Unless you’re really good at riding a wheelie, you won’t get far without a bike fork. This critical component attaches to the frame and holds the front wheel in place. Along with the frame, it’s part of what’s often referred to as a frameset. Bike forks typically have two blades, a crown, and a steerer tube—which inserts into the frame’s head tube and is held in place with the help of a headset.
While they serve the same general purpose, road and mountain bike forks are typically quite different, with most road forks being rigid and many mountain bike forks featuring suspension.
Rigid road bike forks come in a variety of materials including steel, aluminum and carbon fiber. Most modern race bikes and higher end road bikes feature carbon forks, which can improve a bike’s performance by being lightweight and stiff, yet also compliant. Almost all carbon framesets are matched up with a carbon fork, and even bikes made with steel, titanium or aluminum frames can benefit from the smooth feel of a carbon fork. Although a rigid road (or mountain bike) fork may seem simple, there are lots of features and technologies to consider, such as weight, rake, steerer tube material (carbon or metal), axle compatibility and brake mounts (rim brake or disc). At JensonUSA, we carry a wide variety of road forks from top brands including Enve, Ritchey, Surly and All-City.
Mountain bike forks can be either rigid or suspension style, with the latter being the most popular choice for performance level XC, trail or gravity bikes. We carry top brands including Fox Racing Shox, RockShox, DVO and Manitou, covering various off-road disciplines. From short-travel XC forks (80-100mm travel) to trail (120-160mm travel) and gravity (170mm and more) and all different wheel sizes, including 27.5 and 29er options, there’s one to fit any style of riding. When shopping for a mountain bike fork, be sure to consider not only the type of riding you do, but also the amount of travel your rear shock has (if you have one) as well as your steerer tube size and diameter. For technical questions, feel free to call one of our JensonUSA Gear Advisors at 888-880-3811.