More than a year on Trust forks

I’ve been on the Trust Message fork for a year and a half and a Shout for more than eight months. I feel like I know them pretty well.

Here are my initial impressions. Now for my not-so-initial impressions:

I’ve been running Trust forks on:

Message on 2016 S-Works Stumpjumper
Message on 2017 S-Works Fuse
Shout on 2017 Enduro Coil
Shout on 2019 Stumpjumper

I’ve ridden these forks all over the place, from NorCal to Moab to SoCal to Boulder to Juneau to Wyoming to the Sea Otter Classic. I’ve ridden most types of terrain from smooth/flowy trails to slalom/DJ to rock gnar to serious DH.

This writeup focuses on the Message. I’ll add words about the Shout at the end. It’s the same basic idea, just bigger and badder.

THESE THINGS ARE GREAT

Sensitivity and plowing. This fork tracks through small and medium bumps like no other. Back to back with a 160mm telescopic fork, you can feel the old fashioned telescope snagging and catching. Yes, the Trust is faster here.

Hot pumping action. When you load the bike, you don’t compress the Message as much as you would a telescope. This yields a firm, connected feel that lets you take full advantage of pump fu while the wheel still tracks through bumps. Saying this again: You can heavily load the front of the bike, thus creating massive traction/drive, yet the fork still freely absorbs impacts. That is super unique. See cornering, below.

Rough climbing. The front wheel doesn’t catch the way you expect it to. It just rolls. Smoothly. You save momentum and energy.

Cornering. Next level! Somewhere between the stability (the fork doesn’t dive like a telescope) and the tracking and the constant mechanical trail is what they call the Trust Effect. That sounds like bullshit! But it’s a thing. I find myself cornering faster and with less fretting about the details.

Hardtail madness. My Trust-equipped Fuse is so sick! Fast and poppy and yet smashy and plowy. Hardtails have this issue where their geometry changes a lot as forks compress. The Trust dives less than a telescope and stays higher in its travel. This makes the bike feel extra stable and consistent. This might herald a new age of [expensive] shred hardtails.

Rad factor. If you want people to talk to you because you have a sweet bike, this is for you. Kind of like tricking out your Ford Raptor with a Shelby kit.

NOT AS GREAT

Hucks to flat and especially slappers. If you land with our bike level on flat ground, the wheel doesn’t follow the force direction, and it stings. If you land on your rear wheel and let your front end slap down, it’s worse. If you nose in like a proper rider, it’s all good.

Your current stuff starts to suck. Immediately I was like, Wait a second … the stock inline shock on my Stumpy isn’t keeping up with the fork. The fix came via the DVO Topaz shock. At Sea Otter DH I took a run on my Enduro Coil with coil telescope — by all theories the better tool for the job — but I was like, damnit! There’s no trust effect. I’ve been ruined.

Smashing into large objects. This isn’t as much a criticism as a statement. The Message’s full travel is 130mm. Some of that travel is backward. The vertical travel is 120mm.

This fork rallies roots/rocks/bumps so freakin’ hard you might be outriding your 160mm FOX 36 or Öhlins TTX 36. When you reach a massive impact, you might be surprised. “What? Huh? That’s a lot of energy coming my way … so this fork sucks at big hits.”

But you gotta remember: While the Message might track better than a 160mm fork, it is, at the end of the ride, a 120mm fork. Probably the most capable 120 fork you’ve ever ridden, but just 120.

IN SUMMARY

You might have heard this elsewhere, but the Message doesn’t work like a telescopic fork, and you can’t measure it the same way.

Assuming you have decent riding skill:

On a hardtail, the Message brings a new level of bump-gobbling, pump fu and overall handling, especially in corners. I did a fast group ride at the Demo Forest on my Fuse and — holy hell, I was hauling ass and having so much fun.

On a 120-130mm bike, the Message is at home. You’ll carry insane, easy speed through chatter, and, as I keep saying, your cornering will likely step up in a big way. I want to trade my old Stumpy for a new Stumpy ST.

On a 150+mm bike, you’ll be carrying new speed and confidence in the small to medium bumps (and the corners!), but, when you smash into huge things, you might realize you only have 120mm of travel. It might be the best 120mm you’ve ever ridden, but it ain’t 160.

