The X-Fusion Trace RL2 DLA is a stiff and affordable 34mm fork with adjustable travel and consistent damping
What they say: Developed for the new progression of 29er bikes with longer travel and aggressive angles, the Trace offers a stout chassis with smooth and efficient damping. The RL2 damper will eat away the small bumps while the mid-valve provides unprecedented mid to ending stroke support.
What is it: The price of suspension forks has risen dramatically over the past few years, so it’s with interest that X-Fusion are attempting to offer affordable forks that don’t compromise on suspension performance and provide a good return for your investment. The Trace is the company’s latest fork and features 34mm stanchions, which produces impressive stiffness compared to skinnier legged forks.
It’s a 140mm travel fork, but the DLA (Down Low Adjust) feature om these more expensive forks lets you lower the travel to 110mm, simply by turning the dial. A cheaper Trace provides internal travel adjustment. It’s a useful travel adjustment, either as a climbing aid, or to leave it in either travel setting depending on what frame you’re fixing it to.
The Trace offers good damping, and they’re easy to set up, though access to the air valve at the bottom of the leg is a bit restrictive. There’s a wide range of rebound adjustment and it’s sensitive enough to get just the right setting. An air pressure chart is handily stickered to the back of the left fork leg, and the recommended air settings produced good performance out of the box.
The RL2 damping provides decent stability through rougher trails, with good composure that prevents the fork from pushing through the travel too quickly under braking or through fast corners. Mid-travel balance is good and the small bump sensitivity is good, helped by the Gold Hard Ano coating on the stanchions.
The forks have a chunky appearance and the chassis provides a noticeable step up in front-end stiffness compare to 32mm legged forks, making it a good choice for many trail bikes, and is comparable to that other 34mm fork, the Fox 34.
Who it’s good for: For price conscious mountain bikers seeking a stiff, adjustable travel 29er fork, the X-Fusion Trace is a thoroughly commendable fork. The performance is admirable and for the price you really can’t go wrong, you get a decent fork and a decent wedge of cash left in your pocket.