Best Mountain Bike Forks [Review] in 2021

Last Updated on June 2, 2021

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Looking for ways to upgrade your mountain bike to transform your riding experience? Or even looking to get a new suspension fork because your old one isn’t smoothing out your ride like it used to?

For whatever reason you’re looking to get a new suspension fork, you’re at the right place, my friends!

Bike forks have major shock-absorbing capabilities; this is crucial when shredding the trail as you come across challenging pathways and steep and daring descents. Forks not only work with vibration dampening but also provide more control when tackling unprecedented terrain.

It is crucial to have a good quality bike fork as it heavily contributes to the durability and strength of your bike. It takes a lot of pressure during the ride and hence, needs to be of top-notch quality, and with so many options to choose from, it is no easy task.

But don’t let that put you off…

To make things easier, I have spent 8 hours researching 47 different mountain bike forks and been on the hunt for the very best ones. These mountain bike forks will dampen all vibrations, smooth out any rugged ride and provide you with the control you need for shredding the trail.

Here’s a pro tip before we get started: Carbon fiber is the best material for shock absorption; I would recommend that any rider on a budget get a carbon fork with an aluminum frame as it will provide a similar feel to a carbon frame without the price tag.

I’ll go into more detail on everything shortly, but for now, let’s get cracking gang!

We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:

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Best Mountain Bike Forks For The Money

1.

RockShox Pike RCT3

At number one is RockShox Pike, an all-black stealth bomber specifically designed for new trail riders. The damper rides high in the travel where it is plushest and offers unparalleled stiffness to travel to weight ratio. 

This very stylish fork will look great on your bike and improve the overall performance ten folds. The minimal branding going all around the fork looks sleek and modern.

But that’s not all…

The material used in the fork is carbon/alloy that will help in providing strength and support where needed, all while maintaining an overall lightweight and secure package. Carbon alloy is brilliant for smoothing out any rugged trail without carrying any extra weight.

It also comes with a lockout switch which enables you to decrease the low-speed compression rate, adjustable to the point of being fully rigid. Each component is made from high-quality materials that will be sure to get you out of trouble down the trails.

Rockshox has been dominating the suspension fork game for years, this product has been flying off the shelf, and no wonder it is an absolute gem for the price point; you’ll have to give it a go on your next trail adventure. 

Pros
R
Material; Carbon/Alloy
R
Lightweight and durable
R
Lockout switch available
R
140mm fork travel
Cons
Q
Pricey

Latest deal: RockShox Pike RCT3

2.

RockShox 30 silver TK Fork

best mountain bike forks under $200

RockShox, once again, comes to you with a rather inexpensive offering. Making sure it doesn’t go hard on the pocket this time; the fork is well-built, which will see you through many years without worrying about changing it.

It is easy to put on and set up, which is a major plus and lightweight, which helps boost your ride. The material used is strong and durable. You also get a lockout switch that will help you adjust the low-speed compression rate, which is important while riding.

But wait, get this:

Customers have loved this product for freshening up their old bike; most people have used it to freshen up their old trusty TREK bike and loved how it brought their bike back to life and providing control and vibration dampening needed on technical trails. 

If your bike needs a little freshen up and a little bit of TLC, you need to give this suspension fork a try; it will make any bike feel like new– it is also compatible with disc brakes (what more could you want??)

Pros
R
Inexpensive
R
Lightweight and strong
R
Compatible with disc brakes
R
Lockout switch available
Cons
Q
Not great for big jumps

Latest deal: RockShox 30 silver TK fork

3.

Marzocchi Bomber Z1 Boost

Hittin’ it at number three is Marzocchi bringing you an all-black, understated vibe in a fork that will look minimal and eye-catching among any mountain biker. The design language all around this one is spectacular.

The red accents make the fork stand out and look amazing. The metal alloy construction gives it better durability and longevity. It is also corrosion-resistant so that you can wash it without worry.

As if that was enough… 

It is also kitted with an adjustable FIT GRIP damper which improves control on bumpy terrains, plus the fork is equipped with an EVOL air spring. This works by increasing negative air spring volume to specifically provide optimum small bump sensitivity.

Now while this suspension fork is brilliant for hitting the trails and smoothing out your ride on rugged terrain, it will even help out nicks on the road– you can always guarantee a smooth ride no matter what the terrain throws at you. 

