The X-Fusion Sweep is surprisingly light in hand when pulling it from the box. Not having a scale handy, I look up the listed weight: 4.2lbs./ 1905grams. For a fork with this much travel and costing so little, I’m pleasantly surprised.
After running a Fox 32 Float on my trail bike last year, I’ve moved on. Although 32mm forks work well in shorter travel configurations, once they’re set to 140mm of travel or more, they don’t do the job as well as forks with 34mm stanchions when pushed hard. The larger diameter splits the difference from stout 36mm all mountain rated forks and weigh a bit more, but offer the promise of greater longevity and responsiveness. And if the Sweep is anything like the scratched up and beaten on Velvet R I’ve been running on my Black Market dirt jump bike, it’s likely to hold up for some time. More importantly, it’s stiffer, and more confidence inspiring on the trail.
The Sweep series is positioned as X-Fusion’s trail/all mountain/ enduro fork for 27.5″ wheels. Based on the 26″ Slant series, the Sweep features a 46mm offset specific to their 27.5″/ 650b model forks. It features an air spring in the right leg, has a tapered steerer, and 15mm axle, all inline with forks in the aggressive trail riding category. I found the LockX axle to be similar to the SRAM Maxle; it worked well and wheel installation and removal is a quick affair. As is the current standard, the fork features post style disc brake mounts. When installing the fork, I had to swap out the 6″ rotor on my front wheel, as the fork is designed for for 7″ rotors, though it can also run with 8″ rotors using an adaptor.
Out of the box it’s listed as featuring 160mm (6″) of suspension travel, with options to adjust it internally. Interestingly, when I let the air out of the fork and depressed it, I managed to get a little more travel out of it. I forgot what my measurements were, but the fork is listed as having an axel to crown of 551mm.
X-Fusion has a reputation of making a great product at a great price, and after spending a few weeks with their 650b fork offering, it’s clear they own the price point 650b niche as well. After the first ride on the Sweep, I was blown away at how well it performed compared to the comparative model from Fox.
I’ve never owned a crappy fork from Fox before, but the OEM 2013 Evolution model I had been running on my Bronson takes the prize for worst suspension fork ever—and I had a dual crown Specialized Future Shox, or whatever the hell they called that POS that came stock on the Specialized Enduro a few years back.
Admittedly, the Evolution series is a price point fork, and the 2013 run has had a reputation for being utterly, well, bad, but with competition like this, Fox needs to step up their game. In comparison to the Sweep, well, there was no comparison. The Sweep is a far superior fork.
On the trail I found the Sweep to be confidence inspiring, with plenty of stiffness when pinning it downhill. I didn’t really spend time pondering fork performance when riding it, as I was simply having fun pointing it and setting up for the next turn. I don’t ask a lot from a fork— I just want the bike to go where I point it, while offering a controlled ride with a good feel, and being reasonably durable for the long haul.
My time on the Sweep wasn’t completely without gripes though. I’m not a huge fan of lockouts, and the RL2 is pretty barebones when it comes to adjustability. Your tuning options are limited to an rebound adjuster at the bottom of the fork leg and the lockout lever. I’m accustomed to being able to fine tune both high and low speed compression damping, and the adjustments on the RL2 is pretty much limited to the on-off lockout.
Personally, I’d prefer adjustable compression damping to a lockout. I haven’t done the market research though— it’s possible that the overall public finds the lockout to be a better value than adjustable compression damping. That said, according to X-Fusion, it is possible to custom tune the Sweep to have adjustable compression with two settings. If I kept the fork around for the long haul it would be an upgrade worth adding for my riding style.
On the upside, all the knobs and adjusters were well crafted from alloy parts, with no cheap plastic parts to be found.
When it came time to pull the fork off and ship it back to X-Fusion, I was a bit bummed. I hadn’t even come close to pushing the fork as hard as I would have liked- it was a solid performer with a good feel, and for aggressive trail riding, it did the job and offered an additional level of confidence over 32mm forks. It certainly doesn’t ride like a $600 fork, and if I was building up a bike with a limited budget, it would be my first pick.
If you’re looking to build up a new ride and are looking to get the most performance for the dollar, the Sweep fork should be on a short list of contenders. Combine it with an Shimano SLX group and you’ll have a ride that performs way beyond its pay grade.
Check it out: X-Fusion Sweep 650b Suspension fork
Special thanks to Inga Beck for her assistance with photography. Thanks and shouts to X-Fusion for loaning me this fork for the review.