aeffect
Teardown | First Rides

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post Teardown

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Dec 15, 2017

Assumptions

I strutted into Bikeroom and slid a quad pack of tall cans across the work bench to Jeff. Might as well crack one and shoot the sh*t for a bit because this is going to be a quick job. Pretty much every good and cheap dropper post on the market houses a Wintek cartridge and we're old hat at ripping the bodies down to show actuators and non-serviceable cartridges. It's not even a one beer job. 

There was no reason to think the 220 USD 150mm travel Race Face Aeffect dropper would be any different. 


Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Whether it be a shock or dropper post it's always a good idea to remove the valve core before working on any pressurized systems. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

All laid out. The very simple version of this story is that the 150mm Race Face Aeffect dropper is a cable actuated Reverb for 220 USD. 

I would love to have a photo of our facial expressions when Jeff cracked the post internals open and oil started pouring out. As it turns out there was no Wintek cartridge inside. Oh f*ck. It's always nice to know a product is fully serviceable and with only a couple of rides on the post there was no question that the Aeffect had to go back together perfectly. If not it would have meant never hearing the end of it from the folks at Race Face. 


We consider it an embarrassment to be defeated by bits of metal, plastic and rubber" - Borrowing a proper mechanic's philosophy from Ed @ Mighty Riders.

There is zip, zero, zilch on the interwebs about servicing these posts and it speaks to Jeff's experience that exploring the Aeffect's innards was a nearly seamless process. If you're not entirely confident this is not a service you want to tackle at home. Any shops that screw it up can e-mail Jeff for his 'consulting mechanic' fee schedule. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Aluminum shaft clamps are highly, highly recommended for this job. I'd say mandatory but I don't want anyone to pull out their Vice Grips and try to prove me wrong. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Changed your hex keys lately? They aren't meant to last forever! If the fit is sloppy then freshen them up before screwing your bike or worse yet someone else's. 

Methodology

Measure thrice is the whole game when taking something apart for the first time sans instructions and without any spare parts. Jeff always lays out all the parts in the order of operation for the teardown so that there is no question of what goes where during reassembly. 

Luckily with the Aeffect, the internal floating piston (IFP) dictates the oil height but normally best practice is to pour everything into a graduated receptacle when an oil volume specification isn't available. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

The post shipped with much less than the 230-250psi recommended. That's a good thing to check from new. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Bike repair is 95% hex keys and 5% the tool you probably don't have at home. Circlip pliers at work. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Jeff measuring IFP depth so he can set the height after refilling the Race Face dropper with oil. 

Teardown

Taking the Aeffect dropper post apart wasn't entirely intuitive but overall the process is straight forward and the parts themselves appear to be very well made, especially considering the price. Tools required include a bench vise, aluminum axle clamps, hex keys, zip ties, 5w synthetic oil, Slickoleum, a shock pump, a valve tool and patience. A lot of experience rebuilding Reverbs is an asset. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Pulling the cable depresses the actuator which is actually a long rod (tip of the iceberg shown) that unlocks oil flow internally so the post can telescope. 

Cleaning and lubing the Aeffect dropper's main seal, where the exposed post shaft telescopes into the abyss of the seat tube, is a very easy job. It's easily unwound by hand or with a bit of assistance from a strap wrench as necessary. It was well lubed and sliding smoothly right out of the box with no break-in period. The actuator itself is held on by a hex bolt and once that's removed it's easy to separate the body from the internals. At this point a basic re-lube of bushings, keyways and the main seal is an easy job. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

The basic service just involves unthreading the main seal cap and a couple hex screws on the actuator. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Once the hydraulic unit has been opened a full teardown is necessary in order to make certain there is no air backing the IFP.

The full service is more complicated. Once the hydraulic dropper system has been opened it's necessary to tear it down so it can be refilled with oil before the IFP is re-installed. 

