Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking Gear Reviews and Roundups





Control Tech Lawill Leader Shock Front Shock

4.45/5 (20 Reviews)
MSRP : $599.00

Product Description

Control Tech Lawill Leader LL-3

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Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Josh Greene a Cross Country Rider from Brockton

Date Reviewed: August 14, 2006

Strengths:    Dependable,Dependable,Dependable,Dependable

Weaknesses:    Not enough travel

Bottom Line:   
This is my second Lawwill Leader fork. The first one lasted nine years. I put near 10,000 mile on the bike and fork, the air valve finally failed. I found a Lawwill 3 online from a guy who just have all the pivot points replaced. What a steal at $75 bucks. To everyone out there who has one Risse( will service the shock. Setup of this fork/shock is very tricky. You need to play around with air and oil but when you get it right its like butter. I am 6 foot and 200lbs. 55psi and 5 weight oil

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Favorite Trail:   Boarderland

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $75.00

Purchased At:   online

Similar Products Used:   Amp

Bike Setup:   Ted Wojcik Hard tail

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Torbjorn from Oslo, Norway

Date Reviewed: July 8, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Need a service manual. How much air can I pump inn?

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sean Evans a Weekend Warrior from Midlands, UK

Date Reviewed: September 23, 2001

Strengths:    A fork that doesn't lockout under (rim) braking! Why oh why is this fork not made any more? Safe, strong and predictable, no flex or wobble.

Weaknesses:    Slighly heavy, shock has too much stiction, needs coil spring/oil damped I think.

Bottom Line:   
A weird looking fork that complements the LTS rear suspension (although my bike has a horrific number of pivot points!). After playing around with oil and air I've got it set up as best I can get it. I'd like to try a coil spring shock but it uses a custom mount.

I ride cross country with wide bars and shorty stem and prefer rocky technical terrain.

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Favorite Trail:   Ampleforth

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Recycle S/H

Similar Products Used:   Rock shox, Manitou, RST

Bike Setup:   GT LTS 1995 (Dave Hemmings ex-(stif)race bike) XT v-brakes.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Geoff from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Date Reviewed: May 17, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I've been using the Leader 3 for five years now and it has endured thousands of kilometres of trail and touring abuse without needing repairs. It is stiff, strong, fairly light and handles tricky singletrack better than any telescoping fork that I've used. It is the ultimate xc fork!

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Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Jon a Cross Country Rider from CA/NC

Date Reviewed: August 16, 2000

Strengths:    I've been a bike shop employee for the past six years, and about 3 years ago I got this from a guy that I worked with. It is probably the BEST steering suspension fork I've ever used. The linkage design and single shock allows the legs to be rigid, hence less flex than standard telescopic forks.

Weaknesses:    Not a whole lot of travel, also I'm very lightweight, and I didn't really weigh enough to get the most out of the air shock. Since air shocks have to have tight seals to keep in the air, it takes a bigger initial hit to set the travel in motion and overcome the stiction than with coil shocks. Also, a bit hefty.

Bottom Line:   
This is a great fork for a rider looking for excellent steering and performace over comfort, and weights a bit more than 150lbs. Also, anyone who is into alternative suspension designs will love this fork. Any time I rode my bike in a public place, I was turning heads! If you are looking to buy one CHEAP, email me because I have it sitting around and I'm willing to let it go for VERY cheap because it's doing me no good sitting here, and I'm too lazy to actively sell it. It's not the best overall fork out there, but it's super trick, unique, and very ingenious. A good value if you can find it for below $200, but I think that's probably rare.

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Duration Product Used:   2 Years

Price Paid:    $200.00

Similar Products Used:   Rock Shox Q21R, Judy XC, Indy XC, Marzocchi Z2

Bike Setup:   Aluminum frame, XT parts, Chris King/Mavic wheels, Marzocchi Z2

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by dave a Cross-Country Rider from columbia,mo

Date Reviewed: December 9, 1999

* great for heavy riders
* Sucks up punishment
* reliability

* none observed for the type of use I give the fork

Bottom Line:   
Hey, this fork rocks for tandem use. I've had this fork for about four years now, and have had to do virtually nothing to keep it running smooth. I'm 6'4 and two hundred pounds, and I've had stokers that weigh almost that much, yet this fork handles the abuse. For a fork to work well on a tandem you have to get the pressure jacked up so high that it won't move at all under your own weight. This fork has handled pressure settings this high for years with no problems. After I ride, I can see that the fork has given me full travel. Offroad on a tandem there is very little finese...just ram into things hard enough to get the wheel up and over. I would give this fork a great review for a heavier rider, or anyone needing a tandem fork.

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Duration Product Used:   
more than 3 years

Similar Products Used:   
Amp F3

Bike Setup:   
Ibis Cousin-it Mtb. tandem. Magura hydraulic brakes, additional hope disc on rear.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by George Lewis a racer from Lafayette, CO

Date Reviewed: October 30, 1998

Bottom Line:   

Amazing. After racing on Rock shox for the first year, I got tired not being able to steer through technical sections, or even at all. When I switched (to a Leader 2), I had to relearn how to ride because I was using so much body english to flex the Rock Shox through turns. These are the stiffest forks I have ever riden except rigid. Also, nothing takes big, high-speed hits like the Leader. They are great if you are a big rider (+180 lb.). I have been on a Leader 3 for the last two seasons and haven't had one problem. You do have to grease them regularly or they will develop creaks in the pivots though.As an engineer, I understand why motorcycles went to telescopic forks when they needed more than 4 inches of travel. But as an XC mtb racer, I don't need 4 inches of travel.Unfortunately, they are out of production now. The Control Tech guys I have talked to said that they just weren't prepared to spend the marketing money it would require to educate the marketplace. In about a year, you won't even be able to get parts for them.

