Fox Racing Shox released their new Transfer dropper post this past June as a replacement to their functional but rather ugly D.O.S.S. post. Despite that post’s awkward, head mounted cable actuation and unsightly remote, it struck a home run in terms of reliability and durability, two areas where plenty of other dropper posts have fallen short. As the second go around for Fox, our hopes were high that the Transfer would be a refined, more intuitive post that retained the D.O.S.S.’s dependability. I’ve had the 150mm drop Factory series post since July, and my coworker Ryan has been running his Performance series post for the same amount of time. We figured, given the very wet fall we’ve had and cumulative time spent on our posts, a mid-term review was in order.
The Transfer is available in two varieties, the Performance and the Factory. The sole difference between the two is the Kashima coated shaft on the Factory version. The “genuine Kashima coat” is hard coating proprietary to Fox, and serves to reduce stiction and improve durability. The Performance series features a black anodized coating, very similar to what you’ll find on most other droppers out there. These are both offered in 30.9 mm and 31.6 mm seat-tube diameters, with 100mm, 125mm, and 150mm drop options. For frames that don’t have internal dropper cable routing, there is also an externally routed Transfer post with the same selection of options.
At $329 with remote, the Performance model Transfer is currently the most affordable dropper post we carry. The Factory model tacks on $50, putting it right on par with the KS Lev Integra at $379. It is also the heaviest post though; the 31.6mm diameter, 150mm drop post weighs 679g. The lightest post we carry in those dimensions, the Integra, weighs in at 608g. Is that enough to dissuade you from selecting this post over another option? Read on to make up your mind.
Some folks bash hydraulically actuated posts in favor of mechanically actuated ones, like the KS Lev Integra or the 9point8 Fall Line. With these posts, you don’t have to mess with hydraulic fluid, but you do have to cut the cable to a precise length at the post side, which must be done with the post out of the bike. Although you have some leeway for adjustment at the barrel adjuster on the remote, the initial setup needs to be pretty spot on, and can be a real pain.
With the Transfer, Fox has pleased the masses by making the post cable actuated. They have also taken a cue from the excellent (but rather expensive) Thomson Elite Covert dropper by putting the head of the cable at the post, instead of the remote. This makes dialing in your cable tension a good bit easier, since you don’t have to measure your cable to a very specific length prior to inserting the post into your frame.
Set up is a relative breeze, measuring the length of your internal cable housing being the biggest challenge. Once this is done, all you have to do is slip the cable head into its bushing on the bottom of the post, slide the other end into the housing, run it through the remote, pull it taut, and cinch it down. Fox has a simple set-up video and online manual available here. If you were to ever need to replace a snapped cable on trail, you would have no problem doing so as long as you had a spare cable and a 2mm allen on your multi tool. Ideally you’d have cable cutters, but one of the benefits of having the head of the cable at the post is that you could finish off a ride without cutting the cable, if it came down to it.
So What’s the Verdict?
The Transfer carries over many of the characteristics we’ve come to expect from a dropper. It is infinitely adjustable, it returns quickly and smoothly, and using it quickly becomes second nature. The post rises above the rest in a few areas. The smartly designed 1X remote integrates easily with any brake lever you choose to run, unlike the Reverb remote, which can be a nuisance to match to non-SRAM brakes. Its easy adjustability allows you to place the lever wherever you want; near or far from your grip. The minimal profile of the remote is easy to hit with your thumb, and the cam design makes for an exceptionally smooth lever feel. It is reminiscent of the KS Southpaw remote, but with two major advantages. First, you don’t upgrade to the Fox 1X remote as you do with the Southpaw (adding $35.00 to the cost of that post), you just buy the remote you want from the get-go. For those of you running a 2X or 3X drivetrain, there’s a remote for that, one which won’t be impeded by a front shifter. Second, it doesn’t rotate around your handlebar, as the Southpaw tends to when you press on it (especially when mounted to a carbon bar).
Actuating the 1x remote is requires very little effort, and quickly becomes second nature.
We’ve had a cold snap here in the PNW the past few weeks, and I recently found myself out for a night-ride in 23F degree weather. Although my fingers and legs stopped functioning, my Transfer post did not, returning just as quickly as it does in normal riding conditions. The same could not be said for my friend’s KS Lev Integra, which was returning at a fraction of its normal pace.
My coworker Ryan has similar things to say about his Performance model Transfer. This past October he rode the Whole Enchilada, in Moab, UT. This trail involves a 7000’ shuttle to the top, a rapid elevation change that would exacerbate any shortcomings when it comes to extreme external pressure changes. He reported none.
This consistency comes primarily from a pressure release valve that Fox designed into the post that is designed to accommodate rapid changes in pressures due to elevation and temperature change. Suffice it to say, this piece of engineering works, and works well. If you are the type of person who gets a kick out of schematics and diagrams, check out Mike Levy’s great introduction to this post over on Pinkbike, which delves into the inner design of the Transfer.
In regards to the Transfer’s internals, you may be curious about serviceability. Because the post uses a nitrogen charge in its hydraulic component, most end users won’t be able to service that specifically. The mechanical component, on the other hand, can be serviced at home if you are so inclined, or by your LBS.
Being a bike shop that sells and services hundreds of dropper posts per year, we always joke that it seems no one can build a reliable dropper. Dropper posts tend to have a higher warranty rate than other components, but such is not the case with the Transfer. In the six months this post has been around, we have had ZERO Transfers come back to us for any reason. We have sold close to 100 at the time of writing this article. This speaks to the truth of Chris Trojer from Fox’s statement that "We expect the Transfer to be an absolute hassle free seatpost with no problems at all on the hydraulic side of things – which is certainly the biggest challenge."
Is it the right post for me?
If you haven’t gathered, I like this post quite a bit, and I think it has a lot going for it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the be-all end-all post for every bike and every rider. This post is slightly longer overall than the Reverb, the Thompson, and the Integra, so shorter riders on bikes with interrupted seat tubes may run into issues. It is also not offered with drop lengths above 150mm, like the 9point8 Fall Line and Reverb are, or in the 34.9mm seatpost diameter. We would venture to guess that the folks at Fox are considering these options, and likely have something in the works. Sometimes these variables can make your decision for you. If you like the sound of the Transfer though, and it suits your needs, give us a shout and we’ll help you ascertain whether you can run this post. Because if you can, you won’t regret it.
Happy trails, Dan at Fanatik
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