Wren's Inverted Fork - Interbike 2018

Sep 17, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Unless you're into the fat bike scene, you might not have heard of Wren before this, or maybe you spotted a similar fork being sold under a few different names. All that's changed from 2018 on, though, with Wren becoming the sole name behind the fork and implementing some big changes. I've walked by their booth at different shows for a few years now, but it turns out that I chose the right time to stop in and learn about their revised inverted fork that can fit any common wheel and tire combo and is available with 80 to 150mm of travel. Depending on the travel you want, expect to pay $899.99 to $949.99 USD.


Wren Inverted Fork

Intended use: trail / all-mountain / enduro
Travel: 110mm (80, 80, 100mm) / 150mm (120, 130, 140mm)
Wheel size: 26″ to 29″
Spring: TwinAir system
Damper: sealed, servicable cartridge w/ bladder
Stanchions: 36mm
Uppers: 43mm
Brass keyway system
Carbon fiber leg gaurds
Adjustments: low-speed rebound, low-speed compression w/ lockout
Price: $899.99 - $949.99 USD
More info: www.wrensports.com
Interbike 2018
Strangely, Wren doesn't have a name for their fork, with them simply referring to it is as the ''Inverted MTB Suspension Fork.''


The benefits of inverted forks are well-known; the bits that slide up and down are light so that it can respond to bumps quicker, they point the seals downward, and they can be much more rigid front-to-back. You know where they're not as rigid as a traditional fork? Side-to-side, unfortunately, with torsional flex being the sticking point for many people.

Wren isn't the first to employ a brass keyway system to add more rigidity - X-Fusion did it with their Revel, but it never worked well - but they do say that their design has proven to be reliable and trouble-free.


Wren
The Wren can be had with 80 - 150mm of travel, and it uses a brass keyway system to add torsional rigidity.


The fork's tubes are broached so that there are two keyways in each one, in which a set of brass keys hold the stanchions from rotating in the upper legs. Why brass? Because it's softer than the aluminum used for the upper tubes and stanchions, and it's an idea that's long been used in dropper posts and many other non-bike things.

We'll have to try it before giving it the nod or the shake, but it's certainly the biggest update for Wren's fork.


Interbike 2018
Look familiar? Wren's sealed damper uses a bladder to compensate for oil displacement, just like many other forks on the market.


You'll find a damper that looks a lot like a Charger unit from the outside, with a bladder up top to compensate for oil displacement and to provide back-pressure, along with a low-speed compression dial at the top of the leg that doubles as a firm lockout when you completely close it. Rebound is done at the bottom of the same leg. The bladder itself is molded and joined rather than being a seamless extruded piece as found on forks from Fox and RockShox, but Wren says that their approach saves a good chunk of money. The damper is user-serviceable, although some knowledge and skill are required, and Wren also sells every single part for the fork. Need two new shims and a piston bolt? No problem. Need a damper rod or seals? Of course.

You can also pick up a completely new damper for a reasonable $68 USD, or a special cold-weather damper filled with different oil that excels when it's 20°F or colder.

Spring duties are looked after by Wren's TwinAir system that's essentially a single air chamber that's split in two by a floating piston. There are two positive air chambers and two air valves - one at the top and another at the bottom - that are used to control the fork's progression.

So, if you put more air in the bottom chamber, it pushes the piston up and shrinks the volume of the top chamber, which in turn makes the fork ramp up in the same way that adding volume-reducing tokes would. The pressure on both sides will equalize, of course, but the volume of the chambers will change.
Interbike 2018
More air in the lower chamber provides more ramp-up, while higher pressure up top will deliver a more linear stroke.

Interbike 2018
Interbike 2018
The Wren will ship with these bolt-on carbon gaurds, too.


The most interesting thing about Wren's fork is that you can order it in any configuration you require; Boost or non-Boost spacing, tapered or straight steerer, with 150mm that can go down to 120mm in 10mm increments, or with 110mm that can be dropped down to 80mm in 10mm jumps. It fits 26'', 27.5'', and 29'' wheels, up to 2.5″ tires with non-Boost spacing, and up to 3.0'' tires with Boost spacing. There's also a wider version if you want to use it on a fat bike. Weights range from a claimed 4.5lb for the Boost fork with 110mm of travel to 4.9lb for the non-Boost 150mm version.


