Bicycle forks are an essential bicycle component that serves very important functions in all bicycles. They usually hold the front wheel as well as facilitate steering. Mountain bike forks usually have a suspension function and also hold the front suspension system.
Dissecting Bicycle Forks
Front bicycle forks are usually made up of the following different parts.
- The steering tube which passes through the head tube on the bike frame.
- Fork blades go down both sides of the front bicycle tire.
- Dropouts at the edge of the fork blades which hold the bike wheel axle.
Selected Bicycle Forks
Different Forks for Different Bikes
Road bikes and track bikes usually come with one of raked or straight forks. However all road racing bikes have some amount of curve but there is a noticeable difference that counts as straight.
This difference is however apparent to hardcore cycling enthusiasts. The curve enhances the bikes ability to absorb shock with the straight variety accounting for a more rigid ride. However if you are not concerned about the curve, there are other factors to look at when looking for the best bicycle forks in this class.
Bicycle forks on different bikes in this category such as cruisers, commuting bikes and touring bikes can be made of a variety of materials including carbon fiber, aluminum and steel. Each material comes with some associated benefits and drawbacks.
Suspension Forks for Mountain Biking
These come fitted with suspension with 3 to 10 inches of travel. Some of the core functions of these shocks include:
- Impact absorption.
- Maintain wheel contact with the ground even on bumpy terrain for the best maneuvering.
The main function most people will agree is keeping the front wheel grounded. Mountain biking is all about navigating through rough terrain and winding trails, any missed turn due to the front wheel being airborne after hitting an obstacle can be disastrous.
At this point it is important to mention that different mountain bikes use different suspension systems and designs depending on the intended finding style and terrain.
Cross Country Mountain bike Suspension
Cross Country Mountain bikes share the same suspension system as found on touring and commuter or hybrid bikes. Since they are meant for slightly less bumpy terrain, they have less suspension action as compared to outright mountain bikes.
Free Ride and Downhill Suspension
These riding styles entail high drops, stunts and jumps. For this they require strong and durable frames that are relatively heavier. This translates into more a capable suspension system with travel going up to 10 inches at most.
Tuning Bicycle Forks
This encompasses adjusting the suspension system for a better fit according to your weight, terrain and riding style. The suspensions are made of air, spring or a combination of both. The tuning can take the shape of:
- Adjusting how quick the spring compresses, or
- How quick it bounces back
There are additions on the bicycle fork design that allow this adjustment to be done. Other designs allow for the complete removal and switching of the springs used for a stiffer or softer alternative.
Harder springs are suited to bumpy trails while less bumpy ones allow for the use of softer springs.
Lockable Bike Suspension Forks
When you do not need the suspension it is possible to lockout its action if you have a locking bicycle fork. This will provide for a smooth ride on a flat surface.
Tip: Check your bike frame’s recommended travel limit
Although suspension forks are great at giving the rider better control when riding on rough terrain, it results in a tweaked geometric alignment for the bike frame. The bike seat and the handlebar experience a change in their alignment as well.
All these change happening around the bike frame place it under immense pressure and can result in voiding the manufacturer’s warranty on your bike as it is under a higher risk of damage. Check for the manufacturers suspension travel limit on your bike for safer upgrades.
Where to Buy Bicycle Forks?
If you are interested in buying bicycle forks you are invited to visit these trusted online stores:
Last Word About Bicycle Forks
Front suspension can totally change your bike riding experience. If you have been considering going for suspension forks you can get them on eBay and try them out yourself.