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  1. #1
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    Smile X-Fusion Vengeance HLR coil - Can a fork be too good?

    Can a fork be too good?

    Not if the X-Fusion Vengeance is matched up and tuned with the X-Fusion Vector HLR coil. Few other shocks if any would qualify to match up with the low friction and quality damping of this X-Fusion fork and shock.

    Link to my review of the X-Fusion Vector HLR coil shock:
    X-Fusion Vector HLR coil - Can a shock be too good?

    Venge•ance /'venjans/
    Noun:
    Punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong.

    This fork is the complete opposite of it's name, really it protects the rider from injury and is very forgiving of wrongs.

    It's true that "the best you know is the best you've ridden." Maybe there are better than this X-Fusion fork for AM/Trail, but I haven't ridden better, including owning a Manitou Nixon 160 RWDT coil, demoing the Fox 36 Vanilla RC and the Talas 36 (all Talas forks have terrible seal friction IMO), also I've long owned a Rockshocks Lyrik u-turn coil fork since '09 (trail-side travel adjustment is essential for uncompromised AM uses, IMO).

    The only technical downside for my AM trail interests is the Vengeance coil fork has no trail-side travel adjustment…. more on fixing that below.

    Damping was very easy to set up with the head start recommendations for both the Vengeance fork and Vector shock from X-Fusion's marketing manager and pro-downhill racer, John Hauer: "I would start rebound where ever it naturally feels best. Then on the trail you may quickly find you need to bump a click or 2 in either direction. That might get you to the best rebound speed for the conditions a bit quicker. With compression you have about 16 clicks for both low and high (HSC) speed compression. I would start a bit into the range with about 4 clicks from open on Low Speed (LSC) and 6 clicks from open on high speed (HSC)."

    Having more than 10 years riding coil suspension on my trail bikes, I was able to quickly adjust a very good balance from the baseline recommended.

    John's LSC and HSC recommendations needed no changes for a variety of rough, eroded, rocky, and rooty tight singletrack mixed with sections of smooth hardpack and faster rocky fireroad DH. Where there is less variety of conditions than my local rides, I will be adjusting damping firmer for mainly smooth hard pack rides, or slightly softer for near total jagged rocky conditions.

    I started with a mid range adjustment of the Rebound knob, with the recommended LSC and HSC settings. But the fork felt too firm for local rocky sections, but pretty good for the faster smooth hard pack sections. 2 or 3 clicks faster Rebound from middle of the range brought the fork alive, like liquid, well matching the X-Fusion Vector HLR coil, over the sharp rock base sections of trail, while still stable and able to lean on cornering in smoother sections.

    Brake dive is not a problem under my 200+ ride weight using a soft rated coil, the sealed high volume stanchions make a nice progressive rising rate to undetectable bottom travel, as marked by the o-ring I put on one stanchion. I'm seeing full travel sometimes landing small jumps and drops to flat but have felt no bottom. LSC can be adjusted firmer without harshness or sacrificing buttery smoothness. And changing the LSC adjustment has no affect on big or sharper hits. LSC is very isolated, while HSC adjustment does noticeably affect LSC in proportion.

    The damper cartridge is very large, a twin tube design having high flow speed sensitive shim stack for HSC and HSR damping, giving the ability to fine tune firmness without the trade-off of harshness. And there is very noticeable compression and rebound speed sensitivity, compared to my very familiar Lyrik u-turn coil with Mission Control damper.

    Compliance, with stability, is much better than my Lyrik coil. I've been riding an X-Fusion Vector HLR coil shock for a couple months, which I had pretty well balanced handling with my Lyrik's limits of compliance with stability. Now with the more active and stable Vengeance damping, I was able to free up the Vector shock's finely adjustable damping a click or two in LSC and HSC.

    At 2494 grams, 5.5 lbs, the Vengeance coil is no heavier, even though much stiffer than the Lyrik coil.

    The Vengeance is a big step less in flex than the Lyrik. The Lyrik u-turn coil only comes with a 1 1/8 inch steer tube. There are many factors that make a Vengeance stiffer, 36mm vs. 35mm stanchions, bigger lowers, a bigger crown, and a tapered steer tube.

    The Vengeance comes standard with a "Medium" coil weight, and can be ordered with firmer or softer coil options. The Vengeance "Medium" coil was nearly the same compliance as the "Soft" rated Lyrik coil. The X-Fusion top quality damping favors a softer rated spring, air or coil.

