A perfect storm of collapsing financial markets and manufacturing delays just put this bicycle fork manufacturer out of business.
Trust Performance, a manufacturer of innovative bicycle suspension forks, has gone out of business. It marks the first outdoor/bicycle industry casualty of the COVID-19 crisis. Sadly, we expect it won’t be the last.
Master suspension designer Dave Weagle and retail master Hap Seliga (co-founder of Competitive Cyclist) started Trust Performance in 2015. Its debut product, a pivoting suspension design, left some saying it could change the future of front suspension — not just for bicycles, but also vehicles. It didn’t merely change the way front suspension looked and felt, but in our test, it noticeably improved the ride.
Then, coronavirus rocked the world. Trust’s Asian supply chain shut down on January 25 following Chinese New Year due to the virus. In February, demand for expensive bike forks slowed considerably as macro fears about the economy started to rise.
Finally, severe negativity in the investment markets shut down Trust’s ability to gain access to capital. The timing was terrible. The business lost funding at the moment it needed liquidity to carry it through a critical moment.
“It all added up to a perfect storm that slammed right into us,” Seliga admitted.
Trust Performance Goes Out of Business
Trust wasn’t a garage startup. From the start, Weagle and Seliga wanted to do it right, building the business with venture capital funding. When they shipped their first fork, it was made in their own factory in China using cutting-edge carbon fiber engineering and technology.
Trust announced its first fork, the Message (originally $2,700), in 2018 and started shipping it immediately. In 2019, Trust had a breakthrough year, selling more than 1,000 units and introducing a second enduro-focused fork, the Shout. Prices dropped to $1,975.
“We saw steep growth in dealer and distributor sales, and we saw four of our best-ever sales months at the end of the year,” Seliga said in a press release. “Based on key demand metrics, brand awareness, and community enthusiasm, we had great momentum.”
But today, Trust is shutting its doors and turning the lights off.
“It’s with incredible disappointment and a heavy heart that, effective immediately, Trust Performance is suspending operations until we address our capital needs,” Seliga said. “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.”
If you own a Trust fork and need service going forward, the company says to reach out to Suspension Syndicate in Salt Lake City, a trained and certified Trust Performance-authorized service center.
“We’re grateful for the community of people who encouraged and supported our unique design and innovative technology,” said Seliga.
“While we step away, there’s one thing that will remain true for all of us at Trust Performance: It’s the love we have for time on the trail and making the most of those moments with the people we enjoy most. See you out there.”