Bike Fork

Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Fork Reviews and Buying Guide

Latest mountain bike forks have much improved damping technology and give wider choices for riders to let them happily ride their bikes on desired trail. Even though it is little complicated to understand different damping technology and other external adjustments, riders are still interested to know and make use of those settings.
A good fork has two important jobs to do such as taking up various types of technical bumps and to give excellent traction on the ground. But when it comes to different technical trail the forks need to be versatile enough to suit the riding style. One particular fork does not satisfy all riding style and each fork is specially made for every trail such as Freeride, cross country, downhill, dirt jump etc.
The following top 10 best forks are from different section. All these forks are not given any ranking because each fork is different in its technology and performance. You can compare each fork based on performance and value for money.

Fork Reviews

Fox 32 Float FIT RLC Bike Fork

bike fork

Fox 32 Float FIT RLC fork has adapted to a new damping technology called Closed Cartridge Damping System. It has various advantages over other damping system and Fox has reduced oil capacity inside the cartridge in order to achieve light weight fork (new RLC version). This bike fork has improved spring curves that enable riders to utilize all the travel available.

Fork maintenance is effortless, oil change and the other damping adjustments come very handy. Last year 32 Float FIT RLC model faced stiction problem that made it difficult to set correct sag but the new FIT cartridge fork has gold colour Kashima coating on stanchions for smooth feel and it eliminates most of the stiction. This Fox fork takes up a little time to get used to your sort of riding style in the beginning, normally all the new forks have this break in period. This lightweight fork is pretty stiff for XC use and feature versatile adjustability. It smoothly rides down the hill, consistently eats the bump and also rides well on single track.

Fox has made this mountain bike fork with simple setup and it is more responsive on technical terrain. It is little flexy but the kashima coating will ensure supple traction. FIT cartridge damping system really comes to help when the fork is ridden in very tough rocky section by giving total control. This Fox fork is suitable for XC and trail riding but cannot be compared with other tough terrain bike forks.

It is available with 100, 120, 140, 150mm FIT RLC range and the fork is also made for 29” wheels with 80, 100, 120mm of travel. 15QR thru axle model with or without tapered steerer are the highlighting features. This bike fork is made with air spring and comes with all important damping adjustment such as lockout, low speed compression and rebound. You will get little pedal bob while climbing so, you barely use lockout function.

Good: Fox own new damping technology gives more control and good traction on the ground.
Bad: The fork is a little flexy and you might feel pedal bob while climbing

With good waterproof bike covers and  a good bike fork, you’re good to go!

 

Rockshox Reba RLT Mountain Bike Fork

Rockshox Reba RLT is an affordable bike fork which comes with impressive features such as motion control damping and dual air spring system. It is very well designed for 26”wheel with Lockout threshold and external floodgate at two basic chassis option such as 90-120mm Air U-Turn and 80/100/120mm Dual Air. The fork is appropriately built with plenty of options in between 26” and 29” wheel size. Yes, Reba RLT is also available for 29” big wheeled trail specific bikes at 130/140mm of travel.

Big wheeled option is available only with 20mm thru axle and 1 1/8″ Tapered steerer. But, it shares all other standard features like dual air spring and available with standard Motion Control dampers or BlackBox Motion Control with or without threshold adjustments. This Rockshox Reba fork is also available as Reba RLT Ti model that has Blackbox motion control damper and dual flow rebound damper.

Both the Reba RLT and Reba RLT Ti models feature high speed compression circuit, Lockout threshold and Air U-Turn adjustments. Rock shox wanted to make this mountain bike fork for aggressive riding so that it can take up any cross country trial seriously. They have updated the fork with 20mm Maxle axle and post mount disc brake that proportionately increases the stiffness and chassis strength. Standard 15mm axle is still available for 26” wheel that is suitable for average riders.

With tons of adjustments, you can fine tune the small bump compliance even when you are not using the full compression. With the help of dual air chamber, fine tuning is pretty much easy and it can be done nth number of time to suit your riding style. It is basically a light weight fork that gives buttery smooth ride.

Good: Easy fine tuning, tons of adjustments and dual air chamber that give plush ride. Fork is also available for 29” wheels.
Bad: Many adjustments sometime make the riders confuse and they need to spend some time to learn the adjustment curve for better ride. Not suitable for beginners.

 

Rockshox Revelation RLT Bike Fork

This mountain bike fork is lighter and has good torsional stiffness. It comes with all essential damping adjustments such as lockout, compression, rebound and floodgate. The pressure adjustment in the air spring enables the riders to tune the fork specifically for trail/terrain. The damping system of this fork makes your job simple.

