Slow Motion Action of The Message Front Linkage Suspension System 41

How does Trust's new front suspension system look in action?

Slow Motion Action of The Message Front Linkage Suspension System

Vital MTBers, we’re lucky enough to have some friends riding that crazy, new front suspension gizmo from Trust Performance called The Message. The all-carbon linkage system gets 130mm of travel,  was designed by Dave Weagle and costs $2,700 with only 2,500 being made…for now.

If you want the full specs and details, go to the press release from Trust. It discusses what kind of bike the Message goes on, the design in detail, set-up procedures and some possibly new-to-you terms like Caster Effect, Ratio Effect and the Trust Effect.

 

Alright, forget about the price and the looks, we just wanted to see how the system worked. Lucky for us, we were sent a bunch of slow-motion videos showing the action and built-in flex of this new, high-tech design.

While our friends aren’t giving us an official review, as they’re working with Trust as testers on the project, we did get some initial impressions. The parking lot test, where you press down on the bars with the bike standing still, that yields very little movement. That’s part of the design as Trust doesn’t want the inefficiency of climbing bob and some people may mistake this for the system being over-damped.


If you put that front wheel against a wall or parking block and try to push the bars down and through, that’s where you feel the damping and linkage movement, just like you would on the trail. It’s the obstacles coming AT you that make the trailing multi-link design work, as you can clearly see in the clips.

What do you think? The future? Potential? A gimmick? Despite our initial reaction to the looks of the system, after watching some of the riding go down on it, we’re definitely intrigued. Post your impressions in the comments.

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sspomer 1/10/2019 12:57 PM

41 comments newest first

It is for sure not a gimmick, I know that much. I want to see it on a dirt bike like what DW was talking about when they launched it. I think that will be the real market for it

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Being a former and current DW link owner I think the biggest difficulty is comprehension of weagles mindset and development goals with this Fork with DW link if you don't use the exact suspension settings a shock that is specifically damp for DW link and truly understand how DW Link Works you're going to have a turd in your hands I would think the biggest difficulty with this particular design is that if it is not applied for that 1 exact setup that Weagle knows it performs flawlessly for you are setting yourself up for disappointment

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Do they seriously let kids drop out in the 3rd grade now? Dim bulbs take note: zero literacy = zero credibility.

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I have a little over 200 miles on my Message on a large variety of trails. I replaced a 140mm Pike on my Rocky Instinct and have ridden it with 29er and 27.5+ wheels and with and without headtube spacers. Setting up the Message is different than a traditional fork. Because it does not dive, cornering performance is much less sensitive to air pressure. I found I could set it up very soft and have it feel VERY plush but easy to blow through the travel, or set it up as recommended where it felt harsh but supportive. In either case cornering performance was exceptional, better than ANY fork I have ever ridden. I ended up adding 2 tokens and splitting the difference between the plush set up and the recommended set up. It isn't perfect, but I think it's better than any telescopic fork.

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I have had almost every iteration of forks over the last 10 plus years and for me this fork is a game changer. Period. It replaced a fox 36 140mm on my following mb, which is arguably an awesome fork and really made that bike very capable for only being 120mm. With the Message you can literally place your front wheel anywhere and it simply tracks. I’ve taken lines here in Sedona that I would have never taken with this bike prior. The axle path really makes a huge difference. Braking or mashing on the pedals do not make it dive. I never thought anything was wrong with my 36 but after riding this fork the last few months I really do believe it is better than a telescopic fork in every aspect. I don’t know if they’ll ever be the standard and I don’t realky care but I do know DW and his team at Trust are on to something here. Can’t wait for a 160mm version.

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I wonder how much the frame it is attached to affects the performance of this fork. While I very much believe your experience with the fork another credible review was less than thrilled with their experience. Did you run a spacer under the head tube to keep the geometry from going too far out of whack??

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I can’t disagree with you there. On the following mb the axle to crown of the Message works well. It’s right on par with what I had on there ~535mm. I mounted it on an Offering and it worked also but that bike was too big for me. I’d need to go to a small and try again. I don’t see how it could work well on a ripmo or sentinel where a 160mm fork is recommended. Not because of the travel but because it is just a much shorter fork axle to crown so you’re bb is going to be a lot lower. Not without a spacer under the head tube like you said. easy to have one made. I spoke to a guy about having some machines last week and so I’m going to experiment a bit. I do think people who aren’t having good experiences are not using the fork on the right bike (too short axle to crown-wise) or they aren’t setting them up properly. You have to forget everything you know about fork set up. I made that mistake and then was set straight by one of the guys at trust and it made all the difference. I also felt like it broke in nicely after a bit.

