The 6 Best Mountain Bike Forks Under $300 in 2021
Mountain biking is certainly not easy – riding on rock-strewn terrains can be uncomfortable, particularly if your mountain bike doesn’t have a sophisticated shock absorption system in place. Having quality suspension can considerably enhance your performance and ensure a positive riding experience by offering a high degree of motion control, even on rocky terrains. After all, suspension forks are one of the most important components of your mountain bike.
So if you’ve been wanting to upgrade the suspensions of your MTB, now is the time. But how can you find the best mountain bike forks under $300 in 2020? We encourage you to read this article to discover the best mountain bike suspension forks available in the market and learn everything you need to know in order to make the right decision.
With travel of 100mm, ZTZ Kashima front suspension fork for mountain bikes offer a great value-based performance to make your mountain biking experience as smooth and comfortable as ever. The suspension forks are made of lightweight and magnesium-aluminum alloy and are layered with KASHIMA anti-scratch lubrication coating to ensure long-lasting lubrication. Moreover, the matte black design with silver/gold inner tube allows you to ride in style.
ZTZ Kashima MTB suspension forks are specially designed with a straight upper tube of 28.6mm, inner width of 100mm and with an inner tube of length 32mm, these suspension forks are ideal for a mountain bike with 26" wheels. All in all, ZTZ Kashima Mountain bike front forks are an amazing option if you’re looking for a powerful suspension fork upgrade under $300.
- Weigh only 1700 grams
- Anti-scratch coating
- Perfect for 26” wheels mountain bike
- 100mm stroke
- Shoulder control
- None identified
Contenders For The Best Mountain Bike Forks Under $300 in 2020
- ZTZ Kashima Mountain Bike Front Fork
- CDHPOWER Bike Suspension Fork
- ZTZ Mountain Bicycle Shock Absorber Front Air Fork
- BUCKLOS Rebound Adjust MTB Suspension Air Fork
- RockShox Recon Silver RL Suspension Fork
- BUCKLOS Front Fork with Rebound Adjustment
The 26-inch Bike Suspension fork by CDHPOWER is a superior quality suspension fork that comes in an all-black frame with the CDHPOWER logo embedded on its body. The 26 inch mountain bike suspension comes along with a combination of a headset and disc brakes, as well as double shoulders to improve its performance, and is compatible with the CDHPOWER gas tank frames. The package also features a disc brake bracket, made of durable and robust steel, which can be adjusted from the center. Moreover, the CDHPOWER mountain bike suspension also incorporates a U caliper bracket that is compatible with a 26 inch tire size. You also get an 11/8 inch headset along with this suspension fork, and these both work together perfectly to ensure a smooth and comfortable riding experience. This mountain bike part combination weighs over 7.5 pounds and can be assembled very easily without requiring help from a professional.
The CDHPOWER mountain bike suspension has an air spring set inside the suspension fork, which makes traveling over rough and bumpy surfaces more comfortable. The frame itself is shockproof, ensuring that it does not bend in accidents and fulfills its purpose for the years to come. The steel frame, however, can be a target to rust or corrosion and so it needs to be maintained over longer time periods.
- Strong steel frame
- Shock and accident-proof
- Supports up to 180lbs of weight
- A strong headset
- Prone to corrosion
These surprisingly amazing and durable front fork suspensions by ZTZ are a must-have if you fully want to enjoy your mountain biking adventures without punching a hole through your pocket. Made of lightweight aluminum alloy material, ZTZ MTB Shock Absorber Front Air Spring Fork is available in 3 different sizes so you can pick one that best suits your needs. Moreover, the suspensions have a stylish design and are available in red and black color options.
ZTZ Shock Absorber MTB forks feature a double air chamber for maximum shock absorption and pressure balancing. Overall, these sets of suspensions are a great choice if you want to transform your riding experience under a budget of $300.