You can easily change the travel from 150mm to 120mm by just turning the dual position air lever on the fly. This action would change the spring rate and compensates the needed sag. It quickly drops 30mm of travel and makes the fork better for climbing. Getting back to 150mm would slightly change the head angle and feel supple on the ground.

This Rockshox Revelation is a dual position air fork which is a solo air system and despite being an air spring, this fork is really plush. It comes with very linear spring and the fork can also be lowered to 100mm using internal spacer. This bike fork comes with low and high speed compression control and rebound adjust with floodgate.

The combination of floodgate and compression control completely avoids bobbing but with floodgate set fairly open the fork quickly reacts to small bumps. Motion control damping system of this fork gives buttery smooth ride and it is more responsive to rocky terrain. It is easy to bleed or rebuilt and works flawlessly.

By combining with fine tuned RP23 rear shock, the bike will go more agile and acts as a fast accelerating rig. Rockshox Revelation RLT is also available as RLT Ti model. Instead of standard motion control, RLT Ti model comes with BlackBox Motion Control damping system and it feature Dual Flow Rebound. This Rockshox fork is available with two option 15mm or 20mm maxle axle and has strongly built chassis option 130/140/150mm Dual Air and 120-150mm Dual Position Air.

Good: The fork can be easily controlled on the trail using many adjustments. Light weight yet more stiff and easy to use dual position lever to change the travel. Riders who are not familiar with Fox forks can try Rockshox Revelation.
Bad: This fork is meant for serious riders and it is little difficult to understand the instruction given in the fork for perfect tuning.

 

Magura Durin Race Bike Suspension Fork

Magura Durin Race Bike Fork is made with 32mm stanchion and promises to offer stiff XC performance. As chassis built with 80/100/120mm travel options, the fork is impressively trail stiff and race light. It gives predictable point and shoot handling on rocky filled sections. This bike fork gives stable ride while steering and applying the brake through the turns and corners. More responsive in the sharp turns and handles the ride well through technical sections, noticeably better than any other forks in its class. Durin Race well defines the reputation and quality of Magura and it is a very durable fork which has been built to last longer.

This mountain bike fork is equally compared with Rockshox forks and it has similar suspension action which is not bad. Magura gives a clear weight/pressure recommendation for riders of different size. It’s a kind of race fork that readily takes up bigger stuff without any harsh bottom-out and rattling noise inside.

It is made with Dynamic Lockout system (DLO²) which offers progressive spring rate for better ground control. This lockout system is much better than conventional lockout systems. Magura Durin Race bike fork is also available with RCL Remote Control. Rebound damping can be adjusted through the knob provided at the bottom and the lockout dial (DLO²) is at the top. This bike fork can be controlled well at high speed runs using Albert Select + platform damping system.

Magura uses shorter 80mm travel specific stanchion and this makes the fork a lightest option available under short travel all-rounder class of forks in the market with similar stiffness and performance.

Good: Magura provides good after sales service. This fork is controlled well on the trail and gives impressive stiffness on the run. The 80mm is one of the best short travel all rounder fork and it is light weight in nature.
Bad: Not much

 

DT Swiss XMM 140 Twin Shot Mountain Bike Fork

For those who always look for Fox forks, DT Swiss offers the most reliable and performance oriented fork at affordable price range. This bike fork effortlessly takes up large bumps with its new Twin shot damping technology. You can easily control medium bumps and at the same time the fork is more responsive to smaller bumps.

It provides industry standard stiffness and you will not feel any flex even if you go down with 9mm thru bolt on the front hub. This DT Swiss fork provides 15mm thru axle system and it perfectly matches with the fork for heavy weight riders. Strongly built chassis with torsion box magnesium lower legs gives added strength and 140mm of travel is really light weight.

The 1.5” tapered aluminium steerer tubes gives needed strength for controlled steering. This mtb fork is basically an air spring system with positive and negative air chamber featuring one common adjustment valve. The negative spring will automatically adjust according to the trail and gives a very plush ride. Does not have many adjustments but Twin shot damping technology would take care of all controls and gives better traction on the trial.

It provides rebound and external compression adjust with lockout (three mode select provided by lever). This air sprung fork is better suits for endurance racing and trail ride. It is equally compared with the performance of Rockshox Revelation and Fox 32 Float forks. The fork is extremely smooth and gives a very little stiction after long ride.