67 Comments

  • 21 2
 Loved my inverted dvo emerald, the carbon torsion arch was genius. It’s great seeing a well thought out inverted fork being released. Even more so now seeing as people want to be able to swap out wheel sizes.
  • 23 1
 Down under they are right way up.
  • 23 2
 Have you checked your ground anchor for corrosion today to make sure you don’t fall into the sun?
  • 7 1
 @guytherev: sun, we get that but what is this corrosion thing you speak of, uk specific?
  • 10 0
 It would be a nice comparison on stuff like this to compare weight to well known items. Because I don't know if 4.5-4.9lb is good or bad, but if you added in the weight of a fox 34 or 36, it would be easier to tell.
  • 10 6
 They’re heavy as shit, we sell them and ohlins at our shop and both are porkers. Lots of tunability, but if people aren’t using stuff like the ShockWiz or really good at tuning it’s kind of a waste, In my bike shop dirtbag online warrior opinion
  • 12 0
 Lyrik = 4.58lbs, fox 36 fit 4 = 4.49lbs
  • 5 0
 @pdarragh: You ride a Fox32 100mm I assume?
  • 3 0
 @pdarragh: OMG half a pound!!! O M G

lolz, that's maybe not such a bad penalty if it's buttery smooth and super sweet. Who knows though. I'm pretty happy with regular forks these days.
  • 8 0
 honestly if their fat forks are any indication of this fork at all its a hard pass. shrugs, for the cost the weight and the damper are kinda meh. be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • 13 0
 Would be cool for someone to make an inverted chassis that “conveniently” had the same damper mounts as the charger or FIT/GRIP2 damper....
  • 35 0
 What I don’t understand is how on a $949 fork, the entire damper only comprises $68 of the cost...
  • 3 0
 @tkrug: been wanting to do that at work for awhile now, maybe it's time
  • 6 0
 @tkrug: I prefer an MC2 damper then (from the Manitou Mattoc). Have never been impressed with the mid-end Fox dampers. Love the idea however.
  • 2 2
 I've seen a handful of the fatbike forks and not been impressed, tons of play in the keys when new and lots of flex side to side.
  • 5 0
 @als802: ive noticed the same from the bluto and the wren, the blutos a soggy noodle. i think manitou has a good thing going with their mastodon pro. id like it to be a little more small bump compliant on the ice in the extreme cold but out of the bunch its the best and its small bump only really goes out the window sub 10 degreesF so for the most part ill call it a win.
  • 2 0
 @als802: I have the mastodon pro on my dual suss fatbike,and it handles as well as my old fox 36 did and the last set of fox 34's I had on my trek slash.Plenty rigid,plush to ride and has plenty of adjustment options.I have an rst renegade on my other fatbike,and that is kind of adequate,but the bluto is very noodly,after all it is basically a Reba with a wider crown
  • 3 0
 @bikerchef1: I've already sold my bluto, planning to get a Mastodon.
  • 5 1
 I thought less unsprung mass on usd forks was just a myth? And when you think about how light a casting is with nothing but a bit of lubrication oil in it, I highly doubt that a usd fork has less unsprung mass...
  • 7 0
 Now its mostly a myth, but in the past it wasn't
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez:
Gotta be a reason dirt bikes do it
  • 5 0
 @colerlone: look at this old manitou fork: www.universalcycles.com/images//products/large/7511.jpg

See how the lower casing extends below the thru-axle? With moto forks that have longer travel than bike forks, they were increasingly getting lower lowers to make room for the stanchions to telescope into the lowers. In motocross and especially supercross, ruts develop in turns that effectively become berms on the inside. It is a critical skill to be able to use them properly. However, these ruts get deep and the lower part of the lowers below the axle would drag on the dirt. The solution was to invert the fork and have the stanchions telescope UP where the dual crown fork already has a lot more room. This also had the added benefit of allowing a shorter axle to crown height for a given travel.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: thats all good, but with this wren suspension fork the axle can pivot in place, and your wheel ends up banging the stanchions on hard landings. Wren has the worst axle design of all fat bike forks.
  • 1 0
 @ArturoBandini you clearly don't understand. Less unsprung mass means the bulk of the fork is on the sprung weight it has nothing to do with being lighter then other forks that aren't usd.
  • 6 0
 Keyway? Really? Cos thats not going to cause binding as soon as the fork receives any torsional load whatsoever?
  • 5 0
 I don't really get the comment on the Revel. Mine has been trouble free and the keyway system works great for stiffness
  • 5 1
 Yeah it seemed like a pretty baseless comment. I have nothing but positive things to say for all Xfusion gear I've owned, and I'd love a Revel.
  • 3 0
 @freeriderayward: X Fusion ftw.
Never tought that my Metric Air is as supple as the Vengeance Coil... And using less travel!
  • 2 0
 15x100 front axles killed the Revel. That standard was introduced at almost the exact same time as the fork which was 20x110, that big axle probably plays a bigger role in inverted forks.
  • 1 0
 @freeriderayward: my revel with 203mm rotor and 3.0 tire in the mix flexes side to side like hell (super stiff spank oozy rim though)- maybe I over powered the stiffness and too much brake???? Its awefull under hard braking
  • 8 4
 This looks to be the same damper as in my kids brood 20" fork. Same catalogue lockout dial too.. Nice damper for a kid.
  • 1 1
 Have you serviced it? Is it easy? We have that same fork from Max (love it!).

