How To Choose A Bike Fork

How to choose a bicycle fork. Bicycle forks, purpose

It is a part that holds the front wheel, connects it to the steering wheel and allows for pivoting movements. In addition to visually drawing attention to transport, it serves as a depreciation. Why is it needed?

  • Comfortable riding. No shaking or shock to the steering system. a guarantee of a comfortable ride.
  • Maintaining health. Vibration and stress on the wrists, as well as blows to the hands, negatively affect the joints.
  • Convenient management. Suspension fork reduces stress and wheel slip.
  • Saving strength and energy. The shock absorber takes all the vibrations on the road, making it easier for the cyclist.

Important parameters of the bicycle mechanism:

  • Depreciation properties;
  • Adjustment;
  • Matching your device with your preferred riding style.

What are the bike forks

By design features, there are: rigid and shock-absorbing forks.

The first category applies when driving on smooth surfaces at maximum speed conditions, such as cycling. Rigid bike forks should not be used for off-road, difficult trails. They are responsible for balancing the position of the frame when entering sharp turns, dampen minor irregularities. The main reason for the wear of such a structure is high load.

The main purpose of the second category is to extinguish all irregularities at the time of movement. The damping fork is used off-road and is capable of withstanding serious shocks, vibration from the surface. Its advantages include the ability to adapt to any conditions of movement, providing a comfortable ride. The disadvantages are limited in speed and instability in tight turns, due to the large stroke of the shock absorber. Currently, rigid structures are very rare due to the versatility of the shock-absorbing mechanism.

Bicycle suspension fork, design

The body of a complex bike part consists of the following elements:

  • “Pants”. two glasses, into which the legs are inserted;
  • “Stem”. an axis, attached to the frame;
  • “Crown”. connects the stock and two legs;
  • “Legs”. tubular parts, connected to the axle of the wheel, or slide into the “pants”.

For best performance, the pants are oiled during assembly so the legs slide easily along the rails. Irregularities are smoothed between the pants and the crown. Rebound is the “softness” of the movement, at what speed the fork will react by squeezing, which means it dampens the impact. The rebound speed can be adjusted. Damping parts: steel spring, air.

Thus, a fork consists of:

The average fork travel is up to 203 mm. travel is needed for uneven surfaces, less travel for smooth surfaces.

Standards (in inches) are assigned to the diameter of pipes of different systems:

  • 1. on old samples;
  • 1 and 1/8 are popular standard;
  • 1 and ¼;
  • 1 and ½.

In addition, the devices differ in wheel diameter, for each size a certain option is suitable.

By the type of attachment, mechanisms are distinguished: threaded and unthreaded. Today, the second method on bearings is more common.

By the size of the stroke, structures are distinguished:

  • Short-stroke (up to 40 mm);
  • Medium (up to 100 mm);
  • Long stroke (up to 300 mm).

How to choose a bicycle fork

Depending on the nature, driving style, choose front forks with appropriate shock absorbers.

Consider the common types of systems by type of shock absorbers, which bike fork is better, their disadvantages and advantages:

The basic option for any inexpensive bike model, as well as for children’s transport. It is highly discouraged to install cheap copies. Spring-loaded. do not extinguish heavy loads, all significant vibrations are transferred to the wrists. It is easy to pierce them for people weighing more than 70 kg, just dropping onto the curb. Frequent breakdowns. leaking oil seals, play in the legs. A budget option for recreational riding. One of the most successful models is Santour’s RST, for example, https://www.velopiter.ru/view/veloaddon/5444.htm.

Elastomer (damper) design provides better shock absorption and is suitable for city and touring bikes. These elements are made in the form of a rubber rod (or air valves). The cost of such a fork pays off. The impossibility of working at negative temperatures, due to changes in the basic properties of the damper, justifies itself by eliminating oil leakage. Due to friction against the elastomer, the spring does not have time to expand. Add-ons are not provided.

The air fork uses compressed air instead of a spring. High pressure air accumulates in a special chamber. They dampen large and small vibrations, shocks. An air fork for a bicycle belongs to special equipment, but it has one significant drawback. a short operational life, since the system requires regular pumping of air. Aggressive riding wears out the structure even faster. Nevertheless, many cyclists prefer this model.

This model has a higher price, which depends on the type of oil used and the characteristics of the cartridge. An air / oil fork will last long if you regularly monitor the pressure in the cartridge, which is responsible for damping shocks. Its advantage is its ability to work properly at low temperatures.

This system costs more than 300 and is installed on professional bikes. The joint work of the damper (oil cartridge) and the spring withstands significant loads. In such assemblies, the quality of the parts is excellent. Operation at negative temperatures requires more frequent oil changes. The disadvantages include a small range of adjustments. The best bike fork for every hobbyist and professional has its own. The types of bike shock absorbers are selected individually, based on the experience of the cyclist, climatic conditions, frequency of vehicle operation, personal preferences and financial capabilities. The assortment can be found here https://www.velopiter.ru/cat/veloaddon/0/39/1.htm.

