X-Fusion Hilo SL dropper post review£250.00

Cost-effective conventional dropper post with remote

BikeRadar score3/5

X-Fusion’s new dropper seatpost is a definite improvement on its previous design, but it’s not as ‘SuperLight’ as suggested. The company’s pricing is keen rather than killer when compared to its forks too. 

A switch to an alloy rather than steel shaft – plus a new clamp design – helps drop 100g from the weight of the previous Hilo 125 post. Yet at 554g with remote cable and lever it’s no lighter than the benchmark RockShox Reverb, though it’s lighter than the KS LEV and Fox DOSS posts. 

Unlike with the KS LEV, CrankBros Kronolog and internally routed Reverb Stealth, the cable coming from the very top of the post means you still have to deal with the potential paint rub/tyre catch issues caused by the loop of cable expanding as the post drops. 

Still, X-Fusion have redesigned the mechanism itself with a much better filth-protected cable and hidden clamp rather than the old ‘looped over the top‘ design. That means both units we have on test have already survived longer without seizing than previous Hilo posts, and neither is showing any significantly slower/stickier cable action. 

The new fore and aft bolt clamp with reversible lower cradle is also a lot more secure if you bounce off the saddle on a big G-out or crash than the old side bolt design was. The available 30.9mm and 31.6mm sizes will fit most bikes. 

The much-copied Maverick-style joystick slides neatly under the shifter windows of Shimano gear – on either side of the bar – for a very neat cockpit setup. Pushing the lever in any direction drops the saddle smoothly down to any point you want in the 125mm stroke. 

The maverick-style joystick makes for a neat control area:
The maverick-style joystick makes for a neat control area:

The Maverick-style joystick makes for a neat control area

Extension speed can be controlled easily by varying the air spring pressure, but it was only after talking to X-Fusion in the US and confirming that the shaft soft-stops 12mm short of the collar that we stopped trying to crush it all the way down. 

The double key-way design keeps any rotational twist tolerable and it still performs no worse than new even after several months of daily riding. Seals, pressure, cable and so on are all still fine even after ‘that’ UK spring, with none of the air leak or freezing-solid issues we’ve experienced on DOSS seatposts in sub-zero conditions. 

While the pricing isn’t as dramatically aggressive as X-Fusion’s fork range, it’s still significantly cheaper than Fox and RockShox options. However, it’s outgunned on value by KS posts with comparable technology.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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