There are a dizzying number of mountain bike forks out there, and they run the gamut from simple, reasonably-priced options, to high-end items that cost as much as most people’s first car.
And of course, every manufacturer claims to have produced the best fork.
So we’ve decided to cut through the clutter and weigh in on five “trail” forks that have caught our attention.
Trail Bikes are not as lung-bustingly fast as XC race bikes, and they might not have the mean, slack look or the flat-out speed through the rough of an enduro race bike. But when done right, trail bikes are nearly as fast in a sprint as a XC whip, and nearly as capable on raw backcountry singletrack as a raked-out enduro machine.
At Blister, we typically refer to “trail bikes” as having between 120-140mm of travel. And the fact is that a proper trail bike is the correct tool for most of the trails that most riders are putting knobbies on. They provide a great combination of Fast and Capable.
But to narrow things down a bit further, we’ve decided to choose a single category: 120mm travel forks designed for 29” wheels.
Within that category we’ve chosen five forks that looked particularly interesting:
MRP Loop TR
Axle to Crown – 525mm
Blister’s Measured Weight – 4lb 3oz / 1901g
Offset – 49mm
Street Price: $730.99
Marzocchi 320 LCR Air
Axle to Crown – 515mm
Blister’s Measured Weight – 4lb 1oz / 1844g
Offset – 51mm
Street Price – $499.99 (clearance price)
DT Swiss OPM ODL 32
Axle to Crown – 523mm
Blister’s Measured Weight – 3lb 11oz / 1635g
Offset – 46mm
Street Price – $888.49
Rockshox Reba RL
Axle to Crown – 525
Blister’s Measured Weight – 3lb 13oz / 1662g
Offset – 46mm
Street Price – $519.00
Manitou Minute Pro
Axle to Crown – 530mm
Blister’s Measured Weight- 4lb 0oz / 1816g
Offset – 48mm
Street Price – $560.00
Tom Collier and Noah Bodman have been testing these forks on the Canfield Yelli Screamy hardtails, and I’m using a Yeti ASRc full suspension bike.
While the forks’ primary characteristics will be evaluated (crown and stanchion stiffness; suspension suppleness and support; the level of damping control), we will also consider the forks’ real world pricing, and the overall performance and package, along with some of the smaller details and questions. For example: How do small changes in offset or Axle-to-Crown height (A2C) affect handling? Is there a noticeable weight savings on the trail? How easy to service is the fork? And so forth…
We’ll be publishing a few reviews every week. Once testing wraps up and each reviewer has published their findings, we will circle back to this overview and compare notes in a round table discussion. It will be interesting to see how much everyone agrees or disagrees with everyone else’s analysis, and how each fork stacks up.