09 October, 2018
I spent all summer on the Lauf Grit fork and really enjoyed it having it on my Necessary Evil. Lauf just started offering the Grit SL fork separate from the True Grit Frameset. I didn’t know much about the fork, except that the carbon legs were straighter and that it was about 50g lighter, but it does come with a bigger price tag. So was 50g and the straighter fork look worth it?
Out of the box the Grit SL does have come key differences compared to the Grit. The SL has a built in carbon race on the fork and Lauf does supply a new bottom headset bearing so the race and bearing fit nice together. Lauf also gave this fork a two tone black paint job, much like you see on there True Grit Bike. The suspension lowers are gloss black while the front arms are matte carbon. The idea behind this is to give it more a traditional fork look where the gloss black blends in with the wheel and the matte looks like a normal carbon fork. The only other main difference I notice out of the box is that the room inside the fork for tire clearance was quite a bit smaller, which worried met at first because I wanted to fit a 27.5×2.2″ tire. Before installing I made sure my tire cleared and sure enough there is still about a finger width from the tire to the fork blade!
My first ride with the Grit SL fork was pretty casual 15 mile loop on gravel. I didn’t notice to much of a difference between the two forks on this ride. But first rides are hard especially when your wiped out from the previous day and going casual. The next few rides I pushed it harder on the ups and downs along with cornering on gravel, pavement and single track. This is where the new SL designed out performs the original. Getting up out of the saddle on the steep up hills the grit fork did bob a little bit but it flowed nicely, as you read from my last blog. The SL feels more like a rigid carbon fork though with less bob and energy loss. I noticed this right away on my second ride on the first few hills and was pretty blown away to feel how stiff it felt under load. Another major upgrade is how the fork felt cornering. The original grit has a little bit of flex when hitting tight corners at speed, berms or leaning in on the pavement when you pay attentions to it, but on the new SL I didn’t feel flex at all on the corners at all. Which does make for more predictable corning and confidence when hitting them. Both forks did feel the same when hitting rocks, roots and gravel washboards.
The new Grit SL does comes with a higher price tag at $790, which is $100 more than the original Grit fork. You can’t go wrong with either forks, but if you have the extra $100 to drop the SL is definitely worth the upgrade. There is little information and limited availability on the SL forks right now but a few retailers do have them in stock and are able to get them.