Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 Race Bike Prep: X-Fusion Slide RL2+

OMG It's March.

Spring just became a bit more real and I also just got really worried about my body still not working with the first summer series races coming down the pipe in 2 months time.  Before we get into race bikes I'll give a quick rundown / update on my current health (bullshit) profile:

I've had all kinds of weird issues going on a year now.  I was actually tested for all kinds of stuff (mostly in the rheumatoid family as well as lyme)  this past summer due to all kinds of joint issues/pain and other random weirdness.  Basically I went from being a picture of health to a picture of epic dysfunction in a short period of time.  I battled through much of last year and I was able to get clear of some stuff but other issues have persisted through the winter and I'm still feeling 'off'.  To date my biggest two issues are my #shittywrists which are probably some combination of ulnar nerve issues (impingement along Guyon's Canal is my best guess) and maybe some chronic bursitis thrown in for good measure.  As well as a sweet Morton's neuroma in my left foot, most likely due to having to walk on my forefoot for a few weeks due to urchin spines in my heel from my gnar surfing incident.

I used to heal somewhat decently but that has been out the window recently and it seems like any little issue I run into turns into something much worse that seemingly never heals.  Just recently I've gotten myself a bunch of referrals and I'm headed to all kinds of specialists to get all this crap figured out.  Podiatrist, Orthopedic, gonna get tested for Lyme again because early tests are very typically negative even if you do have it.  Then if western medicine fails I'm going to stick myself with needles (acupuncture not heroin) and get hooked up with some Voodoo priests through Jomo.

Ok enough of my boo-hoo the race whip!

Due to my continued wrist issues I decided this off season I had to get suspension.  No way around it.  So the research began.  I had somewhat resigned myself to having to spend a bunch of money to get something worthy of the amount I ride and the demands I was going to put on it even though I don't really like dropping ridiculous $$ on things like a fork.  But as I poked around I kept hearing little rumors about this 'up and comer' and the farther I dug the more good things I heard.

In fact I had a hard time finding one bad word about what these guys were up to.  And not only that, their models were priced more like budget stuff but by all forum and shop talk accounts the value was more in line with some of the best stuff out there.  Built simple and tough.  All metal internals, no plastic.  Good customer service.  Only thing they are missing is a name that everyone knows.  I'm thinking that might change in the not too distant future.

X-Fusion. (you heard it here probably 4th or 5th by this point I'm guessing)

I think this is one of those scenarios where a few of the top engineers from one of the big companies (Fox in this case, I think) left and joined a smaller company with less of an 'overlord' presence.  I'm hoping the forums don't lie and its as good as everyone is saying.  I'm liking what I see so far anyway but ride time will be the true test.

Front end in wuss mode.

The action is real smooth.  According to their chart I should run it at 70psi at my weight.  I'm gonna try that but it wouldn't surprise me if I ride it a tad stiffer for steering accuracy.  Lots of fine tune rebound adjustment.  The knob has 38 total clicks, I went with the halfway point for now because I have no frame of reference really for what kind of rebound speed I would prefer.  Its got a simple cable actuated remote lockout.  Came with an inline barrel adjuster which I thought was a nice touch.  The actual remote seems a bit on the chinsy side and I'm questioning its durability but we'll see how it goes.

The additional clutter on the bars kind of annoys me, but I can think of just a few too many times this will come in handy so I'm gonna deal with it.

I wasn't a huge fan of their decals. I can't really put my finger on exactly what it was that I didn't like.  I guess they were just kind of bland(?).  I pulled them off and I much prefer the fully clean look, I think it complements the frame better.  We really need to come up with a white equivalent term for 'murdered out' though.  That's gonna bother me a bit until I can get that figured out.  Fresh and Clean'd? Whiteout?  I'll keep thinking...

Squishy Spot

1 comment:

  1. I never thought I'd see the day. I guess I decided to remove myself from the race scene just in time - otherwise you'd be killing me with that squish up front. You may find that you like the fork behavior better set to a less stiff action so that the fork eats up all the little stuff, not just the big hits. I don't think you'd find the steering accuracy compromised by that very much at all.

    I can relate a little to the medical issues. My joints have "issues" that are forcing me to alter my riding habits. No joy there. Just keep the long-term perspective whenever you can.