The RockShox Bluto might be the fork that comes to mind for fat bikes, but it’s not the only one. In addition to the more typical telescopic forks of both standard and inverted designs, there are few folks doing things a little differently. Like the guys from Lauf.

Looking at suspension in a completely new way, Lauf has made a lot of noise by combining the age-old idea of leaf springs with modern carbon manufacturing. The result is a super light fork that offers supple suspension, without adding much weight or complexity. It also makes it practically maintenance free, which on a fat bike that is ridden through the worst conditions imaginable, might be worth it by itself…

I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for creative packaging which is probably why I like the way the Lauf ships. The Carbonara is available in two different spring rates – Regular (over 80kg/176 lbs) and Light (under 85kg/187 lbs), with a maximum rider weight limit of 120kg/265lbs. In this case, the fork is a Light spring which is denoted with a green leaf that peeks through the leaf-shaped cut out on the box. There’s also a silhouette of the fork with the details, and of course a hidden message on the inside. Each fork includes a cloth bag with the zip ties for the brake hose routing and the expander plug for the carbon steerer tube.

All Lauf forks are based on their S2 leaf springs which are made from “military spec S2 glassfiber” and bonded to the other pieces of the fork. The axle then floats in the middle of the two groups of springs making for a completely maintenance free suspension system. The Carbonara offers 60mm of progressive travel with bump stops built into the fork if you bottom it out (you will). One of the benefits to the design is that since very little of the fork actually moves, the Carbonara adds only 260g to the unsprung weight which serves to improve small bump sensitivity and rebound speed. Made to play nicely with other fat bike forks, the front axle is a 150 x 15mm thru axle that bolts in with a 6mm Allen.

Built with 180mm post mount disc brake mounts, the minimum rotor size for the fork is therefore 180mm. It’s important to note however, that if you plan to use a brake with quad pistons like the Magura MT7, it will probably not fit. My Magura MT Trail brakes use a four piston front caliper, and the caliper itself hit the carbon of the Lauf fork. Because of this, I had to use a 180mm post mount adapter in order to run a 200mm rotor so that the caliper was spaced away from the fork. It’s not that big of a deal in the end, but if you are buying a rotor and adapter to use with this fork, keep that in mind.


Otherwise, it’s pretty straight forward. The fork uses external routing for the front brake hose with zip tie mounts along the left leg. The full carbon steerer is a 1.125-1.5 taper with an uncut length of 250mm. With a claimed weight of 1,100g with a 175mm steerer and axle, the Carbonara was right on the money at 1,120g with the axle and an uncut steerer. The stock for the Otso Voytek was already pretty light, which made it more impressive that the Carbonara only added around 300g to the total weight.

Important numbers include a 51mm rake, and 494mm axle to crown measurement with tire clearance for 26 x 4.8″ fat bike tires or 29 x 3.0″ plus. Retail price is $890 and is available in two stock colors of Naked Matte and Full White, while additional custom options are offered with a 4-6 week shipping time.

After getting it in, figuring out the brake issue, and getting it installed, the timing was nearly perfect for our first real dose of winter. After riding it non-stop until temperatures warmed up and melted away the snow, I can say that first impressions are very favorable. I won’t spoil the whole review too much, but if you’re looking for a bit of cushion for the front of your fat bike without having to ever worry about maintenance, the Lauf Carbonara looks pretty tasty.



    • on

      They’re expensive but after two shock rebuilds, they’re about the price of a nice Fox that’ll always need servicing. I love my +sized Lauf

      • Mike Williams on

        And since you would need a backup fork for your Fox (or Wren) — so you can ride when they are in for service/repair — it is cheaper. (fwiw: Borealis only charges $100 more for the Lauf over a Bluto/Wren in a build.)

  1. Tory on

    I have one and love it. Everyone incorrectly thinks two things: 1. Fatbike tires negate the need (or want) of suspension and 2. the Lauf is undampened. While lacking dampening adjustments it does a great job of improving the cush of the 4-5″ tire while slowing down the bounce.

  2. Rubicon on

    Lauf confirmed you get less than 40mm of constant travel. At low speeds the rebound is terrible. Long-term, this undamped spring-leaf fork causes hand and wrist pain. Fork limits where you can ride your fat bike.

  3. Bazz on

    If you are bottoming out your Lauf you should go for the heavier spring rate version. Also I found the SRAM Guide 4 piston calipers fitted just fine with a 180mm rotor.

  4. ascarlarkinyar on

    Small bump compliance? On a fat bike? Redundant feature with fat tires. No need. Demo this fork in dry and many snow conditions, worthless. Either my carbon fork or bluto rode much better for conditions needed.

  5. Bullet on

    There is no such thing as “perfect suspension”. There are many great compromises that could claim to be really good, but no single set up can be “best” in every scenario. Anyone who disagrees with that is wrong.
    Are Laf Carbonara an option worth considering… Definitely yes!
    The balance of compromise result from these things is very impressive.
    The first negative you have to get over is the cost, after that, the list of positives are very significant. One win that just about no other suspension fork can touch is weight.
    Usually the chase for suspension perfection ces with adjustability. Maybe 10% either way. Experienced tweakers might find a 1 or 2% advantage in trail times if the effectively nail the perfect adjusent for that day.
    Lauf gives you no such adjustment.
    But one positive offset from this lack of adjustability is reduced compo entry and less weight. When they took your adjustability away, they left you with a 40 or 50% weight advantage.
    A 40% advantage in any aspect of suspension performance is almost unheard of.
    there are positives and negatives to this one aspect.
    With the Carbonara you only have around 60% of the travel of other common sispension fork options. But any rigid fork would have less that 10% of the suspension of the Carbonara.
    Anyone can ride rigid or 120mm travel fork

    • Bullet on

      so yes the 60mm Lauf option is a fantastic balance of compromise with some advantages that other options can’t get anywhere near.
      I fitted Carbonara’s to my missus bike and found even more plosives than I was expecting.
      I am now considering ditching my 100mm Blutos for the 60mm Carbonara myself.
      An outstanding product.


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