How to Buy a Bicycle Fork to Enhance Performance

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How to Buy a Bicycle Fork to Enhance Performance



Bicycle forks improve suspension and this enhances bike-riding experience in a number of different ways; it becomes lighter and thus faster, absorbing more efficiently inevitable shocks which bike riders experience with any type of bicycle.

There are many kinds of bicycle fork available to suit a number of different riding styles and bicycles types and these are all available for purchase on auction sites such as eBay. Sites like this allow potential buyers to pick up high quality bicycle equipment and parts for prices that are often more affordable than when buying from high street or online specialist retailers.

This guide is written with the hope of taking prospective buyers through the choices that have to be made in order to help them purchase a bicycle fork that will both enhance performance and be reasonably priced.

Make Up of a Bicycle Fork  

When buying a bicycle fork it is wise to understand its different components in order to purchase one that has all of the required elements. Below is table defining and detailing the anatomy of a bicycle fork in order to help buyers decide which parts are most important to them:

Legs

The vast majority of bicycles use two fork legs that straddle either the front or the rear wheel. They come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses that depend entirely on the size and preferred use of the bicycle. The legs are made up of two parts, the stanchion – otherwise known as the upper leg, and the lower leg. 

Crown

There are a number of different crown types available for bicycles with suspension forks. More advanced bicycles have double crowns for the purposes of increased stiffness, whereas more commonly used bicycles such as cruiser bikes have only one crown that is at the top of the fork legs and joins to the steerer tube. There are crowns made of a number of different materials and the material of choice plays a role in determining the price that is to be paid for it.

Spring

As far as suspension forks are concerned, there are two commonly used types of spring. The spring takes the brunt of the shock and absorbs it. One of the types of spring used in the majority of bicycles is the metal coil spring. Again, the type of metal used in a coil spring decides the price of the fork. Metal coil springs tend to be fairly heavy and do not allow a lot of adjustment once fitted. However, they are more affordable than air springs. As the latter have no heavy metals they are much more desirable than coils but are also more expensive. Air springs are often used in high-performance mountain bikes as they contain chambers of air that compress the shock when it occurs. Air springs in the suspension forks can also be used to modify and customise the chambers and air pressure holes to accommodate different riding styles.

Axle

The axles used in a suspension fork tend to come in sizes ranging from 15 to 20 millimetres. Whilst small in size, they play a vital role in the sensitivity of steering, and in the sturdiness of the bicycle as it takes on shock or bounce.

Damping

The damping in a suspension fork helps to protect the fork springs, especially in bicycles that use metal coil springs which can be affected by the general wear and tear that occurs whilst riding on rough terrain. Damping is the pushing of oil through a series of valves to keep the ride smooth and as unaffected by shock as possible. The most prevalent form of damping used in suspension forks is named rebound damping. There are also other forms available, such as high-speed damping which enables riders to have a greater level of shock absorption whilst taking on heavy bounces and fast courses.   

Steerer Tube

Steerer tubes come in a variety types. Firstly, they can range enormously in price. The price paid for a steerer tube directly correlates to the material used. For example, a carbon fibre steerer tube is lighter than a steel one, thus enhancing performance and making it more expensive. The steerer tube joins the fork to the head of the bicycle and can also range in size, depending on the size of the bicycle itself.

Choosing a Bicycle Fork

When buying a bicycle fork there are a multitude of options available. The best way of choosing one is by knowing the sort of suspension fork that best suits one’s particular riding style. Here are some of the things one should consider when choosing a bicycle fork:

-   Age: Although it seems this should not play a vital role in deciding which bicycle fork to purchase, the age of the cyclist is actually an important factor. Just as bicycle forks suffer from wear and tear and thus are less able to absorb shock over time, so does the human body. The older the rider, the higher the level of suspension should be, in order to protect the rider from unnecessary injury.

-   Bicycle Use: Some bicycles and riding styles do not require high levels of suspension. For example, a fixed gear bicycle that is to be ridden on smooth roads will need less suspension than a mountain bike that will require high levels of shock absorption. If one owns a mountain bike, then perhaps dual suspension forks may be required if looking to ride over rough and bumpy terrain. A road or racing bike will only require low end suspension to accommodate the flat, even surfaces they are likely to encounter.

-   Surface: Smooth roads do not require a high level of suspension as, on these, bicycles will travel efficiently and effortlessly. However, road bicycles are being made with higher levels of suspension as a means of protecting riders even further. Rougher terrains such as gravel, or dirt tracks require high-end suspension to ensure that damage does not occur to both the bicycle and the rider.

Buying a Bicycle Fork Online

The sport and hobby of cycling has a large Internet presence. There are many cyclists who enjoy writing about their hobby and regularly discuss elements of cycling such as ways of enhancing performance.

Suspension is a regularly tackled subject and there is a vast array of blog posts and forum threads that deliberate over the best forms of suspension, and the most efficient and appropriate suspension forks for a large number of bicycle types and riding styles.

Make use of these discussions and posts and take in as much information as possible as they can help with the decision as to which fork will enhance performance.

Some of these blogs and forums are run by those who also sell bicycle parts. This means that they are clued up as to the prices that are regularly paid for certain forks and suspension fork components. Again, utilise this price information as a means of finding suspension forks on sites like eBay.

Buying a Bicycle Fork on eBay

As cycling is such a popular sport and hobby, eBay is home to a vast array of bicycle parts and equipment. This section of the site can be found by visiting the Sports and Leisure section of the site and then by clicking on the Cycling link. One can narrow the search down further by clicking the Bike Parts section and then making use of the Forks filter tab.

If one is looking for a specific type of suspension fork, use the keyword search toolbar to find listings of the required product.

Here are some tips for when buying a bicycle fork on eBay:

-   If placing a Bid, it may be a good idea to set a budget limit so as to avoid starting a bidding war that can drive the price beyond reason.

-   Scrupulously study the images provided by a seller. Most sellers who regularly sell bicycle parts will provide clear pictures of their product.

-   Check the seller’s selling past and make sure that feedback is positive and that the comments, in the majority, praise the seller. 

If any more advice is needed on buying from eBay, visit the Buyer Tips page to get information on how to use the Buy It Now option, as well as finding out the benefits of using PayPal for a secure transaction.

Conclusion

Whilst there are many suspension fork options available to potential buyers, the buying of a bicycle fork to enhance performance can be made easier by being well informed of the ins and outs of suspension forks.

As mentioned earlier, make use of professional opinions from blogs and forums and use this guide to gain an understanding of the best type of suspension fork for one’s riding style, bicycle type and riding surface.

Don’t forget to read product descriptions thoroughly to find out the suspension fork specifications so as to match them up to the specifications of the bicycle that is being enhanced.

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