In our recent article about “Zero Compromises Suspension,” there were multiple mentions of how and why an upside down fork would work better if riders would accept and purchase it. Cornelius Kapfinger of Germany’s Intend BC has been making gravity forks with the stanchions at the bottom for some time now and recently decided to flip his favorite forks upside down with the new Blackline Ebonite. He has also expanded the brand’s business model to include direct sales and bike shop dealers and says that the product and supply chain shifts will not affect the product performance in the slightest.
In addition to flipping the fork over Kapfinger wanted to create a production and sales process for the new forks to cut lead times and put more components on bikes. While all of the forks are assembled and tested in his German facility, some of the parts are now made in various Asian factories. Outsourcing will help the Intend BC team focus on assembly and new product development. Longtime Intend BC fans can still contact the company for custom shock builds and other specialty components that the company is well known for.
While the brand is creating a host of other cool bike components under the Blackline logo, the Ebonite fork is handily the most exciting. The Ebonite is an air-sprung, 29er fork with a 44mm offset and internally adjustable travel between 140mm and 180mm. Its travel measurement can be changed by any home mechanic by swapping a set of C-clip spacers on the air shaft.
The 35mm stanchions house all of the usual suspects, including low-speed rebound and compression adjusters and a single Schrader valve to fill both the positive and negative air chambers. Ebonite owners can crank up the fork’s progression with a set of volume spacers in three different configurations. All of the internal settings were sorted out with help from the Ibis Fidlock Racing team, and Intend BC says that the fork passed a series of impact, stress, and long-term durability tests with flying colors.
Kapfinger wanted the Ebonite to be serviceable by the home mechanic no matter where in the world they are riding, so he designed the fork to work best with Fox Gold Oil in the lowers and Mortex 2.5w oil in the rebuildable damper. The service parts list is finished off with the same D35 seals from SKF that all RockShox 35mm forks use.
This single-crown squisher weighs a reported 2280g and retails for €1,659 on the Intend BC website. For reference, a 2021 Fox 36 Factory 29″ fork sells for between €1,400 and €1,900 depending on the retailer.
I like this suspension fork. My only concern is, on my trails I have to squeeze in between rocks that can hit my lowers. I knew this when ordering my bike so I installed Invisiframe on my fork and crank. Having this has saved me from a few scrapes and scratches on my lowers. I’m a heavy rider, 218lbs dry and would really like something like this without having to ride a 36+ mm fork and save weight because I’m on CushCore too. The only way I would think about riding it is a boot over it. I’m not sure how that would look/work? I’m sure there’ll be quite a market for riders that don’t have to worry about the trail scratching the lowers up.
Also, can you tell them to post videos in English subtitles? There looks to be good information but it’s all in German.