Reviews In The Queue: X-Fusion Hilo 100, Deuter Race X Air

by Brian Mullin on April 10, 2011

X-Fusion Hilo 100
At the end of last year, the suspension company X-Fusion released their new 100mm-travel adjustable seatpost called the Hilo, and they were kind enough to send one along for a quick four week test. The hydraulic seatpost is infinitely adjustable in its 100 mm range, and can be set up to be either cable actuated from a remote on the handlebar or a lever under the seat. It weighs approximately 620 grams, and is available in 27.2, 30.9 and 31.6mm diameters, and comes in either black or matte silver/black. The Hilo is hydraulically controlled, and pulling the cable or lever allows oil to pass freely through the post’s chamber, allowing it to move up or down. When released, oil can no longer move, so the post is held in place, holding its height. It uses an air spring to extend the post, which is adjusted by the valve located on the bottom.

Impressions
Installing the seat lever was very simple, and it was easy to make height adjustments while riding on moderate trails, but when anything remotely technical or tough was encountered it was difficult to reach back and pull the lever. Pulling the lever under the seat provided very smooth operation, and a simple seated downward pressure (push with the butt) put the saddle into whatever height was desired, while upward motion entailed not weighting or sitting on the saddle. The upward movement was also greatly assisted by the subtle hand pull while using the lever. On occasion the downward movement caused a loud squeaking noise, and even lubing the stanchion with Slick Honey didn’t seem to help?

I next installed the cable actuated system using the instructional drawing that came with the kit. I was finally able get it in place, but the simple pictorial installation guide was pretty worthless IMHO (maybe they forgot to include the better one I found online). Although I got it working, a more detailed step by step guide should accompany the unit? Even though I lubed the cable, and had everything working properly, the cable system seemed a bit stiff, and never gave the smooth operation like the seat lever provided? I also had some issue with it not popping back up to the highest position quick enough, so I might bump up the air pressure to see if that helps, and plays more with the cable barrel adjuster underneath the saddle. I did like the hinged remote clamp, which makes it easier to install on a variety of handlebars, and not require removing brakes, grips or shifters.

I had recently been using a 125mm adjustable seatpost, so it was tough to shorten back to 100mm, and I really missed that extra 25mm or 1 inch of height when dealing with steep terrain and ledges, and I found myself getting caught on the back of the saddle sometimes. One of the things that I don’t like is that whenever the seatpost is in any lowered position, and you do hike-a-bike and grab the saddle it moves to its highest position, meaning it’s not locked and is free to move upwards. I found this very annoying, as I do some nasty hiking to get to my favorite sick terrain, and I sometimes need to grab the saddle. The unit didn’t twist much due to the Double key-way design, making it a very solid feeling, without any noticeable slop. They have one of the tightest systems in this regards.

The saddle was really easy to install since it uses a common single bolt clamp system, so fore and aft, or tilt is extremely easy to adjust.

I have a couple more weeks to test out the unit and figure out things, but it is currently rating 3.5 chili peppers.

X-Fusion Company HILO 100 Specs:
Adjustments height seatposts are improving the way that mountain bikers ride everywhere. All riders can benefit from moving the seat down for added stability on descents or increasing the seat height for climbing. X-Fusion has been manufacturing hydraulic systems for over 10 years so it was natural for us to jump into this emerging product segment. Our goal is to create the most durable, most reliable adjustable height seatpost on the market.

  • MSRP: $250
  • Hydraulic design allows for smooth adjustability
  • Double key-way design prevents lateral twisting
  • Passes CEN testing for fatigue and impact
  • Wide range of seatpost angle adjustment
  • Optional handlebar remote
  • Easily convertible from lever-actuation to remote handlebar actuation or vice-versa (with aftermarket kit) Lightweight design 1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)
  • Travel – 100mm
  • Weight – 620g
  • OD – 27.2 / 30.9 / 31.6 mm
  • Options – Seat Post Angle Adjustable Infinitive Travel Adjustable Remote Control
  • Colors – mat silver, black

Deuter Race X Air
I have been using the Race X Air for the last couple of weeks, and it’s a really nice pack with some exemplary features. The foremost feature, is their Aircomfort System, which uses thin steel springs and a mesh backing to tension the pack away from your back, providing excellent ventilation and air flow without getting a sweaty back. Everything works in tandem with mesh shoulder straps, padded hip and neck sections (where the springs attach), and waist and sternum straps. The system also helps distribute the weight load evenly, for a noticeable comfort, and good anti-swaying characteristic.

The hydration reservoir is made by Source (out of Israel), and is a variant of a river runner dry bag closure system, and is durable and leakproof. Just slide the top bar off the reservoir, fold open the bag, clean or fill as needed, then fold over and slide it back on. Besides the excellent opening system, the reservoir has the Helix Valve mouthpiece (with a Dirt Shield cover), PE film material with Grunge-Guard and a Glass-Like surface. I liked the bite valve, as it never dripped, but I found it hard to get a good draw? Although the reservoir was easy to fill and clean, it needs a quick disconnect for the tube (I checked online and Source offers one?). The reservoir nicely drops into a pouch in the main compartment, and hangs from a Velcro hook, and the tube routes through a small opening on the top, and then over the shoulder strap, all in a nice seamless manner and carefully thought out.

The pack has one large main compartment, where the reservoir resides, two side mesh pouches and one small front pocket. I do wish the main compartment had some small pocket or pouches, or something additional for organization purposes? It seems to be a European design thing to skip having a plethora of pockets? I really liked that the main zippers clip together, so that they don’t accidentally open, and spill out the contents. There is also a small compartment at the bottom that holds the rain cover, and I have found it very handy as a helmet holder.

The Deuter Race X Air is a highly engineered and functional pack, and is currently rating 4 – 4.5 chili peppers.

Race X Air Company Specs:
With its sharp contour lines and technical Hexlite material, this small pack is extra streamlined for quick rides out. Heat build-up and sweaty backs are prevented by the proven Aircomfort System with mesh shoulder straps. Streamer 70 oz / 2.0 L BPA-Free Hydration System included.

Deuter Advanced Aircomfort
1. Contoured, softly padded shoulder straps.
2. Durable spring steel frame provides a flexible and light structure, and applies tension to the mesh.
3. The mesh back provides comfort and top class ventilation: the hot air dissipates freely from three sides.
4. Ventilated pads made of bilaminate foam (AC Lite series, Zugspitze 20 SL and 25), or contoured hip belt with ventilated pads (Gröden 30 SL and 35) for ideal carrying comfort, and stability.

  • Weight – 1/13 lbs/oz or 820 g
  • Volume – 850 cubic inches or 14 litre
  • Size – 19 / 8.7 / 5.9 (H x W x D) Inch or 47 / 22 / 15 (H x W x D) cm
  • Material – Deuter-Microrip-Nylon / HexLite 210
  • MSRP $ 69.00

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