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Fresh Produce: X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost

17:30 22nd February 2013 by Ed Haythornthwaite
22 Comments
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EDH_0584

As the name suggests this is X-Fusion’s new lightweight version of their Hilo dropper seatpost. Apparently it’s not just lighter either, it’s also better. The 125mm of travel is controlled via a hydraulic system so you get position your seat anywhere within that range. Unfortunately this post is one of those ones where if you have it dropped and then pick your bike up by the seat the whole thing pulls up. It’s not the end of the world, but we do prefer it if it’s fixed in place.

The action of the post feels very smooth, which is possibly helped by the new “Gold Slick” anodising treatment. X-Fusion have taken this from their forks and they see it as their equivalent of Kashima. Side to side play is kept to a minimum thanks to a double keyway system, and return speed can be controlled by adjusting the air pressure through the valve at the bottom of the post. The saddle clamp has been upgraded from a single bolt affair to a much better twin-bolt job.

EDH_0586

The post can only be operated via a remote, unlike the non-SL version, but personally I much prefer a remote anyway. I know some people have a thing against this particular design of remote (which is a blatant rip-off of the old Maverick/Crank Brothers design) but I love it. I just find it really nice to use because you can push or pull it in any direction, which in turn means you can mount it in a whole load of different ways. The design is also very resistant to crash damage, and because this one has a split clamp it’s easy to fit. The post itself requires a fair bit less cable pull than other cable operated posts, and so this lever feels particularly positive. It’s good to see that it uses a standard gear cable too.

EDH_0569

It’s at the post end where the cable clamps, and although it’s easiest if you remove your seat to do it you can leave it on if you really want. It’s pretty neat too, and we particularly like the fact that the end of the outer cable is well housed inside the post, as having the cable pop out is a common and annoying problem on some other posts.

EDH_0574

Here you can kind of get a better idea of how it works. All that happens is that the cable pulls a long lever down onto the silver ball-shaped valve. Hopefully it should prove to be pretty reliable, and as I said before it does feel nice and positive at the remote.

X-Fusion claim the weight of this post is 450g without the cable, but we measured it at 567g with cable and remote (which is a far more relevant weight anyway). Maybe we’ve got a really heavy cable? Anyway, it might not be as light as they claim but it’s not too bad and it’s still lighter than the standard Hilo which sells for £50 less. Size wise it’s the usual 30.9 or 31.6mm only (the standard Hilo also comes in 27.2mm) and the overall length is 422mm with a minimum insertion depth of 217mm.

We’ve already managed to put a few rides in on one of these posts that was fitted to a test bike we had and in general the performance was pretty good. The only thing we have noticed is that occasionally it turns into a kind of suspension seatpost. We think it might be when you accidentally pick your bike up by the seat, but it’s a bit annoying. Saying that, a few cycles up and down and that seems to solve it and the post is nice and solid again.

Price: £249.99
www.upgradebikes.co.uk
www.xfusionshox.com

  1. Jim Carroll

    I have a few of the standard Hilo’s and you get the same “suspension post” problem with them. Easy to fix, drop the seat down, lift the seat right up without pressing the lever creating a vacuum, then hold the seat at the top of its travel and release the lever, fixed.

  2. Maya Rider

    I’m hoping that KS doesn’t have a patent on it’s remote, so that EVERYONE ELSE can damnwell copy it verbatim! Doss remote: stupid. RS reverb remote: stupid. X-Fusion remote: holycrap even more stupid.
    simple, compact, effective. That is the Levs and should be the standard for all other remotes.

    1. max

      true,everyone should use the KS style lever its way better

    2. Banana Hammock

      The KS lev er should be the standard? God I hope not. The cable exit & first 3″ of cable look hideous & foul the brake lever/MC.

      The lever is at completely the wrong angle to press comfortably if you have any way normal hands too.

      The Reverb lever (RH – mounted under the bars on the LHS) is by far the most ergonomical lever to use.

      Mounting is only an issue if you arn’t man enough to run a single front ring.

      Its time manufacturers realised these things need to be mounted under the bars for easy use. This one looks great, as there is loads of choice for mounting.

      1. Anthony

        You can happily mount this under the bar, without the crappy spring guide on. Left or right handed.

      2. Ben

        The Lev remote is pretty small & neat and works well I don’t really see how you can have issues using it..?

        Maybe try mounting it upside down, I found I preferred it like that. Agreed that the cable loop is excessive though.

    3. Trip

      What’s wrong with the reverb remote?!

  3. Dave

    It’s not really a rip-off of the Maverick remote, as Paul Turner was behind Maverick, and now works for X-Fusion.

  4. Churchie

    Are you guys going to be reviewing any of the x-fusion forks in the not too distant future?

  5. JAMBO

    Hope its better than their forks.

    1. Brick

      whats wrong with their forks?

  6. chris-m

    For £250, it’s really close to the leader… The Rockshox Reverb Uppy Downy. That would be my choice, IMHO.
    .
    Although, having seen my colleague fit one, the X-Fusion Hi-Lo seemed easy to fit and worked well.
    .
    As far as problems are concerned, I have seen problems with all the brands’ posts we have seen, so there is, IME, no standout brand.

    1. Eoin

      My understanding is that the LEV is pretty much perfect.

  7. chris-m

    Sadly, Eoin, that’s not the case. The locking mechanism on the side of the LEV post is a poor design. It is restricted by the fact that its only a cable, but it could be better. Hopefully, it will improve.
    .
    Although, to be fair, I have only seen one LEV post with problems so far, so that might have only been a one off.

    1. Eoin

      Damn, I had not heard of this. Such a shame that no one can get these things right!

  8. Banana Hammock

    Considering the small number (relatively) of the KS lev, there are quite a lot of failures.

    KS are a PITA to deal with too. Now with the added bonus of no UK distributor who commented about dealing with them was a nightmare & is still owed a lot of money in warranty work…

    Just get a Reverb.

  9. Tom

    £250??? Who in their right mind would buy this over a Reverb???
    Its the same as buying some £250 X-Fusion suspension instead of a £250 set of Rockshox…

    1. Brick

      so whats wrong x-fusion? have you ridden any XF product? why is it any worse than anything else on the the market? is it the just the name you dont like?

  10. Brick

    whats wrong with x-fusion is what i was meant to say. Doh!

    1. chris-m

      @Brick. I think it’s more to do with the fact that the dropper post market is a fiercely fought one and that if you want to pay £150, there are a few posts at that price range which are good (for the price). Then at the higher level of £250-£350, there are more dropper posts each with positive and negative attributes. However, at that higher level it’s not that X-Fusion are crap or anything it’s just that Rockshox posts are really superb and have been out for longer – so it’s more refined. It is by no means perfect though.
      .
      Rockshox had the right idea in the first place (hydraulic and sealed) and everyone is trying to catch up and make better posts, whilst Rockshox in that time has made a good post better by learning from its mistakes.
      .
      So in essence, it’s not that other manufacturers produce bad products (although there have been mistakes in designs), it’s that if you’re going to spend a hell of a lot of money just to drop your seat, you’d surely get the best of the bunch?! All the mags, journos and industry people say it, that Maverick made the Speedball and it changed how we go up and down hills, but it was Rockshox that made us turn out heads and say ‘that’s the right way to do it’.
      .
      The Rockshox Reverb also made the Dirt 100, IIRC.

  11. Den

    I love x-fusion stuff but adj seatpost I much prefer the KS Lev. Best out of all the 8-9 diff ones I tried. But fs to the lever– to each his own. I match mine to a Joplin lever much like the one used by this new Hi-Lo. Way less cable and routing issues.

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