A Guide to MTB Forks (2023)

mountain forksthey are an important part of mountain biking. They can affect how you drive and where you drive. MTB forks are the part of the bike that steers the bike where the front wheel of the bike is mounted. An MTB fork typically has two blades connected at the top by the fork crown. The MTB fork parts consist of the steerer tube, the fork legs, the brake mounts and the dropout for the sliding axle.

  • Part 1: The different types of MTB forks
  • Part 2: Comparison between rigid forks and suspension forks
  • Part 3: Knowing which forks fit your mountain bike

Part 1: The different types of MTB forks

The different types of MTB forks are rigid forks and suspension forks.

Rigid MTB forks

Rigid forks have no suspension and have been around since the development of mountain bikes. Rigid forks continue to be very attractive to many mountain bikers due to their many advantages. It can help improve driving skills as it offers more predictable steering and does not compress under load, requiring no service or maintenance.

How to choose rigid mountain bike forks

Rigid forks are fixed, won't compress or change size, are more practical, and won't absorb bumps in the terrain. This does not mean that you are subject to outright punishment. If you live in an area with very slippery trails and open terrain, rigid forks can also offer you unique driving experiences.
And as with any mountain bike part, there are several factors to consider when choosing a rigid fork for your mountain bike, such as the material of the fork and its size.
The materials that make up the rigid forks include; steel and carbon.
Steel – Steel is the traditional material of choice for rigid forks because it is durable and allows for some elasticity. Steel withstands many cycles of vibration and shock without failing. However, one of the downsides to steel forks is that they are heavy.
Carbon rigid forks are expensive, almost as expensive as suspension forks. They can dampen driving noise and absorb vibration excellently.

(Video) Explained - Mountain Bike Suspension Forks

The size of MTB rigid forks

Another factor to take into account when choosing a rigid fork is its size. Its fixed height, from shaft to crown, is important.
Each mountain bike wheel requires a specific fork size. You need to know the specific wheel size of your bike. If you have 29-inch wheels, you need a corresponding fork size. Choose a fork with dropouts that matches your front wheel axle type. The diameter of the head tube is also important, the diameter of the frame head tube determines the diameter of the head tubes.

Advantages and disadvantages of rigid MTB forks

These are the pros and cons of rigid forks


1. It is durable.
Rigid forks are strong enough to take the pressure without getting damaged.
2. It does not require maintenance
Rigid forks are simple and require little to no maintenance.
3. It's much lighter than a suspension fork
Rigid forks are much lighter, there is no additional weight as there are no shocks. This lightness is an advantage, as the additional weight reduces speed.
4. Increased bar sensitivity
With rigid forks, there's greater handlebar feel, putting you on the trail better. Some say it improves your bike handling skills.


1. Unsuitable for uneven ground
Riding with rigid forks on uneven terrain is tricky and uncomfortable due to the lack of shock absorbers, wrists and arms absorbing the impact of the terrain. It can be quite uncomfortable because of the rattling, you will feel every bump and jolt while driving.

(Video) How To Upgrade Your Mountain Bike Fork (Every Detail To Consider)

Suspension MTB Forks

There are two types of springs, the pneumatic spring and the coil spring. The air spring is the most popular type of spring on expensive forks. The inner tube is lightweight and includes adjustability capabilities. The air spring volume is adjustable on some models, and with a shock pump, you can adjust the air spring resistance to what you're looking for on the fly. However, they do not offer the sensitivity and performance of coil springs.
Coil springs, on the other hand, are coiled coils made of metal that offer resistance, provide a very responsive feel on the trail, and are heavier than air springs. Coil springs have a narrower range of adjustment and are found on lower-end mountain bikes. They are usually used for enduro and high performance mountain bikes because they absorb heat better.
There are two types of suspension forks for mountain bikes: the front suspension fork and the front and rear suspension. Mountain bikes with only the front suspension are called hardtails, bikes with both front and rear suspension are called full suspension bikes or dual suspension bikes.
A Guide to MTB Forks (1)

MTB front suspension forks

Since most mountain bikers tend to ride with most of their weight on the front of the bike, the front suspensions support the majority of the rider's weight. Front suspension allows the rider to go faster for longer periods of time and provides additional steering control due to improved front wheel traction.

