It's now pretty much mandatory for any trail or enduro bike to come with a dropper post. Despite their ubiquity, nearly every brand has had issues with reliability. Can Fox's replacement for the DOSS dropper finally crack the dependability nut?
The Fox Transfer RRPs at £319, which sounds pretty competitive, until you realise it doesn't come with the remote..... which RRPs at £69. £388 makes it one of the most expensive droppers on the market. We would recommend skipping the Fox lever and going for a cheaper alternative. The Bontrager remote comes in at a bargain £17.49, and is every bit as good as the Fox version, but more on that later.
For an extra £50 you can get the Kashima coated stanchion. The gold coating apparently increases smoothness, but the black coating is more than smooth enough, so we'd say the Kashima is a waste of money. Spend the £50 on an uplift day or some beer, it'll be more memorable.
The test period was around 18 months, with roughly 3000 miles covered. The version reviewed is the 150mm 31.6mm.
The Transfer is cable actuated, rather than hydraulically like the Reverb. This means there is no need to bleed the dropper once installed, all the needs doing is running the cable through the frame, insert a gear cable into the cable outer and attach to the dropper and remote. Depending on how your frame handles internal routing, this may be simple of very fiddly, but we found installation simple, only taking a few minutes on our test bike.
The Fox doesn't need a hard push on the lever, and tops out with an audible thunk. We found this handy for letting us know when we were safe to sit down.
Ultimately, a dropper posts goal in life is very straight forward, go down when the lever is pressed and weighted by the rider and stay down until the lever is pressed again. Some posts are smoother than others, but really, the only differentiator between brands is 'does it still work after a year'. We haven't really ever used a dropper of any price which we didn't like the performance of.
We had a couple of small issues with the Transfer. The first was after only a few months, we noticed that the bottom cable guide mounts had snapped off in the frame.
The post was sent off to Mojo for warranty and quickly returned with a note on the paperwork stating "2017 bottom cap fitted" suggesting it was a known design flaw on the 2016 model. Looking at the new bottom cap, the mount is much more substantial and we've had no issues since. Looking out for the thicker mount is something to be aware of if you are buying second hand, but it's assumed all new posts now come with this version.
The second issue is there has developed a noticeable amount of side to side play. This is pretty common on all the droppers we've used except for the Thomson, however the Transfer does seem to have a little more than we've seen on rival posts.
The remote lever uses a 0.00001mm allen screw to ensure the cable stays in place, when we went to change the cable we noticed that we couldn't undo the screw. It wasn't rounded off, but just seemed to spin in place, possibly cross threaded. Rather than try and fix it we replaced it the Bontrager as mentioned above. Further argument that all bolts on a mountain bike should be 5mm.
Finally,we also noticed after around a year that there were a couple of small marks on the rear of the post stanchion at the very top. These could be felt with a finger, and visibly some of the black coating had worn away. This didn't seem to affect performance, no air was lost from the post but we couldn't work out a reason for it.
The Fox Transfer is not the cheapest dropper on the market by a long shot, with plenty of other rivals coming in well under £300. Despite the small issues, the post still works as well as it did on day 1, staying very smooth and precise. It's not needed any adjusting at all during that time either. If you avoid the overpriced lever with the silly screw, then there's no reason to swerve the Fox, but with posts such as the Brand X and Xfusion Manic coming in under £200, the competition is heating up in he dropper market.