How to choose a mountain bike fork

When riding a mountain bike, the choice of a bicycle system should be approached with special responsibility, since the safety and comfort of the cyclist depends on its characteristics and parameters. It makes the ride smoother, provides easy control.

In the ranking of the best mountain bike forks, the first place is taken by the oil-spring system. It’s versatile and will fit any bike. The best shock-absorbing properties allow it to be used in premium vehicles. Steel spring, oil damper guarantee a smooth ride.

The second place is occupied by the oil-air system. It has a wider adjustment range and higher lifting capacity. With more pressure, dynamics increases and sensitivity to temperature changes decreases. The lower the pressure, the greater the safety margin and resource. But the last option requires re-adjustment in case of temperature changes.

Which bicycle fork is better can only be determined by testing both mechanisms in action.

How to choose a fork for the frame

The bicycle industry is developing, new models of bikes and spare parts for them appear. When choosing a bicycle fork, you should start by meeting popular manufacturers.

How to choose a mountain bike fork. Bicycle fork

The front fork is just as important to a bike as the frame. A bicycle fork is an extension of the frame and serves to:

  • Hold the front wheel;
  • Turn the wheel at an angle equal to the steering wheel angle;
  • Maintain the trajectory of the turn;
  • Take on the load arising from braking;
  • To damp vibrations caused by unevenness of the road. and this is typical not only for shock-absorbing front forks, but also rigid, or, as they are also called, rigid.

These features are provided by a sophisticated bike fork arrangement.

Bicycle fork device

The component parts of the bicycle fork are very well seen in the picture, let’s consider them in more detail.

  • The stem is the axis of the fork. It is firmly inserted into the crown of the fork on one side, and on the other, it is held by the stem of the handlebars, being installed in the head tube.
  • The crown is a fork element into which the stem and its legs are pressed. There are single and double crown forks. One crown is used on short travel forks for mountain and hybrid bikes, two on bikes designed for downhill and jumping.
  • Legs, or an analogue of rigid forks. feathers. a tubular part of the fork that slides into the trousers of the suspension fork or fits directly into the wheel axle like rigid forks.
  • Pants. This part only applies to the suspension fork. The pants are two glasses, inside which the legs of the fork enter. They are connected with the help of a gorilla, thus making up a single monolithic structure. Cheap bike forks use low quality aluminum alloys. The more expensive the plug, the higher the percentage of magnesium, which makes the plug more reliable. Some forks use an aluminum / carbon alloy.
  • Disc brake mount. if you think disc brakes are better than rim brakes, then you need it.
  • Dropouts are an extension of the fork pants, at which the wheels are attached. There are open (under the eccentric) and closed type.

Next, we will consider the features of the suspension fork device.

The principle of operation and design of the suspension bike fork

For damping, any such fork consists of a spring and a damper. The spring is necessary in order to accumulate energy, which is spent on compression when hitting an obstacle. After that, naturally, the spring wants to perform the opposite action. to unclench, release energy so that a sharp push of the steering wheel upwards occurs. This is a negative effect because the bike’s handling is impaired due to the poorer contact of the wheel with the surface, as well as due to the increased load on the hands. If your hands hurt, then this may be the reason. I also described the reasons for the occurrence of other pains, I recommend reading.

To reduce the negative effect of the spring, a damper is needed. the so-called internal shock absorbing device. It slows down the rebound of the spring thanks to the oil that creates viscosity by flowing into the damper valves. Thus, the accumulated energy in the spring is partially converted into thermal.

Therefore, it turns out that when hitting an obstacle, the fork spring is quickly compressed, after which the damper slows down the rebound, makes it smooth and soft. The nature of the fork operation largely depends on the damper setting.

Damper types

Quasi-damper. in fact, there is no damper like this. To extinguish the energy of the spring, simply friction is applied between the legs and the rails in the pants. Naturally, such an imitation of a damper cannot ensure the normal and long-term operation of the fork, and therefore it is suitable at best for children, but it is also installed on many adult bicycles.

