I think it’s safe to say the Lauf fork design has become iconic. Now in its third gestation, the leaf spring suspension design has expanded to cover nearly every type of off-road bicycle.
After an original model was designed for mountain bikes dubbed Trail Racer, Lauf expanded into fat bikes with the Carbonara. Now it’s gone a bit skinnier with the Grit fork for gravel and adventure bikes.
If you’re familiar with the design, there isn’t actually much new here. It is essentially a scaled-down and re-tuned version of the Icelandic brand’s other forks. In this case, the 12 fiberglass springs provide 30 mm of travel and are actually stiffer than the other models. These aren’t fiberglass like a boat; they are extremely strong composite materials that give just the right amount of flex.
After a few rides on the Grit I’d have to say it is the most transparent of the three variations I’ve sampled. The original mountain bike version took some re-calibrating of your brain, while the fat bike version is more subdued. This gravel version is almost hard to notice until you start getting into the rough stuff.
It can fit a 700 x 42 tire or a 27.5 x 2.1. Pictured below is a 35 mm tire for some sense of scale. In keeping with the ever-evolving “standards,” it will be available with either a 15 mm or 12 mm thru axle when it goes on sale in August. (Also worth admitting is that my brake housing is too short. Swapping in the Lauf required a longer cable and housing so I cheated and skipped one of the routing points.)
We’ll be putting it through its paces this summer and following up with a long-term review in an upcoming issue. Why not subscribe now and help support your independent cycling media?
After we rode the radical Cannondale Slate with its high-tech suspension fork, and got down and dirty with the Lauf leaf spring suspension fork on a fat bike, it only seemed like a matter of time before the two concepts came together.
Adventure riding is all about taking your bike places that you didn’t think it would go and having the freedom to explore. A suspension fork lets you push just that extra little bit harder and rip down that fire road or pothole street without worrying about every little bump.
Lauf has embraced that concept with its new Grit suspension fork for gravel and adventure bikes. Designed much like the brand’s mountain bike and fat bike forks, it uses a dozen glass fiber leaf springs to provide 30 mm of travel—just enough to take the edge off without changing the nature of the handling.
It’s available with either a 15 mm thru axle or the new 12 mm road standard, and can fit up to a 700×42 tire or 27.5 x 2.1. The 409 mm axle-to-crown and 47 mm offset pair with a tiny amount of sag to create a geometry that closely matches that of a traditional cyclocross or gravel fork. At 900 grams there is a small weight penalty over a standard fork, but being able to rip any descent should more than make up for it.
We have a Lauf Grit on the way and we’ll be putting it through its paces so keep an eye out for more. Consumer deliveries should begin in August and it will retail for $790.
RockShox has updated its 700c “trekking” fork, the Paragon Gold RL. This fork is designed to take the edge off light trail riding and rough roads by offering 50 or 65 mm of air-sprung suspension.
The Paragon features a light mount on the fork brace plus integrated fender mounts and an integrated cover on the fork leg to accommodate dynamo hub wiring.
The Paragon utilizes many technologies that mountain bikers will recognize, including RockShox’s Motion Control damping, an available lockout for the smoothest roads and remote-control compatibility.
The upper tubes are 30 mm straight wall aluminum; the lowers are magnesium with a 9 mm quick release. Options are disc only (max 180 mm rotor) or rim brake only with a straight or tapered aluminum steerer.
The Paragon weighs 1,827 grams, will retail for $255 and is estimated to be available in May.