X-Fusion has come almost from out of nowhere to dominate the mid-range fork market. That's with good reason: the brand offers suspension performance that’s almost on a par with the top end offerings of the big hitters, without their hefty price tags.
The Sweep uses a 34mm chassis that’s been around for a while, except here it’s with a 46mm offset to suit the middle size wheelers. The sealed, high and low speed compression adjustable Roughcut damper is all new.
This means that for committed tinkerers and tweakers it’s sublime, allowing a level of adjustment to suit you own riding style and the trail conditions that many more expensive forks struggle to match. The all-alloy adjusters add a quality feel to the fork and the compression detents (the clicks that separate each step of adjustment) are nice and sharp.
Build quality is solid and trail feel nicely nuanced
But it’s not just the adjustability that’s amazing; it’s the on-trail performance too. It’s taut-feeling, with travel carefully rationed out as needed. While there are no volume spacers on offer to tune the bottom out stroke of the fork, you can alter the oil volume in the air spring to achieve the same effect, though we found the stock setup just fine. It’s also possible to change the travel from 160mm to 100mm in 10mm increments using a simple procedure that doesn’t require any extra parts or tools.
The damping is the real forte of this fork though. Instead of utterly isolating you from the trail at the expense of being able to feel exactly what’s going on at the wheel, it’s a really nuanced fork that manages to keep you informed of traction without passing on so much trail buzz that it becomes tiring. The chassis isn’t as stiff as the best on the market. But weighing in at 1850g, it’s a great trade-off between the holy trinity of weight, cost and stiffness and the limiting factor is more likely to be the rider when it comes how accurately you can place the wheel during the roughest and rockiest descents.
The biggest issue we had is that the flip-lever of the 15mm quick-release LockX thru-axle has a deeply annoying habit of contacting the fork leg as you rotate it, causing it to be pushed free of the recess it is seated in. And while we’re being hypercritical, the rebound adjuster knob lacks clear definition between clicks.
These are though very minor black marks against what's otherwise a superb package. Line it up next to the big brands and it’s competitive on weight and performance – and knocks them out of the park on price. For the money, the Sweep (sorry) brushes aside the competition.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.