Motion Ride E-18 Linkage Forks 2019 Mountain Bike Review

Motion Ride E-18 Linkage Forks 2019

Reviews / Forks

Motion Ride 2,002

At A Glance

Motion is a French company that has a slightly different approach to making suspension for mountain bikes. They decided that the standard telescopic fork, that we all know and love, isn't quite good enough. As a result they have developed the E18 Linkage fork.

Buy Forks on

Now, the E18 fork is certainly striking, with multiple pivots and an entirely different set of mechanics from a telescopic fork. This design is certainly divisive, with many reacting strongly to the way it looks, while others (usually engineering types) are curiously engaged by the whole package.

So, what's the point? Well, it's all about brake dive, the compression of your fork that occurs under braking, which changes the geometry of the bike and reduces the amount of travel available. The Motion E18 aims to remove brake dive and offer an entirely new way of delivering suspension.

Based around a carbon leaf spring (they call it a Wave), which is curved, and that under load is straightened out. This is controlled with pre-load, which is dialled in with a 6mm Allen key to set the 'sag'. On the other side is the damper that offers a range of adjustments for trail riding and also firm options for riding on roads and tracks.

The E18 is the 27.5 fork and is available in 150mm, 160mm and 170mm of travel. It has a tapered steerer, Boost spacing (110mm), weighs in at 2.2kg and currently costs €1690.00 EUR. Motion also offer the E18+ which covers 650b+ and 29er wheels with travel options from 140mm to 160mm.

On The Trail

It takes a lot of effort to forget about the E18 and just ride. It is so different that it took some time to relax into the ride – after years of riding 'standard' forks meant looking down at your front wheel and seeing something different felt truly odd.

Once you've managed to get over the psychological part of things looking somewhat unfamiliar and start concentrating on riding, things settle down and the E18 does exactly what a fork should do. Holding the wheel securely and tracking the ground, initially it feels very similar to any other fork.

The truly magical thing about the fork is what it does, or rather it doesn't do, under braking. Pull the front brake and rather unsurprisingly the bike slows down, but your hands don't move. By that I mean there is no dive, no drop and no compression of the fork. Now, this is really weird and certainly takes a bit of getting used to.

The result however, being that on steep trails, the geometry of the bike is preserved and the handlebar height stays up. This also leaves the fork with plenty of travel to absorb anything coming into contact with your front wheel. We begin to discover where the fork shines and delivers, exactly as promised.

The no-dive aspect of the fork does lead to some rethinking during hard braking on less steep sections as we are used to bikes dropping towards the front wheel, which in turn creates more force and traction on the front wheel. Without the dive, it takes some re-learning to weight the front wheel more to get maximum traction during braking. The E18 is also much more amenable to braking through corners. Scrubbing speed through a series of linked turns is easy, and the bike stays stable and level.

In terms of plushness, the carbon spring does a great job of delivering supple ground-tracking travel. Without the diving effect, you can get away with a softer spring and the fork will stay high in its travel. The only issue for me is that I felt too heavy for the spring. The initial spring I tested was way too soft for my personal preference. The 7mm spring improved things a little, but not to the level I wanted. When pedalling along rough tracks or flowing through singletrack things were ok, but faced with g-out berms or drops, the fork just blew through it’s travel. This would be less of an issue for those of a lighter weight (I'm 95kg), but I’d like to see a bit more support.

The damper obviously could be the answer, and the trail modes allow for different rebound rates, but it does not allow for independent compression and rebound adjustment.

As a chassis, the E18 offers plenty of stiffness and gave no reason for complaint there, giving all the precision and strength I would expect from a 160mm fork. Additionally, the system requires virtually no maintenance (though I would be interested to see how long the bearings last before needing a swap).

I'm told that a newer spring will be available in the autumn more suited for heavier riders and stiffen things up further.

Overall

Motion deliver on their promise to eliminate brake dive with a unique take on the suspension fork. The E18 provides travel with great control, sensitivity and confidence, and performed well (despite being slightly too soft for my weight and preference). I'm excited to see where linkage forks develop and do some more testing with a stiffer spring once it becomes available.

Buy Forks on

Videos

This review was in Issue 59 of IMB.

For more information visit Motion Ride

Related

By Ewen Turner
Ewen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.

Tried this? What did you think?

×

Share - Motion Ride E-18 Linkage Forks 2019

×