If there’s a „several in all” type of bike out there, the trekking bike must certainly be it. They’re fast in the city and on the road, and manage to get you over light off-road trails, partly thanks to the fact that they have suspension forks. In fact, this component offers a lot of advantages, while the narrowe tires and 700C wheels ensure a decent rolling speed. And of course, you can always mount at least one luggage rack and hit the road for a longer period or use it to carry heavier loads.
Given that trekking with a bike won’t require brilliant components since we’re not talking about very demanding paths, nor performance goals of the rider, the suspension fork may very well be the most important part of such a bicycle. Despite this fact, a lot of people buy trekking models without paying too much attention to the fork, which isn’t at all a wise decision, because the fork can significantly boost the performances of the bike, and can even draw lines between similarly equipped bicycles. A fork with an unfunctional suspension system, or with a low quality one, will reduce comfort, making off-road rides more difficult. In the following, we picked a few models that are most suited for the demands of a trekking enthusiast.
The newest player arrived in this segment opens the list. Rock Shox may have noticed that models offered by other brands do not excel in terms of quality so they decided to crash the party and come up with a proposition that is hard to refuse. By the name of Paragon, the fork is available in the Gold version, which features a Solo Air cartridge, a travel of 50 to 65mm, and a reasonable weight of 1.87 kilograms, not to mention the affordable price that revolves around 160 euros. Also it comes with a factory-set rebound, and a remote lock-out.
RST has a couple of models that are worth mentioning. First it’s Vogue, a classical alternative that weighs 1.68 kilograms and has stanchions that glide over a distance of 75mm. It relies on an air cartridge, includes lock-out, rebound and preload settings, but comes at a price of 174 euros.
The other is M7T, a single-shock model, that weighs significantly less (1,3 kilograms), and has a price of 145 euros, but offers a travel of only 50mm.
On the other hand, Suntour made a serious occupation out of trekking forks, having no less than 22 models in their range. One worth mentioning is their lightest, the Swingshock, which costs 139 euros, weighs 1,4 kilograms and has a puny 40mm of travel.
The manufacturer’s most popular model must certainly be the NCX, that is available in an air cartridge version featuring remote lock-out, the NCX E RL AIR. Having an MSRP of 229 euros, it’s not exactly the cheapest, and tips the scale at 1,78 kilograms, with 63mm of travel.
As you have probably noticed, we recommended only air cartridge models for a simple reason: they really offer comfort. On top of that, adequate servicing can keep them running for many years, they are lighter than coil suspension forks, and can actually be adjusted using the setting buttons/commands. All in all, we think that:
– Rock Shox will offer the highest functionality, but the price isn’t the lowest, nor does it abound in settings
– RST gathers all the qualities in a single product: tunning options, functionality, longest travel, lowest weight, but also highest price
– Suntour has the advantage that NCX usually benefits from the biggest discounts when the time comes, and in terms of performance, it’s somewhere halfway between Rock Shox and RST, but the price makes the difference