For an added challenge we had to be sure not to damage any of the seals. Race Face used quality quad-seals throughout the post but they are not easily sourced individually and based on my assumption of a non-rebuildable cartridge I hadn't thought to ask for a rebuild kit. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Reverb tricks for IFP removal. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Insert a bunch of Zip Ties so the heads are all behind the IFP. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

And... PULL!!!

Having seen Jeff figure this out I'm comfortable saying that any decent mechanic with a solid familiarity of the SRAM Reverb could likely work their way through an Aeffect rebuild. Jeff says that now that he's done it once a future rebuild would be a one beer job. I'm not doubting him but let's assume that beer is a tall can of something heavy and that he's not thirsty. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

The Delrin IFP has a quad seal to keep air out of the oil. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Nice parts for the price, like this seal head. 

The cable routing is unfortunately oriented so the cable head is at the remote and it's tightened at the post. This is a silly choice to me since install is cleaner when the post doesn't have to be removed to tighten down the cable. A remote swap - bolting the cable at both ends - would easily resolve this concern.

Even with Aeffect remote, now that I've done a handful of similar installations with the X-Fusion Manic the installation job takes less than five minutes. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

Motul Factory Line 5w is a great choice for this application. Easily acquired through your local motorcycle shop. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

All smiles once we're certain this beauty is going back together! The post was well lubed out of the box but feels a bit smoother after the service. 

First Rides

Right out of the box the Aeffect needed to have the air pressure topped up. This is easily accomplished by popping out a rubber seal under the seat clamp to access the Schrader valve. I set the air pressure to 230 psi.

Initial performance of the post is faultless. It goes down, it comes up and it even stops at any point in between if that matters to you. The two bolt saddle clamp is simple and it works great. The Aeffect dropper is fast enough without any genital risks and ergonomics of the under bar option are excellent. What else should I expect a dropper post to do? I'll also be testing the post with a Wolf Tooth remote for comparison. 

Race Face Aeffect Dropper Post

The 40 USD Aeffect remote is cheap looking but it's very ergonomic and performance is faultless. 

Beating on the post for the remainder of this Winter and the Spring will give me more data but at this point the post definitely joins the Wintek-equipped X-Fusion Manic in the 'why pay more' category of dropper posts. 

Race Face does an impressive job hitting the 220 USD SRP of the 150mm Aeffect dropper and the 125mm version is 40 USD cheaper for anyone who prefers shorter travel. That isn't an online or 'bro' price either but rather what I'd expect to fork out to my local-tax-paying bike shop. 

For more information on the Race Face Aeffect 150mm dropper post, available in 30.9 and 31.6 diameters, please click here


Comments

Mrutter
0
Mrutter  - Dec. 15, 2017, 6:53 a.m.

Thanks Andrew and Jeff. Your article is very informative! Plus "the tall cans of something heavy" adds a little humour outside of what most how to's offer.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2017, 8:57 a.m.

Thanks! We really appreciate folks reading/enjoying these teardowns. Jeff and I love doing them.

We have a couple of (I think) really cool ones in the pipe.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Dec. 15, 2017, 8:14 a.m.

Again, great break-down on this process. This is the type of thing I'm always wondering to myself when considering dropper posts. I find the reverb just crosses  the pay-someone-else-to-do-it line, as I've rebuilt mine twice, but it's a pain (especially without a full designated shop area). I probably wouldn't buy the Aeffect for this reason.

I can't freaking wait to get my hands on a couple of Manic 150's though (waiting for SW to finally receive their stock). Looking forward to the combination of decent price, good quality AND easy serviceability, as I've only had a reverb and Hilo 27.2... Both lacking for various reasons.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2017, 9:02 a.m.

Thanks! The Manic has been really reliable and the people I know on them (all 125mm models) have had the same results.

The support from SuspensionWerx and cheap-and-easy swaps between 30.9/31.6 are certainly also major positives.

Reply

mammal
0
Mammal  - Dec. 16, 2017, 10:12 a.m.

What are these cheap/easy swaps between 30.9/31.6 that you speak of? I don't think I'd ever need to take advantage of this, but I'm interested.

