X-Fusion – Making Bikes Sane Again

Words Andrew Major
Photos Fergs
Date Oct 26, 2016

“It takes ten minutes to fully service our new dropper post. It has a two year warranty. A new cartridge is $25 out of warranty. We’ll ship you one if you need it. Even to Alaska.” – Joel Smith, X-Fusion Shox

X-Fusion Manic Dropper Post

Lighter, lower priced, no pressure on the main seal due to the new cartridge system, a very ergonomic under the bar remote option. Did I mention the $200 (USD) price tag? There is a lot to like about X-Fusion’s new Manic dropper post and Joel Smith wasn’t done calmly laying down the details.

Joel Smith Sanity X-Fusion

Between the seal head and the seat clamp X-Fusion has reduced the stack height of the new Manic some 25mm compared to their past dropper posts. The post now uses a cartridge system so the main seal is not under pressure.

“It takes ten minutes to fully service our new dropper post. It has a two-year warranty. A new cartridge is $25 out of warranty. We’ll ship you one if you need it. Even to Alaska” says Joel. Oh, and X-Fusion has also managed to cut 15mm of height from the seal head and another 10mm out of the seat clamp for a total height reduction of about 25mm compared to their HiLo droppers.

Simple. Value. User serviceable. But wait. It only has 125mm of drop?

ib2016d3 xfusion seat post cable detail

The new linkage system for X-Fusion’s Manic. Lever action is very light thanks to the linkage, and the cable retainer is now easily replaceable – even if you have goat hooves in the workshop.

X-Fusion has the 125mm Manic ready to go in 30.9 and 31.6 so that is what you see here.

In the short term Joel says they will also have a 27.2 version coming – because lots of riders still have bikes that use 27.2, go figure – and a 150mm version in 30.9 and 31.6 is also on the horizon.

Joel Smith X-Fusion Standards Sanity

The standard position-it-anywhere X-Fusion remote up top. The new more ergonomic position-it-anywhere remote down below. It uses a 360-degree bevel to provide a nice range of custom setups.

35mm

“Don’t call it 34.9”, says Joel. It’s a new standard, “let’s just call it 35mm”. I totally agree. What is 35mm? Essentially it is a seatpost outer diameter size that Scott used years ago on their Ransom line of bikes and that a few companies, like Evil, have recently brought back.

Negatives? I suppose compared to a nice 27.2 seatpost like a Thomson Masterpiece a 35mm post is ridiculously stiff. This is clearly not an issue with your 160mm travel Enduro bike. If you want to use your existing dropper post in a 35mm frame you’ll need to buy an inexpensive shim.

Positives? The added diameter leaves a ton of room for dropper post guts which should result in more durable posts. It also means that as bike brands shorten their seat tubes to accommodate the 180mm and 200mm droppers that riders are asking for, the post’s extra girth will allow overall length to be reduced.

XFusion Manic NSMB AndrewM

The X-Fusion Manic is currently available in 30.9 and 31.6 diameters in 125mm drop, and 27.2 diameter posts, as well as 150mm drop posts are on the horizon. Want more drop? Watch for more bikes coming with 35mm ID seat tubes.

X-Fusion isn’t committing to making a Manic longer than 150mm at this time. Adoption of 35mm by bike makers and evidence of real demand for posts longer than 150mm could change that. SRAM and 9Point8 will be soon be offering 200mm drop posts in 30.9 and 31.6 sizes.

You may be concerned about another change appearing on the horizon but with 35.0 a new (old) ‘standard’ is entirely justified.

This change has the potential to improve products significantly and speed the arrival of the longer travel dropper posts riders are asking for. It’s also cheap and simple to shim down to a smaller diameter and keep your existing post. Thanks, X-Fusion.

BikeYoke

Joel was also showing products from BikeYoke. In particular, I am fond of their linkages which allow you to de-specialize your Specialized bike by escaping their proprietary mounting systems and shock sizes. Think of it like paying to jailbreak your phone.

Joel Smith Sanity Standards

BikeYoke sells replacement linkage yokes for a huge variety of Specialized bikes. These allow you to use standard shock mounting hardware and dimensions.

