A couple of young Scandinavian bros with cute Icelandic accents showed their leaf spring suspension fork to me at the Sea Otter Classic last week. They call their company “Lauf,” which is Icelandic for “leaf” and also references a well-known Viking motif involving a heroic stabbing death for a favored henchman at the end of the movie.
Lauf has been around for a couple of years, and apparently this composite leaf spring can have some application for trail rides. With no moving parts, this fork masses significantly less than other suspension forks. There’s no damping, which means it can bounce a lot when charging through challenging terrain. Their forks seem tuned for moderately bumpy trails and is clearly designed for terrain that falls somewhere between asphalt and gnarly, which probably matches where many people ride.
Lauf calls their earlier model the Trail Racer, which is a good description of this fork’s suitability. If you don’t mind spending a thousand bucks (ouch) on a composite fork to smooth out the bumps on a fast trail, this might be the fork for you.
The fork they introduced at Sea Otter last week is the Lauf Carbonara shown in the photo above. This funky-looking fork has 60 mm of travel. With the lightweight Carbonara, riders are a Lauf on the wind, watch how they soar with only 260 grams of unsprung weight — that’s the leaf-spring parallelogram part attached to the hub that moves up and down with the terrain — and a total mass of 1050 grams. That’s half the weight of traditional (and more capable) forks and just might give you the edge to outrun homicidal hyper-aggressive trail bandits. Simple design means no lockout, no maintenance, no fiddling, no adjustments.
This 150 mm hub spacing fork on the Carbonara is pretty obviously designed for fat tire bikes and can take tires up to 4.8 inches. Do you need a fork for a fat tire, which has suspension built in? The Lauf-ites seem to think so and are gearing up for production.
More on the Carbonara at their website.