The story behind the Push Industries prototype linkage fork

When a grainy photo of a linkage fork appeared on Push Industries’ Instagram account a few weeks ago, it caused some buzz around the industry, in part because news of the acquisition by Specialized of Trust’s linkage fork patent came out just days. before. There have always been those salon contraptions or engineering student projects that popped up on the slopes of Whistler Bike Park, but for these names that have a lot of influence in the biking business, it got us thinking. With their ability to dictate axle paths and anti-lift features, are linkage forks the future of ATV suspension technology?

Push Industries has been well known for its tuning and aftermarket kits for quite some time, but when they introduced their ElevenSix shock, it begged the question: what comes next? Building a rear shock is easy. Just throw a block of aluminum into the CNC machine, pop in your favorite stack of shims, slide on a suitable spring and you’re good to go. Sure, there’s a LOT more to it than that, but a fork on the other hand requires a big investment in magnesium, that is, if you’re building a traditional fork with one-piece lows.

It might sound like an office daydream, but Push actually started prototyping the fork you see above in late 2015. The double crown inverted chassis is also driven by a linkage. Based on the Earle’s Fork patent, used on BMW motorcycles from 1955 to 1969, the main link design includes a main link arm pivot that rests on the lower leg while the dropout is attached separately. Behind the stanchions there is no mudguard, but another arm connecting the link to the upper tubes.

If you can imagine the front axle moving from the 5 o’clock position all the way to 3 o’clock, then you understand one concept of the Earles fork: an extended wheelbase. The prototype also tested the levels of anti-lift induced by the braking forces, but unlike traditional forks, it can push up the front under heavy braking. USD forks are sensitive to lateral deviation, but the Earles concept helps stiffen the steering.

We reached out to Darren Murphy at Push to see if we could get more information on this first design:

While good at the concept, we ultimately felt that telling the story behind the design was going to be too big a hurdle for a small business like ours. Also, there would be packaging issues because at the time we didn’t have the technology to package the fork in a single crown format. We felt that this obstacle would limit its ability to be widely accepted.

The final strike really took place in early 2016 when we first heard about the new Trust Performance. I have known Dave Weagle for many years and have a great deal of respect for him and his work. After a few conversations with Dave, I really felt that Trust had the legitimacy and support to move forward with the design of their linkage fork. At this point, we’ve archived our design and started discussing how we might be involved with Trust from a sales / tuning perspective after their public launch. Ultimately, these talks collapsed for a number of reasons.

Many riders have appreciated the qualities of their Trust linkage forks and I would have loved to try the Earles concept fork myself. I’m sure Darren and his team have learned a lot during this development process, aside from the tangible projects. So, does that mean we’ll see another prototype fork from PUSH and what will it look like?

When we pushed Darren to find out more about the idea for a production fork, he was low-key about the frame construction, materials used, and timing, but went on to say:

quotation marks At this point, Push offering a fork to complement our ElevenSix rear shock is probably the industry’s worst-kept secret. Our recent plant expansion in Colorado has more than doubled our manufacturing capacity, but even with that, we still have several challenges to overcome with a project of this magnitude. Although I am not committing to a specific deadline, I will say that our ElevenSix customers will be the first to know! – Darren Murphy, Push Industries
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