First Rides & Actual Weights – Lauf Grit leaf spring gravel road bike suspension fork

lauf grit gravel road bike leaf spring suspension fork

lauf grit gravel road bike leaf spring suspension fork

The all-new Lauf Grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes could end up being their best product so far…and I really do like their Trail Racer XC fork. I’ve even ridden their Carbonara fat bike fork and see the merit there, too. But after just one rider on the Grit, I’m having more fun than ever on our local cyclocross and gravel trails.

Using half the travel of their XC fork, the Grit’s 30mm of suspension is tuned to sag about 6mm once you’re on the bike, which sets the axle-to-crown only slightly higher than a stock fork on most gravel and cyclocross bikes. The result is just enough movement to soak up the small roots, rocks, washboards and imperfect pavement sections that otherwise jar and vibrate your hands and arms into fatigue. Or just cause the wheel to skip around when traction is key, like in fast, sweeping turns down a mountainside service road.

Did it change the bike’s handling? Yes, slightly, but not in the way I expected…

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes

Besides the travel, the fork uses a narrower steerer tube, tapering from 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″. It comes with a custom 1.5″ crown race adapter to fit standard tapered head tubes, too.

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes

The oversized crown uses the narrower, broader design of the Boost-spaced Trail Racer fork, which is stiffer than the original 100mm axle version of the TR. That means very good lateral, torsional and fore-aft stiffness.

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes

The Grit switches to a Flat Mount brake standard, so you’ll need an adapter to run a standard caliper. But, read the fine print…

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes

It’s designed around a 160mm rotor minimum. So, to run a standard disc brake caliper on a 160mm rotor, you’ll only need the 140mm spacer. Like Lauf’s other forks, pretty much every measurement and spec you’d need to know is printed somewhere on it.

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork for gravel bikes

Bump stops protect the legs from the axle sections, but I don’t believe I’ve used them yet. Why? Because the guys at Lauf say you’ll know it when you do, it’s loud, and I haven’t heard a peep from the fork yet.

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork actual weight

On the scale, my preproduction test fork with uncut steerer came in at 918g. The included expansion wedge and 1.5″ lower bearing adapter (crown race) and two zip ties added 54g, and the disc brake caliper spacer added another 30.

lauf grit leaf spring suspension fork actual weight

I put the fork on a Pivot Vault CX bike, who’s stock fork with the same expansion plug (FSA) and a Maxle came in at 582g. Add up the Lauf parts and that’s a difference of 410g (0.9lb).

lauf grit gravel bike suspension fork first ride review

Here’s what the bike looked like before…

lauf grit gravel bike suspension fork first ride review

…and after. Granted, the Pivot’s kinda racy looking, and the Lauf detracts from that a little, but not too bad in my opinion. Other opinions may vary. I’m probably going to switch it to my Moots for long term testing, but wanted to try it here first.

lauf grit gravel bike suspension fork first ride review

Even though the differences in A-to-C are minimal, Lauf’s founder Benedikt Skulason said Pivot’s 390 A-to-C is among the lower ones he’s seen, but I didn’t notice any negative effects to the bike’s fit or handling from the additional ~19mm. What I did notice was a very, very slight additional heft to the steering, but only when riding straight down a paved road and intentionally jiggling the handlebar. I presume it’s because most of the extra material sits behind the axle, but honestly, I never noticed it while riding normally, just thought it was worth mentioning in case you plan on taking the fork through a slalom course for hours on end.

lauf-grid-leaf-spring-gravel-road-bike-suspension-fork-first-ride-review02

On my ‘cross test course, there are roots like this. I’m usually riding this section uphill, but there are similar clusters of tree legs throughout the course on flat, up and down hill sections, most of which are taken at speed. With the Grit, I could plow through them much faster and without bottoming the tire on the rim. On the front anyway. I feel bad for my rear tire and rim. Or, rather, Pivot’s rear tire and rim…that bike is in on long term test. And with the fork taking the brunt of each impact, the front tire no longer bottomed out, but the rear certainly did. Thank goodness for tubeless.

This particular uphill section is actually a better test of this fork than ripping down root sections. Normally, I’m trying to hammer up this climb, which requires trying to both lift the front end up and over some of the more twisted sections while also pedaling hard. With the Lauf, I could roll more of them without lifting so much, so I was faster and more efficient.

lauf grit gravel bike suspension fork first ride review

The Pivot came equipped with TRP HyRD calipers, which took a bit of fiddling to get running smoothly on the fork. As with the TR fork I have, I had to file the brake mounts slightly to get the caliper better aligned with the rotor. Keep in mind, this is a preproduction unit, so I can’t comment on final production quality. Lauf acknowledged this issue on early versions of their XC forks and corrected it. We will be swapping this one for a full production fork once they’re available in late May.

lauf grit gravel bike suspension fork first ride review

Long term testing will decide if it was just excitement and placebo effect or not, but my first ride on the Grit felt faster and better than any other ride on this course. I’m only switching it onto my Moots because I have other plans for the Pivot (like ‘cross racing and a diet), and because I’ll have to send it back eventually. If smoother and faster and more efficient sound like things you want from your gravel grinder adventure bike, then this is definitely worth a look.

LaufForks.com

Comments

19 thoughts on “First Rides & Actual Weights – Lauf Grit leaf spring gravel road bike suspension fork

    1. Narrower looking at it from the front, broader looking down from above. Search “Lauf” to see a comparison in our post on the newer Boost Trail Racer fork and you’ll see the difference.

    1. Just because it doesn’t have a damper doesn’t mean it is undamped. The carbon blades are lossy, meaning that it is inherently damped. Now, if the damping doesn’t work for you, then there is no alternative, but that’s the whole point of the Lauf forks: brutal simplicity.

  1. I may consider suspension/damping whatever on cross/gravel bikes when it will be available both at the front and rear end. That Lauf on a Moots YBB ? Why not.

    I fell out of love of my hardtail MTB too, now that I’ve tested FS MTB and rode my bike rigid. A lot of people are satisfied with hardtail but I think It’s just an awkward compromize.

    1. The added front-end traction is nice if you’re doing shorter rides/buffer terrain. The back is still gonna be hurting from bracing against big and small hits, but the fork is really a traction aid and a bit of an ‘oh-shit’ button.

      FS is fun, but expensive, and it doesn’t hurt for most riders to have a front fork.

  2. Ok Lauf, I get it and I love it. Now please work with a high end frame designer (open?) and bring the same damping design to the rear stays for a balanced and equally damped gravel extreme bike. That would be crazy!

  3. I have to say that I was more than skeptical of the Grit at first – an undamped leaf spring suspension system on the front of my CX turned “adventure bike?” But after clocking nearly 1000 miles on the fork over the past couple months riding the rough and rugged roads of rural Sonoma County with it, I am a convert.

    The enhanced comfort and control means that I can bomb some of my local mountain roads with a lot more confidence. The progressive spring rate suits my 70kg/155lb body weight well, so the 30mm of travel ends up feeling like it has more when riding unimproved or deteriorated surfaces. The quickest way I sum up the feel to those who have asked is that it feels as if one is riding with a slightly under-inflated 29” MTB wheel up front, but without the additional weight or rolling resistance.

    I hope that Lauf doesn’t want it back from us.

  4. Tyler, is your Moots a Routt or Routt 45? I’m selfishly hoping you’ll share your eval as I have a Routt 45 ordered!!

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