Linkage forks once again hit the headlines with news of 2 new forks from U.S based Adroit Cycleworks. Adroit is one of the few U.S bicycle manufacturers who has subscribed to UK standards of long, low and slack with its range of aggressive hardtails, but today we’re more concerned with the company’s linkage forks.
First up is the Adroit Front Subframe Linkage Fork, not the snappiest of names we know, but what it lacks in naming it more than makes up in looks.
Those of you with a few years under your riding belts will instantly recognize the shape of the Adroit Front Subframe Linkage Fork as it shares a similar profile to the ancient Girvin fork, it even sports a rear shock mounted into a parallelogram system like later Girvin units.
If you read our first look article about the Motion Ride E18 yesterday then some of features and benefits of the Adroit will sound very similar, but the U.S brand takes a different approach to things.
Anti-dive is one of the main features that Adroit claims for its linkage fork, but they also list stiction-free travel as a major benefit too. Interestingly Adroit uses high-quality 6803-2RS and 6001-2RS bearings for the pivot points on its fork rather than composite bushings which are sure to run smoothly but are likely to need increased maintenance.
A vertical axle path is another plus for the linkage fork. This ensures that the wheelbase of the bike remains intact during the movement of the fork and should increase stability when hitting rocks and roots at speed.
The single-sided fork shown above sells for $999 and offers between 140mm – 170mm of travel which is adjusted with the use of different length standard rear shocks.
For those of you wanting to really look different on the trail, Adroit also offer a single-sided linkage fork boasting the same amount of travel, integrated stem and carbon fiber construction at the slightly higher price of $1,199. We assume the single sided fork weighs less, but can’t confirm this as weight details aren’t available on the Adroit Cycleworks website.
After riding the Motion E18 linkage fork last week, we are very interested in giving a few more similar forks a ride on our local trails, and we wonder if the addition of bearings in the Adroit will make up for the added stiction from the high-pressure shock seals? Ultimately we wonder if this U.S made fork will ride as nice as its French designed rival.
What Are The Benefits Of A Linkage Fork?
For those of you scratching your head and asking yourself “why?” here’s a rundown of a few of the claimed advantages that linkage forks have over telescopic forks.
- Anti-dive – Telescopic forks dive when you hit your front brake, enter a steep section of trail or land a drop-off. This throws the rider forward and unbalances your bike. Linkage forks don’t.
- Geometry – As a telescopic fork brings your fork up and back your geometry steepens and wheelbase shortens, which can affect stability and handling. Most linkage forks have a vertical axle path which doesn’t affect the geometry meaning better stability through the rough stuff in theory.
- Maintenance – This isn’t the case for all linkage forks, but some manufacturers claim that linkage forks require less maintenance and care than a standard fork.
- Stiction – Again this depends on the design of the fork, but generally linkage forks will either use a single shock or damper meaning fewer seals and claimed small bump benefits.
Linkage forks have already piqued the interest of Singletrack Forum members who are discussing the benefits and possible pitfalls of the design here.