X-Fusion’s new 650b Sweep is a reasonably controlled and affordable fork with a distinctive handling feel.
The unique 46mm offset (41mm is normal) of the steeply sloped crown creates a faster, lighter steering feel (think shorter stem) that met the approval of nearly all our test team. Despite 34mm stanchions, the Sweep is relatively flexible, but it’s as light as most 32mm forks. The new, RockShox Maxle-like LockX 15mm axle clips the leg while you’re tightening it, which is irritating.
The new Nvolve seals take a while to bed in, but performance is smooth once they’re sorted – especially as the progressive air spring and secondary ‘mid valve’ compression damping mean you can run softer air pressures than you’d expect without blowing through your travel. It’ll occasionally spike on sudden high-speed hits and you can eventually outrun the ability of the rebound damping to cope on relentless rocky descents but overall control is impressive for the price.
Forks for 26in (Slant, 160mm) and 29in wheels (Trace, 140mm) are also available in the same family. Slant reliability hasn’t quite matched that of X-Fusion’s previous Velvet and Vengeance forks though.