Top 4 MTB Trail Forks


I can’t be the only one that’s confused by all of these labels for genres of mountain biking, with new ones seemingly popping up every day. Where does XC end and Trail begin? And what about All-Mountain? Don’t even get me started on where Downcountry fits into all of this… Well regardless, we’re looking at our favorite Trail forks today, which I’m choosing to define as the 120-140mm travel bracket. Bikes built around this much travel generally prioritize low weight but have become increasingly capable in their latest generations, so their forks need to keep up with the new demands.

Here at The Lost Co, our favorite trail forks come from a wide range of manufacturers, including Fox, RockShox, Marzocchi, and Ohlins. These are the four most popular and reputable suspension brands in mountain biking, and each of their offerings either prioritizes performance, weight, or affordability, making it incredibly easy for us to make the perfect choice for your bike.

1) Fox 34 Factory

Fox 34 Quick Specs

  • 1738g (29", 130mm w/ Kabolt axle, 165mm steerer, and star nut)
  • $1039

  • GRIP2 Damper, EVOL Air Spring

  • 120, 130 and 140mm travel options
  • 34mm stanchions
  • High and low speed Compression
  • High and low speed Rebound
  • Volume Spacers to tune air spring
  • 29 only

  • 125 hour service interval

It’s impossible to talk about these forks and ignore the Fox 34. Every since it was introduced, the Fox 34 has been at the forefront of performance in this category, with options for those who prioritize weight and those looking for maximum performance. The Step-Cast Fox 34 shaves weight for those trying to save those grams, but we’re more interested in the standard Factory Fox 34 with the GRIP2 Damper for that sweet sweet downhill performance. The GRIP2 damper is famous for being the most adjustable fork damper on the market, with high and low speed compression as well as rebound. Add in the EVOL air spring that is also incredibly tunable with volume spacers and there are almost limitless setup options with the Fox 34.

Another great perk of all Fox forks is their Performance Elite model that uses the same chassis and internals as the factory version but costs $100 less! You lose the Kashima coating in favor of a black nitride coating on the stanchions, but the performance of the two on trail is identical. And if you have a 2016 or newer non-Rhythm 34, you can upgrade your damper to the GRIP2 damper for maximum tuning potential! We recommend pairing this fork with the Fox Float X to complement the descending performance of the Fox 34 to conquer both the climbs and the descents.

2) RockShox Pike Ultimate

  RockShox Pike Quick Specs

Another staple of this travel bracket is the RockShox Pike. This fork has been around for two decades now, and cemented itself in the history books with the long legacy its left. Another worthy chapter in its story is the brand new 2023 RockShox Pike, with a completely redesigned chassis, air spring, and damper. Just about the only resemblance to the previous generations is the 35mm stanchions, which have been around since 2011. RockShox has always been known for easy setup, and the Charger 3 damper does a great job of simplifying setup while allowing tinkerers to delve deep into the compression and rebound clicks.

On the bottom of the damper and air spring is SRAM’s new ButterCups, which act as elastometers between the internals of the fork and the chassis, separating riders from trail chatter and keeping arm pump at bay. Anyone riding through braking bumps is sure to appreciate this feature, and the silent operation of the Charger 3 damper’s new silencer ensures that all you hear is your hub and tires on the dirt while out in the woods.

3) Ohlins RXF34

  RXF34 Quick Specs

  • 1740g (130mm travel w/ 185 steerer, axle, and star nut)

  • $1145

  • OTX18 Damper and two chamber air spring

  • 100 hour full teardown service interval
  • 120 or 130mm travel options
  • 34mm stanchions
  • Volume spacers to tune air spring

  • 29 only

A relative newcomer to the spacer, the Ohlins RXF34 is the Swedish offering made for lightweight trail and downcountry bikes but is still stout enough to take all the hits you can throw at it. Based off their enduro and downhill focused TTX18 damper, their OTX18 damper is built on the same principle of putting performance first with an emphasis on saving weight. Just like its bigger brothers, the RXF36 and RXF38, the RXF34 offers a more damped feeling than other brands, and is happier the faster you’re going and the rougher the trail gets.

But that heavily damped feeling comes at a price, literally! The Ohlins RXF34 is the most expensive option on our list, but also offers some of the most features, with high and low speed compression, rebound and the lightest weight of all the forks on our list here. If you’re looking for a lightweight and hardcharging 34mm stanchion trail fork, then the RXF34 should be towards the top of your list!

4) Marzocchi Bomber Z2

  Bomber Z2 Quick Specs

  • 2000g (29er at 140mm travel w/ cut steerer, axle, and star nut)

  • $519

  • 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, or 150mm of travel
  • 34mm stanchions
  • Low speed compression and rebound adjustments

  • 125 hour service interval

  • Red or Black options

  • 29 and 27.5 options

For those of us that didn't get into dental schoool, the Marzocchi Bomber Z2 puts an emphasis on affordability while still almost matching the performance of the other options. Marzocchi has always brought forks with incredible value to the market, and the Bomber Z2 is no different. At just $519, it's impossible to get a better fork for less money. Its Rail Damper features a sweep low speed compression adjuster with infinite adjustability, and the air spring can be filled with volume spacers for maximum bottom out support or take them out for a more linear feel.

Marzocchi's entire brand image is centered around no-frills performance and that's exactly what you get with the Bomber Z2. You won't get lost counting clicks or worrying about if it's set up exactly right, and it'll feel great right out of the box with minimal effort on your end. Yes it's heavier than some other options, but it's half the price and way more than half the fun of the other three forks, and would be right at home on any trail bike that needs between 100 and 150mm of travel. If you're looking for more travel than that, then check out the Marzocchi Bomber Z1 that was built with exactly the same priorities in mind as the Z2, such as simplicity and value.

Which Fork Is Best For You?

Well I guess this is the whole reason you came to this article, and by just answering a few simple questions we can get to the answer. First is the easiest, what’s your budget? Obviously these are all incredibly expensive forks besides the Marzocchi Bomber Z2, and that makes the decision very easy as it’s literally half the price of the other options. But if you did get the acceptance letter from dental school all those years ago, let’s decide between the three expensive options.

With maximum adjustability and iconic Kashima coating, the Fox 34 with the GRIP2 damper has been the flag ship of this fork genre since its inception, and leaves little to be desired in its most current edition. Anyone who is really values the High Speed Rebound adjuster, which isn’t found on any of the other forks, is going to really enjoy the tunability that the Fox 34 offers.

My personal pick of the litter is the RockShox Pike. Going through another redesign this year with the Charger 3 damper and DebonAir+ air spring has rocketed this fork to the top of my Christmas wish list. Its dead silent performance and easy tunability with the externally marked clicks on top of the damper give it a incredibly premium and straightforward setup procedure that only takes a ride or two.

If you’re still torn and need to get a second opinion, we pride ourselves on providing the best customer service in the industry, so give us a call and we’ll help you figure out exactly which fork is right for you.


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Tor Weiland



Bellingham, WA

Current Bikes: Chromag Lowdown

Bike Size: Medium/Large

Favorite Trails: Oriental Express, Galbraith

About Me: Hailing from the sunny landscape of California, Tor headed north and landed here in the cloudy town of Bellingham, WA. His riding style is "PINNED" and he loves to scope out those seemingly impossible triples. He loves riding and also loves sharing his experiences with others. You can catch Tor in front of the camera or behind the keyboard, but best of luck catching him on the trail!