While many folk may not like the slightly ‘noughties’ aesthetic of the X-Fusion H3C RCP (personally, I really rather like it), there won’t be very many people who don’t like seeing an impressively cheap price tag on a bike product in 2022AD. But value doesn’t really mean much if the performance isn’t up to much. And ultimately the performance of the X-Fusion H3C RCP was decent.
- Price: £300.00
- From: upgradebikes.co.uk
- Weight (w/o spring): 341g
- Adjustments: Low Speed Rebound, Low Speed Compression, 3-position Climb Switch (open, firm. firmest)
Now then. It did take a fair amount of trial and error to find this shock’s sweet spot, and also how best to get the most out of it on-the-fly during a ride. As with all the shocks in this test, we tested the X-Fusion H3C RCP with two or three different weight springs.
To cut a long and Allen-key-tastic story short, we ended up running this shock with the softer spring weight. We could never get the shock’s rebound to ride how we liked it to with a firmer spring installed. With enough rebound to prevent wallow/bob, the shock would pack down harshly on rough terrain, while running less rebound made the shock pitch about undesirably. The rebound changes significantly from click to click and we seemed to be stuck in rebound limbo with the firmer spring. One click one way was too slow, one click the other way was too fast.
We did experiment with the 3-position Climb Switch (or platform lever, if you will) but fundamentally anything other than ‘open’ made the shock just feel like an air shock. Distinctly un-fluid feeling. With the softer spring we could get the rebound to calm the wallow whilst still feeling supple and grippy. The attendant generous amount of sag was something of a mixed blessing. Great cornering and descending stability but at the expense of an efficient climbing position and increased likelihood of pedal strikes.
All of this meant that the X-Fusion was best suited to gravity-assisted duties. Once set up in sag-happy descent-freak mode, the H3C was not a million miles away in performance from the more expensive DVO Jade X Coil. It’s perhaps better tailored for hooning and bombing down rough descents, where it really does offer something of a magic carpet ride that can get you out of all sorts of trouble. And hey, look at the price.
Slightly dated looks it may have, but the X-Fusion H3C RCP is still an impressively well-made bit of kit. Just so long as you – and your bike – like to run a healthy amount of sag, you can get away with endless less-than-careful line ‘choices’.
|by Benji for Issue 145