Fox's brand new Transfer seat post replaces the company's long-serving D.O.S.S. that, while relatively heavy and depending on an ungainly remote, had earned the title as the king of reliability against a sea of droppers that were anything but dependable at the time. The Transfer, which takes its name from the untimed sections of an enduro race, uses nitrogen-sprung and hydraulic internals that allow for infinite seat height adjustment throughout its travel compared to the D.O.S.S.' three-position mechanical design.
The 517 gram Transfer can be had in either internal or external routing - there are specific models for each - as well as a less expensive, non-Kashima Performance model that costs $264 USD. Want that gold in your life? The Factory Transfer reviewed below retails for $314 USD. Fox sells the Transfer's $65 1X and 2X/3X remotes separately, which adds to the post's competitive price but also means that the consumer gets the remote they need without having to buy a second one after the fact. That means that the Factory post shown here would go for $379 USD with a remote, and the non-Kashima Performance model would go for $329 USD.
For comparison's sake, a Reverb Stealth has an MSRP of $471 USD ($400 for the standard version), the new Race Face Turbine costs $470, and Thomson's two options go for $449 - $479. The 9point8 Fall Line and Specialized Command Post IRCC are closer in price at $379 and $350, but the $329 Transfer Performance (with the remote) beats them all on price.
The Transfer's head is basically the same trouble-free two-bolt design that was used on the D.O.S.S.
• Intended use: maximizing the fun
• Travel: 100, 125 (tested), 150mm
• Infinitely adjustable travel
• Nitrogen spring
• 1X or 2X/3X remote options
• Internal or external-specific options
• Black anodized (Performance), Kashima (Factory)
• Diameter: 30.9, 31.6mm
• Weight: 517 grams (post only, 30.9, internal)
• Availability: now
• MSRP: $264 USD (Performance), $314 USD (Factory), $65 USD (remote)
Much like the D.O.S.S. post, Fox went with a zero-offset, one-piece head rather than bonding a separate unit to the top of the stanchion, and two opposing bolts are used to adjust fore/aft and seat angle. This is likely a touch heavier than a single-bolt setup, but it's also essentially impossible for the seat to slip or rotate, regardless of how hard the rider slams down onto it. Underneath the lower cradle is also where Fox hides the access to the Transfer's internals. There's a 400 PSI nitrogen charge in there, so you will lose at least one eye, maybe two, if you open this. ''Think of it like a rear shock - you need special tools to take it apart and training,'' said Fox's Mark Jordan of rebuilding the Transfer. ''A good shop can do it but the average consumer will probably not want to do it.''
My Transfer test seat post is designed around internal cable routing, with an actuation assembly at the bottom of the post that allows for tool-free disconnection thanks to a slotted cable stop. It's a similar looking setup, at least externally, to a lot of other dropper posts out there, with the cable end sitting in a small bushing that slots into the end of a short actuation arm.
The externally routed Transfer sees Fox locate the actuation assembly on the side of the lower tube, just below the seal head, so that a rider doesn't have to deal with a big loop of housing like they would have had Fox mounted it up at the top of the post. This housing stop can also be rotated by 60° forward or backward as required to allow for optimal cable routing.
The cable is clamped at the remote with a setscrew, and the end can be tucked up and out of the way into a small slot.What's On the Inside?
I don't think anyone out there is going to be sad to see Fox's old remote lever (which was so long because of the leverage required to activate the mechanical D.O.S.S.) be replaced with a much smaller design that's used to control the hydraulic Transfer. Fox offers two remotes, one being a slick looking 1X version that mounts in place of a front shifter. Riders who have more than one chain ring on their bike will want to use the 2X/3X remote that mounts up against their left grip and has a vertically oriented lever rather than the 1X's laterally mounted lever. Both versions cost $65 USD and neither come with the post.
Both remotes are hinged to make installation easy, and the 2X/3X remote also comes with a noodle/barrel adjuster combo that allows for some adjustment while eliminating the massive loop of housing that would otherwise be in front of your handlebar.
When the remote is depressed, the cable is pulled and the actuation arm rotates up to move the push rod that runs through the center of a hollow shaft. Attached to the end of this shaft is a piston, with the push rod opening up passages that allow oil to flow through when the post needs to move up or down in its travel. These oil passages are shut when the remote lever isn't depressed and the push rod doesn't open them, thereby locking the Transfer in place anywhere in its stroke. The basic idea is one that's employed in other dropper posts that use a hydraulic cartridge, although a closer look reveals that Fox has done a few things differently.
