|With a single compression and single rebound dial, and no spring rate tuning besides adjusting air pressure, the Trace RL2 is simpler than some more expensive options on the market. Does that hurt its performance relative to the pricier competition? Not in our minds, as the relatively easy to understand RL2 comes out of the box swinging. And that is really its strength: install the fork on your bike, set your air pressure and rebound rate, and hit the hills. We ended up running 5 - 10 PSI more than recommended for our weight but that's not uncommon, and the white Trace was impressively smooth straight out of the box, with zero break-in time needed for it to feel silky. That suppleness, combined with a good amount of progression in the later stages of the stroke, made for what felt close to being a compromise-free setup that provided both traction and bottoming resistance. Part of this is also down to the just-right amount of low-speed compression that helps to control the fork's stroke from diving wildly when on the brakes, and the 140mm Trace honestly felt like it had more useable travel than the more linear 150mm Marzocchi 55 Ti that it replaced. Chassis rigidity is on par for what we'd expect, with the tapered steerer tube, 34mm stanchions, and 15mm thru-axle adding up to a trail-worthy package that shouldn't disappoint anyone.|
The Trace impressed us immensely with its on-trail manners, and it's obvious that X-Fusion has a good handle on how to make a relatively simple fork perform well. Having said that, we did find some foibles that, while not affecting performance, are worth mentioning. The first is the impossibly small hardware that holds its crown mounted compression dial in place, a tiny 1.5mm hex screw that we'd bet a lot of mountain bikers would round out within a few minutes. Why would they round it out? Because that little screw backed out a few times on us, and we didn't really want to put any Loctite on it given its small size. Now, we know this complaint is small beans, especially given how well the fork performs, but we absolutely despise such small hardware being used. Our other criticism is levelled at the fork's 'LockX' thru-axle that would work well enough if the QR lever didn't make contact with the casting when trying to back the axle out. It goes like this: release the QR lever and align it into the slots in the axle shroud, now start turning the lever to the left about three hundred degrees until it hits the casting, then re-align the lever so you have more room to continue to back the axle out. This is annoying, but we have to admit that the Trace's action is so impressive that we'd probably even look past the front wheel being held on with with nuts from the hardware store.
We can't keep being surprised by how well X-Fusion's forks perform given that we've now had plenty of time on a number of their offerings, but we have to admit to having our eyes opened each and every time we get on one. The Trace proves, once again, that X-Fusion is the real deal, and riders who give the fork a chance will not be disappointed.- Mike Levy
Cool FeaturesSubmit a Story to Pinkbike
RSSPinkbike RSS Feed