”Wow what a beauty!” our Canadian intern Tyler lets slip as he holds the golden X-Fusion Revel HLR for the first time. And the rest of the team are equally excited about the exceptional looking forks. So they were bolted straight onto our test bikes and given a thorough thrashing on the most varied trails over the last few weeks. Whether on the fast Latsch (South Tyrol) trails, the Alpine paths around Garmisch-Partenkirchen or the flowing Stuttgart hometrails, the Revel had to prove itself everywhere.
The extravagant looks of the X-Fusion Revel HLR really stand out. That isn’t just due to the glossy, golden finish, the upside-down construction of the suspension fork is also everything but conventional. What counts at the end of the day is however the performance on the trail. To that end none other than Paul Turner, the founder of RockShox has implanted a number of technical refinements.
In order to get to grips with the frequent problem of the insufficient rigidity in upside-down forks caused by the missing fork bridge X-Fusion has developed the Gold E-Loc System. This connects the stanchions and the sliders with three key-guides which markedly improves the torsional rigidity of the forks. In addition the fork has a 20mm thru-axle and massive 40 and 38mm tubes in the crown area.
In the area of damping X-Fusion uses their well known HLR system as used by their WC Downhill Team which allows both the rebound and also the high- and low speed compression to be adjusted in fine steps. Via two air chambers the spring rate can be adjusted to the needs of the rider leaving every desire covered in terms of suspension set-up.
X-Fusion Revel Facts:
- Intended use: Trail / Enduro
- Travel: 140 – 160mm (650B), 120 – 140mm (29″)
- Damping System: X-Fusion Twin Tube HLR cartridge
- Adjustments: high/lowspeed-compression, rebound, air progression
- Spring medium: Air
- 34mm Stanchions
- Tapered steerer tube
- 20mm thru-axel
- Carbon-bash guards for stanchions
- optional lifetime free-service package (single payment 124 $)
- Weight: 2,05kg (manufactures quoted weight)
- Price: $1.766 USD / 1.800 €
Fitting the fork to your frame is in principle the same as with any other single crown fork.
The rider can can use one of the different supplied, gold anodized post-mount brake adapters in order to save using multiple adapters. A great idea which underscores the classy technical looks of the fork. As both stanchions of an upside down fork are not connected to each other when fitting the wheel they can extend to different lengths. Here you need a bit of dexterity but the Gold E-Loc system also helps as at least the stanchions can’t additionally rotate. It is recommended to always keep the thru-axle lubed with some grease as this makes screwing it in much easier and helps prevent it getting stuck.
To set-up the Revel HLR we started by adjusting both air chambers to the rider weight.
In Christoph’s case (approx.84 kg) we filled the upper chamber with 60 PSI and the lower one with 150 PSI. Next follows adapting the rebound and compression damping settings to personal preferences. Christoph likes a moderately fast rebound and a medium-strong compression damping setting. The increments of the adjustment knobs are fine and you can clearly feel the difference between each click, finding the optimal basis set-up is very quick.
After just a few metres the Revel HLR scores points with its very plush action which got even better after a few rides so that we could hardly feel any breakaway friction at all. In the first third of the available travel the fork feels extremely sensitive and literally sucks up small impacts. Deeper in the travel the progression of the air spring steadily increases and is strong in the last third of the travel. This effectively prevents bottoming out which we never encountered during our testing. With its extremely plush actuation the X-Fusion really sticks to the ground creating loads of grip. This was impressively noticeable on wet, off camber roots. No other fork we have ridden has given us traction like this – we are stoked!
Yet the Revel HLR doesn’t plunge into its travel and stays up solidly in the mid-travel range.
This is thanks to the extremely effective compression damping system which still gives plenty of feedback allowing an active riding style in-spite of the non-existent breakaway friction and plush initial travel. Through the combination of three factors: super-smooth actuation, effective compression damping and progressive air spring the Revel HLR only knows one direction: full speed ahead!
Line choice becomes a sideshow with this fork! Which leaves one last point: rigidity. Here we can only say that on the trail we couldn’t feel any disadvantage compared to a regular fork. We could visualise and hit every line with the X-Fusion fork. During breaking we couldn’t feel any flex.
The X-Fusion Revel HLR excited us and not just because of the exceptional looks – the functionality of the upside-down fork was also beyond any doubt. Regardless of terrain this fork rocks! Unfortunately there’s always a catch. In the case of the Revel HLR it’s the price: € 1,800 is certainly not cheap, and so this limited edition dream-fork in gold will not become reality for most riders.
Further info: xfusionshox.com
Words: Christoph Bayer | Pictures: Christoph Bayer / Anton Brey
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