    The 20mm axle is a simple lightweight screw in, with a handle that can be repositioned as preferred. The metal knobs are all very easy to turn with gloves on, and the LS and HS Compression knobs at the bottom of the damper leg have a spin-on metal cover for protection from hard rock hits.

    For DH and 650b riders, the Vengeance easily clears 2.7 x 26 inch DH tires, also the same diameter 2.3 x 650b Pacenti Neo-moto, with 6 or 7mm fork arch clearance, and there's more gap to the crown at bottom travel.

    Compared to the 160mm travel forks from Fox and Rockshox, the Vengeance lowered from 170 to 160mm travel, has an axle-to-crown (a2c) height 10mm higher. I compensated this difference by lowing my handlebars 10mm by swapping stem spacers. After adjusting my position for the same fit over the cranks I preferred, the steering and handling difference is negligible, since the taller a2c only slacks the frame geometry less than 1/2 degree. The superb damping and improved precise handling from the fork's stiffness is what is very noticeable.

    As mentioned above, there is one major limitation, although most coil fork have the same. My only major issue of the Vengeance coil performance as delivered is that it is fixed travel, at either 170mm or 160mm travel, which can be changed by moving a travel height spacer 10mm internally in about 30 minutes after some practice. I had used the Lyrik's u-turn travel adjustment a lot, on-the-fly or trail side, to tune handling, weight balance, and cornering traction feel. On my local rides with much climbing and tight turns, I usually set the u-turn Lyrik at about 140mm travel, raising travel to 150mm or 160mm for slower handling and reduced dive for longer steeper and faster downhills.

    I took a potentially expensive risk, I bought the Vengeance with the hope I could modify it to adapt the u-turn coil assembly from my Lyrik with bolt-on changes. I reasoned that if I failed, I could return it to original and sell it for a near-new used fork price, but that would be a few hundred less than the $780 new retail price.

    The alternative to a modified u-turn Vengeance to more closely match the high quality of my X-Fusion Vector coil shock, was to keep the Lyrik u-turn fork and buy a near $500 high quality damper cartridge replacement from Avalanche. The Avalanche cartridge would have been the easier option, having the Lyrik cost already paid. But I wanted to try converting the Vengeance with my requirement of a u-turn for the increased stiffness, and to experience the X-Fusion designed fork and shock balance.

    It took some trial and error to accomplish. I had to drill a hole in the thick aluminum Vengeance coil side top cap to accept the u-turn knob. I used off the shelf washers for spacers, drilled out plumbing rubber seals made for faucets, and used a metric threaded stud that fit the u-turn's lower rod (an exhaust stud left over from my days of car racing). Almost by magic, the Lyrik's preload spring and rod guide from the lower end of the stanchion fit perfectly where the Vengeance compression rod's guide had been. Finally I was successfully sealing the top and bottom for designed rising rate compressed air volume spring assist. And eliminated a compressing coil knock with some 1" diameter electrical shrink-wrap plastic tubing (that barely fit without shrinking).

    The u-turn conversion and steel hardware may have added up to about 25 grams, I'll be looking for aluminum alternatives to reduce the weight gain, possibly commissioning a short run of machined top cap and a lower conversion pieces, for plug-and play conversion.

    Hopefully X-Fusion will design an easy external travel adjustment option for the Vengeance coil, or simply license the u-turn from Sram/Rockshox. The u-turn makes this fork much more versatile, from tight XC trail quick handling and climbing to DH park.

    For air fork riders the Vengeance HLR at 2254grms or 5lbs, saving 1/2 lb below the coil weight, has options for fixed travel or externally adjustable travel, 170/140mm.

    The conversion of the Vengeance to u-turn coil made this an ideal fork for my interests; quickly travel adjustable from 125 to 170mm travel, very stiff, and having the highest quality damping.

    More to come, as I gain more time on the X-Fusion suspension.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails X-Fusion Vengeance HLR coil - Can a fork be too good?-vegan-vector-sideright.jpg  

    X-Fusion Vengeance HLR coil - Can a fork be too good?-vegan-vector-sideleft.jpg  

    X-Fusion Vengeance HLR coil - Can a fork be too good?-vegan-closeup.jpg  


  2. #2
    moaaar shimz
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    Sweeeeeet

  3. #3
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    You use a zip-tie on your stanchion to route the brake hose?


    Anyways, good comprehensive review.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharacterZero View Post
    You use a zip-tie on your stanchion to route the brake hose?


    Anyways, good comprehensive review.
    Thanks!

    Yes. I have used right hand front brake for decades, and the hose routes straighter and more cleanly this way, IMO.

  5. #5
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    Another great write up that will probably cost me money. I have been wanting to switch my Lyrik to a Vengeance for a while now. Thanks to having a part time job at a local shop, I can do it at a killer price. I am trying to wait until after my vacation to Hawaii in September, but all the talk about how good the Vengeance is compared to the Lyrik is making it hard.

  6. #6
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    The Vengeance has quickly made it to the top of my short list of next AM forks. Thanks for the review. Interesting mod too, although I have a RS Domain U-Turn and never touch the travel adjust. I actually prefer fixed travel on my forks. The consistency helps with climbing. Quick question: You mentioned the taller axle to crown height slackened your geo by 1/2 a degree. Did it do anything to the BB height?
    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whip Chop! View Post
    The Vengeance has quickly made it to the top of my short list of next AM forks. Thanks for the review. Interesting mod too, although I have a RS Domain U-Turn and never touch the travel adjust. I actually prefer fixed travel on my forks. The consistency helps with climbing. Quick question: You mentioned the taller axle to crown height slackened your geo by 1/2 a degree. Did it do anything to the BB height?
    Thanks.
    The unweighted BB before sag was raised a small bit.

    Between the axles and wheels, the BB is about 1/3 of the distance from the rear axle to front axle. When the front of the frame is raised (x), then the BB is raised about one-third of (x), or (x / 3). In the case where I set my Vengeance to the same travel, 160mm, as my Lyric at full travel, then the 10mm higher a2c of the Vengeance will raise the BB 10mm / 3 = 3.333 mm (near 1/8th inch).

    The geometry of the whole frame rises in rotation from a pivot at the rear axle when the head tube is raised relative to a prior height, with no other component change or adjustment, such as when going to a higher fork a2c using the same travel. Other ways to raise the head tube are: fitting taller front tire, or 650b wheel in place of a 26 inch wheel, or changing to a head set where the lower cup adds more space between the head tube and fork crown, or adjusting the travel of a fork to have longer travel. In the case of the X-Fusion Vengeance, the crown is taller and bigger (and stiffer) than most other forks with the same travel.

    A small height change is noticeable to most well experienced riders mostly because the rider's weight center is shifted rearward, off the front wheel and onto the rear. Often small difference in height can be balance by adjusting front and rear sag. In my case I must climb a lot on local ride and need to maintain good weight on the front end while seated and the front wheel is unweighted, so I lowered my handlebars 10mm by swapping stem spacers from under the stem to be above. With the lowered handle bar, my body weight center is nearly the same as before, so my climbing weight balance is essentially unchanged.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post
    The unweighted BB before sag was raised a small bit.

    Between the axles and wheels, the BB is about 1/3 of the distance from the rear axle to front axle. When the front of the frame is raised (x), then the BB is raised about one-third of (x), or (x / 3). In the case where I set my Vengeance to the same travel, 160mm, as my Lyric at full travel, then the 10mm higher a2c of the Vengeance will raise the BB 10mm / 3 = 3.333 mm (near 1/8th inch).

    The geometry of the whole frame rises in rotation from a pivot at the rear axle when the head tube is raised relative to a prior height, with no other component change or adjustment, such as when going to a higher fork a2c using the same travel. Other ways to raise the head tube are: fitting taller front tire, or 650b wheel in place of a 26 inch wheel, or changing to a head set where the lower cup adds more space between the head tube and fork crown, or adjusting the travel of a fork to have longer travel. In the case of the X-Fusion Vengeance, the crown is taller and bigger (and stiffer) than most other forks with the same travel.

    A small height change is noticeable to most well experienced riders mostly because the rider's weight center is shifted rearward, off the front wheel and onto the rear. Often small difference in height can be balance by adjusting front and rear sag. In my case I must climb a lot on local ride and need to maintain good weight on the front end while seated and the front wheel is unweighted, so I lowered my handlebars 10mm by swapping stem spacers from under the stem to be above. With the lowered handle bar, my body weight center is nearly the same as before, so my climbing weight balance is essentially unchanged.
    Awesome. Thanks for the info. I currently have a GT Sanction. I would love to run it at 170mm. As it stands now, my BB height is 13.9 inches un-weighted and wouldn't want it to get much taller than that but like you said, I could drop the stem/bar 10mm or so.

  9. #9
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    Wow, you pulled it off. So, if I understand you correctly, you got the screw-top cap of the lyrik coil assembly to fit the threads in the X-Fusion stanchion with a thickness or two of shrink-wrap?
    ****

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    Wow, you pulled it off. So, if I understand you correctly, you got the screw-top cap of the lyrik coil assembly to fit the threads in the X-Fusion stanchion with a thickness or two of shrink-wrap?
    It sounds to me like he just drilled the Vengeance topcap and adapted with washers and stuff.
    The shrink-wrap was just to remove the sound of the spring hitting the stanchion.
    Check my Site

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    Wow, you pulled it off. So, if I understand you correctly, you got the screw-top cap of the lyrik coil assembly to fit the threads in the X-Fusion stanchion with a thickness or two of shrink-wrap?


    Now I hope the u-turn conversion will hold up for a few years. It's working really well so far. No knob click balls, but I had removed those from the Lyrik, for easier on-the-fly travel adjust. Now the only problem is that using a Sharpie marking 10mm travel points on the stanchion disappear in one good ride.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by derby View Post

    Compared to the 160mm travel forks from Fox and Rockshox, the Vengeance lowered from 170 to 160mm travel, has an axle-to-crown (a2c) height 10mm higher.:
    I am very interested in this fork.
    My friend measured his 2012 Fox Float 160 and it is 555mm.
    I called X-Fusion and they siad the Vengeance traveled to 160 is 555mm.
    That would be exactly the same, so how come you say it is higher!?
    ...love is the absence of fear....

  13. #13
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogdaysunrise View Post
    I am very interested in this fork.
    My friend measured his 2012 Fox Float 160 and it is 555mm.
    I called X-Fusion and they siad the Vengeance traveled to 160 is 555mm.
    That would be exactly the same, so how come you say it is higher!?
    Published Axle-to-Crown length from Fox for the 36 is 545mm, that's why.

    Lyriks are 545mm also.
    Check my Site

  14. #14
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    Thanks, I think the published Fox A/C Length is off then, my 140 Van is 540 and my friends Float is 555 in 160.
    ...love is the absence of fear....

  15. #15
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    Has anyone tried using the Vengeance coil as their 27.5 fork?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by prancisfena View Post
    Has anyone tried using the Vengeance coil as their 27.5 fork?
    I'm about to do this very thing! Just picked up a kona process frame. Having my wheels built up next week. I'll report back when it's all set up. Are you worried about fitment?

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    I have. It works fine as long as you aren't using a huge tire. Mine cleared a 650B HighRoller II 2.4.

    The reduced offset from a typical 650B fork makes it corner REALLY good too if you like to take inside lines and cut down from high up on berms.

    Coincidentally, I have one for sale right now. White, coil HLR, 2013/2014 model somewhere. 1 1/8th steerer.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GH28 View Post
    I have. It works fine as long as you aren't using a huge tire. Mine cleared a 650B HighRoller II 2.4.

    The reduced offset from a typical 650B fork makes it corner REALLY good too if you like to take inside lines and cut down from high up on berms.

    Coincidentally, I have one for sale right now. White, coil HLR, 2013/2014 model somewhere. 1 1/8th steerer.
    This is something interesting to consider and one thing I'll be looking for when I switch over. If you read about the new Giant Reign bikes they have a Pike with custom fork offset. The team riders said it negates any unwanted traits in tight turns with bigger wheels. The vengeance has the same fork offset as the custom pike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whip Chop! View Post
    This is something interesting to consider and one thing I'll be looking for when I switch over. If you read about the new Giant Reign bikes they have a Pike with custom fork offset. The team riders said it negates any unwanted traits in tight turns with bigger wheels. The vengeance has the same fork offset as the custom pike.
    Yes, fitment. Can't afford a brand new pike and i've heard good things about the vengeance.

    Good to know it can clear a 2.4" HRII. I'm planning to use a WTB Vigilante with 30mm rims. I'm pretty sure it'll have enough clearance.

    Thanks guys! And post your bikes when you can, I'd love to see the forks w/ 650b's

  20. #20
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    X-Fusion Vengeance HLR coil - Can a fork be too good?-image.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by prancisfena View Post
    Yes, fitment. Can't afford a brand new pike and i've heard good things about the vengeance.

    Good to know it can clear a 2.4" HRII. I'm planning to use a WTB Vigilante with 30mm rims. I'm pretty sure it'll have enough clearance.

    Thanks guys! And post your bikes when you can, I'd love to see the forks w/ 650b's
    Mounted up with a maxxis minion dhf 2.3 of Stan's flow ex 650b. Plenty of room.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whip Chop! View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Mounted up with a maxxis minion dhf 2.3 of Stan's flow ex 650b. Plenty of room.
    WOW. That's good clearance.

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