Trust Shout Linkage Fork Review
Words by Nic Hall & Drew Rohde | Photos Courtesy of Trust Performance
Trust Performance certainly isn’t the first brand to dive into linkage suspension forks, but they are definitely the brand that has made the biggest impact in terms of visibility and acceptance. They’re far from being accepted by the masses, but they’ve stuck around long enough to pique the interest of more and more riders. Over the last few months we’ve been riding the Trust Shout, the brand’s 178mm long-travel fork, and it’s made quite an impression on our testers. We reviewed their initial fork, the Message a while back, it’s a 130mm trail fork and Shoutis happy to add to their lineup with this bruiser of a fork.
We were able to put the Shout on a few bikes during our test period, including the new Specialized Enduro and a Norco Range VLT eMTB and are happy to share our findings, both good and bad.
The Trust Shout is a 178mm fork utilizing a linkage to contour the suspension’s travel path. Here is a quick run down of the details in case you missed our first look: Boost spacing, 15×110, tire widths up to 29×2.6″ or 27.5×2.8″, direct mount 180mm rotor, 580mm axle to crown. The forks’s offset changes with the travel path but offset is similar to modern 44-degree offsets.
The Trust Shout is air sprung with an oil damper. The damper has two separate circuits that can be dialed in independently of each other with both high and low speed compression and rebound. The circuits are selected by a switch on top of the right stanchion with three options: Open, Medium, and Firm. Open offers a very plush top 20% with a small ramp in the mid stroke. Medium is fairly firm throughout and great for flow trails and firm offers an almost complete lockout. yet leaves 20mm of travel for climbing comfort. The damper and air spring can also be custom-tuned with air spacers that add progressivity.
The most unique feature is the axle path, which is controlled by the linkage, and really what sets the Shout on a different level form telescoping forks. As the fork hits an object, the wheel moves both up and back, out of the way. This allows the wheel to stay on the ground longer as well as increase speed over the obstacle.
After lots more hours on our 160-180mm enduro bikes and eMTBs, we still think our initial assessment of the fork holds true. The Trust Shout keeps the front wheel on the ground more than telescoping forks and offers a more stable, planted platform. But those benefits are only fully realized after significant amount of time is spent fine-tuning the damper and air spring.
We found that small changes in air pressure went a long ways regarding feel and traction and our PSI settings were consistently higher than the recommended pressure. We also added two air spacers to add a bit more progression to the end stroke which made the whole package liven up a bit.
Traction in corners and square edge hits is remarkable. Due the stiffness of the chassis, the fork flexes very little and allows the linkage to do what it is supposed to do, keep your wheel on the ground. Even during late season Whistler laps, we were impressed at the Shout’s ability to track in bomb-hole berms and high frequency braking bumps.
The control is downright amazing, when the rebound is set correctly. This fork is a ground tracking machine. It allows for tighter lines on corners and more control overall in the roughest of rock gardens. When combined with long travel bikes like the Specialized Enduro, we would say control levels are similar to those of dual crown forks.
This all sounds pretty great so far right? So are we drunk on the Kool-Aid or what? Not entirely. Although suppleness, traction and bump-eating capabilities are next level, it may not be the ride everyone is seeking. We noticed a somewhat vague feeling in berms, or when trying to gauge pre-load for popping the bike into the air. That incredible suppleness works to the jibby rider’s disadvantage as the fork is very reactive and sensitive. If you love to pop off the smallest trail features, or enjoy having a stable platform to push off of mid-berm or before nose-bonking a stump, this fork may take some extra work. Beyond that you’ve got the looks and price to take into account, both are serious contenders in the Pros vs. Cons debate.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Overall the Trust Performance Shout is way more than just hype, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the ideal fork for everyone. If you little time to fine tune this beast, you will be rewarded with a fork that redefines how you think about front suspension. Traction, control, and speed all increased with the Shout as its ability to react and move over obstacles is unparalleled. The downside is that you’ll have a somewhat vague-feeling on the trail when it comes time to preload, or press into the fork in berms. If you’re a trail jibber, this may be something you notice more than the average rider. You might get some weird looks at your local trails or in the lift lines, but we think that we’ll be seeing more of these forks on the trail in the future.
Our friends at WorldWide Cyclery has the Shout on sale for a bit of savings. Click here.
Somewhat Vague Feel in Berms or When Preloading for Jumps and Jibbing
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