X-Fusion's New Long-Travel 29er Fork - Interbike 2017

Sep 18, 2017
by Mike Levy  
Interbike 2017


It took more time than expected, but long-travel 29ers are finally here. Wheels, tires, geometry, and frames are relatively dialed, and you can pick from a number of different all-mountain 29er forks from Fox, RockShox, and Manitou, among a few others. And now X-Fusion joins the big wheel, big-travel party with their brand new Trace 36.

Up until now, it was only X-Fusion's forks with 34mm stanchions that used the Trace name, but that's changed for 2018 with this new model and its 36mm upper tubes. Longer travel forks - this one goes up to 170mm or down to 120mm - combined with 29'' wheels often require a burlier chassis, and X-Fusion started from scratch for the new fork. The approach was actually backward to how things are usually done, I was told, with them using a sort of reverse FEA system to determine the amount of material required for critical areas, whereas the more common approach is to pare a design down until you reach a compromise in weight, rigidity, and strength.

The finished Trace 36 sports an entirely new and shapely crown, and the lowers see an arch with deep lattice work and no extra material hanging about. Total weight is a claimed 4.4lbs / 2,000-grams, which is a very competitive number for a big 29er fork.

Moving inside, there's an all-new air spring system that ditches X-Fusion's old steel negative spring for a self-adjusting air setup. This obviously helps to shed some weight, but the self-adjusting design also means that the negative spring will match the positive spring as required.
Interbike 2017

You can't manually adjust the negative pressure, but it's definitely a step forward from the old coil-sprung layout. Accessing the spring leg to add or remove volume-reducing tokens requires a cassette tool, much like on the newer Pike and Lyrik forks, so say goodbye to silly wrench flats that were always way too shallow to save a few grams.


X-Fusion Roughcut damper Taipei 2015


Control is looked after by their Roughcut damper (pictured above), a sealed unit with an expanding bladder to compensate for oil displacement and to provide back-pressure to limit cavitation. The two dials at the fork crown are for low- and high-speed compression, while the dial at the bottom of the leg controls low-speed rebound, and the whole damper can be pulled out without needing to bleed it or perform a full rebuild.


Interbike 2017
Interbike 2017

Interbike 2017
Interbike 2017


If you know X-Fusion, you know that their forks are usually priced lower than the larger brands, at least when it comes to comparing MSRPs across the board, and it's no different with the Trace 36 that will retail for around $899 USD when it becomes available in March of 2018.






116 Comments

  • + 32
 now I want an Evil Wreckoning with 170mm up front!
  • + 24
 got one homie. its fucking badass. you literally just float and pop-bounce like a bunny
  • + 28
 Where's the REVEL inverted fork?!?!?! Been waiting since 2013....
  • + 14
 Two of my riding buddies her in Korea are riding them. The unicorn is real!
  • + 10
 I have one on my Megatrail, it's sick Wink
  • + 4
 @MtbRacer97: where on earth do you find em?
  • + 1
 @FLATLlNE: Picked mine up from a shop out of Taiwan called Iron Stable. Shoot them an email, they speak English quite well.
  • + 2
 @hamncheez: Check my profile. Album name GGRevel.
  • + 7
 I've had one for a while now. Tried it on my Spitty, Surge and now settled on my Hornet. Nice forks, highly recommended.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15183989

