The Shout needs to adapt its range of adjustment to make it suit a wider range of rider weight and riding styles
The Trust Shout fork looks radical, but can it live up to to Trust’s bold claims? Certainly, on the table, the Trust Shout is an impressive piece of kit.
Trust Shout suspension fork need to know
- Latest trailing linkage fork from Trust boasting 178mm travel
- Full carbon construction, including links and tapered steerer
- Takes regular 15mm front hubs and is fully Torque Cap comatible
- Twin-tube damper with three-mode adjuster
- Weights in a 2.23kg (4.92lb) including 15mm alloy axle
What is it with suspension engineers and their overwhelming obsession with linkage forks? Maybe it’s the desire to produce something radically different, to make a statement. Or it could be, as complex as a linkage fork is, the advantages of being able to manipulate the axle path and progression rate make the endeavour genuinely worthwhile.
Either way, it’s every suspension engineer’s dream. To make the Trust fork a reality however, it actually took the merging of three great minds. Dave Weagle developed the suspension design, Jason Schiers, formerly of Enve Composites, transformed it into a carbon reality, while Hap Seliga, co-founder of competitive cyclist was charged with delivering the goods.
Constructed entirely from carbon, it’s a trailing linkage design with 178mm travel. On the scales it weighs 2.23kg (4.92lb), so it’s a hair heavier than the equivalent RockShox Lyrik. And with an axle to crown height of 580mm, it 1mm lower than a 170mm Lyrik 29 too.
The Shout uses standard 110x15mm axle spacing, making it fully compatible with the current crop of Boost hubs. Trust also states that the same fork is 29in and 27.5in compatible, but this isn’t really a feature as all 29er forks take 27.5in wheels. What’s cool about the Stout though, is that it has inserts in the dropouts that snugly cup regular 15mm hubs for easy axle location, but these can also be removed to make it fully Torque Cap compatible, something we’ll get deeper into in a minute.
And it isn’t just the linkage that makes this fork different. It has self-equalizing air-spring assemblies in both of those beefy carbon upper legs. And with no stanchions or O-ring to indicate sag, Trust employs a neat travel dial on one of the pivots to help with initial set-up.
A three-position compression lever atop the right leg delivers three distinct modes within easy reach: open, mid and firm, where even the firm setting remains active and plush for the first 20% of the travel.
Half way down the same leg, peeling back a small rubber seal reveals the adjusters for the twin-tube thru-shaft damper that let you adjust the low speed compression damping and high speed rebound with a 3mm Allen key. The main rebound adjuster residing at the base of right leg.
First ride review
Okay, let’s dispense with the elephant in the room, this fork looks, well, different. Yes, that’s the polite way of putting it. It’s weird for sure, and I still can’t get used to the way the oversized carbon legs extend way out in front of the axle, making every bike I’ve seen it on look like it’s been dropped from a great height and choppering out the fork. Sit behind it, however and it looks reassuringly stout.
If you got this far however, you’re not interested in how the Trust fork looks, you want to know how it rides. First up, it’s very sensitive off the top. That initial touch is totally friction free, making it incredibly sensitive to small bumps. This is more impressive still when you realise that the negative spring volume isn’t very large. In fact, the fork appears to use a hydraulic top out, to eliminate any knocking that would normally go hand in hand with such a setup.
Getting a ballpark setting for the air pressure couldn’t be more straightforward. Flip open the rubber covers on each leg, unscrew the valve caps with an Allen key, attach a shock pump and inflate to your body weight in lbs. So for me at 85kg, that’s 187lb with is 187psi in each leg. I found that lower pressures and more sag definitely offered as more sensitive response, probably due to the small negative spring volume, but to get the support I craved, I needed to add volume spacers. Easier said than done.
The fork comes stock with three volume spacers in each air-spring assembly, but you actually need to unbolt the linkage and remove the spring assembly from each leg to add more. Once dismantled, it’s the same process as any other fork and to be fair it’s a time-consuming operation rather than a difficult one.
With the spring rate and progression sorted, my focus instantly switched to the damping. And much to my surprise, the fork wasn’t returning fast enough even with the rebound fully open. As I mentioned earlier, I weigh 85kg in my riding kit, so if you’re lighter than me this fork is going to suck the life out of your ride. I’m also convinced it is why my hands were fatiguing on longer runs. Hand or arm pump is not something I normally suffer from, but I’m convinced that the extra pulling force that I was exerting on the bar was making my hands ache. That to the fact the fork isn’t stiff torsionally, so I was constantly fighting the steering or, lack of it.
Yes, the Shout has good fore-aft stiffness thanks to the oversized carbon upper legs and one-piece steerer assembly. But just like a telescopic upside-down fork, there’s is a delay in transmitting input at the handlebar to the contact patch of the tyre and visa versa. And while some flex is necessary for off camber traction and control, I think it’ s excessive on the Trust fork.
I’ve ridden this fork on a verity of different bike with different wheel sizes and the best option was a stiffer 27.5in wheel with a hub sporting oversized Torque Caps. Which isnt really a surprise given the flex.
Also after riding it on faster, rougher trails that really load up the fork, I’m convinced that being able to run the rebound faster may actually reduce control rather than improve it. Still, without a necessary range of adjustment, I can’t say that with any certainty.
Scathing as this First Ride sounds, I should qualify it by saying that Trust isn’t the first brand to get it wrong. The first Fox forks were totally over damped and more recently even RockShox updated the range of high-speed compression adjustment on its RC2 damper after just one year. Ohlins, Specialized, Bos, all promised the world and didn’t deliver.
So the important lesson here is that now the Trust fork is in the hands of everyday riders, it needs to adapt its range of adjustment to make it suit a wider range of rider weight and riding styles. I’ll try to get the rebound damping re-tuned before doing a full review, but until then I won’t be taking the RockShox Lyrik Ultimate off my go to test bike.