I was lucky enough to be chosen to receive a new fork at a recent “raffle.” I had to write a short paragraph about the prospect of using this new fork. It was the perfect opportunity to showcase my hidden talent, creative writing.
Sure enough, fork was mine.
Interestingly enough, I got to spend a few hours riding, or “racing,” with someone who also had this fork prior to me winning it. He told me about how light it was and how it had pros and cons. There was some terrain that this fork eats for breakfast and some terrain that eats this fork.
When writing my submission, I was focused on one thing, 24 hours in the old pueblo. I want be as efficient as possible and a one pound less bike is more efficient. It is not all about weight, though. The 24 hour course, as I remember it, is very smooth. There are no rock gardens. It is fast and flowy. What I assumed would be the perfect combination for this quasi-rigid fork.
After letting the fork sit fork a few months, I went ahead and installed it. First, with my bike still confined to the trainer. This set up showed me how springy the fork is. There is no sag on the lauf fork, but rather any sorry of movement corresponds to an immediate spring back of the fork. While this is very noticeable in the trainer, it is less noticeable out in the dirt. I say less noticeable because you can still perceive the spring of the fork when pedaling. There is also no real dampening other that the natural properties of the glass layup, so you can’t slow down the spring back. It is what it is.
There were some other oddities compared to a regular fork. When preloading the fork to hop over rocks or ruts, you get an immediate spring back, rather than the delayed rebound from a traditional suspension fork.
By now, my initial excitement of the 900g lauf suspension fork was dwindling. On my first ride out, all I’d experienced was bouncing. Maybe the one pound weight savings are not worth it. I turned off into the first trail and I think the fork either finished a break in period or finally came into its element.
Not being on the flat, smooth road or fixed to the trainer, the bounce became imperceptible. The fork also did a very good job at smoothing out the trail roughness. Again, it wasn’t like a traditional suspension fork, but rather seemed to reduce the amplitude of the impacts rather then try to absorb them. I turned off the main trail onto what happened to be a donkey trail. Our eventually culminated into me being of the trail, foraging my own path down a step embankment. The fork handled the extremely rough, unridden terrain superbly.
I haven’t done a lot of riding with this set up, yet. I plan to get a lot more ride time with it over the next the weeks leading up to the 24 hour race, but now, my excitement is back. I am optimistic about the fork and the advantage it will give me at the race. It will be the ultimate test.