by Fred Robinson
FOX is back in the dropper game with their new Transfer seatpost. Designed from the ground up, the Transfer features an infinitely adjustable system, Kashima coating (Factory model only) and two new levers which do away with the dual-paddle triggers found on the D.O.S.S. dropper. Available in both external and internal cable routing, FOX employed some new key features into the design of the post.
Both the external- and internal-routed posts utilize what FOX calls the Spool Valve, which allows for modulation when extending the Transfer. This makes small, precise height adjustments possible as the return speed is regulated by how far you actuate the lever. FOX has also housed all the hydraulic internals in the upper post, claiming a lighter overall package and larger diameter hydraulic system when compared to posts that utilize a cartridge design.
What’s the benefit of larger diameter systems? FOX says the system translates to lower internal pressures, which provide better durability as well as requires lighter actuation forces at the lever to activate the post. To eliminate pressure spikes, as well as allow for automatic adjustment for thermal expansion within the system, FOX uses a pressure relief valve which automatically relieves large pressure variances across the piston. So how does all the tech translate to the trail? We put the new FOX Transfer to the test to find out.
FOX Transfer Features
- Low lever force provides consistent actuation pressure even with saddle weighted or unweighted
- Two remote options: Left side below bar (for 1x) or Left/Right on bar (for 2x/3x)
- Cable-actuated with tool-free quick disconnect for easier installation and removal
- 30.9 and 31.6 diameter options
- Drop options: 4in (100mm), 5in (125mm), 6in (150mm)
- Factory Series models feature Genuine Kashima Coat upper post
- Performance Series models feature black anodized upper post
- Weights: Factory 31.6 125mm Internal post only – 544g // Factory 30.9 125mm External post only – 533g
- Factory post only MSRP – $314 USD
- Performance post only MSRP - $264
- Remote only MSRP (1x or 2x/3x) - $65
FOX sent us the new Factory Series Transfer post in the 150mm internal routing configuration. Right out of the box, the action on the new post felt pretty dang smooth. Being that our frame is setup for internal routing, installation is a bit involved, though pretty straight forward. The cable attaches to the bottom of the post using a small cable bushing which houses the cable end. After you figure out how much housing you’ll need, attaching the cable via the bushing is a painless process. From there, all you have to do is run the cable through the housing and trigger, clamping the cable with a 2mm allen and snipping the excess. Take care not to exceed the recommended 11in-lbs (1.2Nm) with this bolt, as it is tiny and likely prone to stripping if you get hammy on it. A bonus feature of the way FOX designed the cable to attach to the post is you don't need any tools to remove and reattach the cable once you get it setup. This means removal of the post and re-installation is a breeze should you ever need to remove the post.
Since our bike utilizes a 1x drivetrain, we used FOX’s left / under trigger which offered the cleanest look in our opinion. After dialing in the proper height, we did notice that despite FOX’s recommended torque setting of between 5.1 and 7.3Nm for the post clamp, if we torqued the post down any tighter than 5Nm, the post developed a distinct notch in its travel which was difficult to push through. Backing the torque off to exactly 5Nm, that notch went away. After the first ride, though, and a little break-in presumably, we were able to properly torque the seat post clamp down to the range FOX recommends without that binding feel.
For a detailed setup and installation guide, here’s FOX’s step-by-step guide. After using the barrel adjuster on the trigger to get rid of any cable slack, it was time to hit the trails.
On The Trail
What’s the first thing everyone does when they’re checking out a new dropper? The wiggle test, the yank test, and the unweighted extend test of course, and that’s exactly what we did. For the wiggle test, we did notice a little bit of side-to-side rotation in the post and oddly, there is more “wiggle” when the post is completely compressed. When the post is completely extended, the amount of wiggle is reduced by quite a bit, and in both compressed and extended positions, there really isn’t much rotation to begin with; we’d say it’s on par with a Reverb.
The Transfer passed the yank test with flying colors, and it doesn’t extend at when you pick the bike up by the saddle. For the unweighted extend test, what stood out to us was how easy the return speed of the post is controllable via modulating the lever. Barely push the lever and the post will slowly creep up. Fully mash the lever, using its entire throw, and the post will extend at full-clip.
With the Transfer fully extended and weighted, the saddle feels firmly in place and as solid as a traditional seatpost. The slight amount of rotation we mentioned in the previous paragraph goes completely unnoticed on the trail. The lever action of the Transfer doesn’t require a lot of force to actuate and is easy to modulate in regards to how fast or slow we desired the post to move. Where this feature is most handy is over varying terrain where an intermediate seatpost height is desirable. Having the post move up slowly into whatever position we wanted made finding the sweet-spot a bit easier than if the post was extended at full-speed; a nod to FOX's D.O.S.S. 3-position setup in an unrestricted package.
The trigger is keyed into the clamp, so adjusting the angle of the trigger isn’t possible. Regardless, we found the trigger position natural and comfortable. Unlike the old D.O.S.S lever, the Transfer lever is easy to actuate and doesn’t hurt your thumb, even if you’re not wearing gloves.
Things That Could Be Improved
While the return speed isn’t adjustable, being able to modulate it is quite useful. One thing we did notice is that if we let the Transfer post return to its fully extended position at max-speed, there is an audible top-out clunk. We don’t think the return speed is too fast, by any means, we just wish there was some kind of top-out bumper to prevent this from occurring. Beyond that, we’ve yet to find any flaws with the post.
Long Term Durability
We’ve only been on the FOX Transfer post for roughly four weeks, and have only used it in dusty and dry conditions. With that said, we’re can’t comment beyond saying that so far, we’ve experienced no durability issues with the post. We’ll continue to ride the Transfer and update you should any issues arise.
What’s The Bottom Line?
FOX has done a great job with the new Transfer post. Ditching the 3-position functionality of the D.O.S.S. post was a good move in our opinion and having an easy-to-control post, in terms of return speed, as well as infinite adjustability really allows users to utilize the post for a variety of terrain. At $379 retail for the Factory post and remote, and $329 for the Performance post and remote, the Transfer is competitively priced when compared to other high-end droppers, coming in at substantially less than a few of the market leaders. All things considered, the new FOX Transfer is tough to beat in terms of value, functionality, and looks (who doesn’t like gold?) and we expect it to give the competition a run for their money.
For more information, visit ridefox.com
About The Reviewer
Fred Robinson, a.k.a. "Derf," has been on two wheels since he was two years old. He picked up a mountain bike in 2004 and started racing downhill in 2006. He has seen moderate success racing CAT 1 but focuses his efforts on building, maintaining and riding his local trails. He's deceptively quick for a bigger guy and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. As a SoCal native he mostly rides trails covered with loose, traction-less turns and sharp, immovable rocks. Besides downhill, he rides trail bikes, road, and also enjoys the occasional dirt jump session.