Specialized makes really nice bikes, but their proprietary shock mounting is a pain in the a$$. Don’t agree? Ask someone who has tried to update their shock but has run into issues sourcing the correct shock body and dimensions. Blow your shock up? Good luck finding a replacement while it’s being serviced.

The Yokes sell for $99 (USD) and could easily save you twice the difference by opening your Specialized bike up to a world of used and clearout shocks with standard dimensions. If you don’t see your specific bike mentioned on the BikeYoke website, drop them a line; they are constantly expanding the range.

Joel Smith Sanity Standards Bike Yoke

BikeYoke also makes the Dehy system to convert your Reverb actuator to a cable.

BikeYoke also makes a system they call Dehy to convert Reverb dropper post actuators from hydraulic to cable. None of the myriad issues I’ve experienced with Reverbs over the years have been related to the remote, other than it needing the occasional bleed, but the Dehy remote improves the ergonomics for a 1x setup.

You can actually use any of the new breed of cable-actuated dropper post remotes and if you happen to have one kicking around BikeYoke will sell you the Dehy actuator sans remote for a discount. It’s a nice way to simplify something on your bike while improving performance at the same time.

The system is $100 (USD) for a remote and the Dehy actuator or $70 (USD) for the actuator on its own. The stock remote is compatible with SRAM MatchMaker clamps but you can get a kit to convert to Shimano I-Spec for $15 (USD).

More on X-Fusion. More on BikeYoke.


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Comments

wasatchenduro
0
WasatchEnduro  - Oct. 27, 2016, 10:16 a.m.

I just added the bike yoke to my 2016 Stumpy with a Monarch Plus Debonair. Noticeably better rear suspension performance now vs the Float CTD (even with an Avy tune). A simple hack that's worth it if you're outriding the little p.o.s. shock that bike comes with. The shocks on the 2017's do look better though. Anyway, get a bike yoke!

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Faction
0
Derp  - Oct. 26, 2016, 6:40 p.m.

I have two xfusion hilo strates that have been great. The secret to their longevity is to pump up the psi a little more than recommended. I'm not sure what that does but it seems to help. I have been running the same one for a year and a half without any issues.

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drewm
0
DrewM  - Oct. 27, 2016, 10:49 a.m.

I think the HiLo is great. It's cheap. It's ridiculously simple (emulsion damper). Straight forward to rebuild. And relatively cheap to have rebuilt for riders who don't want to do it themselves. All in I think dealers charge ~$80 including the seal kits and most shops are equipped to fix them in house.

X-Fusion says the problem with the HiLo is the mainseal is being asked to do to much (keep oil and air in / keep crap out) while the shaft is rocking back and forth under rider effort. As easy as they are to rebuild they do take a fair bit of time which costs X-Fusion riders money (paying for service) or costs X-Fusion money (warranty).

With the new Manic the goal was extremely fast service, better reliability for all users, and the ability for users who may not have easy access to a shop or service center to be able to swap cartridges and do the basic services themselves. Basically, if someone can remove a seatpost from their bike they can get a Manic working again.

So yeah, not to take away from the HiLo Strate because I think personally that it is a pretty good product BUT X-Fusion is really excited about the Manic as I think it addresses every complaint that some riders have about the HiLo while keeping the price way below the market average.

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Oct. 26, 2016, 2:34 p.m.

I'm happy to see a reasonably ergonomic remote. 🙂

Reply

tashi
0
tashi  - Oct. 26, 2016, 1:52 p.m.

If these things are at all reliable, than I'll be picking one up to replace my outrageously unreliable Reverb…I'm one failure away from ordering a Gravity Dropper, but these will be cheaper and just a little bit "nicer" if they deliver on their promises. Although I don't have a use for one, those yokes are good to see as well - the increase of proprietary and changing components in this biz is a frustrating consequence of the improved performance we've been seeing. I like that folks are still out there developing work arounds like this and the Boostinator for those of us who want 'em.

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whatyouthink
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whatyouthink  - Oct. 26, 2016, 6:29 a.m.

Great value, but nothing longer that the 125mm in this saturated market… seems like an oversight to me.

Reply

tehllama42
0
Tehllama42  - Oct. 26, 2016, 7:26 a.m.

That price point and ergonomics combination will let them snag some of the OEM market, and that keeps development funds rolling in.

