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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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