Do you mean that the upper assembly and internals are the same, and the lower sleeve can be replaced at a reasonable price?

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Dec. 16, 2017, 11:35 a.m.

Yes, just the outer tube itself is different. Quick and easy job to swap over with a basic re-lube.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
0
Niels  - Dec. 15, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

Nice! Very curious how it will hold up long term. The Aeffect looks suspiciously similar to the "Iridium" branded dropper on my Canyon, and also to several identical but differently branded budget droppers (Brand-X, TranzX). I wonder if it's an off-the-shelf item from Taiwan? The one on my Canyon has performed flawlessly so far.

BTW do you know the total length (incl cable actuator) of the 150 mm version? Just wondering if it would fit in my large Reign.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Niels
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2017, 8:54 a.m.

Hi Niels,

I’ll endeavour to take a real life measurement for you later today.

Haven’t opened the other posts you’ve mentioned so won’t speculate.

Race Face is selling a fair number of these posts OE.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Niels
Andrew Major  - Dec. 16, 2017, 3:22 p.m.

Hi Neils, I measure max insertion at 250mm. That’s from the base of the cable actuator to bottom-out point where the post main seal head contacts my frame. 

My Stealth routing exits below that but on some frames the cable exit may make the max number longer depending on what the cable has to do to escape. I know if multiple cases of people drilling lower Stealth exit holes in Stealth compatible frames for this reason.

The minimum extension (post bottomed in frame / seal head to center of saddle rails is ~210mm. That’s of course with the post up all the way.

Overall height from bottom of actuator to center of seat rails is ~460mm.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
+1 Andrew Major
Niels  - Dec. 16, 2017, 4:53 p.m.

Thanks Andrew, much appreciated! Looks like it may actually fit.

Reply

dumpster_bear
+1 Andrew Major
Kelly Barnes  - Dec. 15, 2017, 9:22 a.m.

Ed's quote and use of the term "old hat".

Love it.

Reply

Jenkins5
0
Jenkins5  - Dec. 15, 2017, 10:43 a.m.

Post is decent for sure, but it's the same as the Tranz-X, Brand-X ,or PNW Bachelor. All off the shelf, rebranded posts...

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2017, 3 p.m.

How do you know this for certain?

As I said above, I haven't opened those other posts - and I can't find photos of them ripped down - so I can't confirm what you're saying. There are a lot of bicycle products that are the "same" but really aren't. If they are all the same that's great - I'm just trying to clarify why I wouldn't want anyone to infer from this teardown/ review process that because my experience with the Aeffect was 'X' that the same conclusions can be applied to any other post on the market. 

For example the Brand-X Ascend XL and Aeffect 150mm posts appear identical but for the graphics but it would be very, very easy to use the same external housing with a Wintek cartridge. An example of this is the Shimano/Pro Koryak post which uses a very similar body (different post head) and the same cable actuator at the bottom of the post but the "gas/hydraulic unit that drives the post is a one-piece replaceable cartridge".

If these posts are all using the same Reverb-esque design there are also any number of cost saving choices from the quality of quad-rings/seals, to the raw materials used (aluminum, oil) or even the experience level of the assembly team employed could result in two posts of the same basic design providing very different experiences to their customers. These are all upgrades that are available from most factories.

.

Hubs is a great example where I will see multiple rear hubs with various branding that are obviously from the same manufacturer, may even be from the same assembly line and they all even use the same driver design.

But, I wouldn't call them the same hubs because the quality of the bearings, for example, ranges extensively. Or one hub has cut costs by having a single bearing and a spacer rather than a pair of bearings supporting the axle at the freehub/hubshell interface. Or the identical looking aluminum freehub body on one holds up well and the other is obviously actually made of tin.

Reply

Jenkins5
+1 Niels
Jenkins5  - Dec. 15, 2017, 5:34 p.m.

