Lauf Trailracer fork: The final thoughts by c_g

30-LAUF-Trailracer29Most of the time in the review process (see the Out of the Box here) we are not in a hurry to come to a conclusion, even if there’s nothing left to explore. So while the LAUF Trail Racer 29er fork has simply shown a super performance on the PIVOT less, Unfortunately the frame must return to Shock Therapy and accordingly I had to finalize the test.  In recent weeks, I have done everything with the fork imaginable, from extensive long distance training runs to aggressive trail rides.  And as a result, my conclusion is as follows: The Lauf Trail Racer is really the most comfortable rigid fork in the world .  Sounds like a paradox? Is it somehow, but the Trail Racer fork is full of contradictions and yet is very cool to ride in the right environment.

1. Ride quality:  Every time I switched from my other bikes with normal suspension forks to the LES, I thought to myself,  “I have a flat tire.” The reason is that the Trail Racer responds to the smallest trail imperfections and smooths out the ride to the point where it feels like there is very little air in the front tire.


2. Long-distance comfort: As I said, the lack of stiction in fork and the almost mass-free suspension parts provides a response previously unknown in a suspension fork. When it comes to dealing with smaller and medium impacts like typically occur on fast forest trails and gravel roads, the Trail Racer is in a league of its own.

The next best comparison is to a 29+ tire with low air pressure, only without the inertia issues of the large tires.


3. Trail suitability: It is easy to find the limits of the Lauf fork on bigger impacts where it tends to be overwhelmed.  However, if one adjusts the speed and adjusts to a rider active riding style – just as with a rigid fork – then you can have a blast with it. Nevertheless, the strength of the Lauf fork is not found on difficult terrain.


4. Steering precision: In this regard the Lauf Trail Racer is a bit controversial. Stick the front wheel between your legs and twist on the handlebars and you will be downright shocked at how flexible the Lauf is. In my riding time though, I hardly noticed that – neither the saddle or even in fast descents. Only in narrow switchbacks when braking hard and turning, was the flexiness apparent. Ultimately, it remains here that the Lauf Trail Racer is a fork with very low torsional rigidity, and there will certainly be times the rider will not like this.. Normally, I am also one of the riders which would be critical of this, but the practical experience with the Lauf fork taught me a lesson because the lack of rigidity was almost never really noticed. I cannot explain why, but that’s my honest opinion.

5. Only 2 spring rates? As noted already in the first post, Lauf relies on two spring rates to cover the gamut of ride weights. Even with my 90 kg/200lbs (with backpack) it occurred to me that 65 kg  and up rated fork never felt too soft. The were found only with serious maneuvers, for example intentionally hard landings. The fact that there is a fork in only 2 spring rates is far less relevant than one might think.


6. No Damping? In the last testing phase, I rarely can provoke a situation in which the nonexistent damping has really been missed, except perhaps hard sprints with a very high cadence! But since I never ever pedal with such cadences except on the singlespeed or perhaps in the final sprint in an XC race, I would say this: In 99.9% of all riding situations the Lauf Trail Racer feels quite normal even with no damping circuits, etc.

7. The Look, etc ….  Yes, with the Lauf Trail Racer it is a love it or hate it deal as far as the visual effect. I found it very ugly in the beginning and I am still not quite comfortable with its extraordinary shape but considering the function and various color options, I can look beyond that.  The only thing I would wish to add to trail performance would be more tire clearance to fit 29+ tires, but possibly may come along at some point. I suspect that the pairing of the large tires and the Lauf would be a good combination.



Now, after just over 1 ½ months on the Lauf Trail Racer 29 , the fork has proven to be one of the highlights of this year’s test. Over the initial  test time, I found it exciting, but reflecting back on the entire experience, they impressed me the long term as well.  All in all,  the Lauf Trail Racer fills the niche between a rigid and a suspension fork. But instead being just of a compromise between the two it is also 100% maintenance free, extremely light, and versatile. If I could choose a fork for a long-haul adventure á la Tour Divide or the like having a high proportion of non-technical trails and roads, it would be the Lauf Trail Racer, a truly unique MTB fork “Designed in Iceland.”


Note: The products shown here were sent for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.