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Lauf Cycling

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Lauf Cycling, formerly known as Lauf Forks, is a cycling brand on the rise. In the early 2010's the Lauf brand was born in Iceland, under the premise of using their expertise in the high-end composite prosthetic field to design and release a revolutionary suspension fork using composite leaf springs. Years of development led to success in the racing field, which led to an expansion from the cross country mountain bike fork called the Lauf Trail Racer fork, to the fat bike-oriented Lauf Carbonara fork, to the gravel bike-specific Lauf Grit fork with 30mm travel.

While Lauf has their hands in suspension development for a number of different bikes, it is the gravel bike field where they really hit their stride. With the question of “How do our Lauf forks best complement gravel bikes?”, the question eventually became “What would be the ultimate gravel bike?” In the end, Lauf decided to design the gravel bike of their dreams. Called the Lauf True Grit, it is one of the few gravel bikes on the market designed from the start with a suspension fork.

Lauf Cycling might still be a small company, but their unique approach to suspension is gaining quickly in popularity, with the True Grit as their ultimate expression of how they would design a bicycle.

Lauf Forks

Simplicity Thru Technology

Lauf Cycling is a relatively small brand whose innovative approach to suspension design has led to many asking about the fork’s effectiveness, and even more asking as to whether they’re worth the upgrade over a rigid fork much less a traditional suspension fork. The short answer: if you’re looking for suspension smoothness without compromising on low weight, Lauf Cycling has one of the most convincing products on the market today.

After years of development, the Lauf fork legend started on June 27th 2013, when Helgi Berg took 1st place in the very first race the Lauf Trail Racer fork entered. Hailing from Nordic island of Iceland, Lauf specializes in carbon fiber forks that offer the climbing performance of a rigid fork, and the suspension damping of a traditional suspension fork. Each Lauf fork offers 30mm to 60mm of travel, which comes through the Lauf Spring System (LSS). In essence, LSS is a series of composite leaf springs bonded between a carbon fiber fork and 15mm thru-axle dropout they call the Springer. Each stack of leaf springs—called a Springstack—is bonded into the fork and Springer through an Integrated Spring Pocket. All in, this technology-packed fork comes in at a lithe 900-1100g, depending on fork model. While heavier than a good carbon fiber fork, this is considerably less than a typical suspension fork.

A major positive of this design is that the Lauf is absolutely zero-maintenance. Compared to a well-used suspension fork, there are no fork rebuilds and no leaky seals. Another upside is that there’s zero friction which makes the fork energy efficient, and the lack of seals and moving parts means these forks work in extreme conditions of heat and cold. These forks offer progressive compression, meaning each Springstack stiffens up as they go through the fork’s travel. This helps to keep the fork from bottoming out without sacrificing small and medium bump compliance. And with an impressively low 200 grams of unsprung weight, the models like the Lauf Trail Racer 29 fork do a good job of absorbing small bumps.

All in all, the Lauf suspension fork is a unique design that offers an even more exclusive proposition: keep the relatively low weight of a rigid fork, but maintain the benefits of a suspension fork. With the relatively low amount of travel available, these are not meant for a long travel 29er mountain bike. Instead, they do an excellent job of increasing the performance of a cross country mountain bike or a marathon mountain bike, as well as a gravel bike. The design isn’t without its limitations, but what it offers is one of lightest, most-efficient suspension forks on the market today.

Lauf True Grit

Lauf's Dream Gravel Bike

The Lauf True Grit started life with the question of, “how could the Lauf Grit fork best work with the growing list of gravel bikes on the market today?” After a considerable amount of testing, the question morphed into “What would be the ultimate gravel bike?” After intense analysis, Lauf Cycling decided that they had to build the ultimate gravel bike, one designed with their unique suspension fork in mind. The end result is the Lauf True Grit gravel bike, race-ready and built to ride long distances efficiently and comfortably.

In making their ultimate gravel bike, Lauf started with a modern approach to gravel bike geometry. The carbon fiber frame features a long top tube, slack 70.5º head angle with low stack and short-ish stem, all in the name of straight-line stability. The frame fits up to a 700 x 45c tire front and rear (40c max with a front derailleur), no small feat considering the relatively short 425mm chainstays. Other neat features include a threaded bottom bracket for greater reliability, three bottle cage mounts as well as a bento box mount on the top tube, and built in bottle opener where there would normally be a front derailleur. The frame uses 12x142mm axle at the rear. Despite meeting the ISO standard for mountain bike frames, the True Grit frame weighs in at just 1070g for a frame with hardware.

Up front, the True Grit receives the Lauf Grit SL, a fork designed specifically for this frameset. Compared to the standard Grit fork, the Grit SL is modified to lower the peak stresses on the fork, while the 7mm shorter leaf springs have a lower risk of delamination under extreme use. As a result, the fork is has gained further lateral and fore/aft stiffness, while also losing around 50g compared to the standard Grit fork. The fork uses a 15x100mm axle.

Now for the important question: how does it ride? The first thing to note is that as a gravel bike, this thing feels quick. It feels very stable at high speeds, whether through a high-speed corner filled with loose gravel, or down some singletrack that one wouldn’t normally take a gravel bike. It’s not the ideal adventure bike, however, as it’s long reach and short stack place the rider in a position that is more aero and aggressive than most other gravel bikes.

The fork is the star of the show; it’s 30mm travel does wonders in making the bike feel much more controllable and confidence-inspiring when the going gets loose. Out of the saddle, the leaf spring fork feels nearly imperceptible. The fork flexes minimally and has none of the bobbing sensation that other suspension alternatives might feel. The Grit SL fork very definitively takes the edge off of bumps, which over the course of a long ride, can cut a ride short due to fatigue.

When all is considered, not only is the Lauf True Grit gravel bike an impressive bicycle, it’s an excellent value when everything is considered. Offered in three sizes with SRAM drivetrains and a Contender exclusive Shimano XT Di2 1×11 build, the True Grit has the makings of a special bicycle.

 All it takes is one ride

Come talk to one of our Lauf Cycling experts today

At Contender Bicycles, our best tools for selling bikes are the people who ride them. Everyone at Contender Bicycles has extensive experience riding bikes across many brands. If you have any questions regarding a Lauf True Grit, or Lauf Cycling fork, send an email to info@contenderbicycles.com or by phone at Contact Us.

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