Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology



Suspension Timeline



Bushido full suspension bike, claimed 12" front and rear travel.  No production.


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.


Rock Shox 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.


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.


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 Rock Shox 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 (England) shows carbon fiber sliders with a thru axle and the brakes/brace mounted to the rear.  Rock Shox 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.


Rock Shox 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 (later Z-Link, picture to the left) 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 has Rock Shox 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 (picture to the right).

September 1992 suspension fork ad:


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 Rock Shox 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.  Rock Shox 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.

Rock Shox Manitou Marzocchi Tange Giant SR Specialized Scott Trek
Quadra Manitou 2 XC50 Struts Zorbers Duo track Future Shock Unishock S Shock Wave
Mag 10   XC150 Shock blades     Future Shock SE Unishock VR Mogul
Mag21   XC400       Future Shock FSX Unishock LF Black Diamond

Not sure on the year of this Action Tec catalog:



Rock Shox adds the Mag 21 SL with aluminum stanchions, alloy steerer and titanium hardware ($650 retail).  Manitou III with aluminum stanchions, top mounted preload knobs, 6 bumper elastomer stack and adjustable (2" - 2.5") travel.

Rock Shox Manitou Marzocchi Tange Giant SR Specialized Scott Trek
Quadra 10 Manitou 3 XC51 Struts Zorbers Duo track 7001 Future Shock Unishock VR Mogul
Mag 10   XC500 Struts GS   Duo track 9001      
Mag21   EGS             
Mag 21 SL                 
Lawwill Leader Amplifier Pro-Forx Halson Inversion RST 460        

Lawwill Leader             Anti Gravity           Halson    


Rock Shox 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.  

January 1995 Halson press release:

Rock Shox Manitou Marzocchi Tange RST SR Pro-Forx Dirt Research
Quadra 5 Manitou 4 XCR Struts GS 170 Duo track 7005    
Quadra 21 Comp XC600 810 171 Duo track 9005    
Quadra 21R Magnum Zokes Struts 120 381 Duo track 8005    
Judy XC EFC EGS                 
Judy SL               
Mag 21                


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.  Rock Shox presses the stanchions on the Judy SL to save weight.  The Judy DH has two dampers, one for compression and one for rebound.

Rock Shox Answer Manitou Marzocchi RST SR Dirt  Research
Quadra 5 Mach 5 SX Zokes 2 170 Duo track 7006 DR 800A
Quadra 10 Mach 5 Comp Zokes Pro 171B   524A
Quadra 21R Mach 5 Pro   381      
Judy XC      380      
Judy SL            
Mag 21                   



Rock Shox 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.

Rock Shox Answer Manitou Marzocchi RST SR
Quadra 5 Pro Zokes 2 161B Duo track 7007
Indy C Pro C Zokes Pro 171B  
Indy XC SX Bomber Z2 381L  
Indy SL SX Ti Bomber Z3     
Judy XC          
Judy SL          



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.  Rock Shox 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.

Rock Shox Answer Manitou Marzocchi RST
Indy S Spyder Zokes 161B
Indy C Spyder R Z2 Atom Bomb 171B
Indy XC SX Bomber Z2 261
Indy SL SX R Bomber Z3 281
Judy T2 SX Ti    380R
Judy XC      Mozo Pro
Judy SL       


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.  Rock Shox 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".  Risse introduces the Trixxxy.

Rock Shox Answer Manitou Marzocchi SR Suntour White Brothers RST
Jett C Spyder Z2 Super Fly M-7500 SC 70 281
Jett XC Spyder SX Z2 BAM   SC 72 UL  
Jett T2 Spyder R Bomber Z5      
Judy C SX-E Bomber Z3      
Judy XC SX-R Z4      
Judy SL SX-Ti        
SID XC X Vert E        
SID SL X Vert         


Manitou's first air fork, the Mars, is introduced.  Spyder disappears.  The Millennium is a 5" single crown fork.  Rock Shox 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".   Marzocchi offers some press in stanchions and 3 piece press together lowers and full wrap brake arch.  Hanebrink go to 9".

Rock Shox Answer Manitou Marzocchi White Brothers RST
Jett Magnum Z2 SC 70 281 R
Jett XC Magnum SX SC 72 UL 381 TL
Jett SL Magnum R Bomber Z5   801
Judy XC SX-R        
Judy SL SX-LT         
Judy Race Mars C      
SID XC          
SID SL X Vert      



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".  Rock Shox 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.