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Apparently there are a ton of Dennis on here based on the number of people giving feedback on their experience. NUTS how much money some people have now

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If it moves so much easier rearward, what happens when you HTF? (real question not snark)

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The biggest thing I took away from the slow-mo of the railroad tie was how little it looks like the rear suspension is moving. Might be an optical illusion because the front appears to be moving so much.

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I love it but, I’ll never be able to justify $2700 when I can get a Lyrik for under $1000.

But this is something I’d truly like to try just to know more about it.

This fork is so different that it is my belief that to truly see the full potential realized there will need to be a bike designed around this fork, our current bikes are pretty good with our telescoping fork legs.

With steering head angles getting slacker & slacker this linkage design may have many advantages.

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Nuts? I don't think its "nuts". You can spend $2Kish on a DH fork. Mountain biking was never cheap, but its less expensive to be in the sport now than ever.

I won't be spending that kind of coin, but I certainly won't knock anyone who does. I remember everyone saying the same thing about carbon wheels 8 years ago. Now they are commonplace, and yes - the price did come down.

I like to see people spending money and having fun, as a good buddy once said, if its not expensive or its not dangerous, it probably isn't fun. Good thing mountain biking is both!

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People are saying it’s over damped but is it or are they just feeling the geometry of it? It sounds like it needs a rearward bump input to move. So in the video when he hits the log the fork absorbs the bump but then rebounds before the wheel hits the ground. The next input would be the landing which is mostly upward and is similar (but opposite) to trying to push down on the bars. So the bump is absorbed but the landing is locked out. Both of these events happen so close together that maybe it gets the feeling of being over damped? No experience on it just thinking.

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I believe your thinking is correct. In some situations like the video, a telescopic fork won't absorb the initial hit as well or smoothly as the Message but will dive to absorb the landing so the combination of the 2 events sometimes feels harsher on the Message. However under many, or from my experience, most situations the Message is superior. This is especially true under braking. In situations where your braking hard into corners where the braking bumps are more like bomb craters the Message is absorbing the hits and tracking the ground but not diving under the braking force. You're not fighting to try to compensate for the geometry of the bike changing or having your weight thrown forward. You just point and shoot through the corner. It's a pretty awesome feeling, and a was a totally new experience for me.

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Every big hit just sends the front wheel into the air. It only keeps the front tire planted on small bumps. I’ll pass on this one.

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I was wondering about that, too. Shouldn't the front wheel be staying on the ground?

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While I understand the engineering behind it I struggle with it. It strikes me as a solution to an invented problem. If linkage driven suspension really is worlds better why aren’t linkage forks being run on works motocross bikes or moto-trials bikes etc. I know everyone hates the motor sports references when it comes to anything bike related but there has to be a reason these teams with their giant R&D budgets and cost is no object mentality (not to mention access to some of the worlds foremost engineers, no disrespect to Mr. Weagle) haven’t adopted this technology. There were a few companies in the 80s running them and they have completely vanished. I also get and respect that we’re comparing apples to oranges here but it seems geometry is geometry and rider position is rider position A better performing fork would appeal in either genre. Granted I’ve never ridden it, and will likely never get a chance to as I’m not friends with @the_owl with his limitless budget for bicycle related regalia. I would gladly bounce it down the trail for a lap or two though.

