The Xfusion Manic dropper post has been out for a while now, but unfiltered and unbiased reviews still aren’t really out there. I’ll be honest- I have never owned a high end dropper like the Rockshox Reverb or the Thompson Elite. I’ve demoed a KS Lev and Giant’s branded dropper, but most of my experience has been with budget posts like the RSP plummet and the KS eTen. I purchased the Manic after reading about it in Mountain Bike Action and was excited to get some higher end features at the sub $200 price point.
First of all, I have to say that availability has been an issue. I originally ordered the post from a popular website that I will not name. Let’s call them “KensonUSA.com”. When I ordered I was informed that the product would not be available for 3 weeks due to shortage of stock. As I was able to use a discount code to further drive down the price this was not a deal-breaker for me. However, after 3 weeks, I called to inquire about the order and was given a really crappy answer of “Uhh, Xfusion had a problem and it will be like three more weeks.” I did a little searching and found it elsewhere for the retail price and had the post at my house from Ireland in less than a week. I’ll let you guess what site that was.
Once the post arrived, I was impressed at the care taken by Xfusion to package the dropper to ensure safe shipping. The box had camera case style foam padding with cutouts for the parts. It included everything I needed to put the post in the bike except tools. On the other hand, the instructions were less than helpful. And youtube failed me miserably. Searching for installation videos kept showing the hilo, which is an entirely different dropper post design. I opted to just figure it out as I went. One tip if you’ve never installed an internally routed dropper is to leave yourself a little more housing than you think you need- maybe an inch or two. It’s easier to cut it down afterwards than to find a new housing. I installed the button where I wanted it, turned the handlebars all the way to the stop on the left, wrapped the cable around the right side of the frame, down and then up through the seat tube. My bike is a Diamondback Release 1, with partial internal dropper routing. I measured the cable and housing to where the bottom of the post would be at the highest it would ever be in the seat tube. I then removed the lever from the bars to allow me to attach the cable to the post by pulling the cable out through the seat tube without leaving the cable to long.
Now, on to the ergonomics and design. One of the main reasons I bought the Manic over the RSP plummet stealth was the actuation lever. The manic comes with a shifter-style lever that has an adjustment for the angle that your thumb hits it. I love this design and think it should be standard on all dropper posts because the stock levers for KS and RSP suck. It also has a barrel adjuster for getting the tension just right. Just like with your derailleur, most of the adjustment should be done at the dropper post, but its nice to have a fine adjustment that doesn’t require any tools or a fourth hand. The post itself is a two bolt design which is a big upgrade over the single bolt seat clamp on the KS eTen. The second bolt makes the seat more secure and allows you to move your seat farther forward or back to get the most comfortable position over your pedals. My biggest gripe in the design is the insertion length. I have a medium frame with no bottle cage holes in the seat tube and I cannot get the 125mm version all the way in. I think this is ridiculous, and I know it’s not a problem with either the KS Lev or the eTen. I have to leave about 3″ of the post up when I have it slammed all the way down which sucks. The KS Lev has a 215mm insertion length in 31.6mm size, while the Manic has a 247mm insertion length. 32 mils is a big difference when you compare them side by side. Aside from that, the Manic is heavy! Almost 200 grams more than the Lev.
With all of the previous in mind, how does this post perform for the price? Meh. The actuation is noticeably better the KS eTen, but its not up to the level of higher end posts. It’s fairly smooth, but is slow and has no adjustment for the speed of the return. This is not a big deal to me because I don’t want the post to rocket up toward my soft parts anyway, but some people want a fast post. Make sure you don’t over tighten the seat post clamp as this post is very sensitive and over-tightening will cause the post to stick on the return. I will say that the post is very stable, and has very little play side to side. The air and oil in the post are separated utilizing a replaceable cartridge, which eliminates the problems that plague some cheaper posts (suspension feeling, post pulling up without using the lever, etc).
Overall, the post is acceptable. There are significant compromises in weight and adjustability, and the insertion length is ridiculous. But, keep in mind that this post barely costs more than the cheapest dropper post you can find. It’s nearly half the price of the KS Lev and less than half of the Rockshox Reverb or the Thompson Elite. The post performs significantly better than the bottom end posts on the market, and the lever design is fantastic. If cost is what is holding you back from a dropper post upgrade, the Xfusion Manic could be the solution for you as it was for me. I don’t think this will be anyones favorite post, but if you aren’t counting grams and you have a tall seat tube, you can’t beat the value.
Was this review helpful? Do you want me to do a video review or an installation tutorial? Are there better posts out there for the money that perform better? Is this post durable long term? Let me know in the comments!