Bicycle Forks

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Bicycle Forks
Bicycle Front Fork in Action (in Montenegro)

Bicycle forks serve two very important functions – they hold the front wheel, and also help you to steer. For mountain bikes, forks serve another important function – they provide suspension.

Mountain Bike Suspension Forks

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Mountain bike forks are much more complex then rigid forks due to the added element of suspension. Mountain bike suspension forks can vary from 3 inches, all the way to 10 inches.

Mountain bike front shocks serves several very important functions:

  • Added comfort
  • Absorbs impact, making larger jumps possible
  • Keeps your wheels in contact with the ground

I would have to say that this last point is by far the most important.

Q: How to fit my suspension fork?

Bicycle Forks

Some cyclists aren't sure if a suspension fork will fit their mountain bike.

Well, all you need to do is measure the vertical distance between the axle and the crown and buy a fork that fits that measurement.

Buying a suspension fork that is too small will cause your bike to turn too quickly while a suspension fork that is too large will cause your bike to respond sluggishly.


Before I had suspension on my mountain bike, I rejoiced in its lightness. However, I soon found out that upon gaining any kind of speed, I would be bounced and jostled right off of my bike!

After acquiring a mountain bike with suspension, I found that trails with large rocks, roots, and other obstacles no longer posed the same kind of threat. I was able to ride over many things while still being able to maneuver.

In short, there is much less opportunity to steer your bike while you are airborne!

Different Forks For Different Mountain Bikes

Different suspension can be found on different styles of mountain bikes, and is used for different styles of riding.

  • Suspension for Cross Country Bikes - Because cross country mountain bikes are not meant for extremely rough terrain, they tend to have less suspension. However, the few inches they have will not only make them lighter than downhill mountain bikes, but will also safely sail you over small roots and rocks.
  • Suspension for All Mountain Bikes - All mountain bikes are meant for more serious riding. The suspension on these bikes varies from 4-6 inches, and can easily handle roots, larger rocks, and small drops. Although this adds weight to the bike, you will appreciate the cushion of these bicycle suspension forks!
  • Suspension for Free Ride and Downhill Bikes - These bikes are designed for the off road limits of what a rider can do on a bike. In order to withstand the force of massive jumps, drops, and stunts, these bicycle frames are much heavier, and there is much more travel. Travel tends to find itself between 6-10 inches.

MTB Suspension Forks Adjustment

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Mountain bike front shocks make the magic happen by way of air, a metal coil, or both. Many bicycle suspension forks have a few important adjustments:

  • Spring: how fast the spring compresses (contraction)
  • Rebound: how fast the spring rebounds (expansion)

Based on the trails you ride, your weight, and your particular riding style, you can adjust your forks to fit your needs. There are dials or switches on your forks to help you do this.

Additionally, there is the option to switch out the spring in your fork for a stiffer or softer spring. This will affect how quickly the spring compresses.

For example, a heavier rider on more aggressive trails with want a harder spring, while a lighter rider on benign single track will want to reap the benefits of a softer spring for a smoother ride.

Locking MTB Suspension Forks

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Another handy feature many bicycle forks have is the ability to completely lock out your suspension. If you find yourself on a very smooth trail or in the city, locking out your suspension will ensure less of your power is sucked up by your suspension.

Mountain Bicycle Forks on eBay

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Last Word About Mountain Bicycle Forks

Suspension can not only add another dimension to your riding, but it can also make the impossible - possible. If you enjoy mountain biking and haven't tried a bike with at least front suspension, I would highly recommend you make this a priority for your next ride!

Track, Hybrid and Road Bicycle Forks

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These bikes are commonly equipped with either raked forks or straight forks. I might add that all road racing bicycle forks have some degree of rake (curve), however straight forks have considerably less rake.

So what is the difference? If you ask me, it would take someone with a considerable amount of cycling experience to notice the difference.

If you are someone who has less then this amount of experience, I would be more concerned with other factors (weight, aesthetics, price, etc).

Technically speaking straight forks offer more rigidity, while raked forks offer a minute amount of absorption.

As with other bicycle parts, forks can be made of several materials: aluminum, steel, or carbon. Carbon forks have been popular for quite some, offering not only solid rigidity, but also a level of vibration dampening - something you will appreciate on long rides!

I will also add that commuters, city bikes, cruisers bicycles, and touring bikes can also come equipped with forks that fit into either category.

Forks for Road Bikes On eBay

Buying Bicycle Forks Online

If you are interested in buying bicycle forks you can buy them in one of these trusted online stores:

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