If you are someone who is now in the market for some mountain bike suspension forks and want to know what the best ones out there are, then you have come to the right place. 

Best Mountain Bike Suspension Forks in 2024

Purchasing a new suspension fork for your mountain bike is definitely one of the most expensive things that you’ll be doing for your bike, however it could potentially be the most effective upgrade that you make to your bike as well. Even if you’re looking at purchasing a complete bike, looking at the fork is definitely an extremely important aspect and should be taken quite seriously. 

When you get a suspension fork, you’ll want to make sure that you get one that is able to iron you even the harshest of trail feedback that you’ll experience, which will help you keep your hands on your bike for a much longer time. Another thing that you would want to look for is that your fork is able to sit smoothly into the first part of its travel in order to hold your front wheel on the ground. 

RockShox SID Ultimate 3P

RockShox SID Ultimate 3P
Extra Info
Wheel size/travel options110mm &120mm (29”)
Weight 1,480g (120mm travel)
Pros Very sensitive initially, stays controlled in rough terrain
Cons TwistLoc remote grips don’t have a lock-on option

The SID Ultimate 3P represents RockShox’s latest top-tier cross-country fork, providing a refined and more capable riding experience compared to its predecessor. Featuring the new Charger Race Day 2 damper, this fork offers three positions—’open’, ‘pedal’, and ‘lock’—accessible through the crown-top lever or optional TwistLoc remote (£119).

Upon engagement, the SID Ultimate 3P demonstrates a swift responsiveness, quickly delving into the initial millimetres of travel, resulting in a plush and grounded feel over any minor bumps.

As it progresses through its travel, the fork delivers consistent mid-stroke support, gradually building up resistance towards the end of its travel, ensuring a controlled response to even the larger impacts.

Equipped with a new 35mm chassis, this fork excels in tackling high-speed and technical descents, displaying precision. However, there’s a slight detection of flex on steep turns with rapid catch berms, a challenge that even tests most of the trail forks on the market. 

Fox 36 Factory GRIP2

Fox 36 Factory GRIP2
Extra Info
Wheel size/travel options160mm, 170mm, 180mm (27.5”) : 160mm, 170mm (29”)
Weight 1,942g (29”, 160mm)
Pros Very supple & composed over high-frequency bumps
Cons Firm high-speed compression damping when set to open

The Fox 36 GRIP2 Factory stands out as one of the pricier forks on this list, but its amazing performance justifies the cost.

Featuring a four-way adjustable damper with high- and low-speed adjustments for both compression and rebound damping, Fox has simplified the setup guide, making it relatively easy to find the right settings despite the extensive range of adjustments available.

This fork shines, especially when handling rough, unpredictable terrain and substantial holes. Its independent high-speed rebound adjustment contributes to a more composed and controlled return from deep within the stroke, particularly for riders like us who prefer higher spring pressure.

Compared to one of its competitors, the RockShox Lyrik, the Fox 36 isn’t as sensitive at the initial stroke, resulting in slightly less traction in situations with lighter loads.

While impressively supple over small bumps, it conserves its travel over more substantial impacts, even with the compression damping fully open. This characteristic isn’t necessarily negative, but having the option to adjust the high-speed compression for extended comfort on lengthy rides would have been appreciated amongst most riders.

Manitou Mattoc Pro

Manitou Mattoc Pro
Extra Info
Wheel size/travel options120mm, 140mm (27.5”) : 120mm, 140mm (29”)
Weight 1,750g
Pros Great feel through its travel, easily adjustable & lightweight
Cons Air valve access is a little challenging

The Mattoc Pro leaves a lasting impression on riders, thanks to its remarkable smoothness and exceptional control towards the end of its stroke.

Equipped with Manitou’s MC2 damper, this fork boasts a rich array of adjustments, including hydraulic bottom-out within the stanchion, providing both high and low-speed compression alongside a single rebound adjustment.

This technical setup pays off well, evident in the Mattoc Pro’s impressive grip, comfort, and retained control even as it reaches the end of its travel. The fork offers a substantial range of usable adjustments, enhancing its versatility on the trail.

However, it’s worth noting that the Hexlock axle, while effective, requires more effort to operate compared to other securing axles. This system demands a hand to balance the bike while manoeuvring the axle and turning the Allen key from the opposite side of the fork.

Manitou Mezzer Pro

Manitou Mezzer Pro
Extra Info
Wheel size/travel optionsAdjustable between 140mm and 180mm with 10mm increments (both 27.5” & 29”)
Weight 2,200g
Pros Great mid and end stroke support
Cons Difficult to se tup

The Mezzer emerged as a revelation, delivering a remarkable blend of sensitivity to small bumps and resilience against bottoming out. It consistently showcases its capabilities, regardless of how deeply it travelled or the intensity it faced on the trail.

