We’ve always been somehow enamored by the crazy look and promise of a better performing axle path of linkage suspension forks, so it was a pleasant surprise to see German Answer back working on their Kilo X-link fork design, 15 years after its first introduction. The last time we had seen the Kilo a couple of years back it was a bit closer to that original 1000g target weight, but this newest version gets a much longer linkage setup for improved stiffness, longer travel, and an upgrade to a lot of new trail standards that make it a viable option for proper cross country and marathon mountain bike riding, all at a still impressive light weight. Have a closer look…
The four-bar linkage remains, but German:A extends the lower pivot about halfway down the fork leg to greatly improve overall stiffness, that pairs with the option to upgrade to both a thru-axle and tapered steerer to really make this handle as precisely as any other lightweight cross country fork on the market.
Gone are the days of settling for flex just to satisfy your inner weight weenie. And to make it more trail worthy they have bumped the travel up a bit to 100mm and added support for all wheel diameters.
With the added stiffness does come a bit more weight, and German:A might be better suited to rename the fork the Kilo-and-a-Half. The reshaped Kilo X-link fork weighs in starting at 1480g in its lightest setup with their SLR:light air shock. To add a bit more adjustability to the shock the Air-Force Kilo damper adds another 40g or even a light steel coil spring shock for an extra 160g over the standard light shock. The air shocks also offer a remote lockout that can tack on another 60g. In the end you are getting a fork about the same weight a top end SID with improved axle path. If you are looking to still keep under 1000g, their Xcite Xero telescoping fork has got you covered for the same travel even now in a 29er under a kilogram.
A big highlight of the linkage redesign, beside stiffness and longer travel, is the total elimination of brake dive. Telescoping forks tend to dive under hard braking making them much less supple and burning through travel when you need to slow down through the rough stuff. But this latest fork movement on the Kilo X-link is designed not only to stay active when braking, but to also move in such a way to keep fork trail consistent through the travel so handling remains more consistent even as the fork is compressing. That means that while a typical fork gets more twitchy handling when it dives into its travel, the Kilo remains easy to control no matter how it compresses.
The fork adds 10mm to grow to 100mm of travel across all other options, and is now offered in 26″, 27.5″ & 29″ specific axle-to-crown measurements. It also gives the option for either straight 1.125″ steerers for those of you looking to upgrade an older bike, or with a 1.5″ tapered carbon steerer tube for a more modern build. The new carbon lowers are also available in two axle options: again with standard QR drops for a retro build or German:A’s own 48g QR15 thru-axle to get the most out of the new fork.