Elastomeric damper is a kind of piece of soft plastic that is inserted into the spring. When the spring is compressed, the diameter of the elastomer increases, creating additional resistance during rebound. The performance of such a bicycle fork also leaves a lot to be desired. The main disadvantages of an elastomeric damper are:

  • The created resistance is distributed unevenly (for 1/5 of the fork length), increasing after that at an increased speed. Therefore, the fork cannot handle large irregularities normally. As the people say, the plug is dull;
  • At high speeds, the fork becomes very stiff;
  • It is impossible to make a long-travel fork with such a damper;
  • Due to the fact that the grease is applied only to the damper once, it is scraped off over time by the spring. As a result, the plastic from which the damper is made deteriorates, gradually crumbles and at some point stops working altogether.
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Hydraulic or oil damper. The nature of its work has already been described above, where the principle of operation of the suspension fork was considered. When the fork is compressed, such a damper passes oil through special holes, when rebounding, oil comes out, but through holes of a smaller diameter. Compression energy goes into heat, we get a smooth rebound. This type of damper is the best, since the compression and rebound forces become independent of each other, each can be individually adjusted.

Dampers are also of the following types:

  • With an open oil bath. the traditional, old way of organizing damping. The oil is just in the legs, where the damper itself is installed. This volume of oil provides the damper operation and lubricates the pilot bearings. This type of damper is the most reliable, but due to the large volume of oil, the weight of the fork increases.
  • Half-bath. the damper is located only in one of the fork legs, and therefore has its own sealed oil supply. To provide lubrication outside the damper, the leg guide bearings are greased in the pants with grease. This is a pretty good design, because the oil does not come into contact with the external environment, while remaining clean and not oxidized, less weight is provided, but there is a risk that oil will leak into the leg, then the fork will need to be repaired.
  • Closed (cartridge). can refer to both the first type and the second. Of the features: has the function of locking the plug, in the event of a breakdown it can only be thrown away, because it cannot be repaired.

Types of bicycle fork springs. Twisted metal

This is a classic spring made of steel or titanium. It has the following advantages:

  • Simple design and, accordingly, low price;
  • Linear progression, which means that how many times the spring has compressed, the resistance to compression also increases by the same amount. Thanks to this feature, spring forks are used where there is a lot of stress. in freeride and downhill;
  • Low shear force means the fork compresses with ease even with minimal load, because it does not require seals to operate like air forks;
  • Less prone to low temperatures.
  • Large weight;
  • Small adjustment range for the weight of the cyclist, which is why some even change the spring on their own.

Air spring

Fulfills the properties of a spring due to the pressure in a closed air chamber. It is pumped with a special high pressure pump, but there are also ordinary bicycle pumps with adapters, which I wrote about.

Air Spring Advantages:

  • For 50-70% of the stroke, the compression force does not change, after which it increases only at the end of the stroke. This, on the one hand, provides pleasant work on short-travel bicycle forks, but on the other hand, it increases the tendency to breakdown during extreme riding;
  • Weight approx. 150 grams less than coil forks;
  • Fine adjustment for any weight of the cyclist due to the change in the pressure in the chamber.
  • Great shear force. In order to prevent air from being vented, seals are installed, but they also increase the friction of the walls of the air chambers. The problem of fork sensitivity is solved by installing an additional negative air chamber on more expensive forks;
  • Work in the cold is deteriorating due to the fact that the seals are tanned, thus bleeding the air;
  • Difficult to manufacture, and therefore more expensive.

Types of bicycle forks

Based on the variety of the above information, the following types of surebets are presented on the market:

  • spring;
  • spring-elastomeric;
  • spring oil;
  • air;
  • air-oil.

If you want a really working fork that will handle even the smallest bumps, and not just soften the curb, then the choice of a fork comes down to a spring oil or air oil. The main difference, as already noted, is the ability to adjust the air fork for different weights. If your weight is much less than the standard 70-80 kg or more than 100 kg, then you should think about the air plug.

Choosing a bike fork

To finalize the material, let’s go through the typical questions that arise when choosing a fork for a bicycle.

Which fork travel to choose?

The fork is installed in the same length that came standard with the bike frame, otherwise unwanted changes in geometry may be caused.

The longer the travel distance of the fork, the greater obstacles it can handle, with greater speed or height you can jump, the less likely it is to fly over the handlebars. The shorter the travel of the fork, the lower the center of gravity of the bike, which contributes to its more precise handling, with less swing and less energy wasted, the short-travel fork is better suited for uphill riding.

There is a typical travel length for different class of forks:

  • Hybrids: 50-70mm.
  • Mountain bike (regular riding, cross-country, cycling): 80-100 mm.
  • Dirt: 80-100 mm.
  • Marathons / Enduro / Trail: 120-150mm.
  • Freeride: 150-180 mm, single-crowned, double-crowned, double-crowned inverted forks.
  • Downhill: 180-203mm, double crown forks.
  • Hardcore freeride: 250-300mm double-crown inverted forks.

Which plug to choose, spring or air?

If you are not confused by the price of a fork with an air spring, the need to have a high-pressure pump (and take it on a bike trip), as well as the likelihood of bleeding off pressure in the cold, then take an air plug, otherwise. a spring-oil one. Also, if your weight is outside the 70-100kg range, then again an air fork is better.