Good: Twin shot damping technology and auto balancing spring system with positive and negative air chambers are really impressive. Not many adjustments and simple to use, even beginners can try.
Bad: Not a versatile fork but lighter and simpler to use.

 

Fox 36 Float 180 FIT RC2 Bike Fork

Fox 36 Float is a high end mountain bike fork with high quality Kashima coated stanchions. These stanchions give smoother ride and do not provide any stiction. Fox 36 Float is a light weight 180mm travel fork option available in the market under All mountain and Freeride ride category. It takes up anything you can throw at it and extremely versatile.

With proper choice of spring rate, this bike fork will not bottom out at any cost. It has all the big hit capabilities and one of the stiffest fork with Fox own FIT cartridge damping technology. The fork needs high maintenance and the stanchions/bushing wears out soon when used in downhill bikes. To avoid such worn-out condition Fox has increased the durability of the upper legs with the help of Kashima coating.

It is all about quality of the Fox and workmanship of coil spring that makes this fork expensive in its class but you get what you pay for. The new FIT damping technology puts all the adjustment in strategic position and the riders need little practise to get used to it. Rebound adjust is placed at the bottom and high/low speed compression adjustment is given at the top. The lower leg provides post style disc brake mounting facility with 20QR thru axle system. It is strongly built to give extended stiffness for precise steering.

Previous model face small bump compliance but now the Kashima coated stanchions improve the fork sensitivity and easily take up small bumps with supple action. Both Rebound and compression adjustments give wide range of option to dial in the fork for desired style of riding. This fox fork weighs nearly 2.33 kg which is little bulker than other long travel air forks but most of the riders love coil fork for big hit.

Good: Lot of improvements made in 36 Float 180mm fork and it gives inspiring ride.
Bad: Expensive

 

Marzocchi 55 Micro Ti Bike Fork

Marzocchi 55 Micro Ti is a new kind of fork manufactured with Titanium spring. It is basically an air fork with different internal setup compared to previous model that was based on TST or AKA forks. Previous model faced many problems with small complications and few forks also had factory defects. Now the new 55 Micro Ti fork is very simplified and built with sturdy chassis.

The essential adjustments are strategically placed for easy reach and the fork gives plush ride out of the box. This mtb fork has got much better damping than before and feature air volume adjuster for simple dial in to suit your riding style. Marzocchi has added Titanium negative spring in this fork to overcome the initial stiction and it actually saves more weight.

This bike fork is 120gms heavier than the Fox 36 Float but you will never notice it. Its modern damping technology is still more responsive in aggressive riding and noticeably stiffer. Performance is better than Totem and stiffer than Rockshox Lyric fork and priced equally to Fox and Rockshox forks. The fork provides good traction with zero flex and the rebound spring is sensitive to small bumps. The stanchions are fully nickel plated similar to Kashima coating found in Fox 36 Float and they can hold up the aggressive riding better than Fox even after 10 months of hard riding.

This Marzocchi fork comes with 160mm of travel and the damping is based on closed cartridge system similar to Fox. It features volume adjust that easily helps to control the compression curve. Proper volume adjustment and setting correct pressure is very important to avoid bottom out feel. The lockout lever and compression control with rebound adjust gives wider range of dial in option for quality ride. This air fork is featured with QR20 screw through version which is considered to be better choice for more aggressive riding.

Good: Improved damping technology, Titanium negative spring and performs better than many reputed forks in the market. It is a reliable fork and its performance is equally compared with other Fox forks.
Bad: A Little heavier than the Fox 36 Float and priced equally to Fox and Rockshox.

 

Rockshox Argyle RC Dirt Bike Fork Suspension

If any one asks which dirt jump bike fork is best then almost all the riders would say get a Rockshox Pike or Argyle 318 or Manitou Gold Label. But Rockshox stopped manufacturing Pike and Argyle 318 is now available as Argyle R, RC and RC2 version. Manitou Gold Label was very famous fork liked by many dirt jumpers but it is not in production anymore instead Manitou produce ‘Circus’ 80-100mm jump bike fork.

Argyle RC is a coil fork comes with decent price range. It is built with same Pike chassis and its 80-100 of fork travel is totally in control and predictable. This mountain bike fork is suitable for everyday use and solid for dirt jump, street and trail.

