History of Suspension
1987 - Bushido full suspension bike, claimed 12" front and rear travel!
1988 - Kestrel Nitro is shown at the Long Beach bike show which features a Paul Turner/Keith Bontrager suspension fork. The fork used a Bontrager triple-clamp design and is the first showing of the future RS-1.
1989 - RockShox and Dia-Compe produce the RS-1. The price is $350 for a fork with 1" Cro-moly stanchions, two piece bonded aluminum lowers with a tubular Cro-moly brace. Damping is open bath with "static" lockout. The Offroad Flex stem and Italian Certain double crown forks are also available.
1990 – Doug Bradbury build the first Manitou fork with 1.5" of travel using elastomer springs. Weight is under 3 pounds! This fork used 1 1/8" stanchions and sells for $400. Regular forks use standard 100mm spacing while the Manitou bike versions get 115mm spacing. AheadSet threadless headsets become available.
1991 - Scott Unishock is introduced with a Unicrown style upper, coil springs and friction damping. Action-Tec Pro Action with rigid blades with the damper assembly and springs tucked inside the head tube. Boulder uses the Action-Tec in conjunction with a RockShox for 4" of travel! Amp prototypes are shown. Cratoni builds air sprung oil-damped Rock Soft. Answer licenses the Manitou design and makes minor changes to drop the price to $380. Mountain Cycle Suspenders with 12mm thru axle, disk brake, 28.6 mm lowers and 2.5" of travel. Marzocchi introduces the Star fork which mimics the RS-1. Pace shows carbon fiber sliders with a thru axle and the brakes/brace mounted to the rear. RockShox builds custom forks for Team Z (Greg LeMond) to use at Paris-Roubaix with compression adjustment and lower magnesium legs. Monolith begins production of the Rebound with dual blades, dual crowns and the spring/damper mounted in front of the head tube. Price is $450 for 1.75" travel. Mert Lawwill shows the Leader fork with a leading link design to eliminate brake dive. It uses a hydraulic damped air shock with 3" of travel and works with disk brakes (the later canti model loses the anti-dive feature) and sells for $390.
1992 - RockShox introduces the Mag 20 and Mag 30 with magnesium lower legs, bonded steerer tube and aluminum brake arch. The Mag 20 has adjustable compression. Joe Murray and Kona build the Future Shock with 1.2" travel. Manitou travel goes to 2". Hanebrink builds his first suspension fork with rigid blades and the spring contained in the head tube. Cannondale build their first HeadShok with an air spring contained in the head tube. It features a lock out and slides on 4 sets of needle bearings. Specialized had RockShox build their line of Future Shocks. Marzocchi introduces the XC300 with an independent floating piston, top out valve and triple stage damping. Tange releases their first forks, the Struts. Girvin brings out their first Vector linkage fork. Crosstrac full suspension bike with their own 4" travel fork. RST introduces a $200 fork. Showa enters the market with Trek branded forks. Leading Link front add-on suspension is available for under $100.
1993 - Halson Inversion fork with slots in the uppers for the rim brakes to travel in. Later air damping is added. The shish-kebab type device to hold the elastomers in place is licensed to RockShox and Manitou. The Manitou II gets preload dials on the bottom of the legs, longer legs with more overlap, forged brake arch, press-in steerer, butted stanchions and 3 stage elastomer. RockShox ends its relationship with Dia-Compe and introduces the Mag 21. Travel is up to 2.5" and has negative springs with a new crown and brace. The $250 Quadra looks similar to the Mag 21 but uses a single 6" bumper in either side. This is the first use of pressed in stanchions. Cannondale "Pong" bike is shown.
1994 - RockShox adds the Mag 21SL with aluminium stanchions, alloy steerer and titanium hardware ($650 retail). Manitou III with aluminium stanchions, top mounted preload knobs, 6 bumper elastomer stack and adjustable (2" - 2.5") travel
1995 - RockShox introduces the Judy with 6 MCU' s, adjustable travel (2", 2.4" or 2.9"), externally adjustable hydraulic damper cartridge, and 1 1/8" stanchions. The red and yellow Judy forks start a whole line of upgrade parts (damping cartridges, air springs, fork crowns, dual-crown kits and fork braces). Specialized has a Judy FSX with carbon lower legs and CNC brace. Manitou uses the EFC to control rebound damping.
1996 - Manitou brings out the Mach 5 using the EFC internals in a new set of lower legs that are bonded into a full wrap brake arch. Cannondale has the HeadShok Moto fork that is a dual crown fork that is disk brake only with 4.5" of travel. Hanebrink has his first dual crown fork with 6" of travel. RockShox presses the stanchions on the Judy SL to save weight. The Judy DH has two dampers, one for compression and one for rebound.
1997 – RockShox gives all Judy forks one piece lowers and alloy damping cartridges. The Type II spring system pairs a single 4" MCU with a 2" coil spring. Judy SL is externally adjustable. The Quadra is replaced with the Indy with one piece lowers. Marzocchi introduces the Bomber line with 30mm stanchions, coil springs, open bath dampers and three piece aluminum lowers. RST has the Mozo Pro 4.5 with 4.5" of travel and single crown. Bullet Brothers has the Zzyzx designed by Hanebrink with 6" of travel. The company goes under. White Brothers brings out their line of forks with 32mm aluminum stanchions, 3-piece lowers, magnesium brake arches, full length coil springs and externally adjustable dampers. Manitou's top forks features titanium springs.
1998 - RST introduces the XXL and inverted dual crown downhill fork with 6" of travel. The Hi-5 is a dual crown fork with standard dropouts. RockShox introduces the SID line based on the Judy but using an air spring. The Boxxer DH fork becomes available to the public. Dual crown Judy XL is available and all Judy forks get full coil springs and disc mounts. The Mag 21 is discontinued. Hanebrink goes to 7" of travel. K2 has the Smart Fork with automatic damping adjustments with a piston speed sensor. Cannondale builds the Moto FR 4" travel fork with standard dropouts and disc mounts. Risse starts making forks. Manitou has Twin Piston Chamber (TPC) damping with separate compression and rebound controls. The new X-Vert line receives 30mm stanchions. The lower priced Spyder uses press in stanchions and one piece lowers.
1999 - Manitou brings out a single crown X-Vert. The no-bob lockout is offered for the SX line. All single crown forks get press in stanchions and most have one piece lowers and disk mounts. Micro-Lube is added to speed maintenance. RockShox used Dual Air with positive and negative air chambers for adjustable rebound and compression control. The Jett line replaces the Indy. Hanebrink goes to 8". Marzocchi has the Super Fly with open bath damper and air spring. The Monster is released with 40mm stanchions and 7" travel. Risse introduces the Trixxxy.
2000 - Manitou's first air fork, the Mars, is introduced. Spyder disappears. The Millennium is a 5" single crown fork. RockShox has Hydra Air damping with an open bath damper and air spring. All Travel for 2.5", 3" or 4" of travel with no additional parts. Judy forks lose the cartridge dampers. Boxxers are 7" travel. Marzocchi offers some press in stanchions and 3 piece press together lowers and full wrap brake arch. Hanebrink go to 9" travel!.
2001 - Manitou offers no boss option for disk brakes only. Marzocchi shows the RAC fork which is a single crown inverted fork with one piece carbon crown and uppers. Cannondale introduces the one sided, disk only Lefty. Hanebrink goes to 12". RockShox introduces the Psylo and single crown 300mm stanchion fork with up to 5" of travel. Pure damper is introduced with has lockout and separate adjustable compression and rebound pistons in one leg and the spring in the other leg.