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X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Good)
Hilo SL 125
 X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost  X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost  X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost
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X Fusion Hilo Strate (SLS)

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Costs about $270, Is on the lighter side for a dropper, Smooth action and remote works well with 1X set-ups, Simple 2 bolt head

The Bad:

Would like it to be more user serviceable, I did have an issue, but it was taken care of quickly

Overall Review:

X-Fusion Hilo Strate SLS 125mm

I like to think out of the box a little bit and try different things than the mainstream when it comes to many things and give the smaller guys a go, and the X-Fusion dropper post is no different. The SLS is replacing the original Hilo 125 I have had trouble free for 2.5 years with just a single rebuild performed by myself. This one is the 125mm version in the 31.6 flavor. It goes for about $270 right now which puts it on the cheaper side of the market.

X-Fusion Hilo Strate SLS 125

First Look:

I had to order the post directly from X-Fusion as it is extremely hard to find anywhere else at the time. This is the stealth routed version and is over 100 grams lighter than the original Hilo with the steel shaft. When I first pulled it out of the box, I noticed that it felt much lighter and finish of the post looks great (sorry no gold slick anno on this one!). There is minimal side to side play, which is not noticeable while on the saddle. The only negative I could see for some people is that if the post is in the down position and you pick the bike up with the saddle, it will extend. It will suck back down afterwards though. This does not bother me though as I pick the bike up with the frame.
125 X-Fusion Hilo Strate SLS

On my scale the post itself came in at 471 grams, and the uncut cable/housing and lever came in at 96 grams (79 grams after cut). The original Hilo 125 with the steel shaft and single bolt head came in at 585 grams and 83 grams for the cable/housing and lever. All together it is 118 grams lighter which is just over a quarter of a pound.

Hilo 125


It does take a little more time to install compared to a non-stealth routed post. Most of that increase in time is just due to making sure the cable length is correct and not too long/short. I recommend using just the housing and doing a mock set-up to get the length just right with the post inserted and the lever close to where you want it. Once you do that, put the cable through the thumb lever (BAT style) and through the housing to the dropper. The part where you attach the cable to the bottom of the dropper comes off to make mounting and tensioning of the cable easier. Once installed, check for play in the lever and that there is not too much tension either. I used a bit of suspension oil with a Q-tip to lube the seal to help it to begin with as I do my fork and shock seals every once and a while of use. It uses a simple but reliable 2 bolt head design. The saddle is easy to adjust and does not move.

First Ride:

With my bike set-up 1x10, the BAT style lever was a perfect fit on the left side where the front shifter is normally mounted. It can be mounted in a natural position with a similar feel to shifting. I could see it being a bit more difficult if you are using a 2x or 3x drivetrain though, but I cannot make any specific comments on that set-up though. The movement up and down is smooth, and bind free. It does not come up too fast to nail you in the family jewels. I would say it does come up a bit slower than some of the competition, but not slow enough that it is awkward or anything on the trail.

Throughout the first ride, it worked flawlessly. It never sagged or worked its way down while riding. I also never felt any side to side play while in the saddle. For the price ($269 for the 125mm and $289 for the 150 version), it is hard to beat. That is quite a bit cheaper than the mainstream competition. After riding for several months I had and issue and it would not extend fully. I sent it into X-Fusion and they ended up sending me a brand new one for free! From my experience, I have had great customer support from them with fast turnaround times even when sending from east coast to Santa Cruz, California.


What is it like after some time?

I had hoped that this was just a fluke and that the new one would give me no more troubles for the season. Ihave been on it from the beginning of the year and I just now sent it it for a rebuild after about 10 months of use. It began to sag a little bit and before it failed I sent it to their service after creating a RA# with them and giving them $40 plus shipping for a rebuild. Even though it is holiday time, their turnaround was quick once again.

What I Would Like to See Different:

There is not a lot I would really change on this post, but I will nitpick one thing. I wish it had a schrader valve on it like previous models that way air pressure could be adjusted for faster/slower return speeds as well as if it needs more air in it from any that could leak over time. Also, it would be nice if they were made more userserviceablein general. Dropper posts in general are not the most reliable and making one where consumers can work on it by themselves would be sweet.


