Trust Performance Suspends Operations, Citing Difficulties due to COVID-19

Photo: Jeff Barber

Trust Performance, the brand behind the unique linkage fork The Message, is suspending their operations as of today, citing difficulties due to COVID-19.

While most of the world is firstly concerned with safety and public health, the secondary concern looming over a lot of us is the toll that the sudden pause in the economy will have in the long run. Small businesses like Trust Performance are particularly vulnerable.

Started five years ago in 2015, Trust wanted to redefine what mountain bike suspension meant for mountain bikers. Founded by suspension mastermind Dave Weagle, he and Hap Seliga and Jason Schiers launched the Message linkage-driven suspension fork at the end of 2018. The Message raised eyebrows, but it was hard to turn a blind eye. The next year was wildly successful for Trust.

“2019 was a breakthrough year for Trust,” the brand said in a statement on their Facebook page today. “We surpassed 1,000 units sold, 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. We had great momentum based on key demand metrics, brand awareness, and community enthusiasm.”

Less than a year after Trust Performance launched the 130mm travel Message fork, they released a 178mm long-travel linkage-operated fork, the Shout. It looked like they had a strong start to mountain bike suspension products, even though the forks were polarizing.

But for Trust, 2020 brought something different, and they started feeling the effects of coronavirus before the rest of the Western world did. Parts of their supply chain in Asia were shut down following the Chinese New Year in February. Then, as the pandemic spread, Trust says the demand dropped as greater fears about the economy rose.

“Then, finally, severe negativity in the investment markets shut down our ability to gain access to capital. This was at a point where we needed increased liquidity to carry us through a critical moment in our business. It all added up to a perfect storm that slammed right into us.”

As it stands right now, Trust Performance has been overwhelmed by the effects of coronavirus and is suspending operations until they address their “capital needs.”

Owners of a Trust fork will need to contact Suspension Syndicate in Salt Lake City, Utah for service, as they are an authorized Trust service center. Trust Performance hasn’t said anywhere in their statement that they won’t return to business after an indefinite period of time, but it appears they don’t when or how it will look.

“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.”

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