X-Fusion might not be the first name that springs to mind when in the market for a new aftermarket suspension fork, but the company is making big strides to offer high quality and high performance alternatives to the more popular choices from Fox and RockShox. Their real trump card is price, this fork is nearly £300 cheaper than a Fox 34.
This is the Trace, their 34mm legged fork available for 29ers, with up to 140mm travel – we’re testing the DLA (Down Low Adjust) version which can be dropped down to 110mm at the turn of a dial atop the fork. That’s ideal as a climbing mode on a long-travel 29er, but you could also consider running it mainly in the shorter travel mode the majority of the time and just opening up the full travel on the descents.
With an uncut steerer tube it weighs 2,105g; that’s lighter than the claimed weight for a similar Fox 24 Float 29 with 140mm travel. Inside the fork is the company’s RL2 damper which offers rebound adjustment and the addition of mid-valve, a position sensitive preloaded shim stack, is designed to provide good mid-stroke support. There is a lockout dial on the top of the fork too.
The stanchions are coated with a Gold Hard Ano coating to reduce friction, which is a lot like Fox’s Kashima coating.
The fork features a one-piece crown/steerer tube which X-Fusion claims increases strength by 50% compared to a two-piece design. At the other end of the fork there is a Syntace X-15 bolt-thru axle. The left hand leg has a disc hose guide.
On paper then the forks offer a lot of technology and smart design. The RL2 DLA version we have here cost £629.99, but they do start from £589.99. A Fox 34 29er fork is going to set you back over £900, so that’s a considerable saving right there.
We’ve bolted the forks to a bike and we’ll hit the trails and let you know how we get on. A quick spin around the woods provides a good impression, a very smooth feel and it doesn’t take much of an impact to activate the forks, and they’re certainly supple in the early stages of the stroke. Even fresh out of the box. They feel stiff too when throwing the bike through the corners.