Trust Performance announces it is suspending operations. We look back at the brand’s short history, and wonder if it’s over, or will it rise again.
4th April 2020 – Update from UK Trust distributor, Upgrade Bikes:
“As UK distributor for Trust we are gutted they have had to cease trading just when things were turning good for the brand. Upgrade Bikes Ltd still represents Trust for the UK and we have stock of Message (x10) and Shout (x12) forks available now.
“We are making a new direct to consumer offer of £950 including vat and shipping for either a Message or Shout fork.
“Sales enquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01403 711 611 x1 between 9am-4.30pm weekdays. Needless to say there will not be any more forks available after the current stock is sold. We have a full back up on Trust spare parts and our professional workshop is fully trained to support any Trust forks in the UK for the long term.
We also have a number of Shout forks out on demo with dealers although the current COVID-19 situation does not allow these to be accessed for test riding at this time.”
Original news article:
Trust Performance launched its ‘Message’ linkage fork onto the market with almost religious fervour. Billed with ‘The Trust Effect’ capabilities that seemed incredible, with a wide range of applications suitable for replacing almost any 100-150mm fork on any bike. The market said something along the lines of ‘Yes, we’re curious, but look at it, how much?!’.
Early product tests revealed a degree of apathy about its performance, and the marketing switched up from being the fork for everything to being a fork for some things – and especially well suited to smoother, twisty flow trails. A lesson, perhaps, that if you say it’s going to be amazing, it better had be – especially if you’re trying to bring a radical new take on design to the market with a product that costs as much or more than its competition.
The brainchild of Dave Weagle, Jason Schiers and Hap Seliga, Trust Performance certainly had the palmares behind them to deliver innovation and quality. Their second release the ‘Shout’ fork, received a warmer welcome, and seemed to address some of the perceived shortcomings of the original Message. Perhaps crucially, it had more travel, so was competing in a market where being a weight weeny (or not) wasn’t adding another factor to the competition.
No one doubted the quality of the product, which seemed as well made and well packaged as you could hope for in a boutique product. But despite the warmer reception for the Shout, the price and looks perhaps made Trust Performance forks something for the enthusiast and MTB devotee rather than the masses. With investors cutting their risks in a volatile financial market precipitated by COVID-19, it is perhaps not surprising to learn that having failed to secure the funding needed, they’ve ceased production and closed their doors.
The press release below leaves open the question of whether the company is insolvent, or being mothballed. We’ve made enquiries, but been unable to elicit answers on this and other matters – such as whether warranties will still be honoured, and who owns the rights to the design. Could a future investor resurrect it? We don’t know, though it’s clear from Dave Weagle’s social media posts that he has been working on other prototypes and has ideas for future applications. Maybe we’ll see the design popping up on motorbikes some time from now.
If you bought a Trust Performance fork, you may now take comfort in the knowledge that you own a little piece of MTB history. Like Star Wars toys, you may live to hope that you kept the box. If you’ve already opened yours, or you’ve still to get one, now’s your chance. UK distributor Upgrade Bikes has stock and spares, so hit them up without delay if you’ve been meaning to buy one.
Here’s the official statement below:
We started Trust Performance in 2015 with a vision of building products that bring spirited outdoor athletes more fun and camaraderie. Our core focus from the outset was on reimagining and re-defining suspension technology; at first in mountain bikes with other industries thereafter. As you might imagine, our plans hinged on raising multiple rounds of capital to fuel our ambitions for incredible design, engineering, manufacturing and customer/dealer support.
2019 was a breakthrough year for Trust. We surpassed 1,000 units sold, we saw steep growth in dealer and distributor sales, and we saw four of our best-ever sales months at the end of the year. We had great momentum based on key demand metrics, brand awareness, and community enthusiasm.
But 2020 brought a number of unexpected factors, starting with the shut-down of key parts of our Asian supply chain following Chinese New Year due to coronavirus. In February, demand slowed considerably as macro fears about the economy started to rise. Then, finally, severe negativity in the investment markets shut down our ability to gain access to capital. This was at a point where we needed increased liquidity to carry us through a critical moment in our business. It all added up to a perfect storm that slammed right into us.
As a result of the overwhelming effects of the coronavirus and evaporated capital markets, it’s with incredible disappointment and a heavy heart that, effective immediately, Trust Performance is taking a pause and suspending operations until we address our capital needs. We are utterly and completely gutted. We have given every waking hour over the past few months to find a path forward, but to no avail. Trust Performance, like the rest of the world, will be a different company when life is back to normal.
For those who own a Trust fork and need service going forward, please contact Suspension Syndicate in Salt Lake City, Utah. They are trained and certified as a Trust Performance authorized service center.
We’re grateful for the community of people who encouraged and supported our unique design and innovative technology. In stepping away, we wish everyone health and safety. These trying times are a great reminder to make the most of the moment with those you enjoy most.