Lauf Introduces 980 Gram Trail Racer 29″ Leaf Spring Suspension Fork

Lauf Trail Racer 29er carbon fiber leaf spring mountain bike suspension forkSplitting the difference in weight and travel between a rigid carbon fork and the lightweight “traditional” suspension forks like the Lefty or SID, the Lauf Trail Racer 29er fork brings 60mm of travel at just 980g!

The unique design uses four sets of three leaf springs to attach two axle/brake mounts to the fork to create frictionless travel. Called the Lauf Spring System, the leafs are made of “high performance composites” that are bonded into pockets on the legs and “springers”. They’ve tested to show no signs of wear even after 140,000 hits. They say that’s the equivalent of five years of regular riding.

All three structural parts are monocoque intermediate modulus carbon fiber with angled layups to create a stiff base structure. The springers (the pieces the axle and brake mount to) contribute an unsprung weight of just 255g. That low weight combined with the frictionless design supposedly provides extremely supple small bump performance that ramps progressively through the travel before stiffening up at the end to prevent things from going too far.

Hit the jump to, well, see this thing hit some jumps (and more pics and details)…

Lauf Trail Racer 29er carbon fiber leaf spring mountain bike suspension fork

Lauf is based in Reykjavik, Iceland. The idea was born, as many good ones are, over post ride drinks in 2010. Two friends, Benedikt Skulason and Gudberg Bjornsson, used Skulason’s experience making high performance composite prosthetics and Bjornsson’s industrial design skills to design and develop the fork. The first prototype was tested in 2011, and in June 2013 it won the first race it entered.

The travel starts off moving slightly backward before the leafs begin to form an “S” shape and the travel becomes more vertically linear.

Lauf Trail Racer 29er carbon fiber leaf spring mountain bike suspension fork

It’s available in six colors. Black, blue and red shown above; green, white and black/white are also available. We’ve reached out to learn more on pricing and availability, but their website says it’ll be shipping in 2014 and comes with a five year warranty for the original owner.

Lauf Trail Racer 29er carbon fiber leaf spring mountain bike suspension fork

This first video shows a bit of playing around but catches the shape of the leaves as the fork compresses.

Above, some small bump testing from November of last year. Below, they drop off a 4ft wall. Note the minimal movement when he stands up to pedal. Since there’s no damping, it’s really just the limited travel that’s keeping it from bobbing excessively.

Lauf Trail Racer 29er carbon fiber leaf spring mountain bike suspension fork

Helgi Berg, above, took 1st place on the Lauf Trail Racer on it’s first race test.

Comments

59 thoughts on “Lauf Introduces 980 Gram Trail Racer 29″ Leaf Spring Suspension Fork

  1. Out of the box idea but what about different spring rates? Or this one just works because, as we know, all riders are the same shape and size.

  2. Looks interesting. But, I was also convinced that the AMP Research fork was going to be the best thing ever, so what the heck do I know?!

  3. Seems pretty cool. At least we’re still seeing some interesting new designs out there.

    Supple – yes.
    Torsionally stiff – yes
    Laterally stiff – likely not but it might help tracking
    Bouncy – yes but limited but the short travel.
    Expensive – no doubt

    Adjustability of spring rate is the weakness. You get what you get. – lousy.

  4. I had a Lawwill Leader that I absolutely loved. I also had an IRD inverted anti-dive fork. It’s weird this company doesn’t pitch the fork’s anti-dive properties. Cool use of materials but for really high performance applications it’ll need more sophisticated damping?

  5. I don’t expect this to have commercial success in mountain biking, but it is a very nicely done project. The videos are rather convincing, and I’d guess that the idea could be nicely implemented in the future for cyclocross bikes or even on road and city bikes (with less travel of course).

  6. I’ll buy one if the reviews are good, the internet chatter is good, a friend also buys one and likes it and pros win races on it and if its cheaper than a Reba.

  7. I’d love to try one… of course I ride a carbon Niner rigid fork and prefer it to my FS rig for all but the chunkiest trails.

  8. Coolest thing I’ve seen in a while! I’d agree the aesthetics are unorthodox, but I think the designer did well on this first pass given the wild composition the fork had to take. The fact that the travel takes an S-path, starting with rearward movement is pretty cool. Would be neat to see them try to develop damping via a counter-leaf or elastomer that would slow the return, or stiffening inserts to adjust the compression.

  9. I don’t see why you couldn’t put elastomers between the leaves to provide damping and stiffen them. But with good composite design – and using the product as intended, not for big hits – you might not need it. And since they haven’t, maybe you don’t!

    I think it might be fun on a gravel bike.

  10. Just pop the zerts inserts out of your Specialized bike and edge them in between the leaf springs. Or take the crumbling mess out of that Judy you still have laying in your garage.

  11. Jeff: completely void of maintenance.

    It’s not a big hit fork. I’ve known some guys who get tired of maintaining their stuff, permanent case of the lazies, you follow? They go to a rigid fork and get the biggest volume tire they can stomach.

