Over the past couple weeks I’ve had a bunch of comments asking about what I’m going to do now that Trust is suspending operations. I had a contract with Trust, they held up their end of the bargain, and I feel like I upheld my end. Now that they are halting operations, I won’t get a new deal with them for 2020, and that’s okay. No bridges burned, zero ill will. I took a chance by riding for them in 2019, and it was a great experience.
Trust was a very innovative brand that was trying something well beyond what any of the mainstream fork manufacturers were going to try. Trust was selling out of every batch of Shout forks they could get, and sales of the Message were strong as well. Trust sold over 1,000 units in 2019. That’s around $2 million in sales! That’s impressive for any startup in its first full year- especially in the bike industry. Trust was selling out of all shipments. For the rider who wants a full carbon fork with the most innovative design currently available, clearly the price wasn’t an issue. These forks are going on $6000-$10000 bikes, they are not intended for the budget market.
From reading through their official statement, it sounds like Trust needed operating capital right as their suppliers were shutting down due to COVID. It appears Trust had been functioning via investment capital, and we’re all aware how gravely COVID has affected the investment market. In my eyes, Trust probably needed money to pay bills, but had no product left to sell to get that done. This put them in a spot that no business ever wants to in.
Trust carefully worded their statement as “putting operations on hold”, not “closing forever”. The staff that I have spoken with no longer work there and are now on the hunt for new jobs. If any of you know of any opportunities for them, especially in the Salt Lake City area, reach out to me and I can get you in touch! I am not going to expect Trust to re-open anytime soon, but I would love to see Trust back in the game someday, and I’d love to work with them again when that happens!
Before I mention what I’ll be doing next, I want to give a big shout out (no pun intended) to Ben Craner. He was the head of marketing at Trust. I’ve worked with over a dozen brands these past three years, and bar none, Trust was the easiest and most supportive. Ben was by far the best contact I’ve ever had at a brand. I have nothing but great things to say about Ben, and I hope wherever he lands next, that we’ll be able to work together.
The rest of the Trust crew was top notch too. Dave Weagle understands the physics behind suspension and how it affects riding better than anyone else in the industry. Hap Seliga is not only an incredible writer, but he’s a stand up guy. Mike, Matt, Chris, Rob, Connor, Garin at their PR firm- all the rest of the crew at Trust were as professional as it gets.
As for what I’m going to do now, well, I’m not sure for the longterm! But I do have an immediate plan- When I first got that Message in February 2019, I built up a short travel 27.5 franken-bike based on the Mojo HD4 that had the geometry of an aggressive enduro sled. I LOVED that set up! I had a bike that would likely never see production but was perfect for what I needed. I had a lot of great moments on that bike. It could handle aggressive stuff, but not at the expense of fun on the more mellow trails that are sanctioned, public, and legal- places where I can actually film riding to post online (I don’t publish footage from trails that are intentionally kept off Trailforks. I have no problem with people riding and building illegal trails. I’ve simply seen too many of these trails get shut down to think there is any justification of posting videos of such trails).
Trust didn’t offer a fork with anything close to the 559mm axle to crown that both the HD5 or HD4 need. Lots of folks are asking for videos comparing the HD5 to the Ripmo, and I just can’t do that without much experience on the HD5 as it comes stock. So I called up my friends at Fox, and while they couldn’t sponsor me, they did offer me a great price on some 2020 forks.
I bought a 36 170mm Grip2 with the 37mm offset for the HD5, and I grabbed a 36 160mm Grip2 with the 44mm offset for my Ripmo v2. This means I can do some more bike comparison videos that are more applicable for all of you.
This also means I don’t have an outright suspension sponsor. So, would you like to see some other suspension on the channel? What brands are you curious about?
I really liked the Trust product in desert-type riding. It’s also great on steeper trails here in the PNW. I can’t film on the really steep trails, as they aren’t public, so I’ll likely continue running the Fox stuff here at home. I’ll keep a bunch of Trust product on hand, and when I get bored of riding the same mellow trails on my big long travel bikes, I’ll throw the Trust stuff back on. You certainly haven’t seen the last of it on my bikes!
Let’s focus on using this quarantine time as a way to get stronger and ready for a great riding season this summer. Peace!