I’ve opened up the Aeffect, Tranz-X and a PNW and they are all identical.  But for sure don’t take my word for it. Investigate yourself. It looks like many oE’s use this post and privately label it. Heard the post is decent though, just making an observation that you can get a good post at a few different price points under a few different names.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 15, 2017, 5:58 p.m.

Happy to take your word for it. I just like to be sure it’s first hand information since there’s a lot of false info flying around.

Thank you for following up!

Thus far I’d say it’s really good - only concern is how long it runs before it needs a service.

Reply

trumpstinyhands
0
trumpstinyhands  - Dec. 15, 2017, 10:41 p.m.

Now if only Raceface would supply rebuild kits for their posts [cough]Turbine[/cough].

Reply

hankthespacecowboy
0
hankthespacecowboy  - Dec. 16, 2017, 7:37 a.m.

What is the source for the nifty color-coded hex keys?

Reply

levon-jensen
+1 Andrew Major
levon jensen  - Dec. 17, 2017, 7:53 p.m.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 17, 2017, 11:43 p.m.

Yes, Wera is the brand. Pretty sure it's a crime to look at the them in the lusty, objectifying, way that Jeff does before using them. I awkwardly look around for the best way to leave the shop without interfering with their relationship.

Reply

skooks
+2 Cam McRae Andrew Major
Skooks  - Dec. 17, 2017, 5:33 p.m.

Keeping your hex-keys fresh is excellent advice. I touch mine up on a bench grinder once they start getting a bit rounded and sloppy.  Keeps them going much longer.

Reply

ThomasE
0
ThomasE  - Dec. 20, 2017, 8:32 a.m.

Can anybody tell me whe the brand of the nice looking Aluminum shaft clamp?

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Dec. 20, 2017, 9:02 a.m.

It is a Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI) SCS.

Reply

tdweeksomaha
0
DoWorkChopper .  - March 9, 2018, 6:23 a.m.

Would this dropper be compatible with a KS southpaw remote or crank bros remote? Does it use a shifter cable that runs through the remote to the post? Might have to try one out at $186 for 150mm.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 DoWorkChopper .
Andrew Major  - March 9, 2018, 7:45 a.m.

Definitely either. I quite like it with the CB remote.

The cable head is oriented at the remote but that doesn’t stop you from orienting it the other way and it’s much cleaner to set up with the cable terminating at the remote.

I’m currently running the post with an e13 remote which is my favourite (exact lever feel to an SRAM shifter).

Reply

tdweeksomaha
0
DoWorkChopper .  - March 9, 2018, 9:21 a.m.

Right on man. Appreciate it. I'm gonna have to give it a go.

Reply

Smilzo
0
Smilzo  - March 9, 2018, 11:52 p.m.

Hi Andrew,very interesting article.

It looks to me that the internals are very similar to KS. Do you think is possible that the cartridge has been desiged by the Taiwanese company and licensed to RaceFace? Second: do you prefer full serviceable products or assembled with Wintec sealed ? Also if you cannot personalise the air pressure?

thx

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 11, 2018, 9:33 p.m.

Hi Smilzo,

The Aeffect is a branded product that some other companies also sell. A couple of commenters have listed posts that are the same.

I think the Crankbrothers Highline is an awesome post - although some riders find it returns too slowly. Teardowns are so fast and easy and reliability is excellent. The way the cartridge is activated along with the lower charge and better seals makes it, I think, the best Wintec post.

I've also had very good experiences with the X-Fusion Manic. It's a great value but not as straightforward to rebuild as the Highline and the actuator isn't as impressive. Really can't go wrong. 

Neither of the posts has adjustable return rates. 

For a totally different product option, the e13 TRS dropper post is a coil-and-collet system that I've also had a great experience with. It is easy but time-consuming to fully rebuild but with the updated SKF seal and the mechanical internals that's not a regular job. 

.

If you prefer the adjustable return speed and a 150mm dropper the Aeffect is proving to be excellent in terms of performance and value. 

Hope that helps!

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