The cat’s out of the bag that Lauf is now Lauf Cycling. And so the Icelanders now have a racy new carbon gravel frame to pair with their unique leaf spring fork. Almost hidden in plain sight on that new True Grit gravel bike, the suspension gravel fork is a very much overhauled new design – the Lauf Grit SL. The completely new Grit SL carries over the same construction and basic layout, but improves on the old fork in almost every way. Lighter and stiffer with improved suspension action, all with revised profiling that make its unique shape disappear into the bike…
Grit SL suspension gravel fork
For me it seemed like the 30mm travel Grit suspension gravel fork has been around for a while (mostly because we’ve been seeing Lauf forks for a few years, and they all kinda blend together in my mind.) But in reality the Grit was only introduced last April. In less than a year and a half we’ve seen them pop up and have ridden them on steel bikes like Niner’s RLT 9 & carbon bikes like the Open U.P. And in that same time bike makers have jumped on the idea, with Ridley & 3T spec’ing Grits on complete bikes.
While the current Grit has done pretty well on those bikes, Lauf didn’t stop moving forward to continue develop the short travel suspension fork platform. That’s no surprise – we’ve seen plenty in the way of gravel suspension, with Fox testing the waters in their own AX gravel fork, X-Fusion teasing a long travel gravel fork, RST looking at a new head shock, and even the Specialized Diverge getting a Future Shock fork/steerer. But such a big update so soon was surprising.
It seems though that with a new stiffer, race-oriented platform in their new carbon True Grit frame, Lauf realized they could optimize their gravel fork even further. The big visual difference in the new Grit SL redesign is the use of almost straight fork legs instead of the kinked design. That, combined with blacked out springs and lowers, make the fork blend in better with the bike.
Updated construction of the individual leafs themselves, which Lauf was able to shorten by 7mm while maintaining their almost infinite durability, actually drove the ability to straighten out the legs. Shortening the leafs meant they also ever-so-slightly changed their angle of attack to be a bit steeper as well to maintain the same 30mm of travel. The result on the suspension action is a fork that somehow both resists moving in the early travel & still eats up the little bumps. And at the same time it keeps the progressive spring rate of the original for a bottomless feel (as much as 30mm can feel bottomless).
Together with a move to 1.5″-1.125″ tapered carbon steerer tube, the shorter leafs helped the new fork to be stiffer both laterally and fore/aft. The bigger steerer taper also allowed for a lower profile crown that bumps tire clearance up to 45mm.
A side benefit to all those little updates is that the new Grit SL lives up to its super light moniker by dropping 50g to a claimed 850g.
The Grit SL retains the same 30mm travel and 47mm rake. It grows 3mm taller with a sag corrected axle-to-crown measurement of 412mm. The 1.5″ tapered steerer with an integrated crown race can still be adapted to fit 1 1/4″ (or 1 3/8″) frames thanks to a spacer/reducer that adds ~6mm more stack.
In the forks on the True Grit framesets, Lauf has changed their paint scheme to match the fork legs to the frame, while leaving the leafs & unsprung element of the fork black to disappear from the eye. We expect similar color options as shown here for aftermarket, plus an all-black color.
In the end the new Grit SL fork might be bigger news than the True Grit frame itself, as it has broader applications. Sure, a bunch of people are going to buy the new True Grit complete with the fork, but once it is available to OEMs & aftermarket, I’d guess that the Grit SL will end up on a lot of other bikes too.
That said, Lauf were a bit hesitant to talk concretely about OEM or aftermarket availability of the new fork right away or even pricing on its own. For now their focus is on the new True Grit frameset including the new fork. And for sure they want to prioritize consumers who want to buy the frame & fork combo direct from them.
But the separate Grit SL suspension gravel fork is coming, most likely with individual fork availability at the end of the 2017. It will cost a bit more than the $790 Grit but isn’t likely to run much more than their mountain bike forks.
We alluded to it in our introduction of the True Grit frame, but we put in a solid week testing this new fork and bike in its native Iceland. Weather and terrain there changes so quickly, yielding proper proving grounds for new tech. While the new True Grit frame did its job well, the Grit SL fork was probably the real standout. Now that it is better matched to a stiff carbon frame that can handle the abuse & wide tires, the revised Grit SL felt more capable & versatile than the previous generation ever had. Keep your eyes open for our ride review.