If you didn’t get the Message, maybe you’ll hear the Shout! Following up on the Message, their first trailing multi-link fork, Trust Performance has created a longer travel version aimed at enduro riders called the Shout. During Crankworx Whistler Trust snuck out a new Shout fork for media demos, and I got the chance to take it for a brief ride.

The Shout looks a lot like Trust’s existing Message model, which is good because it was still under embargo during Crankworx. Thankfully no-one guessed it was a new product while I was parading it around the Whistler Bike Park. In this article we’ll cover my initial impressions of how the Shout rides, but be sure to check out my other article covering the key details and specs on the fork.

Before I even get into how the fork rode, I need to address how it looks – the appearance of this fork is something you can’t avoid taking into consideration. During my few laps in the bike park, I caught a ton of people eyeballing my test bike. The best comment I got about the fork was “It looks like an alien holding your front wheel on!” The Shout could have been called ‘the conversation’ because with this thing on your bike, you’re definitely going to find yourself answering questions from curious riders!

Set up:

The Shout fork is marginally more complicated than a regular fork to set up. Once you’ve checked Trust’s chart to see how much air pressure matches your body weight, you’ll pump the same pressure into both fork legs. One key thing to note here – You’ll need a shock pump with an extended head to access the air valves that sit inside the Shout’s legs.

Adjusting rebound is the same as usual, with the knob located inside the linkage on the drive-side fork leg. In lieu of a traditional O-ring, the Shout has a travel indicator on the non-drive side. This little red tab floats on a pivot and points to the travel percentages printed on the link, so you can check how much sag and compression you’re getting.

The only other complicating factor to the Shout is that allen keys are required for fine-tuning the compression. The Shout’s Open and Medium modes’ low-speed compression can be tuned separately, by twisting the bolts found inside the drive-side fork leg. Switching between Open, Medium and Firm modes is easy; you just flip the lever on the top of the fork leg.

Compression can be further tuned by adding or removing air volume spacers (they call them ‘Huck Pucks’). Conveniently for my test, the fork seemed OK as it was and we didn’t need to play with the pucks. If you do need to make adjustments, it requires two allen keys to detach the lower links and remove the air springs from each leg.

Ride Impressions:

Now, onto the important part – how it rides. The Shout definitely offers excellent small-bump compliance. It has a very sensitive initial stroke that makes gliding over less technical sections of trail feel almost like riding on pavement. This ensures great traction from your front wheel, as the tire remains well planted on any smooth to moderately bumpy terrain.

When I got onto a much chunkier, more technical trail, I didn’t feel like there was a vast difference between the Shout and a traditional telescoping fork in terms of bump absorption. I then went over to a jump line that had plenty of brake bumps, and again I can’t say the Shout handled the harsh chatter noticeably better than a traditional fork. It did a fine job of absorbing impacts, but it wasn’t the game-changing experience people might hope for when looking at this unorthodox fork.

With limited ride time I didn’t play with fine-tuning the Open and Medium modes, but I did try both settings. The Firm setting on the fork is very firm, so it wouldn’t make sense to ride the bike park in that mode. I’d reserve that setting for paved surfaces or very smooth fire road climbs. My first lap was in Open mode, and I got about 80% travel on runs that were technical but didn’t have any big hits. After moving to a rougher run and a jump line, I squeezed every millimeter out of the Shout.

The fork ramped up enough to require a hard hit to achieve full travel, but it wasn’t so stiff that I (a lightweight) couldn’t compress it fully. In Open mode, the fork remained supple until that final ramp-up kicked in. Remember, the Shout’s ramp-up is adjustable via volume spacers, but I got lucky and the demo fork was set up appropriately for me.

At Trust’s suggestion, I tried the fork’s Medium mode on a jump line for lap two. As I was told, this mode keeps the fork riding higher in its travel. The Shout still did a great job of absorbing small and medium-sized bumps, but when bigger hits or brake bumps came along it was obvious that the fork was in a stiffer setting. The Medium setting firms up the top third of the fork’s travel considerably, so it’s OK for smoother trails but on rough terrain you’ll want to be riding wide open.