Which fork is best for the light rider?

Air fork with negative spring. Many firms, in particular Rock Shox and Magura, produce such forks.

Which fork is best for the heavy rider?

Any fork will feel plush to a heavy cyclist and will handle bumps well. The problem lies in its strength and reliability. If it is a fork with a steel spring, then you need to make sure that when landing on the bike, the fork does not shorten by a quarter or more of its travel.

You should also see how it behaves when leaving the curb, whether there is enough power reserve. Otherwise, you will have to take an airy one. Also, you shouldn’t chase the ultralight forks designed for racing, but cheap ones with thin legs shouldn’t be taken either.

Do I need a fork lock on the handlebar?

Is it necessary to change the length of the fork?

In principle, now this function is used on all more or less normal forks with a cost of 100. In theory, the ability to change the course is very cool and convenient: on the rise, you can make the move smaller in order to level the swing, increase on the descent so as not to fly into a hole at full speed. But from my own experience, I note that I very rarely change the course of the fork, more often than not I just block. Therefore, if the fork does not have this function, then you can not get very upset.

I plan to ride on asphalt, do I need a suspension fork?

The answer will depend on the quality of the road surface. Obviously, on smooth asphalt, the fork will have nowhere to prove itself. It is also obvious that the asphalt in our latitudes is far from smooth and is fraught with many surprises. It is impossible to give an answer unequivocally, some unpleasant vibrations in their hands will discourage all the desire to ride, and for some (and there are a lot of such people) this is not a problem at all, it is better for them to have as little weight as possible on the bike and not waste extra energy on the fork.

A locked suspension fork is much less vibration-dampening than a conventional rigid fork, plus it has more weight. For those looking for a compromise, a hybrid bike with a short-travel fork might work.

Fork selection

The picture below shows the different models, depending on the cost and nature of the ride. All information is indicative, and model names may vary. For those who are faced with the choice of a bicycle fork for the first time, it will be extremely useful.

That’s it for the front suspension fork. The topic is extensive, the article turned out to be great and I hope not in vain. Soft and comfortable ride!

Buy a bicycle fork here.

Do I need a suspension fork on my bike

Today I decided to raise an important question for any novice Catalan. do you need shock absorbers on a bicycle. I myself went through all the stages: I rode hardtails (depreciation only in the front), and on two-suspensions and rigids (without shock absorbers) for many thousand kilometers, through this I have ample experience to draw a conclusion.

My main takeaway is that bicycles definitely need shock absorption. an important step in the evolution of mountain bikes. But as with everything, here you need to proceed from the position of rationality and practice. You need to clearly understand what your level of skiing is, what are your goals, what is your style, where is your ski area.

Only by honestly answering these questions, you can choose the perfect bike for you. I would like my readers to clarify for themselves the advisability of buying such an expensive component as a suspension fork.

Let’s talk about bike cushioning in general. As always, the material on my site is of interest only to beginners, a minimum of specific slang is used and the phenomenon is described only in general terms. In this article, we will analyze hardtails and rigs, and leave the two-hangers for the next note.

The suspension fork allows the wheel to accurately track all the irregularities in the road, and the reduction of vibration on the steering wheel is just a side effect. A good fork allows the wheel to stick to the road surface despite rocks, potholes and roots. Manageability improves significantly.

Fork imitators

However, for what I am writing to happen, the fork must be working. Unfortunately, almost all bicycles in the price segment up to 500 are equipped with so-called imitators. Outwardly they look like real, but their design is far from a real working fork.

The simulator “works” as follows: under the action of a bump, the spring is compressed, and immediately shoots back. This is extremely harmful, because instead of “licking” irregularities, the wheel bounces, giving a blow to the cyclist in the hands.

It turns out an “accordion”: bounce on irregularities, compression of the spring in the counter-movement, release, blow to the hands, again compression and bounce. What kind of improvement in handling can we talk about, here it would be to keep the bike on the path. In simulators of a slightly higher level, an elastic band (elastomer) is placed, which, after compression of the spring, does not allow it to unclench to its full amplitude.

Such forks are contemptuously called elastomers. They are not able to handle the road normally, because no one cares in cheap forks about calculating the equalization of compression and expansion energy, the spring and this elastomer work as they want.

Also, elastomers have an extremely bad property, at low temperatures, already at 5 they tan, preventing the spring from compressing normally, as a result of which the fork loses most of the travel.

Another feature that prevents cheap fork simulators from performing their function is dullness on minor irregularities.

When cyclists say that a fork “eats small things,” they mean that it not only responds to large irregularities, but also completely absorbs all small ones, such as pebbles. This is a very pleasant feeling, believe me, inaccessible to the owners of fork-simulators.