Also, if you haven't already, this Wren makes a Wren stem that is TAILOR made for hard riding kids. It's like 73g and that spawn one is a bit of a tank. You'll cut nearly a half lb for 35$ and it's DH rated for adults.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: I've serviced both the broods my kids have. Lowers, NOT cartridges. Easy to do and I used slickoleum on the bushes and some bonus 20wt gold and the forks are butter.
I lengthened one of the 80mm forks to 90mm with a bit of fettling.
Ta for the stem suggestion, but my kids bikes are all pimp Wink
  • 3 0
 What are the "big changes" for this fork in 2018? last years model had keyed stanchions. Owned a Bluto, Wren and a Mastodon pro. I pick the Pro.
  • 1 0
 The Wren has the worst axle design of all fat bike forks b/c it can pivot in place, causing the front wheel to tilt and hit the stanchions. The dropouts and axle need a complete engineering overhaul as this botched up part clearly takes away the performance gains of the USD fork's intended design.
  • 1 0
 I’ve been riding a Wren fork on my fat bike all this year and it’s been incredible. I’m a 350lb pro-ranked powerlifter and I ride aggressively. Literally every other fat bike fork manufacturer asked me to not ride their fork and told me they wouldn’t warranty it if I did. I’m not doing freeride lines but it’s handled the 1’-2’ drops and jumps I’ve hit with it and hasn’t needed a service yet.
  • 1 0
 When are you testing this Mike? I don't understand exactly what you're trying to say in that paragraph where the X-Fusion's Revel is mentioned(Does the Revel suck\have issues? How does "The Inverted" perform?)... Elaborate, man... =] #EnterTheExplainerMode
  • 2 0
 Interesting branding. When I think about fierce and/or strong birds, wrens are not a the top of that list.
  • 9 0
 The swallow is the bird of true love
  • 1 0
 @DONKEY-FELTCHER:

The American bushtit inhabits mixed open woodlands, often containing oaks and a scrubby chaparral understory ; it also inhabits parks and gardens.
  • 2 0
 Looks right side up to me
  • 2 1
 Whats old is new again....10+ years ago we all ran 2.5 to 3.0 tires and single crown inverted forks.
  • 1 0
 I really like my RS1. The stanchions stay surprisingly clean. I'll keep this one in mind.
  • 4 1
 Cheap Chinese Crap
  • 2 0
 What about offset?
  • 1 0
 Yup, same question. You can't have the same offset on your DJ fork to your 29" enjurow plough bike.
  • 1 0
 On their website it says 45mm offset.
  • 1 0
 Wait, what? I thought brass was harder than aluminum.
  • 5 1
 Maybe they meant bronze instead of brass? Or just really soft brass. Much like there's aluminum and aluminum there is brass and brass.
  • 2 4
 I been testing this fork for over two years and it's unreal we give it a super star , www.instagram.com/p/BnvnlqhhcSBop3EvTrTLWogO9bkSxHHQrD_7QE0/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=acqvza7rx112
  • 1 0
 I prefer a rebound lockout
  • 1 0
 I rather buy RST rebel...at least I know then its substandard.
  • 1 2
 This looks sick. I've been pining for an inverted fork, but the RS1 just didn't seem burly enough.
  • 1 0
 Manitou Dorado?
  • 2 2
 Gawd Damn, So sick!
  • 3 4
 heavy man
  • 7 8
 Kill it with fire.
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