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What Is The Best $300 Fork?

July 15, 2014
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Q: My bike was stolen and I can’t afford a replacement. Instead, I’ve been purchasing parts for a GT Avalanche 1.0 frame from 2005. I’d like to go with a 4.7-inch-travel or adjustable travel fork that could be swapped to another frame in the future. My budget is around $300. Could you guys point me in the right direction?
– JC, who is looking for performance at a good price

A: First of all, since your Avalanche was designed around a 3.9-inch fork, be aware that changing your fork travel may negatively affect your bike’s handling. Though it won’t be as drastic a change as going from 3.9 to 6 inches of travel, the bottom bracket will be raised and the head- and seat-angles will be slackened slightly. Additionally, changing the fork’s travel will void any warranty you may have on the bike. With that in mind, proceed at your own risk.

At the budget you’re looking to stay within, adjustable travel isn’t an option, but to get the most performance for your buck, check out RockShox’s XC 32 TK. Depending on the configuration you choose, it will set you back somewhere between $230 and $290. We’d opt for the air-sprung over the coil-sprung model, though either comes with external rebound and a lockout setting. The XC 32 TK is available in 3.9- or 4.7-inch versions, so you have the choice.

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