Basically, a fork leg is a pipe that moves forward within another pipe. In order for this pipe to run easily and freely, reacting to even the smallest unevenness, it must be ideally fitted to the pipe in which it moves, otherwise it will either hang out or wedge. So, this is how it happens with imitators. Most often they wedge, waking up only on irregularities such as a curb.

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Since the bulk of my audience is still novice cyclists who buy horses in the budget and initial mid-range price category, I am not writing this text to tell you what bad forks their bikes are. I just wanted to explain that you shouldn’t expect too much from depreciation on an inexpensive bike.

Mid and high price working forks

The price of working forks starts at 300 dollars, and this is what caused this figure. To begin with, the legs of normal forks are perfectly fitted and polished so they walk easily in their rails, allowing you to handle even subtle bumps.

The force that prevents the spring from bouncing freely after hitting an obstacle is regulated by a special oil valve. You can turn the knob to set any rebound speed, ideally adjusting the fork for specific conditions.

It is logical that the force of opening the spring is a constant value, and the rider’s weight can be different, from a fragile woman to a healthy bully. Therefore, for a long time, almost all high-level forks have air chambers instead of a spring, which are inflated with a special pump for any weight.

The pressure in the air chamber is set based on the fact that when the rider is sitting at rest, the fork should sag by about 10-15% of its travel (for the cross-country discipline). this value is called sag (sag).

A reader who is a little familiar with the topic may ask, what is this Dual Air system, which is declared on some models of amo-plugs. The point is that a spring, be it steel or air, has an initial shear problem.

That is, despite the perfectly fitted leg pipes, when hitting a small obstacle, the spring does not want to react. This phenomenon is fought with the help of a second spring, which works in opposition to the main.

The second air chamber, unlike the main one, works in compression. Thus, at rest, both chambers are in equilibrium, but when force begins to act on the main spring, the second spring helps it to make the first compression shift.

This system is present in one form or another in any normal fork, it does not matter if something like Dual Air is written on it or not. This inscription indicates the possibility of pumping the additional air chamber separately, adjusting exactly the initial shear force that you need.

To prevent the wobble that inevitably occurs on any shock absorbing element of a bicycle when pedaling, there are various systems, collectively called compression control.

Look at the for different options for amo surebets, there is plenty to choose.

There are various ways to dull the fork when screwing efficiency is more important than damping, for example on gradients or on asphalt. I emphasize. we are not talking about a banal blocking, which is equipped with any elastomer, I am talking about compression.

For example, entering an uphill section, you flicked the steering wheel to maximum compression. The fork has entered dull mode, when the swing from pedaling energy is significantly reduced, but at the same time the handling of small irregularities worsens.

However, if more significant obstacles are encountered along the way, the fork crosses the configured threshold and processes them. This is provided by a valve with a variable orifice through which the oil flows.

Another essential feature of modern expensive forks is adjustable travel. For example, imagine you are skiing in a mountainous area with steep slopes and large rocks. The more shock travel, the better, and you buy yourself a fork with 160mm travel, which is enough for not too extreme riding in the mountains. But now, you went down, in front of a new mountain, which you need to call in.

And to go up when you have 160mm of travel in front, oh, how hard it is. Technical progress comes to the rescue: you flick the handle, then the nose of your bike drops and the fork only works 120mm. We climbed up, turned the handle again, and your 160mm is again with you on the descent. Very comfortably.

All of these features make modern suspension forks a highly technological product that is undoubtedly worth the money. Think well if your level of skiing is constantly increasing, if you ride mainly on forest paths with roots and cobblestones, if you want to ride faster and harder, then you should definitely consider buying a good modern fork.

However, if you ride calmly, mostly on flat roads, then in case of an upgrade itch, take a close look at your finances. If 300-400 dollars is a tangible amount for you, then it is better to save them.

Although the new modern fork will give you more comfort, it will still be used for other purposes, which means that money will be spent ineffectively. Exception. if your standard plug has already turned into trash, jammed or vice versa, it makes no sense to buy the same garbage for replacement, then buy a normal one.

Or maybe no shock absorbers at all?

Thanks to marketing, almost all mountain bikes today are produced as hardtails. However, there are people who prefer to ride mtb rigs without any cushioning at all. Where do such strange desires come from, you ask?

The thing is that a bicycle with a rigid fork is very light on the move due to the absence of swinging, which inevitably occurs on shock absorbers, even those equipped with counter systems. Stand up on the pedals and all your muscle energy is transferred to the rear wheel, pushing the bike forward with maximum efficiency.

Another reason people move to rigid is the growth of skating technique. Without shock absorbers, you need to be much more attentive and dexterous in order to also rush swiftly along a difficult track in the forest. Thus, complicating the task for themselves, cyclists grow above themselves, and transferring back to a hardtail or full suspension, move to a higher level of skill.

