Lowdown: X-Fusion McQueen Plus Fork
The McQueen is X-Fusion‘s answer to the plus sized market. The 34mm chassis has clearance for up to a massive 3.25” 2.75+ tire or a 2.6” x29.” It featured a closed cartridge damper similar to what you’d find in higher-priced offerings but retails for considerably less.
For the rider who’s looking to maximize their fun to dollar ratio, the new X-Fusion McQueen looks like a home run. So how did it stack up?
|Wheel size: Plus/29||Max rotor: 203mm|
|Axle: Boost 15×110||Weight: 4lb 7oz, 2000g|
|Chassis: 34mm stanchions||Travel: 100/120/140|
|Offset: 46mm||Price: $750|
|Max clearance: 3.25×2.75/2.6”x29”||Rating: 4 out of 5|
Review: X-Fusion McQueen Plus Fork
A few weeks ago, we posted a story about a custom aluminum bike that was built around (mostly) value oriented parts. For the frame, we chose the new Tallboy 3. This bike is compatible with both plus and 29” tires. To test the bike in both configurations, we needed a fork that could do either wheel size. Both Fox and RockShox have products that fit this description, but their Gucci product retails for over a grand.
Enter X-Fusion. Their new McQueen fork retails for considerably less but uses the same closed cartridge style damper. The benefit of this system over a conventional open bath fork is that the oil is contained in a sealed and pressurized bladder. This eliminates the risk of air mixing with oil at speed, which can cause uneven performance. Other benefits include less frequent service intervals because the lubrication and damper oils are separate and lighter overall weight since less oil is needed.
X-Fusion calls their version of this system Roughcut. It is available in two different styles. The HLR has 16 clicks of high speed and low-speed compression, plus 36 clicks of rebound. The RCP, which we tested, shares the same adjustments. The difference is that instead of 16 clicks of high-speed compression, you have a 3 position platform adjustments similar to the RockShox Pike RTC3.
On the trail
On the trail, the difference between the three platform settings is significant. The lockout mode is efficient enough to appease lycra clad warriors but will give if you accidentally ram into a hole. The medium setting is intended for all around trail use. Compared to the fully open position, the fork feels firmer through the entire stroke.
With the high-speed compression fully open, the fork (unsurprisingly) felt the plushest. In back to back runs on similar bikes equipped with both the RockShox Pike and Fox 34, suspension performance was on par. Those forks do have a slight edge when it comes to small bump sensitivity and high-speed chatter, but overall the X-Fusion delivers solid, highly tunable performance.
The only high-end feature the McQueen is missing is an easily adjustable air spring. At 150lbs, this wasn’t a deal breaker for me. With all the different tuning options available, I was able to set the fork up easily. However, one of our fastest (and heaviest) test riders did want to make the fork more progressive. In that scenario, Marketing Manager Clarke Dalton suggests adding lubricating fluid to adjust the air volume. You can do this relatively easily by removing the valve core and using a syringe.
While there’s very little to complain performance wise, prospective buyers should take note of the forks tall axle-to-crown. At 140mm, that number measures 551mm. That’s roughly 1” (26mm) taller than a comparable 140mm 34 Fox fork.
When X-Fusion was developing this fork, the industry was still figuring out how big to make plus sized tires. To hedge their bets, the McQueen was given massive tire clearance. You can squeeze anything from a 3.25”x2.75” to a 2.6”x29” tire in between those arches. As an unintended consequence, the axle to crown height crept up.
At 140mm, the McQueen boasts the same ride height as a typical 160mm 27.5 fork. If you want to slack things out, that ride height could work in your favor. For those on 29” bikes, the taller front end is less desirable.
HLR, RCP, or RL2?
The HLR and RCP versions of the McQueen retail for $750. With it’s on the fly adjustments, the RCP is ideal for riders looking for the convenience of a lockout. Those who prefer to twiddle with knobs or want to “set it and forget” should look at the HLR, which sports 16 clicks of high-speed compression.
If you’re really on a budget, there’s also the RL2 version. This model retails for $100 less but shares the same chassis as the HLR and RCP. It does use a different damper, so you lose the adjustable compression settings, but you do retain the lockout and rebound adjustments.
For the rider who’s looking to maximize their fun to dollar ratio, the new X-Fusion McQueen is a homerun. It delivers a premium damper with impressive tunability for hundreds less than its competitors. While it might not be the flashiest option, the performance value it delivers makes it a smart buy.
For more info please visit www.xfusionshox.com.