- Strong yet lightweight
- Available in multiple sizes and colors
- Brilliant performance
- None identified
The LUTU Air Spring MTB suspension fork by BUCKLOS is another incredible suspension fork that you can equip your mountain bike with for a comfortable biking experience. It features a rebound adjustment structure that allows you to have more control over the rebound speed after compression as per your needs and surface conditions. Its rebound adjusted straight tube of 26.8 millimeters incorporates a 120 millimeter manual/crown lockout suspension fork and an ultra-light gas shock XC frame as a part of its design. The frame consists of various materials; the upper tube is of aluminum alloy while the lower tube is made up of magnesium alloy with a polished inner tube. The frame comes with a reflective fluorescent logo and is available in black and a mixture of a black and gold palette. This air rebound comes in a variety of sizes so you can choose one that best fits your mountain bike.
The frame adjusts according to a mountain bike's frame, and structure and compression damping vary according to the comfortable air pressure value. Furthermore, it also adjusts and adapts to the person's weight and riding condition for safe and comfortable riding. However, these set of suspensions are not compatible with V-brakes, and if there is a need for volume reducers, you may have to get that done from a professional. Having said that, the suspension fork is solid and has plenty of options for adjustments according to your liking. The entire frame weighs quite light, which makes the ride quality a lot better and gives you great value for your money.
- Lightweight and very handy
- Does not corrode or rust
- Has plenty of adjusting options
- Value for money.
- Cannot install V brakes
- Requires professional help in installing other features
The 29-inch mountain bike suspension forks by RockShox in Recon Silver RL D1 are exactly what you need to maneuver over rough surfaces with utmost comfortability. These lightweight forks weigh around 1.1 pounds and come with a 32 millimeter straight wall steel chassis. The steel body makes the frame stronger and sturdier, allowing it to endure any strength test you put it through. However, the frame is prone to corroding and rust on the frame, so you need to take proper care of the suspensions to benefit from them for a longer period. The suspension comes with a motion frame that allows for low speed compression and adjustment to the weight and air conditions. The suspension crown is made up of hollow aluminum and has a greater axle to crown length for reliable performance. The frame comes in glossy black color and has matching black external adjustments.
Moreover, the suspension supports a maximum tire width of 62 inches with a stem clamp of 28.6 inch in diameter. All of these features contribute to the smoother riding experience, making this one of the best (and of course, affordable) suspension fork set for mountain bikes for beginners.
- Easy to carry and fix
- Greater accessibility to the axle
- Steel sturdy body.
- Adjusts to compression
- Rust and corrosion resistant.
The last item on our list today is the BUCKLOS Mountain bike suspension, and it has righteously earned this position because of its incredible features and quality. The Bullock US Stock MTB fork comes in a variety of sizes so you can choose one according to your needs. With a 100 millimeter axle and a steerer tube of about 240 millimeter, it offers a 100 millimeter travel for maximum impact absorption. The mountain bike suspension also incorporates disk brakes along with a 30 millimeter crown brace. For a more smooth riding experience, the mountain bike suspension forks have a unique combination of oil spring forks, which allow for damping adjustments to be made easily. This ensures a smooth journey, and it easier to travel over all kinds of surfaces, including for rough downhill or street locations. The suspensions can be easily assembled or disassembled with no extra tools or professional help required.
Moreover, the shock forks come with a crown manual lock and can be switched according to your riding needs. The outer part of the fork is more stable and sturdy, made up of high quality aluminum and magnesium alloy. The strong alloys make for better protection in the outdoor conditions and prevent corrosion or rust on the suspension frame. These MTB forks come with preload lockouts and are compatible with 2.35 inches tires. All in all, investing your money on these suspensions is truly worth it.
- Easy to assemble
- Strong mountain bike suspension frame
- The forks enable a smooth riding experience
- Comes with a manual lock for your ease
- Does not corrode
- None identified
Mountain bike manufacturers understand the importance of good suspensions in ensuring your safety and determining the quality of your overall experience. For the same reason, modern MTB models are being equipped with high-quality suspensions for top-notch performance. Although rigid bikes don’t have any inbuilt suspension system, you can still get them equipped with good forks with the help of your mechanic. Moreover, you can even upgrade a hardtail mountain bike to a dual suspension mountain bike without investing a lot of money.
