$2,7000 Trust Message linkage fork means business but will it get the buyers?

Dave Weagle is a name almost intrinsically linked to innovative suspension design. The Trust Message is his idea of what a suspension fork can be.

>>>13 of the best mountain bike suspension forks: a buyer’s guide

Trust Performance Message fork need to know

  • Trailing multi-link front suspension
  • 130mm contour travel
  • 1980 grams
  • Full carbon chassis, steerer tube and linkages
  • Three-way mode adjust – Firm, Mid, Open
  • Trust engineered twin-tube, thru-shaft damper
  • Fits both 29/27.5″+ (110-150mm) and 27.5″ (130-150mm) bikes
  • Tire widths up to 29 x 2.6” (762 x 66mm) max or 27.5 x 2.8″ (744 x 78mm) max
  • Easy setup with air pressure equal to rider weight
  • 535mm axle-to-crown
  • Fits existing mountain bikes with tapered head tube
  • Boost 15x110mm thru axle (or with torque caps)
  • Direct mount 180mm rotor (203mm max)
  • 250 hours between service intervals
  • $2,700 price tag

Dave Weagle is the inventor of the much used DW link suspension system (as used by Pivot and Ibis), as well as co-founder of Evil Bikes and E*Thirteen Components. Up until now he’s pretty much worked exclusively at the rear of the bike but this has all changed with the launch of his new company Trust Performance’s Message suspension fork. As expected from Dave it’s not your conventional telescoping design. It’s a fork that uses pivots rather than the usual telescoping stanchions.

Yep, Weagle (and Trust) has produced a carbon fibre linkage fork. Apart from being pretty wild looking and apparently retailing at $2,700 (expect that to translate almost directly into pounds), Trust has some pretty bold claims as to the performance of the new Message. If they are qualified and to be believed it could well be a game changer for front suspension design.

“The Message allows the front of the bike to reap the benefits that rear suspension designs have enjoyed for years,” states Weagle. “Supple performance early in the stroke, supported with a progressive midstroke and more bottom-out resistance at the end of the travel — like a well-designed rear suspension — Trust’s linkage absorbs impacts and eliminates wallowing, so the rider doesn’t blow through travel during a heavy pedal.”

Four bar linkage? That’s normally reserved for the rear.

Sifting through the performance claims for the carbon fibre Message, the ones that stand out are its apparent ability to increase traction and stability through corners, reduced maintenance/increased service intervals and increased performance in all terrain compared to a traditional telescoping fork.

We’ll let Trust explain what it is and how it works. Obviously we are looking forward to getting out hands on a set asap to see if the claims really are true…

“By employing a trailing multi-link design, the Message allows the front of the bike to realize the benefits the rear has enjoyed for years — an easy actuation feel early in the stroke and progressive ramp through the mid-stroke. The result: ground-hugging traction, increased confidence when pushing through berms and more bottom-out resistance at the end of the travel to handle large impacts and botched landings. Additionally, our linkage design means that the axle path on the Message isn’t forced to travel in-line with the steering axis. Instead, it counteracts the natural steering angle change with a corresponding adjustment in offset. The Message maintains caster through the range of travel, giving you predictable handling in a wider variety of trail conditions.

“Our in-house designed twin-tube, thru-shaft damper is securely housed inside a stiff carbon chassis. The chassis design provides unique stiffness and significantly isolates deflection to the linkage portion of the system, virtually eliminating stiction in the damper. A three-way mode adjust provides on-the-fly adjustments to control compression performance. The most notable difference about the Message is its ability to accept multiple 29” and 27.5” disc brake mountain bikes. Because the Message’s contour travel and static structure is more versatile than telescopic travel, one product is suitable for a wider range of axle-to-crown lengths and travels. While the Message performs best on 29″ and 27.5″+ designed for 110mm to 150mm of travel and 27.5” bikes designed for 130mm to 150mm of travel, you’ll find you can push the limits in either direction with surprising success.”

The Girvin Vector was the most popular linkage fork produced.

Linkage forks aren’t new

Nope, linkage style forks aren’t a revolutionary design and have in fact been present in mountain biking and other two wheeled sports for decades. In mountain bike circles the linkage fork that really kicked it all of was Horst Leitner’s AMP Research F series forks, followed swiftly by Pro-Flex/Girvin who arguably produced the most popular variation throughout the mid to late nineties.

Let’s see if the Trust Performance Message really does revolutionise front suspension or if will even become a viable alternative.