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 Cycling knows variable conditions better than most. Iceland is known for its ever-changing weather and terrain. This puts Lauf in a prime position for all-road riding and testing. As such, the new Lauf Anywhere isn’t just a throwaway gravel bike because of its lack of a Grit fork. Whether it’s hammering the pavement with a dash of gravel or heading into the wild loaded with bags – just going anywhere – the Lauf Anywhere gravel bike is ready to ride.
The Anywhere starts with the same frame one finds on the True Grit. While the frame weighs in at 1070 g for a size medium, it has undergone serious testing to meet the ISO standard for mountain bike frames. Like the True Grit, you’re getting a bike that fits a 700 x 45c tire, uses a threaded bottom bracket and offers three bottle cage mounts, as well as a bento box mount on the top tube. The big difference, however, comes from the new Just A Fork, also known as their JAF. JAF weighs in at a lightweight 395 grams and features triple cage-mounts on each side.
The standout technology here is the new Lauf Smoothie handlebar, available only on the Lauf Anywhere. The Smoothie makes use of the same S2 glass fiber that Lauf uses for its leaf springs to offer vibration absorption and strength. The bar is fairly wide, with a 16-degree flare to the drops for greater access to the brake levers, and a slight 3-degree backsweep on the top of the handlebars. The unique part of the handlebar is an abrupt 90-degree bend at the ends. It offers a larger effective platform to rest palms, and a logical transition between the top part of the handlebar, the hoods, and the drops.
There isn’t much the Lauf Anywhere can’t do. It’s pure, unsuspended fun.
One of our favorite things to do in the shop is to help cyclists build their dream bicycle. Along the way, many have opted for a custom-painted bicycle, with our OPEN Ready to Paint frames and 3T Ready to Paint frames. Now, we’re excited to announce the addition of Lauf Ready to Paint frames and forks, built for those looking for something honed in the Icelandic backcountry.
Not sure why custom paint is so often preferred? It all comes down to control. Getting exactly what you want the first time when it comes to component choice and color means less time thinking, and more time riding. We offer an inside line to custom paint, in any way you’d like it. Everything is done with wet paint, even down to the Lauf logos on the frame. Custom paint generally costs $300-800, depending on the paint scheme. Find our more about our Ready to Paint services and browse our Ready to Paint Gallery. With a wide array of paints in both gloss and matte, the color of your next Lauf Anywhere is only limited to your imagination.