www.pinkbike.com/photo/14449345

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15183988
  • + 2
 @Ideate @MtbRacer97 sick. I'd consider getting one if they made 160mm for 29
  • + 1
 @MtbRacer97: were you just in CB i feel like I saw that bike this weekend
  • + 3
 @mtbdude562: Yea actually, at the collegiate races. Small world haha
  • + 2
 @Ideate: Good Lord! That Hornet literally took my breath out...
  • + 2
 @Ideate: You are blessed with good taste, sir. Those are all fine bikes.
  • + 17
 Sick fork. But does it come in Cashmere coating, for cold winter days? Wink
  • + 10
 No measure of axle to crown, tire clearance, or hub fitment. Great reporting lol.
  • + 2
 Yeah was wondering the same thing. Details please PB!
  • + 11
 Way to ditch the chamferless socket bull crap. You go XFusion.
  • - 2
 You mean the cassette tool to open the fork up? Dude my lyrik has that...
  • + 5
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Wasn't that new for 2017?
  • + 9
 Will multiple offsets be available? They should embrace the new offset paradigm.
  • + 3
 Nah, remote actuated offset adjust is the new thing. Heard it here first
  • + 5
 Is there a good reason why companies can't make these forks just a little distinct from each other? It looks like they all come out of the same castings. How about one that's super fat like a Totem? Or something.
  • + 7
 I honestly have a hard time telling one black stanchion fork apart from another these days until I can get up close to it, the only exception being Manitou. Obviously these companies employ the same basic design for a reason (it works) and it's not the end of the world, but it does get a little boring.
  • + 4
 I love the Totem, and still have it on my 26" Freeride Bike...
Love the looks and love how it works...such a smooooth ride..will ride it 'til if falls apart
  • + 1
 @ninjatarian: And yet, as seen here, start ups still think that linkage forks are the way to go and spend tons of money trying to make it work.
  • + 1
 Let me get this straight. The problem is too much similarity amongst designs. The solution then is to mimic an existing design? Hmm.
  • + 2
 I like seeing new things from manitou and xfusion. There needs to be more competition in the fork market to drive prices down. I don't need infinitely adjustable rebound and compression with ultra quick change tokens, I want a fork that I can purchase without hating myself. I feel like that's what marzocchi is becoming, the budget arm of fox, and I'm totally ok with that.
  • + 1
 I love my budget 350r. reminds me of their old bombproof coil forks.
  • + 1
 Been on the 380c2r2 for the last 3 Whistler bike park summer. Absolutely no complaints! 1st fork did 2 big summers of living at the base of the park with a couple of lower oil changes and a mid season full tear down. Was so happy with it I brought a new one to put on my new bike for this year. Got a 350cr on my trail bike, same thing second whistler season on it and it's been faultless. If they want to keep marzocchi 'budget' that's fine by me!
  • + 3
 I still can't figure out how to tune my HLR Trace. It works OK, clicks do something, but I just can't find the sweet spot. Hrr.. dumm..
  • + 3
 You probably know this, but go back to your air pressure. Add more or less than you might think it needs. You can also add slick honey on top of the air piston to take up volume and change the way the fork behaves.
  • + 1
 @acali: Tried all that. Not sure what's the deal. Just some magic combination between high and low speed and rebound that I need..

