Trying out the Lauf Carbonara fatbike fork
I’ve had a handful of snow rides on this fork so thought i’d write up my thoughts while i still remember the feel of the Bluto and my own rigid fork to compare. When asked about the Lauf by a friend, i replied, “The Lauf is cool. It’s almost invisible. You almost don’t notice it’s there, but you can tell it is taking the edge off. It’s hard to believe it won’t break on a big hit, or fatigue those leaf’s over time. It’s very cool in its simplicity – zero maintenance and QUIET! It’s funny because it hits me in opposite ways, it’s a dichotomy: I’m not a fan that it’s all carbon, but it has no stanchions or seals to wear out or oil to change, so it’s an elegantly simple design which I really like. It is quite ugly but I’m having trouble taking it off, i think i may keep it.” So there it is in a nutshell. Here’s the long-winded version:
The Lauf is approxmately 1.6lbs lighter than the Rock Shox Bluto which I took off my fatbike. It has much better tire clearance for even the biggest available tire, the Vee Snowshoe 2XL (about 3mm of space on either side of the tread…so close but fits!). Compared to the Bluto’s 80, 100, or 120mm it has only 60mm of travel that is not dampened but it has a the “progression” of the carbon leafs through the travel that is pretty natural feeling. Axle to crown is 494mm, offset is a nice 51mm. It only comes in the 150×15 axle spacing and a minimum 180mm front rotor diameter. Carbon everything – the tapered steerer down to the dropouts. It’s lighter than any steel rigid fatbike fork i’ve made so far by about 100g.
Other than those factoids, the ride is simple…nice. You don’t notice the travel as much as you do with a 100 or 120 Bluto, it just doesn’t FEEL like a suspension fork in that way. It’s really hard to explain until you try it. I’d say it’s perfect for fatbike use where you aren’t hucking the knar or expecting it to be super plush on rough downhills. It’s got a cruising attitude. Bikepackers and racers will dig the feel and low weight. It takes the edge off the washboards of the snowmobile or groomer track, and will help your control over bigger hits but not a lot. I don’t feel it’s laterally as stiff as even the Bluto but for cruising on snow I could care less. It tracks just fine for use with 5″ tires at 3psi. Take a look at the video if you haven’t seen it in action. Pretty neat! Yes…neat.