The 7 Best Mountain Bike Forks Under $300 in 2019
Mountain biking is certainly not easy – riding on rock-strewn terrains can be uncomfortable, particularly if your 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 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 2019? 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.
Top 7 Best Mountain Bike Forks Under $300 in 2019
- KASHIMA anti-scratch lubrication coating for long-lasting lubrication
- colour: 1, matte black + gold inner tube 2, matte black + silver inner tube
- Best Price Fork
- Trail and XC shim stack
- Compression Damping: Kwik Toggle (on/off)
- Great Quality
- Material: Aluminum alloy
- Color: Black inner tube, red inner tube
- Great Quality
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 bike to a dual suspension 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 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 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.