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  1. #1
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    Initial Impressions of the X-Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS) Stealth Dropper

    Initial Impressions of the X-Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS) Stealth Dropper-p5pb11077362.jpg

    I like to think out of the box a little bit and try different things than the mainstream when it comes to many things and give the smaller guys a go, and the X-Fusion dropper post is no different. The SLS is replacing the original Hilo 125 I have had trouble free for 2.5 years with just a single rebuild performed by myself. This one is the 125mm version in the 31.6 flavor.
    Initial Impressions of the X-Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS) Stealth Dropper-p5pb11077356.jpg

    First Look:
    I had to order the post directly from X-Fusion as it is extremely hard to find anywhere else at the moment. This is the stealth routed version and is over 100 grams lighter than the original Hilo with the steel shaft. When I first pulled it out of the box, I noticed that it felt much lighter and finish of the post looks great (sorry no gold slick anno on this one!). There is minimal side to side play, which is not noticeable while on the saddle. The only negative I could see for some people is that if the post is in the down position and you pick the bike up with the saddle, it will extend. It will suck back down afterwards though. This does not bother me though as I pick the bike up with the frame.

    Initial Impressions of the X-Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS) Stealth Dropper-p5pb11077357.jpg

    On my scale the post itself came in at 471 grams, and the uncut cable/housing and lever came in at 96 grams (79 grams after cut). The original Hilo 125 with the steel shaft and single bolt head came in at 585 grams and 83 grams for the cable/housing and lever. All together it is 118 grams lighter which is just over a quarter of a pound.

    Initial Impressions of the X-Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS) Stealth Dropper-p5pb11077359.jpg

    Installation:
    It does take a little more time to install compared to a non-stealth routed post. Most of that increase in time is just due to making sure the cable length is correct and not too long/short. I recommend using just the housing and doing a mock set-up to get the length just right with the post inserted and the lever close to where you want it. Once you do that, put the cable through the thumb lever (BAT style) and through the housing to the dropper. The part where you attach the cable to the bottom of the dropper comes off to make mounting and tensioning of the cable easier. Once installed, check for play in the lever and that there is not too much tension either. I used a bit of suspension oil with a Q-tip to lube the seal to help it to begin with as I do my fork and shock seals every once and a while of use
    Note: There were no instructions in the box, but X-Fusion has the instructions listed on their website.

    First Ride:
    With my bike set-up 1x10, the BAT style lever was a perfect fit on the left side where the front shifter is normally mounted. It can be mounted in a natural position with a similar feel to shifting. I could see it being a bit more difficult if you are using a 2x or 3x drivetrain though, but I cannot make any specific comments on that set-up though. The movement up and down is smooth, and bind free. It does not come up too fast to nail you in the family jewels. I would say it does come up a bit slower than some of the competition, but not slow enough that it is awkward or anything on the trail.

    Throughout the first ride, it worked flawlessly. It never sagged or worked its way down while riding. I also never felt any side to side play while in the saddle. For the price ($269 for the 125mm and $289 for the 150 version), it is hard to beat. That is quite a bit cheaper than the mainstream competition. We will see how it holds up over time, but as long as it is just as good, or better than my experience with my previous post from X-Fusion, I do not see myself being disappointed. Stay tuned for updates once I get more rides on it.

    Initial Impressions of the X-Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS) Stealth Dropper-p4pb11077363.jpg


    -Brett

  2. #2
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    Sounds good... I have a 150mm Hilo SLS sitting in my parts bin waiting for my new frame to arrive this week. Looking forward to the build.

  3. #3
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    I've been on a 150mm Hilo Strate for a few weeks now. Zero issues. Works flawlessly. I used the lever off my command post, because I'm used to it, and it works well.
    My only issues are the above mentioned thing about getting used to not picking the bike up by the saddle, and I found routing the cable wire through the seatpost mechanism to be an exercise in patience. It has to take some severe turns in a small space. I would highly recommend using a SRAM shifter cable as it is the thinest at 1.1mm. I also wish the return were slightly faster, keep in mind I'm used to the command post which is lightning fast. I have not tried adjusting the air pressure yet.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by morandi View Post
    My only issues are the above mentioned thing about getting used to not picking the bike up by the saddle, and I found routing the cable wire through the seatpost mechanism to be an exercise in patience. It has to take some severe turns in a small space. I would highly recommend using a SRAM shifter cable as it is the thinest at 1.1mm. I also wish the return were slightly faster, keep in mind I'm used to the command post which is lightning fast. I have not tried adjusting the air pressure yet.
    My experience as well. 260 miles on mine. No issues, but setup was a bit frustrating. Definitely recommend a cable with a soldered tip - I was using a dual head cable and it kept fraying.

    Love the remote!
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    TECH QUESTIONS HERE: INFO@MRPBIKE.COM

  5. #5
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    Great input guys! A good cable definitely can make a big difference. It seems as though the sock one will be good for now, but we will see over a bit of time.

    Glad to see some others on it. Feel free to report it after more time here.

    -Brett

  6. #6
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    My Hilo SLS sh!t the bed after 3 rides... the activator at the bottom of the post no longer works properly. So the lowering is very difficult and raising is extremely slow. I talked to the service centre in Canada (RCS) and they said there was nothing I could take apart to check due to the proprietary tools required. That kind of pissed me off as even checking the air pressure is not a user-serviceable function. In any case my post is going back for warranty service. Not too impressed.

  7. #7
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    Mines been great. Knock on wood.

  8. #8
    kneecap
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    As stated above, there are instructions on exfusions website for maintenance & air adjustments. I had to lower the air psi a bit on mine, very easy to do, & it now works fine for my weight.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kneecap View Post
    As stated above, there are instructions on exfusions website for maintenance & air adjustments. I had to lower the air psi a bit on mine, very easy to do, & it now works fine for my weight.
    For the Hilo SL Strate? I couldn't find any instructions on air adjustments for the internally routed version, and was informed that it is not user serviceable by the Canadian distributor. The regular Hilo SL is a different beast however.

    If these instructions are available for the Strate I would love to see them.

  10. #10
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    I have not seen any instructions specific to the SLS either. How did the activator piece stop working properly?

    -Brett

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carraig042 View Post
    I have not seen any instructions specific to the SLS either. How did the activator piece stop working properly?

    -Brett
    The activator (plunger) stopped returning fully after it was activated. Not sure what happened but the service centre didn't even try to give me any advice over the phone. So I would assume something with the internals is pooched and they have seen it before. He also mentioned some parts would probably be required.

  12. #12
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    Hmm, that is strange. Hopefully it is only a small percentage that is affected.

    Brett

  13. #13
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    So my Strate just returned from warranty. The issue was apparently low air pressure. The fact that this isn't user accessible is absurd. That is a huge PITA. Definitely a poor design. The post does feel amazing now but the crap with the air pressure is just dumb.

  14. #14
    kneecap
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    Well, that does kinda suck. Does that seatpost get full travel?
    The SL I have works OK, but doesn't get the last maybe 3/4" of compression no matter how much compression it gets.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kneecap View Post
    Well, that does kinda suck. Does that seatpost get full travel?
    The SL I have works OK, but doesn't get the last maybe 3/4" of compression no matter how much compression it gets.
    The X-Fusion SL will have 12mm of height left showing at full compression, this is the normal function of this post.

  16. #16
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    Duh-luth is right on the SL. I am not sure why they did it that way, but it will not go down 100 percent of the way.

    On the other hand, the new SLS does go down all the way. My post may be experiencing that same thing as gretch's was. It is not returning all the way up without me pulling it up.

    Brett

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