Eurobike 2013 - Revolutionary Suspension Fork Has One Moving Part

Aug 29, 2013 at 14:41
by Richard Cunningham  


Lauf TR29 Cross Country Fork

Lauf fork and inventor Benedikt Skulason

Benedikt Skulason, inventor and founder of Lauf Forks, understands that his 60-millimeter-travel composite leaf-spring suspension fork will not sell to the Pinkbike crowd, but at half the weight of a conventional XC slider, the TR29 has already attracted the attention of top Icelandic XC racers.



The Lauf TR29 fork looks like it would not last more than a minute on the dirt, but it has passed the stringent European EN safety standards that every suspension fork must undergo before it can be commercially sold. Lauf means 'leaf' in English and refers to the leaf-spring action of the R29. Stacked in threes, two pairs of leaf springs form a parallelogram that produces 60 millimeters of undamped suspension travel. A 15-millimeter through-axle keeps the right and left sides tracking each other, so that the wheel will not wander. A disc brake is mounted to the right-side axle link, and reportedly, because of the fork's parallel spring action, braking forces are rendered neutral. The fork and axle carriers are carbon fiber, but the six leaf springs, which are bonded permanently to the fork components, are constructed from a high-strength fiberglass called 'E-Glass,' which is used extensively in advanced composites because of its resistance to fatigue. Lauf TR29 forks will cost $998 USD and Lauf expects to be shipping the first production models near January 2014.

Lauf R 29 fork details

(From left) E-glass composite leaf springs are grouped in threes and bonded into the fork to form a parallel linkage. The axle carrier swings up and forwards until it hits a pair of rubber bump-stops. The key to the fork's actuation is a stiff through axle. The Lauf fork uses the Maxle system.




Technically, the Lauf TR29 fork is a pivotless, trailing link suspension.
Laugh if you want, but while we were discussing the fork with its inventor/designer Benedikt Skulason, Specialized's design and marketing crew looked quite interested when they popped over to inspect and try out the novel design. The Lauf TR29 has no hinges, seals fluid or sliding parts, and it weighs only 998 grams. Benedikt Skulason hails from Reykjavik Iceland, and he says that he got the idea while he was designing prosthetic limbs. Skulason has had plenty of experience with composite springs, which are used to provide support and feedback in artificial legs and arms. Carbon fiber, he says, is too brittle to be a reliable spring, but E-Glass reportedly can be flexed three times beyond the fork's design requirements before it shows signs of failure. The Lauf fork is available in three spring stiffnesses, and a multitude of colors. The fork's tapered steerer tube is also carbon fiber.

What to we think? As crazy as the Lauf TR29 fork seems at first glance, it makes sense for riders who don't need or want a lot of suspension travel - or who are turned off by the threat of future maintenance and the complication of telescopic suspension forks. Skulason admits that the TR29's leaf spring design is limited to the most sophisticated elite XC customers on one hand, but he says its application may have more widespread success among the sport's least technical riders. Its simplicity and potential reliability would translate well for urban commuter bikes.

