Di’s Lauf Fork

Early on Monday morning Di Carolin’s doorbell rang and it was a DHL van. Her heart started pounding….It couldn’t be… could it?

photo 2After months of emails and doubting it would ever arrive, finally my Lauf Fork had arrived.

It all started in Tokai Forest when I took an Icelandic guy called Bjarni, an iRide Africa client, out for a ride. While chatting away he mentioned he had designed a fork for marathon and cross country racing and that it was super light… jump forward a five months… and my very own Lauf Fork arrived!

I rushed down to Epic Bike Shop so that Lance could fit the fork to my Bianchi Methanol FS. Which he did brilliantly, as the brake cable location initially caused us a bit of a puzzle. And it looks pretty awesome if I may say so myself.

Lance tested the stiffness of the fork and was pleasantly surprised. So with it installed on my bike next up was to get out on the mountain and ride. Unfortunately I had to wait for the following day, but I was up at 6am and dashed off to Tokai Forest.

Now please remember that this is a new high tech fork and I am not a techie kinda chick. So I will describe the experience of riding it as best I can, focusing on how it felt for me personally.

As I had intervals on my programme, for my scheduled ride, I hit them hard up and down the main drag of Tokai a few times. With just over 700g in weight reduction, when compared to my normal fork, my bike felt noticeably lighter and the rigidity of the fork made a huge difference up the hill.

Intervals out the way it was time to put this fork through its paces. I was a little cautious to be honest… I rode up Boulders and it was all good on that one, then to the top of slippery roots, a gnarly steep downhill single track not for the faint hearted and let I her roll. Well, the rebound is pretty snappy, for want of a better word. But it ate up everything I pointed it at, rocks, roots, small drop-offs and all! The run down was one second slower than I have done down there in the past and I was taking it easy! Next I dropped into Vasbyt and set a new PR down all the segments!

At this stage I have to say that I was beginning to feel that my arms were getting a work-out, but that will come right as I ride it more often and adjust my riding to the change.

Next up, I hit the black route with the table top jump, berms and steps and though a little bumpier than usual it was all good. Then I dropped through the Fairy Garden and set a new PR there too!

 

Di's Bianchi equipped with the Lauf Fork.
Di’s Bianchi equipped with the Lauf Fork.

So what’s it like?? That’s the million Dollar question.

Well it might look funny at first, but as you study it taking in the way it has been so brilliantly designed and the details of the finish, this amazing piece of machinery, grows on you.

Functionally I have to say that this fork takes cornering to a whole new level. I admit that I am not the best at cornering, (a deep seated fear after too many front wheel slide outs), but the stiffness of the fork just made that fear melt away and I was flying through the corners with far more confidence. There is only 60mm of travel so this is definitely a fork for XC and Marathon. Yes your arms do take a bit of a pounding and as I said the rebound is snappy, but that will just take more riding to get used to. Plus it’ll encourage me to do some more push ups to toughen up the arms, and perhaps a little adjustment on the rear shock to compensate. All in all, the first ride was a success and can’t wait to get out and put this Lauf Fork through some more testing trails.

In two weeks I will be riding at Origin of Trails and hope to put it through its paces in the trails of Stellenbosch. Please come and say hi and have a look and a ride if you’d like to try it out. The Lauf fork has two different weight categories for its suspension, up to 70g and 65kg and over. The fork is full carbon and weighs a minute 990g!

In my humble opinion this is a fantastic addition to any female rider’s bike. You will automatically have a much lighter bike to give you that edge over the guys. Once it grows on you it’s actually pretty cool and you can get it in loads of colour schemes, to match any bike. Plus there are no service costs whatsoever! And, it is guaranteed for five years!

 

Lance from the Epic Bike Shop setting up Di's Bianchi with the Lauf Fork.
Lance from the Epic Bike Shop setting up Di’s Bianchi with the Lauf Fork.

Future Testing

Neville Cragg and Lance, the super techies at Epic Bike Shop, will be testing the fork in the next week or so and will offer up their opinions soon too. They have the regular fork (for riders over 65kg) and I have the light one (for riders up to 70kg).

I will keep you all posted after I have done some more trails and some longer rides. But in the meantime, shout if you see me on the trails and want to have a closer look.

Sus the Lauf Forks

The Lauf Forks idea was born over a cold bike-ride aprés beer in a cramped basement apartment in Reykjavik, Iceland, around Christmas-time 2010. Avid mountain biker and engineer Benedikt Skulason, at the time working as an R&D engineer for a high-end composite prosthetic company, pitched his idea of a super-light revolutionary bicycle suspension fork to his good friend and industrial designer Gudberg Bjornsson.

The Lauf fork is a revolutionary twist on the proven “leaf spring suspension” concept, combined with today’s high performance composite materials.

It looks weird but it works. Check out the website www.laufforks.com.

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