If I asked my opinion, which is better. an entry-level hardtail, with a simulator of an amo-fork or a rigid, then I would vote for the latter with both hands. But there is a problem. all entry-level bicycles are equipped with “shock-absorbing” forks.

The point here is that beginners choose in the likeness of “adult” bikes, if there is an amo-fork, then their budget should also have it. Not understanding what’s what, buyers simply stopped buying rigids, and over time, manufacturers ended up releasing them in the budget niche.

In the event that one of my readers came up with the idea to re-equip their hardtail with a fork simulator into a rigid, then here are my tips.

Think about the geometry of the bike. The frame of the hardtail is designed for shock travel, so if you put in any rigid fork from a real rigid, the nose of your bike will drop and you will get a sharp angle of inclination of the head tube. Because of this, the bike will have excessive steering and unstable directional stability. Look for a rigid fork with the same or at least approximate Axle to Crown value as the old Amo fork.

Never place aluminum plugs. Due to the high rigidity of aluminum, you will feel all the smallest irregularities in the road, it is extremely harmful to the hands. Steel or carbon perfectly dampen micro-vibrations, and also bend under heavy loads. Traditionally, bent forks are considered to be softer, so if there is a choice, it is better to abandon the straight fork.

If you have a 26 “wheel and rim brakes, then by no means buy a 28” fork, even if the axle to crown distance seems more suitable there. Vibrate mounts in this case will be above the braking surface of the 26 ″ rim. be careful.

I hope I was able to clarify some of the cushioning issues on bicycles and not overload the article with technical information. Many nuances are left overboard, but fortunately, they are not so important for a novice cyclist. All I wanted to do was explain what a person who bought a modern, expensive fork gets, and whether it is worth buying at all.

In the next article I will tell you what choice should be made between a hardtail and a full suspension. If you are not yet a subscriber of my site, then be sure to subscribe, and you will not miss a single new publication.

Read also:

Features and types of bicycle suspension forks

For most adult bike enthusiasts, it’s pretty clear what a shock-absorbing suspension is for on a car. And for many of the same number of people, it is not entirely clear what functions the front fork of a bicycle performs. This is especially difficult for those cyclists who skated on Soviet vehicles all their childhood. Of course, the exterior beauty of a bicycle is important and creates the feeling of an expensive professional product, and the stylish design of its individual parts is extremely important in this matter. But these are not all the reasons why it is worth choosing new forks for your bike.

Do you need suspension forks

It is difficult to underestimate the need to install special suspension forks on your bike. Only the cheapest types of devices are not equipped with such forks due to insufficient prices, and the most expensive and high-tech bikes due to completely different technical characteristics. What is depreciation for:

  • Convenience while riding. It is much more comfortable to ride if nothing distracts from the beautiful views. But the incessant shaking alternating with blows decently spoils the impression of the trip.
  • Save owner energy. The bike fork absorbs most of the bumps in the road that the rider would have to spend extra strength on.
  • Keeping your hands healthy. The shock and vibration that constantly accompany aggressive riding without normal shock absorption can result in very sad diseases of the hands. Joints quickly wear out and age under non-standard and excessive loads, so it is worth protecting them.
  • Controlled movements. The bike fork takes over all the spring action, and also helps to maintain course and conceals overloads that could lead to wheel breakage.

Basic set of parts and brands

As much as the front forks may differ in appearance, their true internal structure is exactly the same. The bike fork holds the front wheel in place and allows the owner to change direction without too much difficulty. Conventionally, we can name four main blocks, any depreciation fork consists of them:

  • Damping block. this part takes on the bulk of the load and helps to damp all the irregularities of the road, it can be either in the form of a spring or in the form of an absolutely sealed chamber;
  • Damper. deals with the amortization of those small irregularities in the road that must be repaid as quickly as possible;
  • Fittings. the part of the fork that includes various switches, mounts and settings;
  • Body part. carries most of the load and many internal parts, including the main ones:
  • Steering tube. made in the form of a straight or tapered part, which allows you to connect the fork itself with the frame and the steering part.
  • Crown. in a suspension fork, their number varies from one to two, it connects various parts of the mechanism, which are not connected by anything else. Made from the hardest materials.
  • Piston. the part of the pipe that is pressed inside the crown.

Most popular manufacturers follow similar instructions for suspension forks. The most common brands include: RockShox, Fox, Magura, Manitou, RST, SR Suntour. The last and first manufacturers are found in our country most often, they have many original and high-quality models, as well as many adherents. RST is suitable for mid to low budgets, Fox mountain bike forks are ideal for mountain slopes and rocky terrain Magura and Manitou are more specialized brands that will not be easy to find, and the price of professional forks will be quite high.

