In the world of mountain bikes for a 6-year old, things are improving. High-end machines that allow little ones to keep up on the climbs and absolutely rip the descents are becoming the standard for families across the communities that share our wonderful passion.
In the past few years, I have learned to use my dropper post more frequently than I shift my gears. It has absolutely changed the way I ride and allowed me to progress my skills, all while still maintaining the ability to sit up high and pedal out the cross-country trails that lead to the amazing descents that I cherish.
I want this for my son too! I decided to do some research and find him a dropper post so he can get up for the ups and go down for the downs.
After scouring the internet for a good week, I found the PNW Pine Dropper. PNW’s reputation for great customer service, affordability, and quality goods led me to buy one of their posts.
Review in a Nutshell
- One of the only 27.2mm droppers out there
- Lever is easy for small hands to operate
- Exceptional customer service
- Limited maintenance needed, works in cold weather
- Affordable compared to other dropper posts
- Coil not air-sprung
- Kids under 75 lbs are too light to drop it
Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:
Fits 27.2mm Seat Tube and Works for External Routing
The bike that we wanted a dropper for is the Trailcraft BlueSky 20. The specifications of seat post diameter (27.2mm) and external routing set a limit as to what droppers I could find that would fit the frame. The PNW Pine met the bikes needs by offering a design incorporating both of those specifications.
Once ordered, the post showed up within a couple days. I immediately installed the post on my son’s bike and worked out the cable routing so it looks clean and isn’t in the way of his movement.
One Issue: Kids Under 75 Pounds Can’t Drop The Post
With the first test we realized that my son couldn’t push the seat into the descending position. I had looked for an air valve to reduce the air pressure but did not see one. I then contacted PNW’s customer service department. I verified with one of their rep’s that that there was an air valve below the seat clamp and I should reduce the pressure in 30 psi increments until it functions properly. The air valve uses a shock pump adapter to internally thread into the valve, so I ordered an adapter, but that was the least of my worries.
Within days I had someone from PNW contact me to inform me that the Pine dropper has a spring in it and that it is not air sprung. He apologized for the error and asked if there was some way they could make it up to me. I never even considered this in my research. I was unaware that droppers came with a standard spring. I thought all new designs were air sprung. Shame on me.
PNW was very nice to me though. They gave me a refund and let me keep the dropper post for when it will work. That is stellar customer service. (I plan on upgrading one of my droppers and am definitely trying out a PNW for myself too).
Even Then, The PNW Pine Still Makes Putting the Seat Up and Down Much Easier
The PNW Pine is still mounted on my little guy’s bike. It works great! We just have to stop so I can push it down for him once we reach a descent. He has quickly grasped the idea of riding high on the seat for climbing and it has improved his solo climbing ability. He’s easily able to operate the lever and raise the seat on his own.
Once he reaches 75 pounds he should be able to move it downward on his own, but that won’t be for some time. The post is versatile in that we can move it over to his next few bikes since the required specifications for those size of frames is standard.
In the end, we got lucky. PNW has amazing customer service. The quality and design of their posts are well thought out and perform amazingly. My little guy might not be going up and down on his more frequently than shifting, but he will be.
Because of the standard spring the post is durable enough to function in cold weather and won’t have movement issues like other posts. (We are talking about you Rockshox).
I very much prefer their design of the cable interfacing with the post and lever. The primary function is smooth and seamless. The post looks great and rides without unwarranted movement. Now to just feed the kid enough so he can really use it!
If you have found another dropper post that will fit kid frames and fully function without an adult present, please let us know.
6 thoughts on “Review: PNW Pine 27.2 Dropper Post on a Kids Bike”
Oh man, I just installed the Pine and my son has the same problem. I wish I’d seen your post earlier…. Extrapolating his weight he won’t be able to use this dropper before 10 YO! and he just turned 7. I guess it will be of use at the bike park but not for trail riding in general.
Thanks for your write-up! I hope it’ll either bring changes to kid’s bike compatible posts, or at least help other families not make the mistake in ordering one.
Did you find a 27.2mm external dropper that will work with lighter kids. Ive been looking into it for my 6.5 yr old twins, they would benefit from a dropper more than most adults, they only weight 20kg, around 45lbs. I saw one post that suggested the KS Lev 27.2 external dropper might be an option?
Let me know where your research got you, did anybody at PNW suggest a lighter spring could be used/sourced to get the pine working for lighter kids, could be a really niche product for them?
I’m afraid we haven’t come up with a better solution for a 27.2mm external dropper. We’re still using the Pine dropper. At 8 my son can now get it down on his own (60 lbs). Agreed it could be a niche product–hopefully one of the manufacturers will pay attention.
As always, another great review. I bought a Woom Off Air for my year 6 old after reading your review. He has progressed so much since riding this bike. Now I want to get him this dropper post, but I was wonder what lever you decided to use. Thanks and keep up the good work. I’m sure there are so many parents like myself that appreciate what you do!
The lever we got isn’t made anymore. It was just a generic vertical push lever. The Loam lever looks pretty nice though; if you get it, let us know what you think!
Has anyone experimented with using another spring rigged up between the top tube and the seat rails to reduce the amount of weight required, a bit fiddly but could be made to work.