Message Boost Fork
The Message Boost Fork from Trust Performance doesn't look like any other suspension fork you've seen before. That's because it's designed to ride like no other fork you've ridden before. It's not just different for difference's sake though, it's truly designed to improve your ride. Truth be told, telescoping technology has reached its zenith and if suspension gains were to be made to the front end of the bike, a linkage fork design is necessary. Sure, linkage forks are nothing new, we've seen them on the front of motorcycles before and even some mountain bike designs have dabbled with some linkage forks over the decades. Those of us who have been in the sport for a while might have memories of forks harkening back to those of AMP Research and Pro-Flex. Those mountain bike designs never carried on for more than a few seasons, but the Message has already had an indelible impact on the future of suspension forks that we think will shape the industry going forward.
That's a big claim, and we'd typically shy away from such sweeping generalizations for new products, but we're confident in the Message for multiple reasons. For one, technology has certainly advanced since those early forks and air springs and dampers are in a completely different league compared to the elastomers and coil springs and the primitive damping from back in the day. Materials have evolved, too, and what were once noodly, heavy units have been replaced with carbon fiber, dropping some serious grams while elevating stiffness. Lastly, Trust Performance consists of a crew that's the mountain bike equivalent of a Super Group band that's created quite the buzz in the industry.
Trust's Technical Director and Founder is no other than Dave Weagle, who has designed and patented some of the most lauded suspension platforms on the market including DW-Link, Split-Pivot, and DELTA. His understanding of suspension kinematics is peerless, and applying his expertise towards the front of the bike is certainly going to transform pre-conceived notions about fork designs. Bringing carbon fiber expertise to the fold is Co-founder and President Jason Schiers. Schiers founded ENVE Composites and legitimized carbon wheels and components for mountain bikes proving that they were lighter, stiffer, and more durable than their aluminum equivalents. Last up is fellow Co-founder and CEO Hap Seliga. Hap is one of 3 founders of Competitive Cyclist (which is why our logo has those 3 dots, by the way) and helped it grow into the premium online bike retailer that it is today.
Now with the history and introductions out of the way, let's talk about the Message. While there's nothing inherently wrong with a telescoping fork, Trust knew it could build a better one. Increased bushing overlap and better seals on modern forks are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they improve stiffness and prolong service life but it comes at the expense of increased friction. Even with lower drag seals and special stanchion coatings that can make a telescoping fork feel smooth, it can't hold a candle to the reduced breakaway force achieved by a linkage design that pivots on bearings. Trust tested a handful of premium forks on the market and the average force needed to move the stanchions, sans a spring, was around 50 pounds. The best it found was a broken-in and factory tuned version that required 21 pounds of force to initiate movement. The Message takes all of 2 pounds. Its small bump compliance is something you appreciate right away and you'll really notice it when hopping back on more traditional designs. Take the rear shock off of your bike and cycle the suspension. You know that smoothness that comes from a linkage design that pivots on bearings? That’s exactly what you get with the Message's stroke.
The other area of refinement allowed with a linkage design is its ability to choose the axle's placement and its travel path. Almost every fork currently on the market uses a leading axle design which works okay, however, it's not ideal. A telescoping fork operates much like a lever when this leading axle hits an object and while most of the force goes up and is mitigated by the spring and damper, some of the force goes rearward too. This places a binding force on the upper legs and bushing that reduces its sensitivity. Trust's design places the axle further back allowing the fork to gobble up rock gardens, roots, and braking bumps better. Think of the axle placement like a shopping cart caster, the wheels always want to self-correct to a position that is behind the pivot, or in this case the steerer tube, relative to the direction of movement. To put it another way, the load is pulling the wheel forward and you can see how adding some pedaling force behind this helps the front wheel claw up and over technical trail furniture and helps keep the wheel glued to the singletrack and tracking through chunder. Another scenario to imagine is pushing a loaded wheelbarrow into a curb versus pulling it behind you. It's much easier to pull it up and over than pushing through the abrupt stop you get as the wheel makes contact. Its slightly rearward wheelpath and increased fore and aft stiffness relative to traditional designs further eases this initiation and allows the front end to follow trail contours more efficiently.
The other notable advantage of a linkage system is how it keeps the bike's geometry better intact throughout its travel. As a telescoping fork goes through its stroke, the head tube angle steepens and the wheelbase and trail decrease. On the Message, those measurements are more consistent from the top of the stroke through deep in its travel, leading to, well, a more consistent ride with less brake dive and better stability everywhere. When combined with the newer generation trail geometry, the thought of going over the bars is a distant memory. Those days of preserving the bike's intended geo by adding tons of air pressure to the fork or filling it up with a bunch of volume reducers in an attempt to keep the fork higher in its travel, often compromising performance, are also long gone.
The fork has 130mm of total travel, 120mm of that is vertical with the balance being made up with the slightly rearward movement, and it's so smooth, active, and supple that you'll swear its more. On our first test ride, we actually pulled over to check the tire's air as we were almost certain we were losing pressure. Thanks to its advanced carbon construction, the fork doesn't sacrifice lateral or torsional stiffness to traditional forks, and Trust instead focused on building in structural support from its carbon construction as it doesn't rely on its axle or a traditional arch for stiffness.
One really neat feature of the fork is that it houses its sliding bits under the hood so to speak, keeping seals and such out of harm's way from rocks and other trail debris. Additionally, this bumps up the service intervals significantly. Whereas a typical fork recommends servicing every 50 hours, the Message extends that to 250 hours. The fork has 180mm native rotor post-mount with clearance for 203mm versions with adapters. Compression is adjustable with a 3-position toggle offering a lockout, a firm damping setting, and wide open. The requisite rebound damping adjustment is also present, allowing you to dial in the Message for your weight, riding style, and terrain. It has clearance for standard 29-inch tire fare as well as supporting 27.5+.
- A linkage fork that changes the mountain bike landscape
- 130mm of stiction-free travel and Boost-spaced axles
- Design improves tracking and small-bump compliance
- Carbon construction reduces weight and boosts stiffness
- Air spring and rebound adjustment offers a range of tuning
- The damper offers an Open, Medium, and Lock Out setting
- Designed for 29 or 27.5+ trail bikes
- Trust Performance was founded by three of the industry's most revolutionary titans