5 Best Mountain Bike Forks Under $200 in 2020
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Looking for the best mountain bike forks under $200? You’re not alone.
This is probably one of the most important parts of your bike as it works to ensure safety and gives you peace of mind when riding in gravel and rocky terrain.
Suspension forks take most of the beating so that you don’t have to feel the impact of biking in rough terrain as you would without them.
The great thing about suspension forks is that you now have ones that work specifically for mountain bikes. They come with capabilities that make bike riding even more enjoyable.
Best Budget Mountain Bike Fork
Since you’re reading this to find the best mountain bike forks under $200, we’re not going to waste your time.
But, just so you know below we have a list of cheap mountain bike forks, large 29-inch mountain bike forks, and many more, taking into account that no two bicycles are the same.
Read on to find out more.
1. ZTZ Magnesium Alloy Mountain Front Fork
The ZTZ Shock Absorber is one of the best 26-inch mountain bike forks on the market. It comes with a variety of useful features that will optimize your riding experience.
This includes a magnesium alloy body with a nice finish. It’s available in other sizes too, including a 27.5inch and 29inch model. You’ll find that installing this front fork is rather easy, thanks to its vertebral pipeline control and wire control features.
If you’re looking for cheap MTB forks, then this is the way to go. The best part is that there’s even a fancier version with gold tube damping that produces optimal speed and lockout features.
It’ll handle any and all shocks effortlessly and you’ll find that it’s super lightweight and easy to ride your bicycle with it on too.
2. BOLANY MTB Bicycle Suspension Fork
The best budget front fork mountain bikes are given that distinction because they excel at more than just being “affordable.” They come with useful features that make for an easy-to-use product that’ll make your life that much easier.
The BOLANY mountain bike suspension fork is available in different sizes, namely 26, 27.5, and 29 inches. It’s one of the more customizable options on this list as it comes with an adjustable air pressure valve. This means that this suspension fork will add support to your bicycle no matter what your weight is.
The fork has a combination of magnesium alloy and aluminum alloy. This means it’s built for the road, and it can easily handle rough terrain without blinking an eye.
Not only that, but it has an easy-to-use manual design and BOLANY offers three other types of suspension forks that we recommend you consider. This includes the tapered remote, tapered manual, and straight remote options.
3. RockShox Suspension Fork
The RockShox RECON Silver RL suspension fork is one of the most accessible products on this list. It offers unparalleled performance that will forever transform the way you ride your bicycle.
It offers 100mm of travel which makes it ideal for anyone that owns an older bike model. This suspension fork is made to last from some of the best materials on the market to ensure reliability. It doesn’t look too shabby either.
It’s also super easy to install thanks to the included installation guide. You’ll be glad to know that this suspension fork enables you to determine your preferred PSI air level which makes for a customized experience based on your weight level. Then there’s the shock pump which will really come in handy when it comes to dialing everything.
Last but not least is the rebound key, which comes with the package. It’s designed to help you adjust the suspension fork as well.
4. Whool Locking Suspension Air Forks
Here we have the best budget mountain bike fork from Whool. It’s made to fit in a 4-inch tire snow mountain bike and it’s constructed from durable aluminum alloy.
In fact, this suspension fork is so sturdy that it will make light work of even the harshest of conditions.
We believe this to be true considering the fact that it weighs just 2450g. The best part is that you can use these locking suspension forks for quick release and bottled axle with equal ease.
You’ll also be glad to know that these Whool Locking Suspension Air Forks have a 120mm travel range. You can customize them based on the type of terrain that you’re venturing into.
5. BUCKLOS Air MTB Suspension Fork
Next in our list of the best mountain bicycle forks under $200, we have the BUCKLOS air mountain bike suspension fork. Its construction is a thing of legend, as it features magnesium alloy on the bottom tube and straight aluminum on the upper tube.
Thanks to its distinctive looks, this mountain bike suspension fork won’t look too shabby on your bike. It comes in a variety of colors and has a polished inner tube.
Also included in this bike fork are rebound adjustments and compression damping that allows you to customize the air pressure based on your weight and also just to have fun.
In our opinion, this is the best MTB fork for the money, especially considering how easy it is to set up. However, it’s not without its flaws. There have been some complaints about the fork’s inability to retain air.
