Video: Lauf TR29 Fork – 990 Grams, 60mm of Travel

Eurobike Forks

OEM partners will get custom colorways like what’s seen on this Cube.

Just for a second forget about the fact that sprinter Oscar Pistorius is currently on trial for murder, and think about the prosthetic legs that earned him the nickname, Blade Runner. Now imagine taking the technology that allowed those legs to propel him down a track at Olympic level speed and apply it to a mountain bike fork.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Doing a 4-foot drop on Lauf fork.

Hard to imagine? Well, not for four friends from Iceland who showed up at Eurobike to show the world their new Lauf TR29 fork, which they claim weighs just 990 grams and provides 60mm of progressive suspension.

They call the technology the Lauf Spring System, which is better known to the rest of the world as a leaf spring. In this case six horizontal plies of S2 glass fiber on each side of the fork flex to provide suspension that, according to lead engineer Benedikt Skulason, is softest and most sensitive during the initial phase of the travel, more linear in the middle, and stiff at the end to prevent it from bottoming out.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Action of the 60mm Lauf fork.

Obviously that amount of travel only has application for light duty cross-country riding and racing. But if it actually works as advertised (we didn’t get a test spin yet) then it’s worth keeping an eye on.

They don’t have a booth, but they showed up at Eurobike ready to show off their new fork.

“It’s also completely maintenance free because it has no moving parts or oils,” added Skulason, who previously worked for a company that made prosthetic feet. “The springs are also very tough. This S2 glass fiber material is used in tank armor so it is really strong against sharp hits like from rocks.”

The fork is designed specifically for 29er hardtails, is compatible with 15mm thru-axles, is optimized for 180mm rotors, has 45mm of rake, measures 487mm from axle to crown, and comes in three different stiffnesses to accommodate riders of different weights — 110-165 pounds, 155-210 pounds, and 200-245 pounds. Estimated retail price is $1,000 and they hope to start shipping in July of 2014.

Left: 990 Grams – That’s about a pound lighter than most top-end race forks. Right: The fork is designed to work with 180mm rotors.

“We are planning to start taking pre-orders in October and are also talking to a number of bike makers about spec’ing the fork,” explained Lauf marketing VP Runar Omarsson, who added that they already have a “relationship with Niner” and that Focus has also been testing the new fork.

Omarsson also revealed that MTB maker Open would be showing off a 14.5-pound hardtail 29er spec’d with the Lauf fork inside the halls of the Eurobike trade show, which officially kicks off Wednesday. (Photos of that to come.)

“We think it is the lightest hardtail with 60mm of suspension in the world,” added Omarsson. “At 990 grams, our fork takes about a pound off most hardtail mountain bikes.”

Indeed, a RockShox SID World Cup 29er fork has a listed weight of 1,440, or 0.99 pound more than 990 grams.

Lauf=Leaf

When we ran into the Lauf quartet they were on their way in the Eurobike Demo expo with a quartet of high-zoot hardtails, each with a Lauf TR29 painted to match the bikes frame. The catalog they handed Mtbr.com showed eight standard color options, with the caveat that they planned on offering OEM partners custom colorways to match any frame or component color.

And the name? It means “leaf” in Icelandic.

You can see a short video of the Lauf in action here. For more information, visit www.laufforks.com.

Video: Lauf TR29 Fork – 990 Grams, 60mm of Travel Gallery
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15mm Thru-Axle

Lauf is making their bet on just one axle spec for now.
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Mechanism of Suspension

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Paint to Match

OEM partners will get custom colorways like what’s seen on this Cube.
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990 Grams

That’s about a pound lighter than most top-end race forks.
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Optimization

The fork is designed to work with 180mm rotors.
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Lauf=Leaf

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Four-Man Lauf Team

They don’t have a booth, but they showed up at Eurobike ready to show off their new fork.
(Visited 32,587 times, 26 visits today)
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures in British Columbia, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, and Peru among many others. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in January, 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and edited a book on cycling tips. When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying the great outdoors with his wife Lisa.


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  • FAM says:

    What the lauf?

  • stephen says:

    They should have put the leaf suspension on the chain stays and left a proper 140mm front fork, call it the soft-tale.

