• XFS - Ride Review Update - LIvigno

June 04, 2018

Livigno Update 13.9.18

Below you will find some of our rider reviews on the XFS first ride but we thought we'd update this article with our XFS experiences in Livigno last month.

First off we have to say we're so impressed that the XFS seems to deliver a different ride to our Hex, it feels a little more controlled in the mid-stroke and keeps you in the attack position much more than our other suspension models, commanding you to attack, attack, attack.

We felt the Cane Creek DB Coil IL is the perfect choice, a lighter weight shock than other coils that seems to perfectly match the progressive suspension curve of the XFS.

We hammered the XFS into anything we could find in Livigno and it did not falter once. Its 143mm of travel felt a little on the short when Travis dropped into some serious 'hucks to death' but that is quite honestly to be expected as it was not designed for that kind of excess, as I reminded him.

Corner was as the cliché would say 'on a dime', we didn't feel the slacker/longer geometry held us back in corners, in fact the opposite the forward steeper seat angle put is in the centre of the bike allowing for controlled high speed railing of the many many berms that are 'LivignYo'.

All in all we came away gasping for more, more mountains, more adventures more XFS.

Twenty five of our first edition, Vendetta XFS's are about to be unleashed on the world so we thought we'd ask a few riders who’ve been testing them for the last few months, how our new whip rides.


The XFS Concept
Our concept behind the XFS was to take the best parts of the Hex and Switch and use them as a springboard for a new Vendetta, the Vendetta XFS. A three way, love child of the Hex, Switch and the Vendetta.

Great idea, but how does it ride?
We think the ride characteristics our hardtail Vendetta is sublime and with the feedback we receive from riders who own a Vendetta, we think it's actually at the pinnacle of long and slack hardtail geometry so our goal was to try and capture the ride of the Vendetta but with some added bounce.

The XFS has 142mm rear travel and we designed the geometry around a 140mm to 160mm travel fork, but with the sweet spot being a 150mm fork.

We've had the first few pre-production XFS bikes out on loan with our ride crew, friends and riders who have ridden other Kingdom bikes and riders we know can give us ride characteristics and feedback.


First up is Jim Slade, a solid rider of over 10 years: road, cycle cross and mountain bikes. He owns and rides a Vendetta regularly when he's not on a bike he's working for Bullitt Bikes in Copenhagen or playing his saxophone.

Jim says:
'In describing the ride characteristics of the XFS, it is harder to avoid the ever so tired euphemisms and vocabulary that the bicycle industry uses to communicate certain positive traits than it is to actually describe the XFS.

What I will say is I have ridden this bike more frequently than any before it....and that speaks volumes. My XFS weighs in at a very respectable 12.5kg and there is so little pedal bob it is uncanny. It encourages very unacceptable, hooligan like behaviour too... I have attempted trails previously deemed too gnar for my fragile form and have been seen with wheels soaring skyward. Cornering feels smooth, predictable and confidence inducing to the point where you don't need to look where your going and can appreciate local flora and fauna. I saw a tiny shrew on a berm earlier.....it was magical. The XFS is an enabler on many levels...a fixer as such, the bike you need to take your riding up a notch or two.

In summary this XFS isn't a quiver killer in the slightest.....it might be the only bike you need...but your legs will be quivering from using it so much because it is bloody good fun. Oh and it looks frickin' incredible too.'Now former BMXer, a legend on anything two wheeled and fiery antipodean Travis.


Travis Says:

Like a Vendetta… I know, I know. What a useless comparison to make, especially for anyone who has never swung a leg over one. It’s also total BS in that no full suspension bike rides like a hard tail, at least no good one. For those of you reading this who have ridden a Vendetta, however, I think “like a Vendetta” is going to make perfect sense. The Vendetta XFS is fast but still fun, planted but still playful. It is to full suspension what the Vendetta is to hard tails: a balanced package that allows for both speed and stupidity in equal measures.

“Balance” is important; looking at any of the geo numbers in a vacuum can be a little misleading. I personally railed hard against the 445mm rear end, thinking it would be too long to keep the “fun Vendetta vibe”. Though coupled with a suspension platform that works for me (lots of support in the mid-stroke and minimal pedal bob), the numbers all go together perfectly. I could not have been more wrong! Bang some 2.5” tyres in there and you have a bike that is often going to get you into trouble, but will hopefully get you out of it too… 

Either way, I guarantee your face will hurt from grinning like a madman all the way down. 

Now Chris. The guy who rides and designs and does just about most things Kingdom.

Chris Says:
Having ridden the Hex and the Switch to death, we took a long time deliberating where to take those two frames and stand-alone frames they both do the job perfectly. So when the design team floated the idea to combine them with the Vendetta and see what emerged I was initially sceptical.

But after having ridden the XFS in Tenerife, our February testing ground for new designs (due to the tough and challenging trails), I realised this fusion of different bikes was actually a complete winner.

Here's my thoughts:

Climbing is much more reactive over technical terrain, with less rear wheel hook up on rocks and roots than we could’ve imagined. Pedal bob is virtually non-existent and even with the slightly longer 2.8 compliant rear chainstays there is no loss of traction in the rear.

General trail riding the XFS feels very Vendetta-esque, lively and playful. It wants you to pop and throw it around, like the Vendetta it feels much tighter on the trail, than the slack head angle would lead you to believe.

Going down the XFS, seems to want you to ride it hard and fast (as does the Hex and Switch), the long chassis and wheelbase making things seem far more stable than the speeds you are actually travelling at. But for me the difference is if you need to add speed during a flat section, the pedal mid-stroke pick up is immediate with no wallowing or waiting for the shock to realise you want to pedal, the power transfer is immediate.

I run my XFS with a full Cane Creek Coil set up and whilst I like an air set up for some lightness the coil seems to psychologically add 10mm to the rear 140mm travel especially during extended boulder fest sections.

In short, my problem is now trying to justify needing a full suspension XFS to myself (read wife) when before I was perfectly happy with my vendetta X2.

There you have 3 ‘how it rides’ opinions on our new Vendetta XFS, we will be rolling out more ride reports over the next few months as other riders get to swing their legs over their XFS’s.

For more info on the Vendetta XFS click here.

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