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.
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.
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.
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.