The X-Fusion trace is a step up in performance from previous models
Travel on the X-Fusion Trace is adjustable from 80 to 140mm, but unlike the other forks on test, you don’t need to purchase a different spring assembly; it’s all done internally via something called a pin/ladder system.
You can’t make it out from the pictures but X-Fusion’s Trace Roughcut has a Uni-crown — a one-piece forged crown and steerer assembly for added stiffness and reduced weight over the older two-piece design.
It’s really hard to judge stiffness, even doing repeated back-to-back runs, but we reckon the X-Fusion Trace is not far off the Öhlins in terms of rigidity.
The Trace has the lightest thru-axle on test, but the lever is a little uncomfortable in use.
The fixing bolt on the hose clip is still too small at 2mm, and it’s dead easy to round out the head. Plus it also doesn’t really hold the hose that securely.
The Trace is a two-spring fork with a positive air spring and a steel coil negative. Unlike the other fork companies though, X-Fusion currently doesn’t offer tokens or any way of tuning the progression.
Due to the slippery stanchions, low-friction wiper seals, and a redesigned air seal, the Trace is smoother off the top, but it’s a little quick through the mid-stroke and still dives a bit more under braking.
The last time we tested the Trace we had a bit of an issue getting full travel, and that’s still the case here.
The Trace features X-Fusion’s latest Roughcut cartridge damper. It’s a bladder design, to deal with oil expansion, and features rebound and independently adjustable high and low-speed compression adjustment.
To stop some of the mid-stroke wallow, we actually ran both the low-speed compression and rebound half way in.
This robbed us of some of the suppleness and small-bump sensitivity but the fork dived less.
Slamming through rough sections of trail, the damping didn’t quite match the Fox 34, but it was definitely more controlled than the Yari.
The best thing about the Roughcut is there’s a wide range of adjustment for different rider weights and riding styles — you’re not stuck at one end.
The price of the Trace has remained static since last year, and with price hikes elsewhere is therefore relatively more affordable.
It’s stiff, a reasonable weight, and has a top spec damper but needs a system for adjusting the spring progression to really challenge the big boys.