The Mountain Bike Life

I have been riding the Trace for over a year now, in that time I have ridden this fork on everything from long XC rides to DH runs at bike parks and everything in between. It’s been a while since I wrote up the product preview and I thought it was time to spill the beans and let our readers know how the X-Fusion Trace RL2 held up under a year and a half of my abuse, find out after the jump!

A little rest before I put the Trace through a workout on my local trails.

A little rest before I put the Trace through a workout on my local trails. | Photo: Rivers Mitchell

X-Fusion Trace RL2 Long Term Review

After being on one brand for a while you get used to the way things are and often think you made the best decision. You see the same thing no matter where you go, people think they are riding “the best” when in reality they only know what they have ridden. This is how I was with Marzocchi, everyone I knew rode them and so did I, we thought they were the best forks ever made. Them the big M had a few bad years and I really did try to stick with them, even through owning the worst forks ever. Those issues shifted my blinders just a bit and what I saw was a new world of suspension. This company that I never heard of before was making a name for it’self with good suspension bits at fair prices. Well, I had to know more so I contacted Brian at X-Fusion and he set me up with the Trace RL2 at a killer price…how can I say no.

Everyone loves pictures of knobs right?

Everyone loves pictures of knobs right? | Photo: Rivers Mitchell

We all love new stuff, especially when we get a good deal on it so in my first write up I was pretty stoked on my new bouncy front end, but the real test of any product is how they last long term. I find a lot of sites do “reviews” of a product they ride once or twice, I really do not think you can get to know much about anything in that amount of time. Maybe I am a bit slower when it comes to things like this, maybe these testers just have such a fine tuned feel for bikes that they know whether a product is good or bad in a few rides. I doubt it, this is why I my reviews take a little longer. I prefer to really get to know the product and the support that comes with it, and that only comes with time.

Enough talk, let’s get to the nitty gritty…is the X-Fusion Trace RL2 a good fork? Yes.

Did I have any issues with the fork during my time with it. Yes.

Was the issue resolved in a quick and friendly manner. Yes

The stickers have held up really well

The stickers have held up really well | Photo: Rivers Mitchell

One of the first things I noticed about the Trace is how good it absorbed the small bumps, roots and rocks that our trails are littered with on Vancouver Island. They really smoothed out a lot of the chatter I felt with my old forks. Not only that but when the going got nasty they ramped up nicely and saved my bacon on more than one bad line choice without feeling harsh.

As I said I did experience an issue, on one ride I noticed I was just flying through the travel, like there was no compression control at all. A quick call to the western Canadian distributor (Renegade Cycle Solutions)and I sent them off the next day. The timing could not have been worse, that weekend was the opening of the Maple Mountain trails and I really wanted to check out the work that Riley was putting in. A few emails to Brian at Renegade and he said they would be ready if I could come pick them up (Canada post is way too slow). Awesome service from an awesome guy, thank you Brian!

Not only did I get the forks back in just a few days they felt better than ever, and have felt the same ever since.

The King of 29er forks...maybe till the Revel come out at least!

The King of 29er forks? Maybe till the Revel come out at least!

One of the other things I noticed is that the axle likes to back out. I have heard of others experiencing this but have only really noticed it once or twice, and I can’t confirm if it didn’t get bumped in the back of the truck…but it’s something I always look for in my pre ride bike check.

I was expecting to have issues with the decals and I gotta say after a year of shuttles, bike racks and neglect the only issues with the finish is a few chips out of the paint on the crowns from a crash…everything else looks almost as good as new. No scratches or wear on the stanchions and the legs look almost as good as day one.

Even in the snow it felt awesome. | Riders: Graham Powell (L) Eban Tomlinson (R) Photo: Rivers Mitchell

Even in the snow it felt awesome. | Riders: Graham Powell (L) Eban Tomlinson (R) Photo: Rivers Mitchell

In the 29er world the choices for those who wanted a hard hitting fork were pretty low when I got the Traces and to a point they still are. I wish I could compare these to some RS Pikes or the new Fox 34. I can’t, but I can tell you is that these forks cost less and will not let you down. If you don’t like to tinker with tons of suspension settings and just want a strong, supple, dependable fork, then look no further than the X-Fusion Trace RL2. It will suite your needs and more. You would be hard pressed to find a better fork for the money.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive when compare to the competition
  • Supple Smooth Action
  • Great service

Cons:

  • Not a lot of adjustability
  • Not as bling as some of the competition
  • Axle may back out

The most important question though, Would I recommend the X-Fusion Trace forks to our readers. Yes!

For weights, stats and a ton more photo’s check out my Preview Post

I love these forks!

I love these forks!

Kananaskis
The Ride Never Ends

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