Lauf Forks


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190 Comments

  • + 501
 Now Cannondale can make a lefty version, and have the dumbest looking 9er out there.
  • + 47
 Bwaaahaha Salute made my day.
  • - 39
flag Bigbossman (Aug 29, 2013 at 16:10) (Below Threshold)
 Haaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaa. Thats a good one, thanks for the laugh Lauf, we needed that. I need to change my lief springs doh!
  • - 8
flag mfbeast12 (Aug 29, 2013 at 16:16) (Below Threshold)
 I love how in the middle of all that shit theres what looks like a random Maxle.
  • - 13
flag dirtworks911 (Aug 29, 2013 at 16:56) (Below Threshold)
 29er riders really are from another planet...
  • + 71
 nice generalization dirtworks911...have you seen XL and XXL 26ers? Now those are silly looking bikes! XL 29ers look proportional and feel proportional to me (6'5"). Everyone doesn't need to ride 29ers and everyone doesn't need to ride 26ers. Everyone is different. Good thing there are choices out there!
  • + 15
 thank you billy balla. dirtworks, i guarantee you that if that fork was made for 26 you would have not made the comment you just made. the article didn't even have anything to do with wheel size other than the fact that the fork was made for a 29er. seriously... you haters are too much. 650b is one thing, but no 29 inch wheel ever threatened your precious 26 DH rig.
  • + 21
 i understand this is pinkbike, and i love my 26'er downhill bike, but my 29'er hardtail xc bike has undeniable advantages over similar purpose bikes with smaller wheels. stop 29'er hating and try one out.
  • + 5
 @billyballa33 Couldnt agree more, 29ers for XC and big ridders makes perfect sense, different tools for different jobs... My is 148cm and rocks 24" wheels on her DH bike, 26" for her is the equivalent of 29" for me. I belive wheel size should be matched to rider type and height, not fashion!
  • + 6
 lauf if you want, jlh...
  • - 7
flag rivercitycycles Plus (Aug 29, 2013 at 19:53) (Below Threshold)
 Hey billyballa33 - have you seen small and medium 29ers.....now they look silly.
  • + 14
 Cannondale would make a Lefty mounted on the right side for all round use, from XC to AM, and they would call it... All Righty!
  • + 4
 Great cruiser bike technology. Would be sick on an old Schwinn!
  • + 1
 Best one liner since Arnie said 'get to the chopper'
  • + 6
 WAKIdesigns, first time you have made me laugh. Good one!
  • + 1
 Glad you liked it - I've actualy drawn it few times and there's a story to it why it is what it is, when it's lefty and when it's righty... working on my own blog you might find it there soon. More Waki leaks?
  • + 1
 I'm very open to new things, and most of the time I argue with 29er and 27.5 haters around here, but I most say this fork is just as unnecessary as a lefty. Can't wait to hear the ridiculous price on it too...
  • + 2
 tjet, with all the respect, a bit of diversity never hurts. We have sht loads of options from various companies and how about most of them are nearly identical? Please motivate why should I buy Spike bars instead of Deity bars? why should I buy Norco Aurum instead of Trek Session? Why should I choose NS hubs instead of Nukeproof hubs? But we can talk why should i choose V10 instead of Session, why should I choose fat bike instead of 29er. Optimization can be a real b...
  • + 0
 Why? Fashion! Just like my girlfriend buys a pair of hi heels every week when she already has her closet overflowing with only once used shoes...
  • + 5
 Let her buy shoes! Buy her shoes! - you'll thank me later...
  • - 1
 SNAP SNAP SNAP
  • - 4
flag tjet (Aug 30, 2013 at 10:06) (Below Threshold)
