The Lauf fork is arguably the oddest most unconventional cycling fork on the market, but it certainly has its fan. For 2017, Iceland-based Lauf has unveiled the Grit. It's a unique take on fork suspension design that does away with tube-based stanchions, oil, and even air. Instead, the Lauf Spring System's patent pending technology uses military-spec high performance S2 glass fibers formed into six flat leaf springs layered vertically above and below the wheel axle. As the front wheel encounters obstacles on the trail, these springs flex to absorb small impacts and enhance control.
The Lauf Grit is artful by design and lightweight by nature. It's compatible with modern CX and gravel bikes and sports a 47mm rake and a 409mm axle to crown length. Claimed weight is 890 grams with 30mm of travel. It is designed for use with 700c and 27.5 wheels. Price is $719.
Among the prime benefits is the fact that the Lauf Grit requires no maintenance, and the fork is not adversely affected by common environmental factors such as temperature, mud, salt or sand. This provides a consistent feel for the rider whatever the current conditions, and frees up time for other bike maintenance tasks. That means more time spent on the trail and less time fussing over oil levels, grimy stanchions, or air pressure and temperature swings. Now before you start thinking this sounds too good to be true, let's talk about damping.
Suspension without dampening sounds like a recipe for disaster, but on mellow trails and gravel roads the fork is in its element. In these conditions, small bump sensitivity and control reign supreme. The Lauf spring system offers a huge advantage over traditional forks by eliminating stiction resulting in more consistent feel. The progressive leaf springs also offer quicker response to small trail chatter for better control at high speeds. On rock and rough trails the lack of dampening and low amount of travel could result in unwanted and uncontrolled bouncing, but such conditions are not what this product is designed for. It's obvious this elegantly designed fork is all about speed. Races are won or lost by seconds, and this fork could make that difference in the right situation.
This article is part of Mtbr's coverage of the 2017 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. For more from Sea Otter CLICK HERE.