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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 110 > A WHOLE LOAD OF FORKING

A WHOLE LOAD OF FORKING

WIL AND THE SINGLETRACK TEST NINJAS PUT SEVEN MODERN, 130–140MM TRAIL FORKS TO THE TEST WITH REPEATED BACK-TO-BACK RUNS, STRIP-DOWNS AND REGULAR GRITTY, GRINDING TESTING.

Alongside frame geometry and tyre choice, suspension is without doubt one of the most important performance aspects of the modern mountain bike. Sure, there are many components that come together to keep your wheels chugging along, but quality suspension is the difference between chugging along and tearing the trail apart. You can have the coolest rear derailleur and the shiniest stem in the world, but it means absolutely zilch if the suspension on your bike is performing poorly.

Combining the light weight of a short-travel cross-country race fork with the damping performance and big-hit control of a longtravel downhill fork, the modern trail fork is a remarkably capable thing. Thanks to advances in chassis, damper and spring technology, today’s mid-travel suspension forks are better than they have ever been. They’re lighter, stiffer, more adjustable, and far smoother. And as we’ve found, they can provide a significant upgrade that will transform the ride quality of your bike.

For our trail fork group test, we hand-picked seven suspension forks with 130–140mm of travel. All of the forks in this test are built specifically for 27.5in wheels, and they’re specced with tapered steerer tubes and 15x100mm dropouts (with the exception of the BOS fork, which can fit a 20mm thru-axle too). Most of the forks in this group test are also available in 29in versions, different travel options and with Boost 15x110mm lowers, but we kept differences to a minimum to be able to make accurate comparisons with regard to chassis stiffness, weight, and overall performance. The forks were tested on both hardtails and full suspension bikes.

There are some fork models that haven’t been included in this group test. Some options were unavailable at the time, others didn’t suit the exact specifications that we’ve listed above, and others have been tested in recent issues. As such, this isn’t an exhaustive comparison of every single trail fork out there, but rather a test that includes some of the more popular choices on the market, along with some of the newer options.

For the initial part of the test period, we packed everything into the Singletrack van and drove down south to BikePark Wales for a couple of days of intensive fork testing. This involved swapping forks around, adjusting settings, and comparing ride notes. With access to its uplift service, we were able to pack in a lot of riding that included everything from smooth hardpack trails full of berms, rollers and tabletops, through to much rougher high-speed trails with chattery rock gardens and drop-offs. We repeated various runs to ensure we were getting a comparable experience with each fork, though we added in a few more trails throughout the test period to see how each fork performed in a variety of scenarios. After all that, we returned home to continue testing on our local riding loops so as to provide a balanced overall impression of each fork.

So, how did we get on then?

BOS DEVILLE AM

Price £800.00

From Jungle, jungleproducts.co.uk

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About Singletrack

International Adventure: Switzerland – Winter in Switzerland doesn’t haven’t to mean skis and snowboards. Sim checks out the growing fat biking scene there. Editors’ Choice – Chipps and the gang pick out their very favourite products, events and locations from the year. Interview: Tom Ritchey – Chipps talks to this man of steel (tubing) about framebuilding, fast racers and innovative product design. Trail Hunter – Nan Bield – Tom Fenton adds one of the Lake District’s hardest challenges to your must-ride bucket list. Dressing for winter – How can we best recommend winter gear for you? By starting with a shivering Australian, of course… Bike Test: Battle of the Titans – Three bikes from the biggest names in the industry: Giant, Specialized and Trek. Grouptest: 27.5in Trail Forks – Seven, 130-140mm forks for every price point tested. Classic Ride: Aviemore – Pete Scullion takes us on a tour of this area of Scotland better known for its skiing than its shredding. Grinder Bike: Stif Morf – Is this hardtail as playful as it looks? Through the Grinder: The team bring you their verdicts on products that have survived the first frosts of winter.
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