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  1. #1
    "El Whatever"
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    X-Fusion Vector Air HLR - First Impressions

    Hi all!!

    Recently I got a new shock for my bike. A X-Fusion Vector Air HLR in 7.875" X 2.25" size.

    I was looking at a high performance shock, platform or lock out was not in my purchasing criteria (personally, I think those things are mutually exclusive with high performance, YMMV).

    While I didn't care much about weight, my bike it's a trailbike that spends more time on trails more suited to hardtails, thanks to a poor living location decision on my part. That mostly ruled out a coil over shock.

    I read about this new shock from X-Fusion and bite the bullet. It ticked all the boxes. Lots of adjustments, high performance, contained weight, no platform, all shims.

    So, it came like this out of the box...



    Dials are easy to reach and handle even with gloves on, exception made for the rebound one that could use a bigger dial or a better location, particularly on my frame and mounting direction as the shock mounting tabs make it impossible to reach with your fingers.

    Not a big deal, though. X-Fusion has drilled holes on the dial where you can put a 2mm allen wrench and turn the dial. Easy cake... same for the High Speed Compression and the floating piston volume adjuster (this one may require a 2.5mm allen better, but you may not need it as the dial is far more accessible and with good flats).

    I could have mounted the shock canister side on the rockers and all dials could have had even easier access. There are tons of clearance on the Helius AC anyways.






    The damper body is rather big. With 31.8mm diameter, the only bigger shocks maybe the Vivid Air, CCDB Air, BOS Vip'r or Marzocchi air shocks. Fox and RS use smaller damper bodies on their air shocks. Also, the IFP chamber is large. The head of the shock where the compression assemblies are at looks like the same as the Vector HLR, no less.

    It came like this mounted to my Helius AC.



    First Ride Impressions

    First thing I noticed was how sensitive the shock is to air pressure. It needed only 75psi to give me 25% sag for my 140# on an approx. 2.6:1 leverage ratio bike. It's very sensitive to air pressure, so playing with it may play a big factor. 70psi gave me 32% sag. At 100psi, I could barely get 10% sag.

    Given my weight, I started with the dials all fully open. IFP set to 185PSI (factory recommends 180psi min, 300 max).

    Now, the Helius AC dislike the rather saggy mid stroke of most high volume shocks. It deals much better with lower volumes in the air canister or even coil overs. The later may need some sort of bottom out control, though.

    Ride conditions were rather easy for a shock like this. It was mostly flat on blue groove dirt roads, however, not a single pothole or ditch was spared for testing purposes. It also allowed me to test this shock in some unfamiliar terrain on the XC side of the spectrum.

    The Vector Air complimented perfectly the stroke of the AC riding rather high into travel but still being plush and keeping travel in reserve to use when needed.

    At first, with the dials fully open it felt a little nervous. Not discomposed but rather shakey. Three clicks of rebound did the trick there. Then it rode really flat, like not there.

    However, I looked down and saw a little bobbing. No probs, 4 clicks of LSC closed the deal. Now the shock was equally cool with pedaling and getting rid of trail chatter.

    What left a really good impression on me from this shock was how easy it dealt with all kind of events, either low or high speed. Usually you can only get that from a coil over. Air shocks can feel constipated at one end of the spectrum. This one also felt very good out of the box, no stiction.

    Don't get fooled, this is still an air shock and you won't compress the rear end of the bike with one finger when set for riding conditions, but it feels really good when it matters... say, when your weight is on the bike.

    I still need more testing to do to squeeze the most out of the HSC circuit and see how the shock interacts with the IFP settings. As it is, it's really promising. Nice one from X-Fusion



    Cheers!
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  2. #2
    What?
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    Good write up. I have been considering jumping on the X fusion band wagon for a little while now. All the write ups and reviews seem to show that X fusion products just plain work. I look forward to hearing how it works over the a long period of time.

  3. #3
    moaaar shimz
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    Looks good on your bike!

    Glad you liked it

  4. #4
    %$#$*!
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    Nice write up! I tested an HLR for about a month on my Knolly Endorphin. There is a ton of adjustments including adjusting the air volume and internal air spring force, iirc. I was able to run lots of sag and it still remained firm and controlled in its midstroke, never bottoming out harsh.

    I thought it was a little bit better than the Pushed Monarch RT-AM in the fast chop. However, not as good as my Avy Chubie in that department. It is about a pound lighter though which is a big plus.

    Overall, I thought is was a great shock at a great price.

  5. #5
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    Nice write up, well written. Looking forward to your next installment. You are going to do another right?

    What shock did you have mounted have previous to this? I'm been looking around for a air-can for my Canfield One. The X Fusion has had me interested for some time, though recently BOS's new Void seems to tick a few of the box's.

  6. #6
    Axe
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    What color is your Helius?

    I am struggling with picking up a shade of green - to order Helius AM.

    Also struggling with picking shock.

  7. #7
    "El Whatever"
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    Bigcrs: I will report on further, but it won't be before mid June. Sorry, that's my work schedule working for me.

    I had previously a Monarch 4.2 and a Romic Double D. Both pretty good shocks on different sides of the spectrum but it will let you down if you expected a comparison between the high caliber names and the X-Fusion.

    I also tried briefly a Marzocchi Roco Air R from 2007. That one felt nice also, but it used to pack rather easy and felt a bit harsh thanks to that. Again, the AC don't like shocks with a weak midstroke. The Roco Air R likes to use a lot of travel and ramps up violently towards the end. Not the best match.

