Do you want to improve your overall mountain biking experience? Then, you should ensure that your mountain bike is built with the ideal elements. Mountain bike suspension forks are one of the essential elements that determine whether or not you will have pleasant riding experience. The best mtb forks are designed to provide effective shock absorption for a bumpy free ride.
These mtb forks work by allowing your wheels to move up and down to absorb the shock caused by bumps whilst keeping the tires in contact with the ground to give you control. The key is to know how to choose the right bike suspension fork for your riding style.
We’ve made that job easier for you by outlining below the top picks for the 10 best mountain bike forks in 2020. So choose one and let your mountain biking become even more enjoyable this year. And if you are struggling to make a choice, let the buying guide below assist you to choose the right option for your bike.
How To Choose A Mountain Bike Suspension Fork – Buying Guide
When choosing the best mountain bike fork, you must consider the travel value. The travel is the length of the stanchions that slide onto the legs of your bike’s fork. The travel value is normally denoted in millimeters (mm). Generally, you will come across mtb suspension forks with travel between 80 to 200mm.
When choosing your travel, it must match your mtb bike’s frame. If you choose a longer fork, for example, it will fit your frame however; it will also affect its geometry and makes your overall riding uncomfortable. Other frames, however, can accommodate different fork lengths based on your needs. For example, a longer travel easily absorbs more shock and works great during descents and jumps.
Shorter ones are ideal for lighter riding and smooth terrains. Typically, the best mtb forks for cross country riding are designed with 100 to 120mm of travel. Trail riding forks boast 120 to 150mm travel, enduro riding forks boast 150 to 180 mm travel and downhill riding forks boast 180 to 200mm of travel.
The best mountain bike fork must also offer an adjustability option to achieve the right tuning. Thus, many mtb forks are built with at least one dial and adjustable options.
Air Or Spring Fork Adjustment
Air and spring forks, for example, are designed with valves that help to adjust them. An air fork features an air valve to set the correct air pressure. A coil spring fork on the other end has a preload dial to adjust the spring stiffness.
Compression adjustment helps to adjust the fork’s damping. Low compression determines the movement of the fork during small bumps and impact whilst high compression control reaction in big and fast bumps.
Another option is rebound damping. This type of damping adjustment determines how fast your fork returns to its position after compression. Similar to compression, you will find one or both low and high-speed rebound.
You may also find air volume adjustment dials. These allow you to adjust the air volume inside forks. Reducing air volume, for example, makes the fork harder to compress at the end of the travel. In some forks, you can also lock out a fork for demanding riding such as climbs and open it during trail riding and descents.
You must also ensure that your fork matches your bike wheel size. This is a straightforward task because the size of the fork must match that of the bike wheel. For example, a 26-inch fork will fit 26-inch wheels. Just like mountain bike wheels, most mountain bike suspension forks come in sizes 26, 27.5, and 29 inches.
When choosing your bike’s suspension fork, you must also remember to consider the wheel hub size in addition to the wheel size. This is normally done by examining the hub width. Generally, many suspension forks can be fitted into the wheel hubs using adapters. So, if your suspension fork is wide, you can use an adapter to fit it in. However, you cannot fit in a wide hub into a narrow fork – so always remember to check the sizes to make an informed decision.
Your bike dropouts are where the hub fits into the fork on either side. So, you should also consider the dropout type when looking at the wheel hub and design. You will generally come across a quick release skewer or a wide through axle dropout type. So always check your suspension fork to ensure it is compatible with the hub’s dropout type.
The steerer tube is the part of the fork that goes through the frame and attaches to the stem and handlebar. Thus, you will come across mountain bikes with tapered and non-tapered frames, also known as head tubes. Modern mountain bike frames feature a wide tapered tube at the bottom whilst older mountain bike frames have a non-tapered tube.
Q: How Do I Choose A Suspension Fork?
To choose the right suspension fork for your bike, you must ensure all its parameters match with your bike. These include compatible wheel size, wheel hub width, dropout type, and travel length. A suspension fork with more adjustment options also makes fine tuning your bike even better for added riding comfort.
Q: Are Suspension Forks Worth It?
Yes, suspension forks are certainly worth it. This is because your suspension fork affects your overall riding experience. Suspension forks are literally the suspension system of your bike, thus, choosing the right one guarantees proper shock absorption, more comfortable riding, and durability of other bike parts.
Q: What Size Suspension Forks Do I Need?
The size of your suspension fork should match that of your bike wheels to ensure they are compatible. For example, if you have 29-inch bike wheels then, you should go for a 29-inch suspension fork, if you have 26-inch bike wheels then, you should go for a 26-inch suspension fork and so on.
Q: Are Air Forks Better Than Coil?
Not necessarily. It all depends on the terrain you intend to ride on. If you intend to ride on rough and bumpy terrain, coil forks are better because of their heavy build which allows them to absorb and withstand more shock. Air forks are ideal for lighter terrains.
Q: Can I Put Bigger Forks On My Bike?
Typically, you can put forks that are up to 20mm larger than the recommended size. Some people even go beyond the 20mm gauge. Overall, many people who do so are comfortable, however, you should expect some distortion with your bike frame geometry and pedaling.
Globo Surf Overview
It takes careful and articulate bike building to ensure you enjoy your riding style. The mountain bike fork reviews show how important it is to ensure you have the right suspension for your bike. Whether you intend on exploring tough terrains like a ninja or mountain bike on lighter trails with your kids, choosing the best mtb fork for your riding style is essential to ensuring the ride is comfortable. So take your time to choose your option from the 10 best mountain bike forks above.