To get a good value of your money, it's crucial to have a keen understanding of how MTB forks work and what features they have to offer so that you can make the right decision according to your riding requirements. In this comprehensive buyer's guide, you will learn about the considerations you need to keep in mind when on the lookout for suspensions for your mountain bike.
The first thing you need to do when buying suspension forks for your mountain bike is to determine the price range and limit the options available to you. Since you've already determined a budget of $300, you're through with the hardest part of buying the right MTB suspension forks. And being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t get quality suspensions offering excellent control and performance since manufacturers are continuously innovating their designs to offer cost-effective yet quality suspensions to mountain bike riders. Hence, it’s possible to get high-performance suspension forks under a low budget with the same features as those found in the expensive ones.
The Basic Structure
Suspension forks mainly consist of 5 parts: the steerer tube, crown, axle, springs, and legs. The upper part of the fork is the steerer tube, which fits into the head tube. Steerer tubes made of carbon are generally cheaper while those made of high-end carbon fibers are light yet expensive. Tapered or oversized steerers can also be used for additional stiffness, but only if the head tube is appropriately sized.
Fork legs are the movable part of the suspensions. The lower fork legs are held securely to avoid unnecessary movement whereas the upper legs, or the stanchions, are connected to the springs and damping mechanism. Also, modern mountain bike forks feature oversized stanchions with diameters up to 40mm for extra stiffness.
The lower legs are suspended in the crown of the fork for greater strength. Single crown forks consist of a cross brace below the head tube to house both the legs while double-crown forks have an additional cross brace at the top of the head tube for greater rigidity.
Modern fork axles slide through the hub and are attached to the front fork for increasing tip stiffness and improving steering accuracy. Most MTB use 15mm to 20mm thru-axles that can be securely clamped or screwed tightly onto the fork leg for better performance.
MTB forks springs are responsible for minimizing the effect of uneven, rocky terrains by absorbing shock and making your ride much more comfortable. Air springs have positive and negative pressure chambers which soak in the impact when riding on technical terrains. Similarly, coil-based springs also work to maximize shock absorbance but their slightly heavyweight might make put them at a disadvantage. Some MTB suspensions also feature both air and coil based springs for greater efficiency.
Travel is the distance the forks move when force is applied to them, resulting in a smooth and comfortable ride. Ideally, greater suspension travel indicates better shock absorption and thus, the travel range varies with each type of mountain biking style. The travel ranges according to common biking styles are as follows:
- Cross country bikes have suspension travel between 80mm to 120mm.
- Travel of trail bikes is between 120mm to 140mm.
- Suspension travel for enduro bikes lies within a range of 150mm to 170mm.
- Downhill bikes have a travel range of 180mm to 200mm.
Thus, it's important to choose suspensions according to your biking requirements, since the ones that offer greater travel are generally bulkier. Although this can improve shock absorbance, the added weight might prove damaging for your bike frame. Moreover, some forks can be adjusted to modify the travel. Keep in mind that an increase of travel by every 10mm modifies the head and seat angle by 1 degree, which stabilizes your position and makes steering easier.
Greater travel makes it harder to control the bike and without a reliable damping system, the forks keep bouncing back and forth on the springs. However, the fork movement can be controlled by pushing a fluid, generally oil, through a series of valves and altering the rate of flow to damp the effect. This is the underlying principle behind most of the damping controls available today.
High-speed damping caters to high-impact collisions like those from jump landings while low-speed damping deals with forces that are applied slowly, for example when making turns or braking. Most suspension forks feature rebound damping while some are equipped with both rebound and compression damping circuits for managing different shaft speeds.
Decent MTB suspension forks are crucial for a positive riding experience but many people find it difficult to find the right forks for their bikes. If you are one of those people, use this article as a guide to make the right choice under your budget.