All About the Best Mountain Bike Forks – 2017 Edition
Mountain bike forks help with the suspension, travel, shock, and weight on your bike. There are hundreds of forks to choose from depending on your style of riding. For each style of riding, there are numerous forks to get for your advantage.
The travel helps with the further your fork can go, the better absorption rate of shocks and increase of smooth riding. The travel will decide how much stiffness and stability you have in your handling. Some forks have travel that can be adjusted.
The more travel you have in your fork, the harder your bike is to control. Therefore, damping is a very important feature. These are important features when considering the best mountain bike forks for your needs.
Best Mountain Bike Forks
**You'll find detailed comparison below, but you can also check the prices or read Amazon Customer Reviews by click the links above.
Mountain Bike Forks
The sizes of the forks usually vary in the style you can get. You can get mountain bike forks 26” for the 26” wheels, or the mountain bike forks 29” for the much larger wheels.
No matter your bike size, there are forks made for your bike that will help with suspension, give you at least a decent travel, and make your ride much more comfortable.
How to choose the best mountain bike fork for you?
Choosing a fork for your bike and riding style can be a hard task at hand. Fear not, there are many ways to make the process easy, bearable, and increase your knowledge on the topic.
Think about the travel you will need. Most forks come in 80mm or 100mm, but you can find some that are much lower at 20mm or all the way up to 300mm. Depending on if you ride long distances or do a lot of riding, this will be a big factor in how often you need to tune it and maintenance it.
You most likely want a fork that will absorb shocks and provide a smooth ride. You’ll want to consider the type of suspension the fork has. Spring forks do give a smoother ride and absorb a lot of impacts; however, to get that ‘light as air’ feel, you’d need air suspension.
What are the qualities in good forks?
The qualities you should look for in the best mountain bike forks is the weight of the fork, depending on the reason for using it. If you need a lightweight fork for pro cycling, don’t get something that’s 5+ pounds.
Look at the materials it’s made of. You want it to be durable and long-lasting, so it should be made from steel, carbon, aluminum, or alloy. These materials give a good amount of strength so the fork can take impacts and not warp.
Make sure the travel is a good rate for you. Remember that the lower the travel is, the harder it is to handle and maneuver your bike. Pick a travel that is best suited for your needs.
How to change your mountain bike fork
Prepare the tools and the fork you are going to change out. Remove the front wheel and the cantilevers. Remove the handlebars, the stem, and the fork. Prepare the new fork for the bike. Install the lower headset bearings followed by the upper headset bearings.C
ut the fork to size, then install the star nut. Finally, install the brakes and levers. You are finished.
The advantages and disadvantages of bike forks
The major advantages to a bike fork are:
- They absorb shocks and impacts.
Absorbing shocks and impacts are what forks are designed to do. They take the shocks, so your bike frame doesn’t. They protect the frame and wheels from taking shocks and impacts that could warp and damage your frame and bike parts.
- They are designed to last.
Bike forks are made from durable material so that you can get a good long use out of them. They are easy to install and take care of, so maintenance isn’t hard to provide.
- They have many travel types.
Depending upon the type of rider you are will decide how much travel you want your fork to have. I know some kids and adults get cheap forks with 60mm to 80mm travel and replace them as they need to, I prefer the 100mm travel myself.
There are minor disadvantages of bike forks:
- They can cost a lot.
Getting a good fork could cost you quite a bit of money. While the cheaper forks start at a very decent price range, the better ones can cost what seems like an arm and a leg. The more expensive models are usually made from higher-grade materials, have higher travels, and come with air-suspension.
- They add weight to a bike.
While it might not be a lot of weight, a fork can add anywhere from 3 to 10 lbs. to a bike. If you are a pro cycler and trying to make your bike as light as possible, the heavier models would not be ideal for you to use.
- They may have compatibility issues.
Some mountain bike forks are only compatible with rim brakes or disc brakes. You can find many models of bike forks that are compatible with either brake, but it’s a good thing to look over when ordering a bike fork.
The Best Mountain Bike Forks Uncovered
Here we are at the top 5 best mountain bike forks to review and discuss. By the end of this review, you’ll know what bike forks are best for you and your style of riding!
It is a suspension fork that is compatible with rim or disk brakes. The spring coil has a travel of 100mm, and it is compatible with 9mm front hubs.
This fork has aluminum lower legs and weighs about 7 lbs. It has a turnkey lock out and will last you well over a year. It is ideal to keep these forks well-maintained to be long-lasting.