In my opinion this offering from X-Fusion is a great one especially for the user that is not looking to spend a fortune. It operates smoothly and should last at least a year at a time before rebuilds. The rebuilds are pretty cheap and they have great customer service. It sits on the lighter side of the market and the cheaper side as well and comes in two variations; one that is stealth routed and one that is routed to the head. We are so spoiled with our technology and having a reliable dropper almost feels necessary. Go buy one if your bike does not come with one, you will not regret it.

Another Dropper Post

The Good:

The spirit of enduro likes this post.

The Bad:

Leaky oil kills plants and makes hippies angry.

Overall Review:


Over the past few years, X-Fusion has made quite a stir in the MTB suspension industry. These days, when one considers a new fork or shock, the name X-Fusion usually comes up in a conversation along with the major players like Fox Racing Shox, and Rock Shox when discussing suspension options. Given my friend’s raving reviews about X-Fusion’s forks, and the usual customer service benefit of dealing with a smaller company, I figured I would give their new dropper post, the HILO SL 125mm, a try on my trail bike.

The Hilo SL has a claimed weight of 450g without the cable, making it lighter than the gold standard of travel adjust seat posts, the Rock Shox Reverb (520g). The HILO SL is available with a seat post diameter of 30.9mm and 31.6 mm, and is infinitely adjustable (ie- you can adjust the post to any height you want while riding). The post also has a traditional seat mounting apparatus, so your seat does not fold back on you when you land on it hard.


Setting up the HILO is basically the same as setting up the Specialized Command Post or FOX DOSS seat posts. The hardest part is figuring out exactly how long to make the cable, because the cable is attached to the seat head. Therefore, you have to have certain amount of ‘free play’ in the cable so that the post can actually go up and down in an unrestricted fashion. Anyone with half a brain can do it. X-Fusion provides directions with the post, and has a set of awesome online service videos that will answer any questions you may have. Also, the pinch bolt that holds the cable in place on the post does not need to be torqued very tight. Be careful, as the head of the bolt is very easy to strip.

Riding the Post:

The post goes up and down, just as advertised. I personally like the infinite adjustability provided by the post. On the Command Post, for example, I sometimes find the trail mode to be too low but the climb mode to be too high for a certain trail grade. The HILO does not have this problem. Another thing to consider with this post is that the post doesn’t bottom out like most other travel adjust seat posts. So, someone trying to get his or her seat post as low as possible in the down position could have trouble with this post. I have attached an image below showing the low position on the post. Also, the lever actuator isn’t the most refined when compared to options from other companies. But, it does work.

Down Position of the X-Fusion Hilo SL

Reliability/Ease of Service:

Unfortunately, I have not had the best luck with this post. From day 1 the post has leaked oil. Granted, the post still works, but it is very annoying to have to wipe dirt and oil off your seat tube after every ride. Over time, it predictably developed some sag under the load of you sitting on the seat. Despite leaking oil out, the post worked for over six months, and then crapped out randomly.

I attempted to service the post myself at this point, but I ran into trouble trying to get the seal head of the post loose. In order to do this, you will need a very good strap wrench. I broke two of these trying to get the seal head off, only to give up and have X-Fusion service the post at Sea Otter.

At Sea Otter, I gave the mechanic a rebuild kit for the post and tried to bribe him with a bottle of Pliny the Elder (but he did not drink). Regardless, he rebuilt it within the hour. But, when I re-installed the post again, it immediately leaked oil.

From other people I have talked to that own the post, about 50% of them have a leaky post, and the other half does not (Sample size=4). Maybe I got one out of a bad batch; who knows.

Overall, I would rate the post very highly if I could just figure out how to get the post to not leak oil. However, when you factor in the leaky seal head, and difficulty to service, I can’t recommend that anyone buy the HILO over a Reverb or KS Lev. The post goes up and down, has a normal seat clamp mechanism, and has been seemingly reliable despite leaking oil for 6 months and 300 miles of riding. But, you have to like having oil spew out all the time. If you are cool with the possibility of this happening to you, the X-Fusion HILO SL is your golden dropper post.


Product X-Fusion Hilo SL Seatpost
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Other
Seatpost Type Dropper
Interface Railed
Remote Adjustable Remote Only
Diameter 30.9, 31.6
Length 422mm
Tilt 26 degrees from 0 in both directions
Materials Aluminum Tube, Gold Slick Ano Aluminum Shaft
Colors Black
Weight 0 lb 15.9 oz (450 g)
Price $349.99
More Info

X-Fusion website

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