimano bar, and scratches to a carbon bar can be worrisome. Fortunately friction paste resolved the movement and it hasn’t moved since. I also neglected to add friction paste to the post and it moved slightly on the first ride until I addressed it.
Note to self: add friction paste to travel tool box – it fixes everything that has carbon on it.
Should you get one?
PNW Components has been earning a reputation for making a quality product and reports from the field attest to its durability over time. Most reviews don’t reference the cost of ownership over time or factor it into the longevity and durability. The true test of any adjustable seat post is long term durability and serviceability. Most posts on the market will last at least a season of use before needing seals or a rebuild. Then it becomes a question of how easy is it to repair and/or what it’ll cost to keep it functional.
We ride the crap out of our bikes and they get a lot of use. This last weekend alone when riding Oakridge Trails at Mountain Bike Oregon my post went though hundreds of actuations, and if I get two seasons out of a post before it stops functioning and requires service, I’m extremely impressed.
Servicing a SRAM or Fox post runs $125-175 after you factor in shipping (don’t forget about the week you don’t get to ride your bike as well) and if you’re having to send your post back every year, in two seasons you’ve already covered the cost of a new PNW post. Not having to worry about your post failing for three years? When you do the math, the true value of the PNW Components offerings is exceptional.
At a list price $319, the Bachelor Dropper Post costs significantly less than offerings from the major suspension brands. If you move fast though, you can snatch a 31.6/150mm model at Amazon.com for $222.
At this price there’s no point to servicing your old post; use our link and a small portion of the sale will also support Bermstyle.com.
Learn more at PNWComponents.com
Here’s the service video for the Bachelor & Rainier IR Dropper Posts: