X-Fusion’s Sweep fork is aimed at trail or all-mountain riders—people, in other words, who want a bike that climbs well, doesn’t weigh a ton and is still capable on rowdier descents.. Enduro? Yeah, sure, whatever...Sweep handles that too. Silly labels aside, the Sweep RL2 offers up 160-millimeters of air-sprung travel and weighs in at a competitive 4.2 pounds. In other words, it plays in the same corner of the sandbox as RockShox’s Pike and Fox’s 34. Stiff competition, particularly when the models you’re up against sell for hundreds more. Is the more affordable Sweep truly a contender?
Sweep RL2 Details
• Travel: 160 mm (adjustable, internally, down to 100 millimeters)
• Spring: Air
• Stanchion Diameter: 34 mm
• Weight: 4.2 lbs/1905 grams
• Adjustments: Rebound, Lockout
• Max Rotor Size: 203mm
• Price: $650 USD
The Sweep has been a mainstay of X-Fusion’s line for a couple years now and has 26er and 29er X-Fusion twins (the Slant and Trace, respectively). There are actually two versions of the Sweep—the fancier Sweep RC HLR, which features both high and low-speed compression damping adjusters, and this simpler, less-expensive ($650) Sweep RL2. Out of the Box
The Sweep RL2 is a straight-forward affair. You won’t find a dizzying array of knobs to futz with here. There’s a rebound damping adjuster at bottom of the right leg. There’s a lock-out knob atop the crown. You fill the fork with the right amount of air, dial in your sag and off you go. So, if you’re all about adjusting the firmness of your low-speed compression damping) or fiddling with high-speed rebound adjusters, this just plain isn’t your pony.
The RL2 also lacks a fancy, trademarked stanchion coating or travel-adjuster knobs. You can
open the fork up and adjust the travel from between 100 and 160 millimeters. Switching up the travel is a matter of pulling the lowers and the base plate on the air-spring side, and moving the pin from one travel stop to another. It's not rocket science, but you are going to need a pin spanner, some sockets, some new suspension fluid, an RLD damper-removal too.... Oh, yeah, having a bench vice or an arbor press handy wouldn't hurt either. In short, eking out some extra travel (or, conversely, shortening it up a bit) isn't rocket science, but if you dream of flipping a switch and suddenly enjoying more or less suspension travel from your fork, the Sweep RL2 really isn't going to cut it.On the Trail
So, yeah, the fork eschews the obvious whiz-bang factor of the Pike and 34. But after a year and a half of flogging the crap out of this thing, I have to admit, it’s a pretty damn good fork. Not just in that everybody’s-a-winner “good for a budget fork” way. No. I mean it’s reliable and consistent. What's more, if you were addled and gifted enough to ride around with your eyes closed, most of the time you wouldn’t believe you were riding a budget fork.
Eighteen months of mud and ill-treatment haven’t noticeably affected the fork’s suspension stroke. It’s still nice and smooth—it doesn’t ease into its travel (when running the same percentage of sag) quite as easily as a Kashima-coated Fox 34 or 36, but it’s not far off the mark and I’ve done zero maintenance on this thing to date. Not proud of that fact...just being honest here. I’m also impressed by how well supported the Sweep is. X-Fusion's RL2 damper cartridge features “Mid Valve”—a secondary compression circuit that keeps the fork from diving when you hit that front brake or hit small drops. It works well and allows you to run a bit more sag (say 30 percent instead of 25) if that’s your thing. I never felt the need to increase the fork's bottom out resistance, but if you feel like adding more progressivity to the party, you'll need to dump a bit more suspension fluid into the air chamber. At this point, X-Fusion doesn't sell any puck-style volume reducers.
Is the Sweep's performance equal to that of the Pike and 34? It’s close, but not quite there. I ran the fork exclusively for a year on a Mojo HD3 and then began swapping out forks—running both a Pike and Fox 34 with the same frame, wheels and tires. On fast runs with long rocky stretches, both the Pike and 34 proved superior. Something about the fast, repeated hits would make the Sweep feel less controlled than the top-tier forks--as if the rebound damping was getting overwhelmed by the rat-a-tat-tat-tat
wrist-slamming hits. And before you ask: Yes, I had the rebound speed set appropriately. As for flex (always a concern on lighter, longer-travel forks), the Pike feels stiffer than the Sweep under hard cornering. The differences that I’m talking about here, however, are surprisingly subtle. So subtle, in fact, that I spent a lot of time going back and forth between forks to make sure I wasn’t simply imagining things. The fact that the Sweep RL2 come this close is, frankly, impressive given its price. Pinkbike's Take:
|Despite the fact that the Sweep RL2 sells for a couple hundred bucks less than a Fox Factory Series Float 34 and about $400 less than a RockShox Pike, the Sweep RL2 performs nearly on par with the Gucci-grade forks. Could it be improved? Of course. X-Fusion could stand to sexy up that fork crown and improve the quick-release clearance. I'd also prefer an adjustable low-speed compression damping adjuster over the Sweep RL2's ultra-firm lockout lever. In short, if you want maximum control over your damping adjustments, this bare bones fork isn't going to satisfy you. If, on the other hand, you are a set-it-and-forget-it kind of rider, you should check this one out. The Sweep RL2 may be a budget fork, but it doesn't ride like one.- Vernon Felton|
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