Trust Performance, the linkage fork manufacturer headed up by a team that included some of the mountain bike industry's most respected figures, has had to suspend operations. The team behind the Message and Shout forks said supply issues caused by the pandemic had been compounded by a lack of fresh investment cash.
According to the company, 2019 had been a breakthrough year in terms of sales and brand awareness of their strikingly different suspension units, but a double whammy of pandemic related supply chain issues in the Far East followed up by "severe negativity" in the investment markets led to their capital drying up. With no cash on hand, the firm has said it will be "taking pause and suspending operations until we address our capital needs".
The firm was founded in 2015 but launched the innovative, all-carbon Message linkage fork in late 2018, with the longer travel Shout joining in 2019. Though the high ticket price of the forks plus some mixed reviews across the bike press might not have helped hugely, Trust says it had managed to shift over 1,000 units and had had some bumper sales months up to February, though it blamed "macro fears about the economy" for customer demand easing off in recent months.
However, its business plan was based on being able to raise multiple rounds of investor capital to keep their ambitions - which extended beyond the bike industry - going. No longer being able to rustle up fresh cash from the investment market meant a lack of liquidity - and the decision to wind up operations.
Trust says: "We are utterly and completely gutted. We have given every waking hour over the past few months to find a path forward, but to no avail. Trust Performance, like the rest of the world, will be a different company when life is back to normal."
We're not sure whether that final statement - plus what seems to be an orderly winding up of affairs - means there's a chance that the firm could rise from the ashes but that seems to be it for now.
We spoke to UK Trust distributor Upgrade Bikes and Senior Brand Manager Rory Hitchens had this to say: "As UK distributor for TRUST we are gutted they have had to cease trading just when things were turning good for the brand. Upgrade Bikes Ltd still represents Trust for the UK and we have stock of Message (x10) and Shout (x12) forks available now.
"We are making a new direct to consumer offer of £950 including vat and shipping for either a Message or Shout fork.
"We also have a number of Shout forks out on demo with dealers although the current COVID19 situation does not allow these to be accessed for test riding.
"We have good back up on spare parts and our professional workshop is fully trained to support any forks in the UK.
"Needless to say there not be any more forks available after the current stock is sold. For those lucky enough to own one, its sure to be a classic of our future."
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