 Gotta love folks who always have to have that last word. Thanks for the relationship counseling, but where do you think the money comes from Mr. Genius? Just an analogy. No matter how you see it, it's all fashionista BS, so I'll leave that for the girls. I rather ride more, and save all that extra cash on beers and fine dining... Oh and Waki, no offense, but go "touch" yourself...
  • + 1
 ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
  • + 2
 Viva la Lauf Revolutione
  • + 2
 I don't care how a mountain bike product looks, it's about how it works and what it does for your ride. If you choose not to ride a bike because it looks "silly" you are clearly ignorant. Apply logic, someone designs a product to a specification, is that the specification you desire? Yes? Try it. No? Move on quietly.
  • + 2
 Yes yes have a good ride on your Lauf old chap. Nobody is allowd to say your fork looks stupid.
  • + 2
 I don't have one, the fork is not to my requirements :-)
  • + 0
 I know bro lol. Wasn't sarcasm invented in the UK? I just here for comic relief.
  • + 3
 Sarcasm? I've never heard of that.
  • + 1
 Nice, the UK is sarcasm central but NY is #2.
  • + 100
 How you gonna kashima coat this one?
  • + 37
 with kashima of course Big Grin
  • + 8
 If there is a will there is a way.
  • + 29
 You mean, if there's a market there's a way!
  • + 2
 ^^^ problem solved!! ^^^
  • + 84
 Its actually a real insteresting design. Unfortanutely for him, as the article says, it won't catch the pinkbike crowd, but I can see why professional xc athletes would buy it.
  • + 80
 Slap a Monster Energy sticker on there, and you may convert the PB crowd! Wink
  • + 15
 if i was a very VERY hardcore xc racer i would look into this
  • + 15
 The hive mind of the shredders of the gnar in this site won't like it but as the last lines say it can be applied to commuters and urban bikes, it needs next to 0 mantenaince, for me it will work in the future
  • + 2
 It has a 15mm axle Jesp. RUN!
  • + 67
 Brilliant bit of design and engineering. No doubt the pinkbike ‘kids’ will call it ugly and claim it will snap, but they’re missing the point and I expect have no clue what they’re on about. With regard to the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it attitude’ if manufactures followed that we’d all be on rigid hardtails, with toptube shifters, quill stems and solid tyres. Good job I say!
  • + 26
 i agree. but the thing about systems with cartridges and oil means it's adjustable and damped. this is just a spring, it'll feel like a pogo stick...
  • - 19
flag PHeller (Aug 29, 2013 at 16:50) (Below Threshold)
 but it is ugly, and it can snap.
  • + 6
 Keep in mind this is for xc where the riders have their forks locked out 90% of the time so I guess it has 3 settings hard, really hard, and almost rigid
  • + 32
 that's what she said.
  • + 5
 It's not technically a traditional leaf spring though, since it it's a composite i and since it's on a bike i can imagine there is significantly more dampening naturally in the material than say a steal leaf spring used in this application, now i'm not saying it'll start to match an RC2 damper for tune-ablity but i'm sure it wont' just oscillate like you guys are making out to.
  • + 1
 If you can ride your bike through a race locked out why not ride rigid and this wouldnt help anyway its got no rebound damping
  • + 4
 your thinking steel springs... not every material acts the same way.. for example elasto rubbers act slower than a steel spring,. i think this is going the star trek way.. looks kinda funny..
  • + 5
 @ PHeller "but it is ugly, and it can snap."

