A few of you have likely seen those different looking carbon linkage forks with no obvious stanchions cruising around the place, making bikes look super raked out. Trust Performance had only really started making waves in NZ recently, so it was sad to see them suspend their operations indefinitely at the start of April.
A statement from Trust said they had been unable to get the capital investment they needed to keep going because of how the coronavirus pandemic had affected the investment market so had been forced to shut down. “It all added up to a perfect storm that slammed right into us.”
Spoke had been quietly testing a set of their big travel forks, the Shout, and had a review in the bag for Issue 81 (which has also been affected by coronavirus, though we’re just delayed). We won’t be running it in the mag now you can’t buy the forks but here’s the review in case you were curious about how those funky looking forks performed …
This is the big travel brawler from disruptive new linkage fork makers Trust, and it proved more than capable of handling the abuse we threw at it.
Let’s get this one out of the way early: the Shout’s looks are fairly polarising, with some finding it hard to make peace with the futuristic look and raked out appearance they give a bike—you’ll have to decide for yourself where you stand on this one. But draw an imaginary line from the headtube to the axle and you’ll see your headtube angle hasn’t changed. These things are a guaranteed conversation-starter out on the trails.
The 2165 gram Shout is an air-sprung “contour travel” fork with 178 millimetres of travel in a stiff, archless all-carbon chassis. For comparison, a Fox 36 or RockShox Lyrik are both about 2000 grams.
Designed to replace 160-180mm forks on either 29” or 27.5” bikes (the archless design means it can work with either), the Shout has a 580mm axle to crown—a similar length to most 160mm 29” forks.
They feature all the adjustments you’d expect from a top end fork, including rebound and open and mid compression (which affects two of the three compression settings that can be selected with the flick of a switch, depending on trail conditions). The fork comes with a thorough set-up guide that I found got me pretty close to the mark right away. There’s also room for up to five “huck puck” volume spacers to adjust how the fork ramps up.
Trust says the Shout should eat up bumps because the wheel moves slightly backwards before heading upwards when it hits an obstacle, and in practice I found it to be very capable at dealing with square-edge hits and general chunder, though it could get a bit overwhelmed with repeated big hits very close together.
The Shout excelled in smooth, flowing trails, feeling very dependable. Those beefy carbon legs meant that flex was almost non-existent, and tracking feels very precise. Cornering was excellent, with lots of grip on tap.
Braking performance was also great, with the forks suffering no dive when hauling on the picks.
One issue I did find was that when landing some drops (especially rear-wheel heavy) or even dropping back down from a manual, the fork didn’t always use as much travel as I expected.
Overall though, the forks just felt a bit different from traditional-style forks. If you’re like me, you’ve been riding telescoping-style forks for more than a decade and you generally have an idea of what they’ll do in various situations. Because these forks move differently, I had to re-learn what to expect. To be clear, different doesn’t mean worse, but there is an adjustment period.
In terms of durability, the carbon body held up to everything I threw at it without flinching. Services are at massive 250-hour intervals, which is a lot of riding before you have to worry about any punishing admin. They do have a whopping 18 bearings in there, but Trust offers a lifetime bearing warranty to the first owner.
These forks are targeting the premium end of the market and the $3100 price reflects that. To me, this is the biggest sticking point, as it’s significantly more than the Trust’s main competitors’ high-end offerings.
A smaller niggle was the difficulty accessing the bolt-up through axle with a multi-tool. I found my stubby 6mm didn’t have enough clearance from the linkage to move more than a quarter-turn or so, making getting the wheel off and on to fix a puncture inconvenient.
I honestly liked the fork and don’t want to give it back, but would I pay the premium price over what Trust’s more traditional competitors are charging? That’s the fundamental issue Trust will have to overcome. Having said that, it’s great to see someone doing something so different in the fork market, and doing it well.