Overall Rating:2
Submitted by Um Jim a cross-country rider from Tacoma WA

Date Reviewed: October 7, 1998

Bottom Line:   

I give CT credit for trying out a different way (technology wise), but
I just can't warm up to the feel of this fork. It is easy to adjust, so
you can tune it at will to your liking. The problem is that at its best (tuned for me) it still pales in comparision to an open bath/spring fork. I like the fact that others enjoy the ride because I think variety of technology only breads better stuff for the future, but as soon as I get the cash,
I'm gonna switch it out. (Just don't like the feel of bushings in a fork)

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Randy Chesnut a cross-country rider from Portland, OR

Date Reviewed: August 7, 1998

Bottom Line:   

This is a great fork!!! The other reviewers are right in that you have to fiddle with it to set it up for you but it is so easy to fiddle with that this is not a problem. The only drawback is a wee bit of stiction. This is far outweighed by the absolute rigidity of the system. You can blast along steep sidehill or stick your front wheel in a rut at speed and twist it out without any loss of exacting control. I didn't realize how spoiled I was until I recently spent some time demo-ing other bikes and found that NONE of the competing forks could match the LL. After many hard miles, the replaceable bushings wear out but they are easy to replace. Five chilis for the frame and 5 more for the folks at Control Tech.
PS My next plan is to mount this thing on a Yeti Lawill frame........

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Marc Sanders a weekend warrior from Seattle WA

Date Reviewed: July 9, 1998

Bottom Line:   

I've had the Lawill Leader for 3 years now. The most versitle fork money can buy. Once dialed in to my tastes the only maintenance performed has been to replace the linkage bushings. Super strong, no lateral deflection until the bushings are shot. Weight is not a problem as I'd rather have it be durable (6'7 and 265lbs). When I drove across town to pick up the new bushing kit I happen to bring the fork with me. The guys at Control Tech asked how I liked it. I gave them some input, they said wait here and took off around the corner with my fork. When they returned they told me they changed the oil weight, replaced the seal and tweaked the air pressure for my weight No charge. I went home and installed the bushing kit and the fork is as good as new and performs better than ever. 5 chilis to the Lawill Leader and 5 for Control Tech's customer service. Outstanding. Anyone know where to get a mountung bracket for the Hope disc brakes?

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Joseph Guajardo a cross-country rider from Austin, TX

Date Reviewed: April 18, 1998

Bottom Line:   

This fork is all about high set it up and forget it performance. The fork demands that you punish it with lots of rocks and downhill. You wont hear any wimper from but a slight hydraulic hiss that indicates it is ready for more of the same. I have had mine for three years and considering the passing fads of the other manufacturers, Control Tech is an evolution of superb technology. I swear by this fork. All those that are considering a new fork, I urge you strongly to investigate this rare piece technological brilliance. you will not be disappointed.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by andres cook a downhiller from england

Date Reviewed: March 12, 1998

Bottom Line:   

strongest,most reliable fork i have ever had .no seal problems and they are nearly 2 years old . starting to get dated for downhill use but probably the best cheap all round fork about. my old judy s were big problems and broke at crown.most useage in mud and free ride and crosscountry .just wish hope discs would fit.

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Drew Campbell a weekend warrior from The Great Northwest

Date Reviewed: February 24, 1998

Bottom Line:   

This is a great fork for downhill. The extra couple of inches added to the wheel base can make the bike less responsive than it once was, but the bumps that can be absorbed are enormous. The ease of adjustability and servicablity is a wonderful feature of the Leader III.

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Christopher J. Roberts a racer from Macomb, IL. 61455

Date Reviewed: January 4, 1998

Bottom Line:   

I am a newbe to the brillance of Mr. Lawill, but I must say the my Leader3, is outstanding. While it has a couple misses, it's hits far outpace trivial it minor stiction and HIGH price. I love the adjustablity and rebuildibility of the shock. The owner of a bikeshop Changing Gears in Macomb, IL. has chided me on my decision to use the Leader3, but then again he is a freerider and a true XC/DS/DH freak. Granted it has only 2 1/2 worth of travel, but it beats the shi* out of my SID (Stupid Inpulse Decision). For those worrying unnecessarily about weight. There is stupid lite and then there is performance. Long after the lite weight wars are over, The oil/air, infinite adjustable, unconventional, rebuildible, race winning (novice,sport,expert), Lawill Leader3 will still be around.
By the way, This 2 1/2 travel fork eats small and big bumps alike, don't be fooled by Bike Shops trying to cash in on the Long Travel Craze. Call Dave at (309)676-4678, he is an suspension expert and no he is not connected with the company, just a Damn Territic Wrench.

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Greg Smith a cross-country rider from Milwaukee, WI

Date Reviewed: July 1, 1997

Bottom Line:   

I've had my Leader III for a year and a half and I love it! It's unique linkage design and geometry yield a well balanced, responsive ride. The ability to change many different aspects of the shocks performance through air pressure, oil volume, oil viscosity and stanction height in the crown means that anyone should be able to tune it to their riding style.
I was forced to switch to the big R to use a disk brake but as soon as my custom mount is finished I'll be back on the Leader. Happy Trails!

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