With this unusual fair weather we’re having this January, I’m seeing more bicycle commuters than I normally do this time of year. This has led to an interesting sighting in the office bike parking area, a glimpse into mountain bike history.
While it was cool to see this old Giant ATX 890 World Cup XC still in service, it was the suspension fork that caught my eye. It’s the Lawwill Leader Fork from Control Tech, a design developed in the early 90s. It boasted a full 2.5″ of wheel travel, and incorporated a linkage design. While the steering geometry on a conventional telescopic suspension fork changes as the fork compresses, this linkage keeps the steering geometry constant no matter which position the suspension system is in. This was supposed to give the rider superior steering control. With today’s long travel forks though, you have to wonder if this was really a problem that needed solving with only 2.5″ of travel.
Like most of the alternative suspension designs of this era, this one too faded away as longer travel designs evolved. To use the Lawwill Leader design with the 5 or 6 inches of wheel travel that is common today would most likely result in a monstrosity of a fork.