What I'd like to see from companies like X-Fusion is working with a bike brand to make a top end technology demonstrator bike and actually having that be an available model/spec. Would be a very price competitive top end offering, and those are the types of bikes that once shipped out on the media circuit and customer demo fleet can really change minds and have customers looking beyond just the obvious big player choices.

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drewm
0
DrewM  - Oct. 26, 2016, 7:26 a.m.

The 125mm will be available first, but 150mm model is on the way shortly.

Joel makes a good point re. Seat tubes getting shorter to accommodate longer posts (170, 180, 200mm) but there not being room then within to fit the body of the post as they get longer to allow for the increased telescoping and then still have to have the actuator below that. I can think of a few frames with non-straight seattubes where one would need a massive inseam for a 200mm post to work as the body would stick out of the frame some and then you the sealhead and 200mm of post above that.

It will be interesting to see if more companies follow Evil to 35mm. It will be interesting to see if longer than 150mm posts are as much in demand as it 'feels' or on a worldwide scale if it's just a very vocal minority wanting them.

Reply

whatyouthink
0
whatyouthink  - Oct. 26, 2016, 7:32 a.m.

I absolutely think it is a very vocal minority. I for one love having a lot of nut clearance on my bikes. But look at pro downhillers, they don't have their seat slammed down. On my size large canfield balance i would be pretty happy with a 170mm dropper. At some point you have to think people are putting the seats in the way of the tire deep in the travel ya know?

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drewm
0
DrewM  - Oct. 26, 2016, 7:42 a.m.

Ha. Great point. Especially with crazy short stays. Working in a suspension business one of the most common complaints we heard regarding DH bike shocks was "harsh bottoming". But when we'd look at the shock the bottom out bumper would be untouched (where bikes that bottom regularly eat them).

Most common issue? Tire bottoming hard on seat (too low/rearward).

A distant second most common reason was chainguide/bash combos that had spun and were restricting the swingarm.

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Captain-Snappy
0
Merwinn  - Oct. 26, 2016, 8:52 a.m.

I'm using a 125 dropper and have no problems with my saddle getting in the way. I find I buzz my ass on my tire more than my saddle getting in the way while riding steeps. That being said, a 150 would look a bit more skookum lining up a little more cleanly with the seatpost collar and all that.

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Xorrox
0
Brad_xyz  - Oct. 26, 2016, 9:30 a.m.

I had a 125mm dropper and always had bruised thighs when riding the shore. The 125mm failed (as they do) so I got a 150mm. Result, no more bruised thighs and much easier to 'huck' the bike over low speed drops and I don't snag my shorts any more. If I want a higher seat, I just raise it a bit, but when I want the seat down, I want it slammed.

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doug-m
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Doug M.  - Oct. 26, 2016, 2:16 p.m.

up-vote for use of the word 'skookum' 🙂

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - Oct. 26, 2016, 9:07 a.m.

I stopped dropping my saddle so low after watching the World Cup riders keep theirs at a reasonable height. I still don't ride like them but it's nice to be able to pedal a little and rest as well as to have the saddle there for a reference. I imagine that less overlap could lead to more maintenance issues - and more drop equals more weight. 125 suits me just fine.

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christopher-borgert
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Christopher Borgert  - Oct. 26, 2016, 9:50 a.m.

this ^^ unless I'm dirt jumping or bunnyhopping some oversized, off trail obstacle, I keep my seat the same height I do on a dh bike, which is around stem height. Sometimes a little lower on a shorter travel bike (I mean like a couple centimeters) because you need a little more room to suck up big stuff with your legs, since the suspension of a dh bike isn't there. You need to be able to control the bike from your saddle, and it doesn't work if it's in between your shins. Trials is really the only riding where you effectively need no seat, and some newschool street bmers also ride like that.

I actually hate my reverb because it drops too low (came on the bike, haven't swapped it)

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agleck7
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Agleck7  - Oct. 26, 2016, 11:14 a.m.

I see your guys point, but trail bikes have a different shape than DH bikes and an extended seat is in a different position. I absolutely love the 150 vs 125. It's not so much when soaking up hits but when cornering. On my trail bike w/ a 125 the seat was more often in the way when getting low and really turning my hips, especially for turns with my forward foot on the outside. On my DH bike with seat at the same height it's not an issue.

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