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From my little bit of hands on experience with the fork, the article is spot on with its claim that you can instantly feel how handlebar inputs are completely separated from bump inputs. The traditional “parking lot” test will throw you off the first time and make you think that there is WAY too much air in the spring. If you try to push down on the handlebars it will feel noticeably stiffer than a traditional telescopic fork. But then put the front wheel against a wall and all it takes is light pressure (even using just two fingers) and the suspension is activated. It’s like hot ice. The best of both worlds. #ihopesomeonegetsthatmoviereference

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What I've gathered from different reviews, there is potential in this design (there is an active topic on mtbr forum plus some reviews floating around internet). Performance on small bumps and corners is apparently amazing as is efficiency (you dont need to even think about lockout), big hits supposedly suck (presumably damping related). Most interesting parts of reviews were opinions after going back to normal forks, many people said that while Message is far from perfect in current state, it clearly shows how bad (or maybe I should say unbalanced) classic telescopic forks are in certain aspects like breaking/cornering. Basically telescopic fork is not able to separate inputs from wheel or rider and simply reacts in the same way to any input while this design is very capable of doing so, I can completely agree with this statement and see exactly the potential. And I do not think so because DW designed it, never really liked him as a person, always found him pompous and the release of this fork really didn't change my mind. Apparently its is also very short so it drops modern already low BB's even further, that sounds like an issue regardless of performance. Hope they also make more models with different travels. And finally the price, this one pretty much costs as much as my bike, would be interesting if alloy version can be made...

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I've been discussing the theory of this product with some my customers who are interested in potentially buying one. I think the real challenge is putting it on the right frame. Because the headangle doesn't change as much through the stroke, you don't need a slack front end. If anything, a longer stem and steeper HA seems like it would provide better action. It seems like it was tailor made for bikes like Evil Following, Pivot 429 Trail, Tallboy, etc. I know they want to sell to as many customers as possible, but Trust saying that it will cover travel range from 110-150 seems off base. Even if it rides high in the travel, your bb will drop significantly, wheelbase shortens, stack lowers, etc. Other concern is for dynamic riders who use their suspension to pump/pop/preload off trail features. If it works best absorbing impacts from below but maintains a firm platform from body input, seems like it won't offer as lively of a response as a telescopic fork. As a suspension/linkage/mechanical/Lego nerd I'm in love with the idea, but it seems like it will only be effective for a pretty small segment of the market in its current guise.
If they expand their product line, I'd love to see them execute a dual crown version ala the carbon Maverick DUC32. One piece legs/lower crown, with a machined alloy upper crown. It would look amazing having a straight line from bar to axle, and it probably wouldn't have to be much heavier. With the amount of material built up around the steerer tube, I'm sure they could make that way lighter if the forces were distributed between two crowns.
Just my two cents

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Test feedback I've heard has been mixed. Great in the corners. Great on smoother trials. Terrible in the rough stuff. Overdamped. One tester I know of (testing for a different publication) in an area littered with more technical trials actually took it off after 2 rides, suggesting it was maybe broken. He didn't hear back from his editor, and the product went somewhere else.

Anxiously awaiting to hear more, but I won't be plunking down that kind of money unless I'm absolutely certain its a step forward...

Love that someone is willing to think outside the box. There is little doubt this type of idea will likely head somewhere (XC? "light" trail?), I'm just not convinced it'll be the long travel market in its current iteration.

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Im really curious about some reviews from legit testers also. Not sure if you read the same review as I did, (online blog of a wheelbuilder who hosted the Outside Mag testing who detailed his communication with Trust?) but it said something similar. It seemed valid and well put together but then I stumbled on his previous blog post where he took some pretty crazy positions - low bb's are bad and cause extreme trail damage, droppers over 100mm are unnecessary, even 2.6 tires are too small, bikes with bar height that's below full saddle height are unrideable and some other craziness. Kinda made me invalidate everything he said in his Message review. That said, I do find it a bit odd that we are not seeing more frothiness online from people that bought them or reviews sooner. I mean...people that buy a $2600 fork probably love nothing more than talking about how superfabulous their $2600 fork is. Patiently waiting...for the jury to return.

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Have you checked Lee McCormac's first impression? Its pretty interesting as he was changing bikes with a friend during the test so its more like head to head comparison... Link

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interesting article. I'm still interested, I usually buy anything and try it. Currently trying Fasst Flexx bars, at twice the price standard carbon bars I didn't hesitate as much as with this Trust fork at over twice that of a standard fork. I really do want to try it. My old hands would really like to try it, and I wonder if the setup paired with Flexx bars would help with the "big hit" issue some talk about

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Not the same guy, but interesting thoughts! Lol. I haven't actually read anything second hand, only talked to guys I trust first hand.

Biggest thing I should mention is ***nobody I talked to had ridden the thing hundreds of miles, more like tens...***

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