Before riding the Shout, I was mentally preparing myself for the bike to feel quite different than normal, but it really didn’t require much adjustment at all. With a linkage fork, the bike’s head tube angle doesn’t change as much as a traditional fork as you sink into your travel. I thought I’d be in for a whole new ride experience due to this effect, but in reality it doesn’t feel as different as you might expect. Diving into corners or thrashing through rough terrain didn’t require any change to my body position, and the bike’s steering didn’t seem to change much either. On one hand, this is good because the fork doesn’t require you to re-learn how to ride your bike. On the other hand, some riders might be disappointed that it doesn’t offer a radically different feel.

One thing that did feel different was not seeing the fork move while you pound down the trail! In comparison to a traditional fork jackhammering constantly as you ride, the Shout’s fork legs barely move, and it’s a bit odd to the eye. The linkages are doing all the work below, but you can’t see them from a riding position. This proved easy to get used to, but it was an interesting side effect I figure is worth mentioning.

My short ride convinced me that Trust’s trailing multi-link design offers great small and medium bump absorption, and keeps your wheel tracking solidly through such terrain. When the bumps got bigger, I felt the difference between the Shout and a telescoping fork’s ability to suck up hits was marginal. I also expected it to feel much more different on the bike than it did, but that could be seen as a positive or a negative. Trust Performance has inquired about sending me a Shout for a longer term, so hopefully I’ll have a more thorough review for you this fall.

trustperformance.com

12 COMMENTS

    • I drew up a quick semi-accurate model of the linkage points in solidworks and the axle path through the first half of the stroke is broadly rearward and on a similar trajectory to a normal telescoping fork, through the second half of the travel it approaches vertical as it moves through the travel. So, this fork doesn’t extend the wheelbase as it moves through its travel. This could potentially explain some of the “normal” feeling this fork exhibits on the trail.

  1. Back to back park runs against a Lyrik or Fox 36 would make for an even better article.

    As written, it seems VERY difficult to justify the price premium for this fork.

    Finally, how does AC height compare to a 160 RS or Fox?

    Thanks for taking one for the team, and riding cool new stuff at Whistler. Sacrifices!

  2. Over the long term, pivot/bearing slop will likely be the fork’s Achilles heel just like it was for AMP, Noleen, et al linkage forks in the past.

  3. I agree with others that it would be difficult to justify going with this fork given that it just seems different from other options. Everything I’ve read seems to say that it just feels different and doesn’t necessarily offer a huge advantage.

    If they made the links out of aluminum it’d help get the cost more competitive and also probably make some of those pivots more durable. They might even be able to offer this cheaper than the competition if they did that.

    • None of the reviews has included super steep sections of trail, where the anti-dive would likely make a real difference. Also, the Pinkbike review of the Message fork said it made bikes handle much better than bikes with telescopic forks.

      • For aggressive trail riding the trust linkage forks punch above the competition. I purchased one to go on the front of my Kona Honzo after we got one to demo in the shop. I was blown away. you are able to jump into rough sections of trail with the confidence that your fork will not hang up on rocks or bumps and throw your weight forward, it allows you to ride more relaxed and gives you much increased front end traction even compared to a grip 2 36 with a push acs3 conversion (the best setup on a telescoping fork at the moment). Along with that, the lack of diving in corners allows you to push into them harder and faster and never wash the front wheel.

  4. “Survey data indicate that consumers have grave doubts about the functionality and reliability of the design. Let’s paper over that problem by calling the brand Trust.”

  5. First thing first, I am not a journalist, or a writer. Having said that, it seems like a pretty significant oversight to write a review on a fork without once mentioning how much travel it has. Seriously, it’s a fork. I feel like this is a key detail.

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