Its chassis strikes a perfect equilibrium between control, precision, and compliance. Impressively stiff during cornering, it managed to maintain stability without causing any unsettling bouncing or deviation of the front wheel, consequently reducing hand fatigue.

Manitou’s MC2 damper impresses with its agility in handling high-speed compression, adeptly absorbing rapid impacts while displaying incredible suppleness. The low-speed damping offers ample support through turns and compressions, complementing the already impressive air spring.

Granted, the setup process for the air spring can be challenging and demands strict adherence to the supplied guide. Yet, once correctly dialled in, the performance it unleashes on the trail is unparalleled. So, for those eyeing an upgrade from the RockShox Lyrik or Fox 36 GRIP2, the Mezzer undoubtedly warrants consideration. 

Marzocchi Bomber Z1

Marzocchi Bomber Z1
Extra Info
Wheel size/travel options130mm, 140mm, 150mm, 160mm, 170mm (27.5”) : 150mm, 160mm, 170mm, 180mm (29”)
Weight 2,525g
Pros Comfortable with big hits
Cons Heavy, firm at the beginning of the stroke

Marzocchi, now affiliated with Fox, presents the Z1, a fork that shares several features with the Fox 36 while catering to a more budget-friendly market.

Despite utilising lower-grade aluminium in the upper tubes, resulting in a weight of 2,249g, making it one of the heaviest enduro forks, this extra weight doesn’t translate into a noticeable trail disadvantage.

The Z1, employing an air spring, exhibits a firmer feel at the initial stages of its travel compared to the Fox 36, Yari, and Lyrik. Achieving proper sag necessitates lower air pressure and a substantial number of volume spacers to prevent swift consumption of its travel.

It tends to move through the mid-travel more readily than its counterparts, contributing to a slightly less predictable and refined feel. However, this characteristic proves advantageous in handling substantial impacts, enhancing long-run comfort.

When compared to the RockShox Yari, the Z1 excels in managing larger impacts, offering superior forgiveness in significant-hit scenarios. Nevertheless, the Yari boasts greater suppleness at the beginning of the stroke, providing enhanced traction and more predictable support. Additionally, the Yari is slightly lighter and more cost-effective.

Ultimately, the Yari holds a slight edge, particularly for its well-rounded attributes. However, if prioritising substantial-hit capability and the RockShox Lyrik or Fox 36 are beyond your budget, the Z1 emerges as a commendable option.

Öhlins RXF38 m.2

Öhlins RXF38 m.2
Extra Info
Wheel size/travel options160mm-180mm (29”)
Weight 2,320g
Pros Smooth off of the top, tunable bottom-out
Cons A rebound damping re-tune may be needed

The RXF38 demonstrates remarkable sensitivity right off the top, effectively minimising trail chatter and delivering substantial comfort and traction.

It excels in handling mid-sized impacts, such as brake bumps, providing ample support. The damper exhibits controlled responsiveness to impacts, maintaining a composed demeanour that allows riders to concentrate on the trail ahead rather than the terrain beneath the front wheel. This, in turn, contributes to increased speed.

The fork adeptly manages compressions, avoiding any tendency to dive under hard braking. This instils confidence when weighting the front wheel during manoeuvres like negotiating catch berms and steep trail sections.

While the rebound damping on the test fork proved slightly firm, potentially posing a challenge for lighter riders, the brand offers various tunes, ensuring compatibility with different preferences.

However, it’s worth noting that the fork is quite challenging to set up at first, featuring a negative spring volume-reducer spacer installed at the factory, a detail omitted from the manual. This additional complexity in setup might require extra attention during installation.

Final Words

Mountain Bike Suspension Forks

In the ever-evolving realm of mountain biking, the search for the perfect suspension fork in 2024 has led to some standout contenders. From the swift responsiveness of the RockShox SID Ultimate 3P to the refined control of the Fox 36 Factory GRIP2,  each fork brings a unique character to the ride.

As we wrap up this list, it’s clear that the choice of a suspension fork is more than a technical decision; it’s about finding a companion that enhances the joy and thrill of every trail conquered. The diversity in options caters to individual preferences and demands, embodying the spirit of mountain biking. So, whether you prioritise responsiveness, refined control, smoothness, revolutionary performance, budget-friendliness, or trail-chattering sensitivity, the ideal fork is the one that resonates with your personal journey and biking spirit.

Leo Beamers is an aspiring car collector born and raised just outside of the city in Cape Town and his interests include gaming, fast cars and enjoys cycling on the weekends.

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