Didn't know you were the mechanical engineer on the project. Tell us more.
  • - 4
flag PHeller (Aug 30, 2013 at 9:57) (Below Threshold)
 I don't need to be a mechanical engineer to know that being made out of man-made materials that it could theoretically snap. Notice I didn't say "snap while riding", because I'm not a mechanical engineer and I'm sure the guy who designed it is confident that it won't snap while riding. It could however snap when used as a jackstand for a semi. It could also snap when used as a prybar to move a house. It may also snap when attached between freight train cars moving in opposite directions.

Now, you may not agree that it's ugly, because that's totally subjective, but until someone makes a fork out of adamantium, they will be able to snap, at least theoretically.
  • + 3
 Technically @PHeller, adamntium could theoretically snap
  • - 1
 this thing is stupid.
  • + 38
 "Lauf if you want . . . . . "
  • + 28
 I wonder how they get it not to be a pogo stick. You would think that an un-damped leaf spring would just bounce up and down uncontrollably?
  • + 3
 Good question! I'd like to know as well.
  • + 3
 maybe they should say constantly damped instead of undamped... whatever the case, there should be a way to slow down compression, but rebound will match...
  • + 17
 Magic
  • + 4
 I'd imagine you could tune it through the size, shape, and number of springs.
  • + 2
 as i said above i'm sure it's within the material like it will resist the bending, but it also will resist the return motion in general ie, not snap back.
  • + 0
 I was just comparing to a car's leaf spring... Without the damper they bounce uncontrollably
  • + 2
 Is damping that crucial when there is only 80mm of travel? I wouldn't think so. It's not like it is going to rebound and buck you off, like 200mm would.
  • + 2
 80mm can certainly rebound fast enough to buck you off. Ask anybody who rode an elastomer based Head-shock that wasn't set-up for their weight. I've got the scars to prove the buck happens, and still have a Headshock or two somewhere. Springs can't dampen themselves. Anything you did to slow it down on compression would just make it stiffer, and speed it up on rebound. I really would like to ride one, and know what they're running for a dampener. I think that exact for is going to struggle to find a market, but if they made a cost effective for a 30-40mm travel version for commuter bikes, I think it could be a real winner. I'd run one on a flat-bar road-bike, take the edge off some of the bumps, and make the bike a little more dirt-worth if I take the shortcut home.
  • + 4
 Pinkbike need to get around a test for this! I'm keen to see it in action! Looks great!
  • + 3
 Perhaps there is damping inherent to the spring? Remember elastomers did not rebound as fast as springs. Perhaps the fibreglass does not return as fast as a steel spring.
  • + 0
 Un-damped basically means exactly what it says.
Pretty cool design, but if I wanted a un-damped fork (pogo) I would take the damper assembly out of an existing fork. It might even be comparable weight then.
  • + 4
 its a composite, not a metal spring! i am guessing it has completely different elasticity and rebound to any other vertical coil
  • + 1
 E glass is a elastomer, it rebounds to its original state. The elastomers you are referring to do not rebound completely. They absorb some of the energy through sliding of the carbon chains. E glass is known as a very good spring material because it doesn't deform within a certain range.
  • + 2
 Guys, there is no need to insist it must rebound like an wound steel coil or loaded steel leaf spring when it isn't actually made of steel at all.
  • + 17
 Aside from all the cr*ppy childish comments, I really like this. It's innovative, fresh thinking and different. And before someone jumps in with "lycra fag" or similar, I ride downhill. Good work by the designer, I'd love to give it a go Beer
  • + 1
 Props 2 u.
  • + 13
 Bikerumour posted about the fork a few months ago, there are numerous videos showing it in action on youtube. For example, this one is a city park 4-ft drop... www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5qYm_0qVbs