Instead of a simple on/off oil port system that essentially acts in the same manner as a compression lockout would inside of a fork, Fox use a two-way, two-position spool valve at the center of the Transfer's large diameter piston. A spool valve is a cylindrical piece that is used to alternately block and open oil flow paths, and Fox says that using one provides excellent durability and smoother action due to there being less friction in the system, which in turn means that there's less force required at the lever.
The spool valve is spring-backed, so it returns to a closed position when the push rod is released, and its design, along with the cable-pull ratio, means that a rider should be able to easily control the post's compression and return speed at the remote. The Transfer's shaft, with the piston at the far right. The spring-backed spool valve that sits inside of the piston. When the spool valve is closed, oil is blocked from moving through the flow ports. When the spool valve is moved up, the ports are opened and oil can flow in either direction.
Interestingly, Fox has also incorporated a pressure relief valve that is said to be able to compensate for oil pressure build-up that can be caused by thermal expansion from activating the post a lot or extreme changes in elevation. Have you ever noticed how your hydraulic seat post sometimes feels firmer to compress or comes back up quicker than usual? That's exactly what the Transfer's pressure relief valve is supposed to remedy, with Fox claiming that it provides more consistent action.
The small, spring-loaded valve (shown at right) sits atop the piston, and when the pressure above overcomes the spring rate pressure, it opens to allow oil to flow through a tiny port in the spool valve, thereby balancing the system and returning everything to normal.
Without a shifter on the left side of my handlebar, I bolted on the 1X remote that uses a laterally-mounted paddle rather than the even smaller 2X/3X remote and its vertical paddle. The remote's action is quite smooth, with a medium amount of force required to control the post, about similar to other designs out there, although this can be greatly affected by cable routing. The thumb paddle is comfortable and doesn't have any alarming edges that might open up your skin, and the slim clamp makes it easy to get the best side-to-side position. However, I did find that it sits a bit too far out from the handlebar, meaning that I had to unwrap my thumb from the grip a bit more than I'd like, similar to a Reverb button. Rotating the remote to sit farther under the bar would make all the difference, but it was already right up against the underside of my brake lever perch.
Required lever throw is minimal, which is quite nice because it feels like merely breathing on the remote will get your seat out of the way. And when you do need it to drop, it happens regardless of if you have all of your weight on the seat before pushing the lever, which isn't something that some mechanical dropper posts can say. Drop speed is quite fast as well, and it never felt like I was fighting to get it down through the last inch or so of travel as the nitrogen-spring ramped up.
The post's easy action meant that whenever I rolled up to the edge of something sketchy I could make the seat disappear with zero delays.
It was also easy to tickle the remote just enough to have the seat lower slowly and stop exactly where I needed it to be, a good tactic for a steep, technical climb that looks like it might cause some issues. There are only a few things more embarrassing than crashing on a climb, right? I never really got the hang of teasing the post up in the opposite direction, though, especially in the heat of the moment, and I ended up using my ass to control how high it rebounded when I wasn't looking for full leg extension quite yet.
If you've used the old D.O.S.S. seat post, you probably felt your plums retreat up into your body when you first realized the speed that it returned at and the clang it made at top-out. This was never really an issue, though, and the lightning-quick rebound is a real blessing in the heat of the moment on technical trails. The Transfer rebounds nowhere near as fast as its predecessor, but it does still return quickly, slower than a D.O.S.S. or Command Post but quicker than a Reverb or KS LEV, with an easily audible 'tunk
' when it reaches full height. You won't ever be left guessing with the Transfer.
I'm not going to pretend that I can comment on the Transfer's long-term reliability - I've only put about thirty rides on it due to time constraints - but it has been flawless since I installed it. Not only did I not have to make any tension adjustments after first attaching the cable, but I still have yet to turn the barrel adjuster. This hopefully means that the new Fox post isn't as sensitive to cable tension as a KS LEV Integra can be. As for the pressure relief valve and if it actually makes a difference, the speed at which the seat comes back up has never once felt any quicker or slower than when I first installed it. I have had most other seat posts rebound a bit slower or faster than they normally would on the rare occasion, but I'd also say that it has never actually been an issue. Either way, it doesn't sound like that can happen with the Transfer. Pinkbike’s Take:
|With the discontinuation of the ultra-reliable D.O.S.S., and the fact that other companies are now producing some pretty good options, Fox's Transfer dropper post needs to be a home run. While my time on it has been limited, it seems as though Fox has managed to hit this one out of the park. If it were me, I'd probably save myself a bit of coin and buy the blacked-out Performance model for $329 USD that's identical mechanically and weighs the same as the more expensive Factory Transfer, but doesn't receive the Kashima treatment. Reliability is the only question mark, but it does look promising - I'll have a much longer-term review down the road to answer this. - Mike Levy|
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