How to Pick the Best Mountain Bike Forks Under $200
Now that we’ve gone over the best mountain bike forks under $200, it’s time to look at the features that you need to keep top of mind when looking for one.
This is the criterion that we used to come up with this list and it makes it so much easier to narrow down your options to the very best options on offer.
So, if this is your first time purchasing mountain bike forks or you need to brush up on your knowledge, keep reading.
First things first, you need to determine what the best fork structure is for your bicycle.
The upper part of the forklift is referred to as a steerer tube. It’s what goes over the head tube. This is typically constructed from steel alloys or carbon with the latter being pricier. If you’re thinking of using stiffer oversized steerers just make sure that they’re compatible with your bicycle.
The suspension fork also has a crown that hangs between its legs to ensure durability. Now, you’ll notice that the suspension forks for downhill bikes have a double-crown design while mountain bike suspension forks only come with one crown. This is to ensure customized durability and strength for the bicycle.
On the front part of the fork is the axle which is designed to ensure steering accuracy. It typically measures 15mm to 20mm for easy attachment to the fork leg.
The lower part of the fork are its legs which are attached to it via braces while the upper legs have 40mm or larger stanchions.
By “travel” we’re referring to the distance traveled by the suspensions. This determines their ability to absorb shocks so that you don’t have to feel them. The general rule of thumb is to ensure that the suspension fork should have greater travel for the best results.
Every type of mountain bike requires a different level of suspension. For instance, cross country bikes need suspension travel that’s between 80mm to 120mm. On the other hand, you’re looking at a suspension movement between 120mm to 140mm for a trail bike.
Enduro bikes require a suspension travel range of between 150mm to 170mm while downhill bicycles will do just fine with a range of 180mm to 200mm.
For best results, you should always opt for suspension forks that are of the same range as your bike’s current ones when looking to replace them.
Adjustable forks are great because you can customize and tweak them based on the size of your bicycle and your weight requirements.
Mountain bike springs are typically coil-based or air-based.
Coil-based springs are usually quite heavy-duty and very effective at absorbing shocks to the max. On the other hand, air springs are much lighter and operate using both negative and positive pressure chambers.
Some of the best budget MTB forks use air springs as their primary option, as well as coil springs.
In addition to getting a suspension fork with a high level of travel, it’s equally important to prioritize safety and control.
That’s why you should consider rebound damping. This feature on a suspension fork is what enables it to get back to its original position when faced with rough conditions. That way, it won’t bob back and forth.
Compression damping is also important because it has been shown to absorb impact while slowing down the spring.
You also want to make sure that your suspension forks are compatible with your mountain bike’s braking system.
The good news is that a vast majority of the suspension forks on the market are compatible with both disk and rim brakes.
However, there are certain models that you need to look out for, which work only for post mount brakes.
The most important thing is to ensure that your bike is flexible enough to handle both types of mountain systems.
You should also consider the size of your bike wheels, keeping in mind that bike wheels are available in three different sizes.
This means that each wheel size has a customized fork size that corresponds to it and you want to make sure that the two match up before you make your purchase.
You should also ensure there’s a balance between the amount of weight placed on your bike and fork strength.
The goal is to remain as lightweight as possible on the road, which is why lighter suspension forks are useful for cross country rides.
While hardier suspension forks are often only recommended for technical biking applications.
Last but not least, you should also consider your budget as that’ll help you to narrow down your options even more.
In this article, we made sure to feature only the best budget MTB fork, showing that you don’t have to break the bank to find the best mountain bike forks.
Don’t be afraid to cast a wide net when searching for a bike fork and consider your options.
Don’t feel pressured into one option and really go for one that meets your requirements and ticks all the boxes that you’ve set in your criterion.
So, out of all the best mountain bike forks under $200, which one takes the cake? Based on our experience, it has to be the ZTZ Magnesium Alloy Mountain Front Fork.
This is because it comes in different sizes, it’s constructed from hardy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, and it has a nice finish that won’t take away from the stylishness of your bicycle.
Most importantly, it’s easy to install and it has proven itself to handle shocks effortlessly. What more could you ask for?