MTB rear suspension forks

The rear suspension fork sits somewhere between the front and rear triangle. It consists of two tubes that slide inside each other and compress the underload and are carried by the shock body. The shock is contained in a pivot system that allows the shock to move between the frame via links. Also, it is only found on full suspension mountain bikes. Rear suspension forks or shock absorbers allow for greater control and absorb more shock when the terrain becomes more demanding.
The rear forks are specially adapted to the frame. Stroke length, damping options, and sizing are specific to different frames and linkage systems.
High-quality suspension forks are often equipped with a lockout option, which prevents compression and keeps the shocks in a fixed position. This is only used at certain times when riding to avoid wasting pedaling energy.

Advantages of MTB spring forks

1. Comfort
Suspension forks offer more comfort on rough terrain, feel less wobbly, and give you a smoother ride. Since suspension forks absorb the impact of uneven terrain, they are shock absorbers. The job of a shock absorber is to allow the wheels to follow curves in the road without jarring the rest of the bike.
Suspension forks don't strain your arms or wrists
2. Better traction
With suspension forks, you have better traction when cornering and braking, allowing you to steer and stop faster on rough roads and downhill.
3. Suitable for challenges
If you are the type of cyclist who likes adventure and challenges, suspension forks are ideal for you due to their hydraulic shock absorbers. With suspension forks you can face challenges head on.

(Video) Easiest Way To Add Air To MTB Fork And Shocks


Here are the disadvantages of suspension forks.
1. It's hard
One of the main disadvantages of suspension forks is that they are heavy and also add extra weight to the bike. You won't feel the extra weight on smooth, flat roads, but when you're driving it up a steep trail or hills, you'll feel the extra weight. The extra weight will slow your bike up a hill.
2. it is expensive
Suspension forks are more expensive than rigid. You need a good budget if you intend to buy it. Suspension MTB parts are more expensive.
3. The maintenance process takes a long time
Suspension fork maintenance is busy, time consuming and expensive. Maintenance includes changing lubricating oil, replacing rubber seals, etc. Most manufacturers recommend changing the lubricating oil every 30 to 50 hours.

Part 2: Comparison between rigid MTB forks and suspension MTB forks

Choosing between rigid forks and suspension forks can be a bit tricky, as both are good mountain bike forks. There are a few factors to consider when choosing between the two forks. Here we will look at these factors.


When choosing between a suspension fork and a rigid fork, you need to consider your budget. Suspension forks are more expensive than rigid. If you're on a budget, it's best to go with a rigid fork.


Rigid forks require little to no maintenance. There is no additional pressure on the fork, as it is mainly used on smooth, flat trails. However, suspension forks require frequent maintenance depending on the type of rider you are. If you're the type of rider who loves a challenge and adventure, you'll need to check and service your suspension forks more frequently.

(Video) Suspension Fork Upgrade Guide and Tips - Usapang MTB Fork


The type of trail or terrain you ride can be a factor in deciding which fork is best for you. Rigid forks are better on smooth trails, they don't have shocks. So if you had to use a rigid fork on uneven and rough terrain, you would feel very uncomfortable. Suspension forks, on the other hand, are ideal for rough terrain and extreme trails. With suspension forks, you get a smooth and comfortable riding experience on rough terrain and even extreme trails because suspension forks have shock absorbers to absorb bumps in the terrain and relieve your arms and wrists.

Part 3: Knowing which forks fit your mountain bike

Knowing which MTB forks are right for your mountain bike involves answering a lot of questions. When looking for the right MTB fork for a mountain bike, one of the main things to consider is the size of the steerer tube, which leads to the question: is the steerer tube the same type and diameter as the needs?
The most common MTB steerer tube is 1 1/8, some are 1.5 or a combination of both (tapered steerer). The type and diameter of the steerer tube should match what you need.
Another thing to consider is whether the fork is suitable for your wheel size. MTB wheels are available in three sizes: 26", 27.5"/650B and 29". Fork size must match wheel size. You cannot mount 26" wheels on a 29" fork. .
Can the fork accept the type of brake you currently use or plan to use? If your MTB is equipped with V-brakes, check that the fork has leg supports to which the V-brake arms can be attached.
The fork must be the correct height for your frame. It is recommended not to exceed 20mm more than your current fork. Changing the travel affects the grips on the bike, it can be neutral, good or bad depending on what you like.
You should also check if the fork is user-fixable, ignore it if you don't plan to fix it yourself.


In essence, the factors to consider when choosing between the two types of mountain bike forks will help you determine which MTB fork is right for you. Now you have to make a decision by choosing the right one for you and knowing which forks will suit your bike.


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