If he makes a fat-bike version, I'd get one. I'd also consider getting one for my Salsa Dos Niner if he offered it with a straight steerer.
  • - 3
 Looks like it bounced back, but if you don't want any rebound go for it.
  • + 3
 60mm of travel you really don't need any. That's total travel including the sag, and you'd always be riding somewhere in the travel range. Lots and LOTS of 29er riders out there on rigid forks. This is a suspension fork aimed at people like that, and at elite XC riders/racers.
  • + 1
 Any fork bounces back. Watch the small bump tests for it, on those kinds of bumps it's good to have fast rebound to be ready for the next (tiny) hit. Most XC courses have smaller bumps than 4ft.
  • + 1
 That's the best argument so far. I agree, but you still want some so you don't have to worry about hitting stuff that may cause a harmonic.
This fork has no friction parts and a fast recovery rate material.
I still think it needs a bit of damping, but would be interesting to try one to see how nearly zero damping feels (maybe not bad for some purposes).
  • + 13
 Amazing job!. Props for new ideas!. They're all welcome in MTB world!!!.
  • + 1
 how about a toilet seat saddle?
  • + 8
 should have those on the chairlift, realizing you have to take a dump after a minute of sitting on the garbo chair isn't fun
  • + 8
 Kinda reminds me of the Amp Research forks from the mid-late 90's... www.bikepro.com/products/forks/amp_index.html - Wow! I'm old.
  • + 1
 Exactly!
  • + 3
 And Girvin... except for the coil shock in the middle...
  • + 2
 LOL! I still have an F3 in the garage. Got it new in 19nevermind. If the damper still worked, I might throw it on a commuter...
  • + 2
 Mert Lawill would be proud.
  • + 3
 *Lawwill
  • + 2
 Yes, the AMP Research, the Girvan, and then there is the Use Sub Anti-dive fork and the IRD Anti-dive fork.
  • + 1
 i was just about the say remember the AMP forks. i would venture to guess that we are all at least in our 30s if we remember shit like that.
  • + 2
 What about the suspension stem that came out about the same time, can't remember who made that thing. Kinda goes along with the suspension seat post. So many bad ideas came out of the 90s...
  • + 1
 I think it was Softride that made those stems. How about the 'Shockster'....a bolt on unit for converting your hardtail into a full susp. - that added about 2"-3" to your chainstay length and probably 7-8lbs. to the back of your bike!
  • + 1
 there was also a suspension seatpost that was like a four bar linkage with a goofy elastomer in the middle of that shit
  • + 1
 Cane Creek still sells it its called The Thudbutser.
  • + 8
 If only they made one for cross bikes...
  • + 2
 yeah, even if it only had half the travel as the MTB version...
  • + 8
 It's going to win DH i. Pietermaritzburg this weekend, watch Wink
  • + 4
 This is awesome. I am an Icelander myself and my whole family hails from Reykjavik. I support this guys outside the box thinking. Of course, its kind of moving backwards on the timeline, but hey maybe simple could be better for the guy who isnt trying to shred bike parks every summer. Id like to have one just ride to the store and back
  • + 2
 Glad to see such an interesting slant. BTW E-Glass is bog-standard composite glass fibre. There's nothing wrong with it for such an application just like standard High Strength carbon fibre is generally more suitable than High-Modulus, or Ultra-High Modulus, carbon fibre for 90% of frame areas despite bike companies often claiming otherwise.
  • + 1
 I didn't read anything about damping... Springs are fine, bottom-out bumpers are fine... But what about some dampening of the movements? I guess you could save lots of weight on a conventional suspension fork by stripping the damper and gizmos out of it.
  • - 3
 Don't snap too many of those leaves at once, or bye-bye front wheel! Rear leaf springs are pretty snappy on most trucks, when given too much shit. Dangerous design.
  • + 1
 Its not a leaf spring (just a name) and its not made out of steel. So it will not act like a truck.
  • + 1
 Hey, why stop at a fork.
What could someone do w/ a frame and this technology, even if they had to add a dampener? Could all the extra pivots, hardware and springs be pulled out of the frame, even if a dampener was added?
How about some sort of parallel spring mounts to steady your POV cam?
I say don't moc it 'cause it's different, but expand the thought of where the technology might work.
  • + 1
 This is a cool idea, but it needs to change markets:

This would a good choice for road and cyclocross riding
The low weight and minimum travel would work really well in those genres.

I think the last time they had a road fork it was made by Rock Shox and called the Roubais.

It would appeal to riders doing a century ride vs. the racer type.
  • + 1
 Just like with the USB sub, depending on the vpp-location, you`ll be able to isolate out and balance braking forces and have no brake-dive. Old design, regular mechanics, ingenious use of modern material.
www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/download/file.php?id=90061&sid=b2bfabfa3941052c043fed688edb359e
  • + 4
 No Lauf 20mm and 1 1/8th steerer?! FAIL Wink
  • + 2
 If you are going to bring back suspension designs from the past bring back the long travel forks! Where is all the 10 - 12 inch forks!
  • + 4
 Everybody Listen.i like that shit
  • + 1
 Cool,i didnt get neg prop
  • + 4
 the 90's called, they want their prototype back..
  • + 2
 Lost me at undamped, but make a bike with it at the front and back then give it Danny megaskills see what crazy bouncy trick he could do with it
  • + 1
 Its a cool idea, but what stops the fork from bottoming out? I could see on a harsh impact the tire getting pushed into the crown of the fork...
  • + 5
 It has rubber stops on the fork leg if you look at the picture split in thirds.
  • + 0
 Very interesting design, and braking forces being taken out of the equation is very cool. E-glass, however, is not very resistant to fatigue. Awesome to see people coming up with new designs though!
  • + 1
 your right, hes risking his reputation by going to Eurobike with his first product, despite knowing absolutely nothing about composites or in fact anything at all!!!!!!! pinkbike does make me chuckle... lol lol lol
  • + 2
 سمَـَّوُوُحخ ̷̴̐خ ̷̴̐خ ̷̴̐خ امارتيخ ̷̴̐خ
  • + 3
 Wouldn't mind seeing a fatbike version
  • + 1
 I would mind anyone making an affordable Fatbike sus fork...it might convince me to buy a fat bike!
  • + 1
 I know that it passed all the tests but I would be goddamm scared if I had to ride this fork Smile Nevertheless I think that idea is really interesting.
  • + 1
 the lightest 29er lefty is 1300 grams; only 400 grams more, and it has 100mm travel and damping. It also has 0 flex and is the stiffest front shock out there
  • + 1
 It may not be the best idea but its an idea at the least. If everyone stopped thinking about new ideas, the biking world would be at a standstill.
  • + 1
 The whole trick with suspension is controlled compression and rebound. Otherwise it's just a spring, maybe makes more sense in road biking. imho
  • + 1
 at a lil over 2" travel, why not just suck it up and get a real light ridged fork? its just xc......
  • + 2
 This is a $998 piece of art.
  • + 0
 "it weighs only 998 grams" that's $1.00 per gram if you do the math.
$998 price tag.
I wonder how Lauf Forks decided on the price tag.
  • + 1
 "think of the flex , oh why wont anybody think of the flex !" - hellen lovejoy
  • + 1
 Check out detailed information on the Lauf Trail Racer here: www.laufforks.com
  • + 1
 Nowdays technology make everything looks more simple, but this look otherwise.. OMG .. Wink
  • + 1
 Funny comments... but the inventor will be lauf-ing all the way to the bank. Wink
  • + 2
 If I had a road bike I would mount one of these babies!
  • + 2
 Lauf means leaf in English, apparently.
  • - 1
 No ..it means "walk" in german...go figure Smile
  • + 2
 reminded me of the girvin vector fork!
  • + 1
 ^^ I need one of those for my 1998 killer v ^^
  • + 0
 would love a video of this to see how it works exactly! looks interesting! cant see it being used for much more than xc though
  • + 2
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5qYm_0qVbs
Here you go, I certainly wish this had been included in the article. It would put a lot of the snap comments to rest.
  • + 0
 I guess it may not matter with only 60mm but the forward movement of the axle is going to be working against any impact the fork will see.
  • + 5
 It actually has a rearward axle path and it's square edge bump absobtion is quite good. Cheers.
  • + 2
 Very interesting concept.
  • + 2
 This is sweet! Curious to see how it works
  • + 2
 Come on, undamped? Just no.
  • + 3
 Innovation's cool
  • + 2
 i really wanna see video of this fork, anyone ?
  • + 2
 Interesting...but wouldn't buy one.
  • - 3
 it is scary .. looks like it will snap
  • + 8
 To be fair I'd love to give one a go
  • + 11
 that what it says in the article, NOT for the pinkbike crowd, thanks for summing up the article!
  • + 10
 @prestonDH - You should know the majority of PB users can't read or write. ; )
  • + 1
 I would love to see a video on it in action !! *haha*
  • + 2
 www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kgRCo8VX7A check out his other videos too he has a couple
  • + 1
 Thx Jonas !
  • + 1
 It looks like after a heavy punch in a saloon.
  • + 1
 So much for hucking anymore
  • + 1
 sweet design but what would happen if you hit something head on?
  • + 1
 Oh dear !! ... you're having a Lauf !!
  • + 0
 How did he ever pull himself away from watching Sex in the City to make this new fabulous fork...
  • + 1
 This will find its way onto my gravel road bike.
  • + 2
 Lauf if you want*
  • + 1
 Didnt whyte have a similar design in the 90's??
  • + 1
 Most likely, the first front suspension systems were very similar.
  • + 1
 erm, kinda.....it has a wheel at one end, here a pic of it.

Jimmy from Mule Bar snapped his :
www.pinkbike.com/photo/10031598
  • + 1
 Like Baba San said, light is right.
  • + 1
 It's not April Fools Day for another 7 months Pinkbike!
  • + 1
 Is there a 15mm 650b version?
  • + 1
 I want a monster cross bike for it
  • + 1
 for context, E-Glass = USD1.30 per kg.
  • + 1
 How do you lock it for climbs? :\
  • + 2
 Why shuld you have to lock it on climbs?

It is extremely sensitive and works really well on climbs.
Well as long as you don't stamp the pedals like a retard...
  • + 1
 looks kind of like a speedway motorcycle fork without the tiny damper..
  • + 1
 proflex...
  • + 1
 why is everyone hating ? WTF is that ? Why not ?
  • + 1
 is it 1992 again?
  • + 1
 But will it blend?
  • + 1
 Undamped??
  • + 2
 very undamped in deed... like a pogo stick with a disc-brake mount but not as stiff...
Everybody who rode it got of the bike with a grin though...
this is what it rode like:
watermarked.cutcaster.com/cutcaster-photo-800869241-Motorbike-spring-toy.jpg
  • + 1
 how flexy is it?
  • + 0
 Leafsprings are still amazing after 2000 years of application development.
  • - 2
 It's quite a good idea, but you won't see me riding one of those any time soon
  • - 2
 Puaj, why this things? That sucks
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