You can do modifications to the fork to customize it to your needs, but you can’t adjust the travel on it. You will have a smooth ride with this suspension fork on your bike.
The quality and the smooth suspension you get out of this bike, along with customizable features and a strong build make this a very affordable fork that is well worth the investment.
- Compatible with disk and rim brakes.
- It has a turnkey lock out.
- Lightweight and great for regular riding or rough trail riding.
- Smooth riding with good suspension.
- It is customizable.
- The added weight can throw off hardtail suspension bikes.
- The weight is not pro-competition light.
- You cannot adjust the travel.
It has a changeable travel of 80mm or 100mm and fits a 9mm axle. This fork only works with disc brakes and has aluminum lower legs.
This product weighs about 5 pounds and has a standard 1 1/8” diameter steerer tube attached. This is an entry-level fork, so it’s not made for downhill or extreme riding. This is best used for easy riding on paths, simple trails, and roadways.
It is a bit heavy for pro cyclists, but with a light cycling bike, it won’t add too much weight. This fork would give a great result to extreme riders and downhill rides. This matched with disc brakes would make for a smooth ride at top speeds.
- It has an affordable price tag for the quality of the fork.
- Comes with a standard steerer tube attached.
- The travel is adjustable.
- Too heavy for pro cycling.
- Not a choice for off-road or extreme riding.
- Only works with disc brakes.
It has an affordable price tag for the quality of a product. It is a simple, rigid fork to use on a light bike and is customizable.
This fork gives an extra clearance to keep away from mud and debris and won’t affect your handling. It has a standard 1 1/8” diameter steerer tube and is 11 inches in length.
This fork is compatible with disc brakes and rim brakes depending on your wheel size. Larger wheels need to use disc brakes, or it won’t clear the fork.
It’s important to check your wheels with this fork, the sizes might not line up. If you are using a larger wheel, it could fit so long as you are using disc brakes and not pull brakes.
- Lightweight with a standard steerer tube.
- Can be used with rim brakes and disc brakes.
- Affordable price for the product quality.
- Made to clear mud and debris easily.
- Larger wheels must use disc brakes
- Not good for extreme riding.
- Very tall steerer and fork.
It is a 100mm travel fork that is extremely light at only 3 to 4 pounds depending on your bike’s frame size. This fork utilizes air that will make you feel light as you ride, and provide you with a smooth biking experience.
Making this product lightweight will increase and enhance your performance and speed. Your fork will absorb all the bumps and obstacles that the trail will dish out. It has a turnkey lock out.
The installation is difficult if you don’t have the tools needed. However, this is a high-quality product for a mid-range price point.
- High-quality materials.
- Absorbs all the shocks from a ride.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Utilizes air to ensure the best ride.
- Sturdy and durable on extreme rides.
- Installation is difficult.
- The travel is not changeable.
- Does not come with tools or equipment for installation.
- It has a higher price point.
It is a fork that was built for downhill and extreme riding. It’s a high-quality product for a high price point. It has a long travel of 203mm and can utilize a 3-system damping and bottom-out.
This is the fork to choose if all you ever ride is rough terrains, races, mountain bike, and stay off-roads. This fork will absorb all the impacts and shocks without you ever noticing the kind of path you’ve gone on.
This is a long fork at 29.6 inches and weighing in at 8 lbs., making this fork big and heavy. It is only compatible with disc brakes and comes with a mud guard.
There are three adjustments you can make to this fork such as preload, rebound, and adjust high pressure.
- Utilizes damping and bottom-out.
- Can be adjusted to your needs.
- It has a long travel.
- Made for rough riding and extreme biking.
- It is an air suspension model.
- Heavy and bulky.
- Not made for pro cycling.
- Expensive price point.
Image Credits: Amazon.com
The Best of the Best
The fork that really stood out the most was the RockShox 30 Gold TK Crown Adjust Solo 100mm Air Fork, Black, 26-Inch. It has the 100mm travel, made with high-quality parts, has a high-grade body, and is very lightweight.
It is a bit on the expensive side, but for the added benefits it has, this is a great deal for the price point. It is a sturdy and durable fork that absorbs shocks and impacts while utilizing air suspension.
With the air suspension, you feel lighter and so does your bike. The ride becomes smoother, and the absorption of shocks and impacts makes you feel as though nothing is there.
It is light enough for pro cyclists to take on their rides, as well as tough enough for extreme riding. This fork would be the best investment out of the options I’ve looked over today.
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