Pros
R
Material; Alloy
R
Durable and lightweight
R
FIT GRIP installed
R
EVOL air suspension equipped
Cons
Q
Expensive

Latest deal: Marzocchi bomber Z1 boost

4.

Fox suspension 38 float factory fork

Get ready for a strong and durable experience with fox suspension float made out of 7000 series aluminum. Aluminum is strong and lightweight; it is also corrosion-resistant, so no rust formation while washing the fork.

But aluminum isn’t the only thing stealing the show…

Fox Suspension 38 Float Factory Mountain Bike Fork combines magnesium to create the ultimate strength to weight ratio whatever the mountain throws at you. This fork is engineered with a Float EVOL air spring and a variety of valve control thanks to the GRIP 2 damper. 

This Fork also features a genuine Kashima coating to enable a smoother front-end suspension and gleaming overall finish. 

The fork will give you outstanding shock-absorbing ability across rocky and bumpy terrains. The float EVOL air spring enables impressive weight support as well as comfortable pedaling uphill. It also features a genuine Kashima coating for a smoother front-end suspension. 

Fox fork has boost axle spacing which allows you to fit thicker tires. This improves grip and handling on the road. Overall, an amazing option if you are serious about quality forks.

Pros
R
Material; 7000 series aluminium
R
EVOL air spring
R
Boost axle spacing for thicker tyres
R
Lightweight and durable
Cons
Q
Expensive

Latest deal: Fox suspension 36 float factory fork

6.

BOLANY MTB fork

Now last but certainly not least is this gem by Bolany. Bolany brings you an aluminum and magnesium alloy suspension fork. It has all the capabilities of aluminum alloy, and it is lightweight– meaning it’s strong, durable, and ready for the trails. 

This is a great entry-level suspension fork at an affordable price.

This fork is ideal for reducing bike weight, thereby improving takeoff speeds. The fork also comes with a lockout switch for adjusting the low-speed compression rate. This fork is also completely adjustable, making it ideal for a range of different PSIs.

Here’s more:

The outer tube of the fork tube is stronger and more stable, efficiently preventing the circulation of the traveling bike from being polluted by dust. This is what we like to hear when looking for trail shredding suspension forks, as they’re durable enough to withstand harsh conditions. 

The surface polishing plus hard fat oxidation, wear resistance, lubrication, low resistance provides a smooth rebound and overall smooth ride when tackling rugged terrains. 

The fork can be quickly disassembled and assembled, which makes it easy for installation. The exquisite artistry shows with the design language and paint job on the fork.

The low price tag and quality you get make this suspension fork brilliant for beginners and entry-level riders. 

Pros
R
Material; Magnesium alloy
R
Lightweight and durable
R
Quick installation
R
Corrosion resistant
Cons
Q
No manual for instructions included

Latest deal: BOLANY MTB fork

5.

RockShox Judy Silver

Another Rockshox suspension fork that is back and better than ever! The Judy Silver offers premium performance at down-to-earth prices. Taking cues from the award-winning pike fork. The Judy not only looks good but feels good too. 

The understated all-black color is definitely an eye-catcher.

The material used is magnesium alloy which has high tensile strength and is lightweight at the same time. Solo air spring comes fitted in the fork that allows for a smooth riding experience even over bumpy, rocky, and uneven terrains.

The downhill shock absorption is also on point, making it comfortable for you to ride for extended periods of time without a problem. Thanks to the magnesium alloy, this fork is also corrosion-resistant, allowing you to wash it without any problems. 

It is brilliant for spending weekends down the trails, and this is where this fork shines. It smoothes out any rugged bumps and jumps; it is ideal for those looking for a high-quality fork on a budget. 

Pros
R
Material; Magnesium alloy
R
Lightweight and durable
R
Solo air spring fitted
R
Inexpensive
Cons
Q
Sticky on turns

Latest deal: RockShox judy silver

Best Mountain Bike Forks Buyers Guide:

When it comes to adding comfort to trail rides, it’s all about the bike’s suspension forks and overall suspension. Without suspension forks, we would feel every rock, root, bump, dip, etc etc…

Our mountain bikes go through a fair amount of abuse down the trails; whether you’re just a casual rider or downhill racer, mountain bike forks have become more and more specialized in application and function.

The best mountain bike forks smooth out any trail surface by absorbing impacts, bumps, imperfections and improving traction, speed, and control over the rugged and unpredictable terrain. 

If your bike has seen better days and you’re looking for ways to restore it to its former glory, then getting a suspension fork is a brilliant place to start. Luckily I’m here to guide you through everything you need to know.

So sit back and relax, I’ve got you!

What To Look For When Buying Mountain Bike Suspension Forks:

Quality: Often looked over, quality is the most important thing for a bike fork. We are talking about the structural integrity of the bike, which depends on the fork a lot.

It quite literally supports the body’s weight while riding the bike—especially downhill when the weight is focused towards the fork. Hence, buying a quality fork is important.

Price: Some of the best forks can run you upwards of a thousand dollars even, but they are of the best quality. But there are options available at a lower price tag that can actually include most, if not all, of the features available in the higher-end models.

Material: The best available material you can find on forks is carbon and alloy infused. This material is strong and lightweight. Durable and improves on longevity. It can see you through a solid amount of time.

However, if you are looking for a different material or trying to save a few bucks, you can always try magnesium alloy or aluminum alloy. These are great lightweight options as well.

Lockout switch: A lockout switch is an important feature to have in a fork. It Is a small switch placed atop the front right stanchion of your mountain bike’s suspension, which, when engaged, decreases the low-speed compression rate of the front fork, adjustable to the point of being fully rigid.

Travel: Most mountain bike suspension fork geometries are specifically designed around suspension travel. With the cross, country bikes need to be light and responsive while still providing a good compression level. The travel, weight, and thickness all increase to meet the demands. 

The diameter of the stanchion tubes also affects the fork’s lateral stiffness; wider stanchions are stiff and heavier than their narrower ones making them more resilient to greater impacts from rough terrains.

Axels: Thru-axels is the widest, strongest and stiffest quick-release system you’ll find on the market; it has been the gold standard on high-end mountain bikes for years, meaning that it is the most reliable. 

You’ll find that 20mm is standard for downhill and enduro bikes, while 15mm is more for trail and cross country bikes.

Steerer: There are two kinds of steerers found in mountain bike suspension forks: straight and tapered. Straight steerer tubes tend to have a 1-1/8inch diameter, but tapered steerers have become more common in recent years. 

This is because they’re much stiffer, lighter, provide a better feel, and are much more responsive than your standard straight steerer. 

Spring system: Again, another thing to look out for is the spring system. There tend to be two different types air and coil springs. Air springs are most commonly found on modern suspension forks as they’re tuneable and have a progressive compression rate.

They feel soft on the first part of the travel and gradually get stiffer as more compression is applied. Coil springs, on the other hand, are found more commonly on downhill bikes. They [provide a linear feel and consistent impact absorption over the range of spring travel. 

Chassis: Stanchion diameter is a super important metric to consider when it comes down to the overall stiffness, thicker fork legs tend to add weight.  You should go for a lightweight material like carbon or aluminum as this will help keep the weight down and still offer the same level of stiffness.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you lubricate an MTB fork?

Fork oil is available in the market for this purpose. You can soak a sponge in oil and apply it evenly around the fork so that the shocks stay smooth throughout the ride.

Do all forks fit all bikes?

Many modern bikes use 1 1/8” head tube standard. The tapered head tube is also growing in popularity and calls for a steerer tube to match.

How much travel is enough MTB?

100mm (4 inches) of cross country, 130mm (5.1 inches) for trail, and 150 to 160mm (6 to 6.3 inches) for all-mountain bikes and enduro.

Can I put bigger forks on my bike?

Usually, bikes will accept forks up to 20mm larger than they are designed for. So, yes. Your bike can take bigger forks and work just fine.

How do you dismantle mountain bike forks?

 Check out this step by step video, I found it was massively helpful for beginners https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GJ_IFWK5yw&t=88s .

Summary:

Today we have looked at some of the best bike forks available for MTBs. Features ranging from lockout switches to air suspensions were found on some of the more expensive forks. But cheaper forks had these features too.

The most common feature among all was corrosion resistance. Manufacturers did their absolute best to provide the best they can at competitive pricing.

The aggressive pricing is what saved many of the forks from the competition. For sure, no matter what fork is discussed today you go for, you will not be disappointed. The quality is top-notch, as well as the trust in the respective companies.

A good fork can be crucial in better handling and performance of a mountain bike. Make sure you make the right decision and set yourself up for success. 

Happy mountain biking, my friends!

Alex Bristol

Content Manager at Pedallers

ABOUT

Alex is a cycling expert at Pedallers and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.