Lyrik RC2DH was much easier to dial in, even with coil. Double barrel rear shocks, was also obvious enough.
  • + 2
 open your high speed, have a bit of low speed, and have her ramp up pretty good and see how that does
  • + 4
 Close down US office ----> Release new product at USA trade show.
  • + 1
 Yea, I noticed that too. . . . . Not good!
  • + 1
 i noticed that when i sent my shock in for service, no more us service center. service/parts is now directed to a suspension shop in reno, and thay did a fine job, but pricier than in the past. miss being able to call up the guys and ask questions.
  • + 1
 @badbikekarma: That suspension shop is run by their old tech wizard Mike D as I understand it. So service should still be dialed.
  • + 3
 Wait, their damper is called the RoughCut? Did they go to the Chevy Nova school of marketing?
  • + 4
 With all this talk of offset with forks, what is the offset?
  • + 1
 The distance from the centre of the steering tubes rotating axis to the centre of the axle. Small offset means larger trail and more relaxed steering. Large offset means smaller trail and twitchier handling. It's sort of a similar adjustment to changing the head angle as far as the handling is concerned
  • + 13
 @piersgritten: Thank you for the explanation (-: Do you happen to know the offset of this particular fork?
  • + 1
 @panzer103: the offset of this fork works the same as the above post says
  • + 2
 no details are available as of yet and i think the two guys misunderstood the question. you were simply looking for the figure for this fork i.e 41mm off set
  • + 2
 Still need better availability. My rv1 was still better than my pike with mrp and my new fox 36.
  • + 2
 If you know Xfusion, then you know there's no way in hell itits ready by March.
  • + 1
 When it becomes available... or if it becomes available? X-fusion can be impossible to actually purchase!
  • + 1
 Upgrade Bikes are the UK distributor. Great guys.
  • + 1
 Umm...I've had a long travel (140mm) 29er fork by X-Fusion on my bike going on 3 years now...
  • + 2
 How does X Fusion beat SRAM to making a 36mm fork???
  • + 1
 Boost? 27.5+?
I would've thought this type of info would be kinda critical in this type of article
  • + 1
 Looks just like a rockshox and has a bladder like a rockshox! Why are all these forks becoming the same
  • - 1
 Finite element analysis (FEA) shows whether a product will break, wear out, or work the way it was designed......."reverse FEA".............ummmm............so they're made to fail?
  • + 12
 I think they're saying they employed it backwards. Start with it thin and failing and build material up till it passes...
  • + 8
 There are programs that you can put your forces and constraints into and it will roughly design the part by placing material where it thinks the material is needed most. I think they used something like this
  • + 14
 @TyranT21: Correct. It is called a bone-growth algorithm. You preset your loads, boundary conditions and maximum volume and the software will optimize strength to weight... just like nature with your bones.
  • + 7
 @TyranT21: The success is proportionate to how well they understand the load paths and constraints. This shouldn't be a short path to product release or take place of real destructive testing. Garbage In ----> Garbage Out
  • + 7
 Wonder if its a 170mm ,170mm fork or like Rockshox ,have a permanent 30mm in reserve incase of accidental Rampage runs.
  • + 1
 @Loche: This is an odd idea given the limited performance benefits of the fork chassis. It is not often that they fail either...creak yes, fail not so much
  • + 6
 @zutroy @Loche @TyranT21 @rivercitycycles Thanks! I learned something from PB comments. Not unprecedented but rare and indeed refreshing!
  • + 2
 @scary1: Fox have this problem too - I thought my Marzocchi's were broken when I started using all the travel
  • + 2
 @zutroy: I dont think so. Pretty sure the marketing guy is just trying to make sense of FEA. You look at the model, look for blue squares and you take them out and you re-run the model. Blue squares are usually squares with the lowest amount of strain energy.
  • + 5
 @Loche: hopefully it does a better job than nature did with my bones!
  • + 3
 @scary1: Can't believe that's still a issue with RS forks. I git rid of my '09 Lyric because it refuse to get beyond 135mm,no matter what I did to it.
  • + 1
 Check out Topography Optimization, its a way of achieving just this. you take a chunk of material, input the loadings etc and the software hacks away material until it reaches the limit of the load. very clever, but often the organic shapes are only suitabe for additive (3d print/sinter etc) type manufacturing
  • + 1
 I dig that cassette tool adaption. Thank you x-fusion!
  • + 2
 Rockshox started that last year and a company who's name escapes me has been doing it for even lonnger
  • + 1
 High speed rebound adjustment?
  • + 1
 Well you wont really need it unless youre full pro. Even Fox's $2000 aud fox 40 nor their single crown options have it.
  • + 2
 @RafaelH: cane creek does,I think it's a pretty important adjustment to be honest.most suspension products have this now,maybe fox are behind the curve!
  • + 0
 This fork looks freaking great! Will there be a travel adjust option like DPA or TALAS?
  • + 1
 The X fusion velvet fork I have can be adjusted internally, so I'm assuming that this fork uses a similar system
  • + 1
 @piersgritten: I'm looking for an external adjust. 170mm 29er is tough to push up the steep climbs we have where I live. I use the DPA on my Lyrik nearly every ride.
  • + 2
 @piersgritten: also they probably can't use the pin system from their other forks with a self-adjusting negative spring.
  • + 1
 Probably, i have a Trace and Sweep with their DLA travel drop cartridge, works very well, 30mm drop. would be surprised if they didn't do one for this beast
  • + 1
 Compatable with 27.5 plus tyres?
  • + 1
 Is it boost?
  • + 1
 Non boost.?
  • + 1
 Offset
  • - 3
 Where's the USD fork you released and then took back ?!?! Put that back in production and I'll be interested in owning an X-fusion ... until then I'll pass
  • + 1
 Its out there. Saw it on the X Fusion stand at Eurobike. Great fork, rode the proto version a few months back.
  • - 1
 How's that Revel working?
  • + 5
 Great, actually!
  • - 3
 Long travel > 170mm. Long travel ≥ 36mm stanchions. Long travel > single crown!!!
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