    This is like that, but with running a lighter tire.

    I dig it. I’ve had this same idea in my head before, not designed in precisely this way, more like a Lawill Leader, but very similar. I never bring it up because I think people would think I’m crazy – I’m glad to see not all comments here are xenophobic.

    I’d combine this with some 29+ Knard / Krampus tires. No maintenance, just a little squish, ride your bike and put it away wet.

    Above all it is cool to see non mainstream OPTIONS, even if you don’t think it is for you, it’s great to have another option.

  12. Specialized will probe and find a reason to sue this company for some sort of so called patent theft. You can see that it has an axle and Mike Sinyard thinks he owns the rights, I’m sure. It is nice to see that people are trying new things, this is how we have gotten most of the cool stuff we ride today. Nothing ventured , nothing gained.

  13. @ Drew – I should have clarified that I meant form a performance stance.
    Hey, if you want to mount one to your belt-driven Jones Space frame, by all means…

  14. Interesting fork!

    To come up with these ideas, do the engineering and then realize such a failure sensitive bikepart is absolute remarkable!

    BUT …choosing a wheel/part from CrankBrothers let me question the whole thing without reading a word…!
    🙂

  15. hmmm , kudos for taking the idea to reality but, why not just go back to rigid forks with a specific lay up of the carbon to give the required directional flex , i have 60 year old 531 tubed racing bikes that have forks with 30+mm of flex / compliance that weigh around 1 kg , sorry but this ,to me at least’, seems like a rather poor design that is trying to find a market that may have existed 20 years ago but is now just for people that like ‘different’ rather than better ,

  16. Brilliant engineering. considering the turning lateral forces and horizontal load and in between. Race proven too! (Potential market killer for rich price)

  17. They say in design if it doesnt look right there is a good chance it isnt….point in case is this fork. I’m all for new design but undampened leaf springs are a step back, not forward!

  18. lay that down on rocks -> DNF (dead new fork). If it could hold a rack and a fender, it could be a touring bike fork, though. I would like to see a normal rigid fork that can have a system like this as a bolt on conversion.

  19. So it has no dampening, no rebound adjust, no lockout and it can’t touch anything or it breaks… huh, sounds like a brilliant design for a mountain bike fork to me. Hah. I’m all about lightweight stuff but this is just silly. The best lightweight designs stem from creative ways to achieve functional products, not this silliness. It must be easy to create a super-light fork if you throw away traditional functions, features and constraints.

  20. That is great
    Not that it is so dam ugly it’s cool
    Not that they actually made it and it works
    That it pissed of all the losers complaining on here, who have never actually made anything and think they are xxxxxxx professors and should work at NASA or some sxxt.
    great effort guys

    I would buy it just to piss off the type of people who complain on here.

  21. I’m not understanding the points about the fork breaking if it hits a rock…is this not what would happen to any other CF fork? or frame? I’m not sure the “fragile” argument can be used against it’s viability…of course it’s fragile. So is a Scott Scale.

  22. Looks great for me. I am not sure if we all need the stuff normal forks from RockShox, Fox, etc. offer. It could be that this one has everything I want. That is a little suspension for XC-Racing that is light and does´t need maintenance and can be used all year around in dry, wet and salty conditions.
    Great stuff. I want it.

  23. I am going to cite Getalife’s comment as a reason for crackhead manufacturers to pay me for posting comments on this site. Somebody should also pay me to remind pmurf that there are many carbon frames, and some forks, that are not as fragile as this one.

  24. Ugly as sin, but I hope this does really well. I can see it on tourers and commuter bikes too. Seems perfect for anything that doesn’t require loads of maintenance.

  25. Today, there are basically two choices of forks: The “conventional” suspension forks, most of them heavier than the frame of the bike itself, but offering a lot of travel. More travel than many people need, and more weight than most of us want. Then there are the rigid forks, much lighter, but no suspension. The Lauf fork is obviously meant to be some kind of an in between solution, for those who like to have suspension, but still like to loose a full pound off their front end.

  26. I’d prefer to add 300g to the bike in exchange for some proper, damped travel and stiffness galore > Lefty Carbon. A noodly, undamped fork in exchange for no maintenance? No thanks, I may be lazy, but I’m not that lazy.

    @ Runar Omarsson

    How much travel do people need? And who decides that? From my experience, less is not better, at least not as long you’re riding real terrain and not laps on a race course where you stick to the smoothest line possible.

    NB: 4 foot “drop”? A doorstep rather, don’t call it a drop if it’s smaller than 6 feet sumthing.

  27. Brilliant effort, guys. It’s OK for what most of us do on MTBs but it would be fantastic for any road bike, racing or not – I’d love to put some pressure in my tyres for less rolling resistance (which kills the comfort) and still get some suspension without adding loads of weight. I say to the moaners – try a 1950s Moulton, you would be astounded what a little suspension on a road bike can do.

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