PNW Loam Lever Gen 2 Review
The PNW Loam Lever was just updated with more adjustability and a larger thumb pad. We’ve been testing one out for the last few weeks to see how it stacks up against the original, which we’ve been using for the last four years. Find our thoughts and a detailed comparison in this review…
I think we can all agree that there are many great dropper post options on the market today, but most of them include either a sub-par lever or no lever at all. I find it strange that many companies offer high-end dropper posts in a variety of sizes and lengths but don’t provide a lever option to match.
In 2018, Washington-based PNW Components set out to change that with the Loam Lever, making it their mission to offer a dropper post lever with a crisp, consistent feel that could handle the damp conditions of the Pacific Northwest. It’s built up around a CNC-machined alloy body, stainless steel hardware, an oversized sealed cartridge bearing for the lever’s pivot point, and both side-to-side position and pivoting reach adjustment. The Loam Lever is finished with an injection-moulded thumb pad tha’ts available in a range of color options that pair up nicely with PNW’s other components.
I’ve been using the original PNW Loam Lever non-stop on my Why S7 since its release. It has seen thousands of kilometres and actuations, several housing and cable changes, and has been pushed through rain, mud, and snow. It hasn’t skipped and beat in that time, proving itself as one of the smoothest and most natural-feeling dropper levers on the market. After four years of solid use, I haven’t replaced the bearing, and while it’s starting to feel slightly less buttery off the bike, it’s nearly perfect when mounted. In short, it’s one of the nicest upgrades you can make to your bike for well under $100.
Loam Lever Gen 2 vs Loam Lever Gen 1
The next generation of Loam Lever shares the original’s recognizable overall design. It’s still made from CNC-machined aluminum, uses a large sealed-cartridge bearing at the pivot point, and relies on stainless steel hardware. What’s new is an improved mounting block that provides another position for the lever to be mounted in and essentially increases the lateral adjustment from the original’s 6mm to 14mm. Having more room to dial in the position of the lever is great for accommodating different hand sizes, working around other cockpit components, and to creating a personalized setup.
The new Loam Lever also has a larger redesigned thumb pad that PNW claims is “easier to actuate when you need to drop your seat in a hurry.” Looking at the photos above, you can see that it’s not drastically bigger, but the end tapers outward instead of inward, which should make landing a thumb in the right spot that much easier. The lever is still finished with a grippy silicone pad that provides traction in all conditions. It’s also worth noting that the Loam Lever still has an integrated barrel adjuster for quick cable tension adjustments, and the cable bolts on at the lever end, which makes setting up and replacing cables/housing that much easier.
The Loam Lever is available with several clamp styles, including a standard 22.2mm hinge clamp, SRAM MatchMaker X, Shimano I-SPEC II, and Shimano I-SPEC EV. They charge $5 to exchange the 22.2mm clamp for any of the other options and an additional $5 for a cable and PNW-branded housing at checkout. It comes in seven colors that match their line of pedals, grips, and other components.
Thoughts While Riding
Having logged so many miles on the original Loam Lever, I noticed the new thumb pad straight away. I find it easier to reach, and paired with the third mounting hole, it’s that much simpler to dial in the position of the thumb pad in relation to my grips and brake lever. The new shape is easy to actuate with the tip of your thumb if your hand is out of position, and I’m happy to see the silicone pad make a return as well.
While I’ve only been using the new lever for a couple of weeks, it feels like the updates are worthwhile and make for a better dropper post lever. Considering how smooth my original lever still is and the conditions I’ve used it in here in the Pacific Northwest, I don’t expect the new Loam Lever to fall short. While the lever operates smoothly and without much effort, it’s not as light as the Wolf Tooth Remote Light Action dropper lever that’s currently installed on Emily’s Ibis Ripley AF. If you’re looking for the lightest possible lever feel, I think Wolf Tooth should be at the top of your list.
- Bigger thumb pad is easy to reach/hit
- More adjustment to dial in position
- Big sealed-cartridge bearing and stainless steel hardware
- Several attachment options
- Lots of colors
- Lever throw isn’t as light as the Wolf Tooth Light Action lever
- Same price as made-in-USA options
- Material: CNC’d Aluminum, Silicone Pad
- Weight: 48 grams
- Place of Manufacture: China
- Price: $69 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: PNWComponents.com
The original PNW Loam Lever was already one of the nicest dropper post levers available, so it’s exciting to see PNW back with a worthwhile update. The expanded adjustability and larger thumb pad are noticeable and practical updates help the Loam Lever maintain its position as one of my all-time-favourite dropper post levers. It’s smooth, grippy, and makes for a fantastic upgrade to any mechanically actuated dropper post.
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