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How to choose a bike for rough terrain

The first thing worth noting is the rigid bikes. This is a type of bike in which there is a rigid fork on both the front wheel and the rear. These bicycles are lightweight and simple in design, but are completely unsuitable for riding on rough roads. They have no amortization at all, so all the bumps, pits and other delights of the path will be concealed only partially by the wheel. The rest of the load will fall on the hands and spine of the vehicle owner. For special lovers of rigids, they came up with a carbon fiber handlebar, which partially absorbs the blows, and a titanium fork. In combination of these assistants, the rare use of a rigid fork and rigid becomes possible.

A fork for a bike for walking on a country road should be cushioned, one that can absorb impacts from stones of various sizes. The quality and performance of the fork itself will determine not only the pleasure of the trip, but also the safety and health of the owner.

The efficiency of the front fork is extremely important, as it determines most of the absorption of bumps, and its quality is responsible for the life of even the wheel itself. A general knowledge of the principles of its operation and variants of types should be known to everyone who has their own bicycle. This is especially noticeable before purchasing a new bike. Information about the front fork should be studied especially carefully, because it is she who will most of all take care of the health of its owner’s hands.

Types of surebets to choose from

Not all bicycles require a suspension fork. For example, a road bike does just fine without this whole system, and a rigid fork allows you to move much faster. However, the road on which he moves should be almost perfectly level. The physics of a bicycle is such that a person spends part of his energy to waste, since he only leans on the pedals. And the shock absorber conceals its efforts, since it is too soft by its design. If the road on which the movement is ahead is not flat and has various obstacles, then you still cannot do without a suspension fork.

There are several main types:

  • Spring loaded. there is only a steel spring. In this type, depreciation practically does not work, but it is better than nothing.
  • Elastomer spring design. steel spring combined with elastomer as a damper. Such a system works well, but the elastomer wears out quickly and with regular use of the bike, after a year you will have to change the fork.
  • Air damping. air comes out instead of the spring and instead of the damper. It is contained within the cuffs and is the lightest type of cushioning. The downside is the impossibility of fine tuning the device.
  • Oil and Air. Oil is used as a damper and air works as a spring. Oil flows from one section gradually to another and works at its best.
  • Spring and oil. steel spring and oil as a damper. Relatively heavy weight of a bicycle fork compared to other suspension systems, otherwise it works great and such a fork lasts for a long time.

What is important when choosing a new fork

There are a few more details to consider when choosing a suspension fork than brand awareness, quality and appearance. It is also important to take into account the price of the purchased object, the style in which the owner usually rides, the ease of maintenance of the unit, its popularity and even the weight of the rider.

  • Weight. It cannot be ignored, especially if it goes beyond the average. A girl with a low weight should pay attention to lightweight models with thin legs, at the same time as the owner of a weight of more than 100 kilograms should purchase a model with a large margin of safety. Standard forks are designed for a weight of up to 110 kilograms, but if during a strenuous movement you often hear the sound of feet hitting fixed parts of the shock absorption, then this indicates an unsuitable model. Repairs are expensive and not always possible.
  • Popular models. Oddly enough, but this is worth considering when buying, since expensive and rare models are difficult to repair due to the lack of necessary parts. Therefore, it is worth paying more attention to popular models, which are usually presented in large quantities.
  • Riding style. When choosing a suspension fork or a rigid fork, the buyer must know in advance where and how he will ride. After all, you cannot jump on the mountain slopes on a rigid, just as you cannot go to the forest. Skating technically without an appropriate fork will be very difficult and difficult for the technique itself.
  • Price. If the owner of the bike rolled the elastomer fork in less than a year, then it is worth considering purchasing a more expensive oil-spring model. It will cost as much as 2-3 cheaper models, but it will last longer than 5 cheap analogues.

Classification of bicycle forks by type of shock absorption

The front fork is a very important part of the bike, and even not the cheapest one, therefore, in order to make the right choice, I will tell you about the basics of dividing bicycle forks. In this issue we will not talk about the manufacturers of forks, and not about the structure of forks.

“Classic” suspension fork

Classification by type of amortization:

Example of a carbon rigid fork

Non-classical “soft” fork

Spring squalor

This is how spring-elastomeric, spring-oil and both air options look like

This is what fatty looks like

Varieties of lefti models

Parallelogram fork look

Perhaps this is where we can end the classification by the type of forks depreciation. In this article, I have considered only commercially produced forks, without touching on hand-made forks.

Thank you for your attention, until we meet again. Alexey Evdokimov

How to choose a fork for your bike

To select a plug, you need to decide on the main parameters:

1) Fork stem diameter and attachment type: 1 in. Diameter, 1 1/8 in., Threaded / unthreaded, straight / tapered

2) Fork type: rigid (rigid), depreciation. Spring, air

3) Type of brake mounting: rim, disc, IS / PM

4) Wheel mounting type: nut / eccentric, hollow axle

Let’s take a closer look at all these points.

