If nothing else, it looks different and that’s something I’m into.

I was told that it took at least three rides to “get” this fork, so I gave it three rides. Cyclists tend to be highly opinionated. Often times on things that they haven’t had any experience with. I tried to keep my opinions out of whether this fork was a thing or not and instead tried to give it a thorough shakedown for me and my riding style. To be honest, I wanted to try it. I like new, different things. And despite being a crusty old bike mechanic who rides a singlespeed, I like to try new stuff.

Full disclosure, this fork was sent to me as a demo. I did not get paid in any way to write this review, just thought I’d throw my 2 cents into the cosmos.

Appearance

When this fork was first released, it was probably its looks that got the most attention, or at least made it stand out. Of course, the second was the price.

The Message is a multi-pivot suspension fork. It looks different. The parts that telescope are encased in the upper fork legs. These look almost like a rigid fork, carbon mostly smooth with a few ports and dials for fork adjustments. The lowers could be described as being rear suspension bolted to the bottom of a fork. Multi-pivots are going to look that way.

I like it. It makes my hardtail look raked out. When I am riding it, it has the familiar look of a rigid fork just carbon tubes protruding from the front of the bike. Just one lever on the right side. From above, it’s clean. It’s also not a common sight and I happen to like standing out.

Aesthetics are an opinion. If you don’t like standing out, you are going to hate this fork. Or you might just hate it because it looks like you have mini rear suspension strapped to your fork. Whatever.

Ride #1: Kentucky Lucky Chicken

I was excited to give this fork a go. Riding a trail that I designed and built seemed like a great place for an initial ride and impression.

Right out of the parking lot, I could tell it was going to be completely different than I expected. It took at least a ride and a half to “get” what the fork was going to do when I ran into stuff. I am fairly apt at lifting my front end and tend to preload the fork to lift over obstacles. You can kind of do that with the Message, but you quickly learn you don’t need to. Its strong point is running into stuff. The front wheel moves backward first and then up and out of the way. It feels a bit strange, but it keeps forward momentum easier.

I loved climbing on it. Not only does it look like a rigid fork, it rides high in the travel (one of the things I love about Ohlins). My main steed is a singlespeed and sinking into the travel when you are trying to climb is a pain. And I don’t like to have to flip a lever to climb.

Descending was equally as intriguing. However, I felt it was harsh at top speeds. I had set the fork up as recommended in the owner’s manual. After the ride, I had planned to let some air out. Alliance member Dan Dalton, who happens to work for Trust, messaged me to let me know that I should set it up about 15 pounds of pressure less than my body weight.

First ride impression: this thing is fast. Three PRs on a trail I have ridden numerous times.

Ride #2: Zen

Zen is another trail that I am more than familiar with. I must admit that I felt amazing on the first ride. I wasn’t sure if my PRs were due to my physical condition that day or that this fork was actually fast. This ride I felt like garbage. Climbing had been my most positive impression of it and now I was wondering if the fork was making me feel like I was moving through cotton candy. I also questioned the lesser air pressure.

The downhill was quite fun. Even more so than on KLC. The lower air pressure let the fork really do its thing. It was smooth without losing contact or the feel of the ground. Another thing that I always liked about rigid forks. Even with the dog in tow, I was able to do a couple of sections faster than I ever had before. Surprisingly enough, despite feeling like a slow, old, fat man on the climb, It was another PR.

Maybe this is a thing.

Ride #3: Paradise and City Creek

I was stoked to get out on a bit longer ride. Work wasn’t a thing till 11 so I had more or less all morning to pedal. I got all my stuff ready, filled my bottles, double checked the tires, strapped it all together and headed out. Or so I thought. On the bike path, I stood up to crank where it gets steep. I happen to look at my shadow and notice that there are no bottles in my cages, left ’em on the counter.

I stopped, quite bummed. Turned around to throw in the towel as it was already a bit late to be starting a ride and then I decided to just ride Paradise. It will only take me 30 minutes or so. I might get thirsty, but I won’t die.

I felt normal on this ride. The climb wasn’t much of a challenge. The Message ate up the chunky stuff getting to the arch. It was the descent that had me smiling and maybe a little whiteknuckled. I headed down and was able to really let go as I didn’t have the crazy dog Jax with me. The fork wanted more speed than I was comfortable with. The square edges didn’t disappear. I could still feel them, they just didn’t slow me down.

Again, a trail that I ride and have ridden quite often. Again, another PR. Hmmm.

The Price

If the look of the fork is your thing and you give it three rides to really “get” it, you will have to ask yourself if it is worth the money. This is by far the most expensive fork on the market. This is a conundrum I find myself struggling with right now. Do I like the fork? Yes. Do I want to pay for the fork? Maybe…

Conclusion

The performance of this fork is pretty rad. With that said, it does have some quirks that I need to mention.

It is not plush. Trust will tell you that. While it allowed me to ride faster both up and downhill, my hands would get a little tingly on longer descents. This is something I experience with most forks, but it is usually due to them needing a service and then it goes away. This is a demo fork, it might be in that boat, but I would venture a guess that it is due to the way the fork moves.

I didn’t notice it on the first three rides, I was listening to music, but today on Zen, I realized that my brake hose was hitting my spokes when the fork was compressed past 50%. I haven’t done anything to try and remedy this as of yet, so I can’t say if it is a persistent issue, but it is certainly something that is common on forks that move at the axle.

I give this fork two thumbs up. If you like the way it looks, dig going crazy fast and don’t mind dropping $1900, I would say go full send.

Interested? We have the demo used for this review. Shoot lukas@redrockbicycle.com an email to set up an appointment to try it out.