WHAT ABOUT THE SHOUT?

While the Message has 130mm of travel and a firm damper, the Shout has 178mm of travel and a plusher damper. It does everything its little brother does, just bigger and badder and smoother. It is really good on a longer-travel bike. I *really* like the Shout on my Enduro and Stumpy.

THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS

I think the negative reviews of these forks come from people who:

1) Have riding styles that don’t align the impact forces with the wheel path. (Huckers to flat and slappers to oblivion.)

2) Don’t have their tunes dialed in.

3) Are expecting the Message to handle hits like it has way more travel.

4) Are going faster than normal and aren’t considering the fact that violence is the square of velocity.

5) Simply don’t like the way they feel

I like the way they feel.

Have fun out there,

Lee

7 replies
  1. Will says:

    Have you noticed any of the flex mentioned in other reviews (eg. Pinkbike’s shout review)? I haven’t noticed any on mine, but I’m a mediocre rider, at best. Thanks.

    Reply
    • leelikesbikes says:

      No, especially while riding aggressively. This fork feels stiffer to me than my telescopic forks.

      If you hold the wheel straight and turn the bars you’ll find some flex. But that’s not a factor when riding.

      Reply
  2. Tim says:

    Great, thanks for the updated review.
    Pretty much everything I’ve been feeling with my Shout. So glad I got this thing, can’t wait to get back riding it!

    Reply
  3. Eric Owsley says:

    Hi, Lee. Most of the reviewers of the Message fork are coming at it from how it differs from a high-quality telescopic fork. I’m on the other side. I like rigid forks. I currently ride a 29+ rigid bike because I find it to be the best climbing bike for my particular trails. I’m not a sophisticated reviewer of my own equipment or skills, but I have taken one of your courses in person and I can Ride. There’s nothing in my neck of the woods I can’t ride (that I want to ride). I live for going up. Reaching new vistas and tackling grueling, natural, switchbacking trails, with plenty of loose rubble, embedded rocks, roots and ledges is what gets me excited. My rigid 29+ clears these trails better than anything else I have ridden. I think that is largely due to the high bottom bracket, shortish wheelbase, stable geometry, and out-of-the-saddle traction and consistency. While getting to the top is my primary goal, getting back down is a necessity. I want to descend with gusto and do so to the best of my ability. Again, there’s nothing I can’t clear, but I do feel beat at the bottom. It takes a toll on my body. I swap in a 120mm fork every month or two, after an unruly descent leaves me battered. I go back out and do the same loop and really dislike the climb but find new speed, flow, and fun on the downs. My fork has the recommended axle to crown length for my frame and I run it as the correct sag, with what feels to me like the right balance of compression and rebound damping. The bike just doesn’t climb as well. It bobs just enough in tight corners and over ledges to throw off my timing and induce pedal strikes. Locking the fork out feels like the worst of both worlds, as the front end is now heavier, taller, and floppier. Slow speed jankyness also feels less secure than with my rigid steel fork. All in all, I find I only like it downhill and primarily in a straight line, and when catching a little air. The rest of the time, it just feels like unwanted movement that messes up the geometry and handling of a bike that excels at gobbling up most anything at moderate speed. So, given that perspective, do you think think the Message sounds like a fork that might be a better fit than traditional telescopic forks for me and my riding? I’m definitely not looking for gooey. I want it to ride like my rigid fork most of the time and give a touch more comfort, safety, and traction when downhills get steep and off camber. Many thanks.

    Reply
  4. Thomas says:

    So can you say something about stability in terms of resistance, durability, rigidity and if it can „take a beating“?
    I‘m concerned because it is fully made of carbon. And every roadie knows and handles those carbon steerer tubes like they would brake if i just look at them in a wrong angle. I can not think of those same carbon tubes getting abused like a normal enduro fork gets used. With all that crashing and maybe hitting big rocks or stripping sharp opjects on my way down the rockgarden. So will this fork break easily since it is made out of fragile carbon, or is the more in weight in compasion to normal forks because of the extreme use of carbon with unnormal wall thickness and so on?

    Reply

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