    Axe... The colour on my Helius AC is Schwarzolive (black olive - RAL 6015?). It's a standard colour on Nicolai's color chart. No surcharge for special paint. Despite being darker than foliage in most places in Mexico, it camouflages really nicely (as you may see in the pics). Makes for a rather dull bike. You won't get many looks to it.

    Most people goes like "dull color, HL knock off bike from unknown builder". That's the effect I was after.

    Look at the Kawagrun and British Racing Green as green options. Their dark green anodizing is plain gorgeous too.

    Sorry for the thread deraill.
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  8. #8
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp View Post
    It's a standard colour on Nicolai's color chart. No surcharge for special paint. Despite being darker than foliage in most places in Mexico, it camouflages really nicely (as you may see in the pics). Makes for a rather dull bike. You won't get many looks to it.
    I like dull colors. Do not see this color in the order options. Will probably go for British Racing green. I had been warned that Anodized Green does not always come out uniform so far. That would be a good option (I will do anodized black rear triangle anyway)

    My daughter insists on Panther Pink. Hm...


    But, yes, picking shock is more important. Monarch Plus mid-tune small canister? Or this X-Fusion...

  9. #9
    beater
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    I've been riding mine for 4 days, and I'm pretty impressed with it. Setup was easy and straight-forward. Haven't made any adjustments in the last 2 days, so I think I'm where I want to be. Recommended.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  10. #10
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    Hi Warp, when you mentioned fully opened, do you mean its fully on the soft or firm side?

  11. #11
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by mojak View Post
    Hi Warp, when you mentioned fully opened, do you mean its fully on the soft or firm side?
    I meant fully open as in full soft.
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  12. #12
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    warp, any follow up on the shock performance?
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  13. #13
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    How's the vector running now you've had a bit of time on it?

  14. #14
    "El Whatever"
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    Sorry, guys. Little more time on the shock, but still feels amazing. I need to do more in depth riding and such. I have really not had such time. It looks like the shock could use lighter damping for my 140# and low leverage on the travel setting I'm using it currently (2.36:1 or so). But that's hardly the shock's fault, it's just a bad weight/leverage combo.
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  15. #15
    beater
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    I'm still really happy with mine. I'm not a suspension guru so this has been part of a learning curve about suspension setup and performance for me.

    I clearly remember one ride, after about 4-5 days of riding and adjusting, when I said "OH! That's what good suspension feels like!" I was clawing up a steep, loose, rubbly pitch of old washed-out double track and the rear end was a) invisible and b) glued to the ground.

    I'm sure the CCDBA is a fantastic shock. But the Vector is $150 less, and really, really good.

    X-Fusion Vector Air HLR - First Impressions-xfusionvectorair.jpg
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  16. #16
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    I'm sure the CCDBA is a fantastic shock. But the Vector is $150 less, and really, really good.
    I could not find it for $150 less... but then I did get a good deal on CCDBA. It is good, but I can't stop tinkering with it.

    You should try needle bearings instead of bushings in the shock eye. At least on the part that connects to the linkage, as it rotates more. Surprisingly noticeable reduction in stiction.

  17. #17
    beater
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    Thanks, I'll look into it. The new linkage is designed to provide a fairly straight push on the shaft, but there is a little rotation.

    $500 vs $650 is what I was thinking of.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

    Riding in Helena? Everything you need to know, right here.

  18. #18
    moaaar shimz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    I could not find it for $150 less... but then I did get a good deal on CCDBA. It is good, but I can't stop tinkering with it.

    You should try needle bearings instead of bushings in the shock eye. At least on the part that connects to the linkage, as it rotates more. Surprisingly noticeable reduction in stiction.
    Rune V2 doesn't need needle bearings on rear eyelet, very very little rotation and high load is ideal for DU/DP bushings.

  19. #19
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    It's sounds pretty good for the money! I'm looking to put one on my single pivot morewood, so again prob no need for needle bearings due to a straight push.

    I may also go for a shorter shock- a 216i-i instead of my existing 222, slackening the head about a degree or so, dropping the bb about 12.5mm (0.5"). The travel is reduced by about 0.7 of an inch but that would suit me too!

  20. #20
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Thanks, I'll look into it. The new linkage is designed to provide a fairly straight push on the shaft, but there is a little rotation.

    $500 vs $650 is what I was thinking of.
    This is similar to the prices I've been seeing. If there is a cheaper DBAir out there that google isn't aware of, I'd be happy to take a look.

  21. #21
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by honns View Post
    This is similar to the prices I've been seeing. If there is a cheaper DBAir out there that google isn't aware of, I'd be happy to take a look.
    PMed

  22. #22
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    I have the Vector Air on my Norco Truax. Hands down, one of the best air shocks I have ridden (although I have yet to ride the DBAir). Compression adjustments make big differences in shock feel, and it maintains a very controlled stroke. After trying Vivid Airs, Marzocchi Roco Airs, DHX Airs, and many of the Float/Monarch variations, I am officially convinced by Xfusion building a solid product! I am going to order one of their new Slide forks... for the price, apparently performance can't be beat (like most of their other products).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails X-Fusion Vector Air HLR - First Impressions-2013-01-15_12-42-24_849.jpg  


  23. #23
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    wish i had bought mine long time ago, looks like their 2013 models will be around $100 more. hope the performance is still the same
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  24. #24
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    Fo rizzle? I guess I shouldn't have waited.

  25. #25
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by brankulo View Post
    wish i had bought mine long time ago, looks like their 2013 models will be around $100 more. hope the performance is still the same
    One would hope that the performance is $100 better, would not he?

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