It comes with all the important external adjustments such as low speed compression, external rebound and preload adjust. All these adjustments are more than enough for most of the rides. The compression adjuster gives different set-up requirements and could be easily turned to a lockout position. Whether you are riding in a BMX track or jumping in the woods the external spring pre-load adjuster would effortlessly compress the spring for desired style of riding. We cannot say Argyle RC is a stiffer fork but versatile adjustments would help you to achieve the required setting.

This Rockshox fork runs on popular motion control damping and the sturdy 32mm stanchions with aluminium steerer gives steadfast ride without unnecessary noise in the fork. This Argyle RC line-up fork also comes with slopestyle option at 140mm chassis that gives good precision and smooth landing. This shorter travel fork comes with 20mm Maxle Lite through-axle system which is quite excellent for traction. This type of fork is better suits jump bikes which are used for everything from 4X to skatepark.

Good: Sturdy built quality and has all the important external adjustments for wide range of setting. Best suits for everyday use like dirt jump, street, trail, skatepark and 4X.
Bad: We cannot say it is an ideal stiffer fork and need little effort to compress the spring using external spring pre-load adjuster.

 

SR Suntour SF9 Epicon RLD 15QLC Mountain Bike Fork

SR Suntour SF9 Epicon RLD is an entry level bike fork, reasonably priced and has value for money. It is manufactured under SR Suntour brand name and known for low maintenance features. It satisfies ‘All mountain’ ride and comes with 140/120 mm of travel. This bike fork got interesting features and cost half the price of high performance bike forks and perform twice as good. It is highly tuneable air system fork with preload adjuster. Hydraulic remote speed lockout and rebound adjustment cartridge are the standard features of this fork. It is a stiffer in its class with zero stiction from the start and available with 15mm Q-lock system.

When set to suitable air pressure, the fork can perform well in rough trials and absorbs medium to big bumps. This mtb fork does not come with separate compression adjust but both the rebound adjust and remote lockout eliminates the need for compression adjust. You can make use of air pressure adjust which is easy to use. The air system gives more control and performs well at higher speed with small bump compliance. This SR Suntour Epicon suspension fork is not meant for tough terrain but suitable for normal off road trail riding.

It is one of the reliable forks in the market compared to Manitou and Rockshox forks. This new fork is strongly built with Magnesium monocoque lower legs and has alloy stanchions tube. The stanchions are gold anodized to give maximum plush ride. The steerer tube is made up of alloy material and tapered option is also available. Suitable for post mount type disc brakes with only 160mm rotors but you can also extent up to 185mm of disc diameter.

Good: Affordable fork and suitable for All mountain and trail riding. Strongly built chassis with remote lockout and rebound adjust.
Bad: Not suitable for aggressive riding.

 

Manitou Minute Pro Bike Suspension Fork

Manitou Minute Pro is one of the reliable forks with superior damping technology that requires less maintenance. Do not think that only Fox and Rockshox have good reputation in the market. There are also other forks from well known brand which are equally perform as much in the expensive line of forks. It feature highly adjustable coil/air spring and used for XC/trail ride.

The major highlight of this mountain bike fork is its platform adjustable dial that makes it different from other forks. This fork can take up aggressive riding and withstand any tough trail with its strongly build chassis and good seals. You no need to service this fork often like other high end forks. The upper section is filled with aluminium steerer and strong crown technology which gives more strength.

20mm Through Axle and 1.5 Tapered AL Steerer comes as optional, the fork weighs 1657g/3.65lb which is a little heavier then other fork in its class. It’s a highly tuneable fork featuring Absolute + (ABS +) independent damping system with both low and high speed adjust. By correctly dialling in the ABS+, the fork can provide better quality of ride. Manitou Minute Pro fork suspension is available in two version such as Pro and Expert. It gives good choice of selecting from lighter to firmer coil spring for wider weight range i.e. riders who weigh from 140 to 210lbs. With the availability of firmer spring mountain bike riders who weigh more than 210 lbs can set proper sag.

This bike fork has a versatile and hybrid coil/air spring that quickly responses to platform dial additionally you can also pump more air into the chamber to make spring tighter. The fork needs regular maintenance on seals and bushes when you use it for tougher ride. Some time you will end up replacing bush but all Manitou forks comes with replaceable bushings. Low speed compression damping using ABS + would effectively avoid any pedal bob and brake dive. With proper sag and air pressure setting the fork gives better bottoming control.

Good: Reasonably priced and perform like a high tech fork with superior damping technology. Better seals and comes with replaceable bushing for low maintenance.
Bad: Initially this fork will not respond to small bump and you need to dial in the platform with correct setting to avoid such problem when climbing.