Fork Length And The Effect It Has On Your Ride

By: Alex Bristol

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Fork Length And The Effect It Has On Your Ride

Looking to upgrade your bike with a new fork and looking for the perfect length for your bike to get the most out of your ride?

Well, you’re at the right place.

Increasing the fork length raises the front of the bike, and decreasing the fork length lowers it. The fork length affects handling by changing the bike’s steering geometry. 

The length of the fork actually has a massive effect on your ride, and for certain people, a longer fork length may be more beneficial, but for others, it may not.

Let’s break it down!

Where is the fork on a bike?

Now the bike fork is part of the bicycle that holds the front wheel; it is often made up of two blades joined at the top by a fork crown. 

You will often find that the crown is at the front of the bike. Most suspension forks have an arch that will connect the two sides of the lowers– the part connected to the axle. 

The fork’s length is measured parallel to the steerer tube from the bottom of the lower bearing race to the front wheel axle. 

The 13,700c road bikes usually have a maximum length of 374.7 mm and a minimum of 363.5mm.

How the fork length will change your ride: 

Increasing the fork length will raise the front of the bike, and decreasing the fork length will lower it. You will find that aftermarket road forks are much longer than the stock ones and will raise the front of the bike as a result.

Your head angle will also increase as a result of installing a longer fork. If you replace an old fork with a new one of the same length, there will be no change in the head angle.

A steeper head angle allows for quicker handling than a shallow one would. Not saying that a shallow head angle is bad, but it may slow it down slightly.

A stiffer fork would compliment a shallow head range as the steering’s positive feel as a result of the stiffer fork can make up for the shallow head angle.

More rake allows for quicker handling, which will cancel out the slower handling caused by a shallow head handle.

A longer fork will be a slacker head tube angle and a higher bottom bracket in terms of the rider– this makes it ideal for downhill riding. 

Climbing with a longer fork will suffer slightly due to the slacker geometry, so if you tend to do a lot of climbs in your ride, I would recommend considering an adjustable travel fork. 

Adding a longer fork will also void the warranty on the frame. 

700c road fork lengths: 

700c Road Bike ForksFork Length
Tange 7B CrMo, brazed w/crown363.5 mm
Kestrel EMS composite372.5 mm
Tange Silhouette CrMo TIG Unicrown366.5 mm
Time Equipe369.3 mm
Bador Vitus aluminum367.3 mm
Trek bonded aluminum367.2mm
Trek OCLV Classic371.3 mm
Look HSC366.5 mm
Kinesis Road D366.0 mm
Wound Up366.0 mm
Prologue aluminum366.3 mm
Tange Fusion II aluminum366.1mm
Tange CrMo TIG Unicrown374.7 mm


All in all, changing the fork length will significantly change the way you ride. A longer fork will raise the bike’s front, and a shorter fork would lower the front of the bike.

If you’re a downhill biking lover, then a longer fork length may benefit you massively, but if you do a mixture of climbing and riding downhill on the mountains, then getting an adjustable fork length may be your best bet. 

Happy biking! 

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