When it comes to cross country mountain bike racing, weight makes all the difference, whether it’s on your belly or on your bike. We’ll leave it to you to answer which one is easier to cut. For a long time, this is why professional XC racers were resistant to dropper posts. There is just no way to make a dropper post, with two tubes, a suspension device or cartridge, a trigger, and cable and housing as lightweight as a rigid carbon tube.
But there’s also no way you can expect a fixed tube to be nearly as comfortable on the descents as a dropper post. The Fox Transfer SL dropper post, updated this year, is there for the racers or riders who want the lightest and fastest post available, with a smaller weight penalty.
About the Fox Transfer SL dropper post
The Fox Transfer SL is 25% lighter than the regular Fox Transfer dropper post, saving almost 170g, according to Fox. This year Fox added additional travel options, up to 150mm, compared to the previous version which maxed out at 100mm.
Now, Fox Transfer SL posts are available in these specs:
- 27.2mm x 50mm, 70mm
- 30.9mm x 75mm, 100mm
- 31.6mm x 75mm, 100mm, 125mm, 150mm
- Factory Kashima or Performance Elite
The dropper has a “window” at the bottom of the post to get the cable nice and snug and the post uses a coil spring for “consistent return performance.” The Transfer SL is available in a Factory Kashima with the familiar gold coating, but opting for the black Performance Elite finish will save you $70.
The post is also geared toward gravel bikers thanks to the 27.2mm diameter size and shorter travel options, and buyers can purchase either a drop bar or flat bar lever separately.
On the trail
I tested the 31.6mm diameter with 150mm of drop on my trail bike. The SL rings in at 437.9g on my scale for the post alone, less than one gram off of Fox’s claimed weight.
The Transfer SL was as quick an install as any other post and I was ready to ride after about a half-hour job.
This really is a much different post in terms of operation than most other droppers. First, the most notable aspect of the dropper post is how light, fast, and smooth the actuation is. It is definitely one of the most seamless-feeling posts I have tried. A small trigger force opens the post and allows it to start sliding with less effort than most posts out there.
Second, there is the sensation when it locks into the down position. The Transfer SL is a two-position post so it is either fully extended or fully compressed. When you take it from the former to the latter, it feels like it sucks itself into a locking position.
This post isn’t going to be for everyone. On technical, rocky climbs I like being able to drop my post just an inch or two sometimes so it’s there if I need to plant my butt for more traction. That isn’t an option with the Transfer SL, and you’ll need to get used to it being completely absent if you need it more down than up.
The post action makes for a great feel in XC moments when you need your post to come back up or go back down quickly and it is reliably fast. I haven’t experienced snags of any kind with the Fox Transfer SL.
Fox’s Transfer Post Lever is still a great option. The ergonomics are nice and the lever has machined grooves for traction. It hasn’t let me down yet.
Pros and cons of the Fox Transfer SL dropper post
- Fast, smooth action
- Lightweight dropper post
- Easy install
- Ready for drop bars
- 30.9mm diameter is available only up to 100mm of travel
- Two position post isn’t for everyone
The Fox Transfer SL is an excellent choice for cross-country riders who want a dropper post with a smaller weight penalty and now want more drop. It’s still a decidedly XC dropper post, but it does what it does well.
- Price: $329-$399
- Buy from JensonUSA.