The Grind is a column on all things gravel.
Last week I rode the Wild Horse Gravel course in western Colorado to make a course preview video for the May 15 event, and Noah Sears of MRP joined the ride, as did MTB legend Karen Jarchow and VeloNews editor Fred Dreier. Noah had a not-yet-released suspension fork on his Fezzari gravel bike. He couldn’t tell me full details, but he did let me take some photos, and there are some basics details that we can see.
Straight-up suspension in gravel is rare. Most bikes have some vertical flex engineered into the rigid framesets, and a few brands have mechanical suspension of some sort. BMC has 10mm of elastomer rear suspension. Lauf has leaf-spring forks. And Cannondale has pivots built into the rear of all its Topstone models, and a suspension fork (albeit a single-tined fork) on its Lefty models. Niner stands alone as the one bike brand with a full-suspension gravel bike in its MCR 9 RDO.
Fox has a 32 AX gravel fork that takes up to a 40mm tire. This is the fork Niner uses on its MCR.
MRP is a small company in Colorado that produces much of its suspension products in-house in Grand Junction. The brand currently sells a $799 Baxter gravel fork, a 40mm travel fork that can handle up to 40mm tires, but Noah was riding something new, with bigger tire clearance.
Here is what we can see on this new unnamed MRP fork:
- 40mm of travel
- Flat-mount brake mount
- Bottle bosses on both legs
- 32mm stanchions
- More than 40mm tire clearance (Noah had 42mm tires on 25mm internal-rim-width ENVE rims, and still had with plenty of clearance)
- Adjustable offset via dropout chips
- Independent positive and negative air chambers
- Low-speed compression and rebound adjustment
While Noah wouldn’t comment on any of the specifics of this new fork, he did say that MRP will launch it at Wild Horse Gravel May 15. So tune back in then for the full details. In the meantime, check out the photos below.