Let’s start with the structure of the fork:

Rod diameter

The main fork stem diameters are 1 “(25.4mm) and 1 1/8” (28.5mm) To understand which fork will fit your bike, you need to measure the stem diameter of the old fork with a caliper.

There are 2 types of fork mounting: threaded and non-threaded. Most often, threaded forks have a 1-inch stem diameter. It is impossible to install a 1 1/8 plug in their place. 1 1/8 ” plugs are overwhelmingly threadless.

Threadless forks are available with straight and tapered stems. This is due to the design of the head tube of the frame. Only a fork with a straight stem can be put in a straight glass of the frame. The cone stem is a more modern solution and is used in forks / bicycles of the middle and high price segment. A fork with a straight stem can be installed in the conical glass of the frame using a special adapter.

choose, bike, fork

Spring type

Forks are of two main types: rigid, also called rigid and shock absorbing.

Rigid forks are made from regular steel, chrome-molybdenum alloy, aluminum, carbon, titanium, less often and other materials

Suspension forks are spring-loaded with or without a different type of damper.

In one leg of the fork there is a steel spring, which provides compression resistance, in the second there is a damper, which is responsible for returning the fork to its original state (rebound). The damper is available with or without interlocking.

These are usually low price forks that can only deal with large obstacles. The cheapest forks have steel springs in both legs, or a spring in one and a mechanical lock in the other.

Brake mount

It is also necessary to decide on the type of brake attachment. rim (VB) or disc (D).

Disk, in turn, have two types of installation: IS. international standard and PM. post mount.

Recently, the Flat mount disc standard. used in road and cyclocross bikes is also included in the turnover

Wheel mount

The forks also differ in the type of wheel attachment. Fork dropouts are available for a nut / eccentric with a 9 mm wheel hub axle. in cheaper models, and for hollow axle 10mm, 15mm or 20mm. Hollow axle forks are always sold with a complete axle. axles from different manufacturers with a plug are rarely interchangeable.

Which fork to choose for a bike?

A bicycle fork is an important and rather expensive part that holds the front wheel, connecting it to the steering wheel, and helps to comfortably overcome obstacles (it can be additionally installed on the rear wheel of mountain full suspensions).

Choosing a bike fork: hard or soft?

Rigid Fork. Simple design with no moving parts. Increasingly, bike manufacturers are moving away from such forks because they are difficult to get good speed on on rough roads, but they are still found on road bikes. The main advantage is lightness and durability, which is especially important during sports races, they withstand frost well, do not wear out for a long time and require replacement less often.

You should choose such a plug in the following cases:

  • You prefer a walking style of riding, sometimes at high speeds, but only on a flat asphalt surface;
  • A child will ride a bike;
  • The bike will be used for a trial bike (sports obstacle course on a bike).

Suspension soft fork. a spring fork that, together with a special vibration damping device (damper), creates a shock absorption system on the bicycle.

Benefits of suspension forks:

  • Smoothes and softens various road irregularities;
  • The cyclist can reach higher off-road speeds with less effort;
  • Allows better control and steering of the bike at high speed.

Disadvantages. more weight and cost, more parts that have to be changed from time to time.

Suspension forks, in turn, are divided into the following subspecies:

  • Air. two sealed containers that work like springs due to the fact that a special piston compresses air under load. Lightweight, easy to use, but with aggressive driving, containers can begin to leak air;
  • Oil-air. hermetic containers as a spring and an oil system as a damper, cheaper than oil-spring;
  • Oil Spring. Steel spring and oil system that acts as a damper. Easy to set up, reliable, but expensive;
  • Spring Elastomer. Steel spring and elastomer as a damper. Inexpensive compared to other suspension forks
  • Spring. steel spring, there is no damper, therefore, they cannot be called shock-absorbing in their pure form; provide minimal ride comfort, but are much cheaper than others.

How to choose a bicycle fork?

As with a bike, you need to consider the riding style and terrain you will be riding when choosing a fork. A soft shock absorber is ideal for overcoming bumps, and a hard one for road bike training.

If you buy an inexpensive bike, the fork is likely to be of poor quality and will need to be replaced over time.

When choosing a new fork, make sure it is light enough to not weigh down the bike. At the same time, this part must be durable, and spare parts could be easily replaced if necessary. Please note that the new one is the same length as the previous one. If the weight of the cyclist is small, then air is better suited for him, for heavier riders. spring.

Depending on the material, forks are available in steel, aluminum, carbon and titanium. All of them are distinguished by good strength, but the first two types are cheaper, but weigh a lot, carbon and titanium are much lighter, but they can also cost twice as much.

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