  • BKM says:

    Really cool and looks awesome, but if it’s undamped what’s to stop you from bouncing up and down every time you activate the suspension? Normal (stacked) leaf springs get *some* damping from friction between the plates, but these plates don’t contact each other, so it would seem to handle a lot like an undamped coil. Maybe it’s not enough travel to really notice the bounce?

  • Boner says:

    @BKM — what if the upper and lower leafs (leaves?) are designed to provide flex in opposite directions — say, the lower has “negative” flex to pull the uppers back down after activation? They’re composite springs, so in theory they can be engineered with specific flex properties….

  • BKM says:

    @Boner – On Lauf’s website it says the leaves (?) are bonded into the fork body at either end, so they’re all ‘active’ all the time. That means that even if the upper and lower springs were opposing each other the spring coefficients would just sum together into one effective spring coefficient, like a dual-sprung fork. The composite springs would have more vibration damping than a metal coil for instance, but in my mind it seems like you would keep rebounding and compressing after a hit.

    Not hating on the fork at all, btw. Just very curious what their damping solution was, or if they determined it didn’t really matter. It’d be cool to see a more in-depth interview or some videos.

  • bryan says:

    Interesting. I guess with only 60mm of travel damping isn’t as important. Maybe the leaf spring material already has a small amount of natural damping?

  • KJ says:

    What about torsional rigidity? With the Lefty as a notable exception, most other modern suspension forks have some rigid connection linking the left and right to provide resistance against torsional twisting. This design does not seem to address torsional rigidity. I’d think it could feel pretty sloppy in anything but a straight line.

  • MartinC says:

    Don’t want to sound like a physics professor here, but you just don’t need damping on a push bike for normal purposes. Do the maths regarding sprung and unsprung weight for a bike! Better still. borrow (from a museum or from me!) a 1950s Moulton. 16 inch wheels and a simple coil spring – and perfect comfort. The Lauf design would be perfect for road racing bikes, they should develop a Paris-Roubaix version!

  • Eric says:

    I would want sag on any suspension element for my bike.

  • Brian says:

    Uh, yeah, it definitely has moving parts or there wouldn’t be any travel.

    I guess he means friction-based movement. I would expect someone careful enough to engineer a safe fork to be careful enough to describe it properly.

  • Jeff Millar says:

    light…yes. But with a conventional shock the majority of the weight is taken up with the mechanics that allow travel, dampening, etc. I can’t see this fork being really tunable in any sort of way. And as a personal opinion I think it looks quite ugly. I’m big on asthetics.

  • Francis Cebedo says:

    >>light…yes. But with a conventional shock the majority of the weight is taken up with the mechanics that allow travel, dampening, etc. I can’t see this fork being really tunable in any sort of way. And as a personal opinion I think it looks quite ugly. I’m big on asthetics.

    Agreed. It is hideous looking. There is no tuneability whatsoever. The buyer can choose between three different fork spring rates and that is it.

    That’s the beauty/ugly of this. Very euro.

  • Michael9218 says:

    I would also be curious about the torsional rigidity. I think this is brilliant execution of thinking outside the norm. I ride a carbon hardtail with a 65mm travel fork (9′erB). This would be a welcome weight reduction to me. Hopefully we’ll see a solid test review on trails were the handling can be put to the test. The way they have it designed, it just doesn’t look like it will be very precise in carving singletrack.

  • max says:

    There’s probably some sag which’d give 45-50mm travel unless they already subbed that out (no other fork specs do) with that little travel maybe the damping rate wouldn’t change much.
    The parallelogram means the rake will change. but it is light!
    The design just seems like a schwinn/chopper springer fork with leaf springs instead of coils.
    Heck take the oil/air cartridge out of any fork and it’d be lighter.

  • I'mRight says:

    Without rebound control this fork will snap back so fast the clicking will drive you mad.

  • trailsnail says:

    I’d rather just run a higher volume tire and rigid carbon fork with 15mm thru axle. This is the tail wagging the dog. Pass! Plus with tire pressure and volume I can tailor the trail feel and use the extra $$ for Chris King hubs and better wheel setups.

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