Cane Creek’s new Invert gravel suspension fork has an upside down design

American brand has diverged from norms through an inverted gravel suspension fork, which it claims is the “world’s first gravel fork”

Clock03:43, Tuesday 16th April 2024
Cane Creek has released what it says is the "world's first gravel fork"

© Cane Creek

Cane Creek has released what it says is the "world's first gravel fork"

Cane Creek has announced details for its new gravel suspension fork, the Invert. While many suspension forks have come before it, the American company says that it is the first that is truly dedicated to gravel, dubbing it the “world’s first gravel fork”.

That’s a bold claim that is sure to ruffle some feathers, especially among other brands who will point to their gravel-specific offerings, but is borne out of the American company’s belief that other suspension forks have failed to adequately meet the varied demands of gravel riding. Step up the Invert which aims to fill the void.

The bold “world’s first” claim is joined by an equally eye-catching design, as given away by the name. Rather than adopting a mountain bike fork and resizing it for a gravel bike, Cane Creek has completely inverted the design to place the stanchions at the base of the fork rather than the top.

Due to be available in mid-summer, the new fork will be available in two different guises. The first, the Invert CS, has 40mm of travel and a climb switch that can be activated to “firm” the suspension when tackling inclines. Alternatively, Cane Creek will also be offering a lightweight option in the form of the Invert SL, with its 30mm of travel and 990g weight.

Not a mountain bike fork

If you were under any doubt as to what Cane Creek’s thinking was when designing the Invert, it can quickly be found on the product page which makes it clear that “this is not a mountain bike fork”.

Most gravel-specific suspension forks strike a close resemblance to their mountain bike cousins, mainly because they use the same or similar designs. For Cane Creek, this wasn’t enough. As far as it is concerned, “until this point, no fork made for drop bars has been able to combine the smooth ride, lightweight, simplicity, and good looks into one complete package”.

In aiming to tick off these factors, Cane Creek has arrived at an inverted design. As you may expect, the overall silhouette of the fork isn’t too far removed from other suspension forks, barring the obvious inversion of the stanchions - whether it meets the ‘good looks’ criteria will be down to personal preference.

Adopting the inverted design, it says, leads to the “smoothest possible operation, lightest weight, and cleanest visual integration”. Suspension forks for gravel tend to either fall at the comfort or out-right adventure end of the scale, with the latter verging on mountain biking. Cane Creek has essentially attempted to find a happy medium and provide a suspension fork that offers the “right amount of support” for gravel riding.

30mm or 40mm travel

This support is delivered by either 30mm or 40mm travel by the Invert SL and Invert CS, respectively.

The latter also features a climb switch that can be clicked into a “firm” setting to create a more rigid ride when heading uphill. Cane Creek says that it wanted to keep things simple when coming up with the design, and the switch is “inspired by the simple click of a pen, and is as satisfying to click as the feature is to use”. The idea for the switch is to restrict fork movement, especially when climbing out of the saddle, which should help improve traction.

While the spirit of gravel is still rooted in adventure, there’s no denying that the performance leanings of road cycling have seeped into the discipline. For those who want a performance edge, the Invert SL offers a more lightweight option, tipping the scales at only 990g. By comparison, the Invert CS with its extra 10mm of travel weighs a claimed 1113g.

It’s not the lightest option on the market (unless you agree with Cane Creek that it is the first gravel fork), but is up there as one of the lightest. This weight saving comes with a travel sacrifice, but it comes with other benefits too, and the American company says that it may be “preferable to some riders that want to keep their stance on the front of the bike lower”.

Both forks are fully adjustable and can be tuned to a rider’s weight, Cane Creek says.

The Invert CS will cost $1,199.99, while the Invert SL clocks in at $1,099.99. Both models will be available in mid summer.

Learn more about the new fork on Cane Creek’s website.

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