X-Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS) Dropper Post

Jun 16, 2014 at 19:31
by Brett Zook  
X-Fusion Hilo Strate SLS 125mm


I like to think out of the box a little bit and try different things than the mainstream when it comes to many things and give the smaller guys a go, and the X-Fusion dropper post is no different. The SLS is replacing the original Hilo 125 I have had trouble free for 2.5 years with just a single rebuild performed by myself. This one is the 125mm version in the 31.6 flavor.


X-Fusion Hilo Strate SLS 125


First Look:
I had to order the post directly from X-Fusion as it is extremely hard to find anywhere else at the moment. This is the stealth routed version and is over 100 grams lighter than the original Hilo with the steel shaft. When I first pulled it out of the box, I noticed that it felt much lighter and finish of the post looks great (sorry no gold slick anno on this one!). There is minimal side to side play, which is not noticeable while on the saddle. The only negative I could see for some people is that if the post is in the down position and you pick the bike up with the saddle, it will extend. It will suck back down afterwards though. This does not bother me though as I pick the bike up with the frame.


125 X-Fusion Hilo Strate SLS



On my scale the post itself came in at 471 grams, and the uncut cable/housing and lever came in at 96 grams (79 grams after cut). The original Hilo 125 with the steel shaft and single bolt head came in at 585 grams and 83 grams for the cable/housing and lever. All together it is 118 grams lighter which is just over a quarter of a pound.


Hilo 125


Installation:
It does take a little more time to install compared to a non-stealth routed post. Most of that increase in time is just due to making sure the cable length is correct and not too long/short. I recommend using just the housing and doing a mock set-up to get the length just right with the post inserted and the lever close to where you want it. Once you do that, put the cable through the thumb lever (BAT style) and through the housing to the dropper. The part where you attach the cable to the bottom of the dropper comes off to make mounting and tensioning of the cable easier. Once installed, check for play in the lever and that there is not too much tension either. I used a bit of suspension oil with a Q-tip to lube the seal to help it to begin with as I do my fork and shock seals every once and a while of use
Note: There were no instructions in the box, but X-Fusion has the instructions listed on their website.

First Ride:
With my bike set-up 1x10, the BAT style lever was a perfect fit on the left side where the front shifter is normally mounted. It can be mounted in a natural position with a similar feel to shifting. I could see it being a bit more difficult if you are using a 2x or 3x drivetrain though, but I cannot make any specific comments on that set-up though. The movement up and down is smooth, and bind free. It does not come up too fast to nail you in the family jewels. I would say it does come up a bit slower than some of the competition, but not slow enough that it is awkward or anything on the trail.

Throughout the first ride, it worked flawlessly. It never sagged or worked its way down while riding. I also never felt any side to side play while in the saddle. For the price ($269 for the 125mm and $289 for the 150 version), it is hard to beat. That is quite a bit cheaper than the mainstream competition. We will see how it holds up over time, but as long as it is just as good, or better than my experience with my previous post from X-Fusion, I do not see myself being disappointed. Stay tuned for updates once I get more rides on it.









Update #1

So after a few months of riding the post I wanted to give a little update. A few weeks after writing the initial review, I had to send it in to Xfusion. The post would not return all the way up to the full out position unless I pulled up on it. Once up, it locked into place no problem though. It was as though there was not enough air pressure in the chamber. They had great customer service and said they had not faced this issue yet. I sent it into them for repair and they had it turned around in no time. The repair order showed it had a seal kit installed on it.

Since then it has worked great again and has picked up no noticeable additional play that what it had from the get-go. I hope that this was just a fluke and that it will give me a couple good years of use like my original one from Xfusion did. I will say I wish it had a schrader valve on it likes previous models that was air pressure could be adjusted. Time will tell how it holds out in the time to come.

Update #2 (02-07-15)

I ended up having that post sent back to Xfusion again, from all them and I could figure, it was a lemon. They decided to send me a brand new one on their behalf after taking it apart at their factory for the second time. I have been using it for about 2 months now. So far so good. I also just now replaced the cable after 8 months of use as it broke on one of my rides. For a stock cheap cable, I can not complain about that usage time frame. I still love the post and I still believe it is a great value for the money. I have been contacting them directly with my problems by phone and they have had top notch customer service. At this time, I still recommend this post. Adjustable seat posts are still somewhat new to the market, and I think they will only get better as time goes by as more and more get introduced to the market.


12 Comments

  • + 2
 The post is very sensitive to collar clamp pressure, try backing of the clamp tightness if you have slow return. The post is slowe to return in cold weather. I've got six months of 3x weekly rides and i have side to side and up/down looseness, about as much as a reverb.

Good post for the price, but as good as a high end post.
  • + 1
 Hi, just had a comment. Ive recently bought a new hilo and have noticed the return rate is slower than my old KS. Is there any way this came be sped up ?. I tried greasing the shaft which sort of seemed to help. Would changing the air pressure do anything ?

tks
  • + 2
 If you have the stealth routed version like I reviewed then there is no way to adjust the air pressure inside. This post does not have a ball smashing return speed as some other posts do, but I feel it is a good middle ground.
  • + 1
 I am about to install this seat post today on my bike. I was gifted it by a friend and luckily live in Santa Cruz and work around the corner from the X-Fusion shop. I can't say enough good things about their customer service, I received the post beat up, took it to them for service to get it checked out and they found issues. They replaced almost the whole post for the price of servicing the post, they really stand behind their product, even for for me not being the original purchaser.
  • + 1
 Hi! Any updates on how the post is holding up? Am very interested in getting this post.
  • + 1
 So far so good!
  • + 1
 Hi Brett, do you have any updates yet? Is it still working, has it required maintenance or developed play or noises?
  • + 1
 I will update for you soon!
  • + 1
 There is a valve inside the post.
  • + 1
 Curious to know how the post is holding up!
  • + 1
 Updated!
  • + 1
 thanks!

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