In 1990’s Specialized looked at the work Rock Shox was doing and reached out to them to build a the Specialized Future Shock. This is a ‘Specialized’ branded version of the Mag 21 SL that would eventually be mated to a Metal Matrix compound frame called M2. I can remember staring at this bicycle fork for hours on end in all of the MTB magazines. It was so special that our local Specialized Bike Shop didn’t get a window model. Travel is up to 2.5″ and has negative springs with with carbon fiber stanchions, alloy steerer, alloy drop outs and titanium hardware ($650 retail). This is not your average touring fork, in fact many may think this is a foolish choice. The Specialized Future Shock is perhaps one of the nicest looking forks ever created.
This fork locks out effectively for general road riding. With adjustment I can open it up just a bit to provide a bit dampening to give the hands a break on fire roads and rock paths. It does open up to provide much more travel [2.5″] but I have never rode with it all the way open.
This fork has a lot of things going against it. It’s a bit exotic and I am unlikely to find rebuild parts anywhere. It has a dubious history and was removed from the scene as fast as it entered. The rumor that the carbon lower will separate from the aluminum dropout after repeated impact ended the production run of this fork. The fork is a jewel and is in great shape. Most of my riding with this fork has been on pavement and I am confident of using this on my upcoming tour.
I choose this fork because it is light, stiff, and affords my tortured hands dampened travel on roads that are bumpy. It’s lockout is effective. The damping can be adjusted so that the fork moves when travelling over small bumps, like washboards, yet can be firm to absorb a large bump hit at high speed. The fork can also be tuned to be rigid while pedaling by creating a minimum force threshold that must be overcome before the suspension can move normally. I will be carrying a bit more weight on the handlebars with a bikepacking style harness. Steel springs are much heavier than an air spring. For this reason, a lightweight air spring and oil damped suspension system is appropriate for a light weight touring machine. I love how this fork rides and am very excited to embrace a rackless set up.
LATE EDIT: In all honesty this is probably THE LEAST reliable and STUPIDEST fork to go on a long tour where you are counting on your equipment to get you there. I was having a hard time with making the post interesting because it is such a poor choice [and total BS]. Label it pure vanity; however, I am very excited to build this into my touring bike. I have completed 1 cross country tour with this fork and will continue to use it until it becomes wall art.
Specialized Future Shock
@BicycleHobo we actually don't have detailed production numbers for that fork.
— Specialized (@iamspecialized) February 5, 2014